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November 28, 2014

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Philadelphia man sued twice over alleged copyright infringements

When it comes to the 172 Righthaven online copyright infringement lawsuits filed since March, a Philadelphia man has the distinction of being sued twice for multiple infringements involving different websites.

Righthaven LLC, the Las Vegas Review-Journal’s copyright enforcement partner, first sued Robert Sulimanov on Oct. 20, charging his Flagstone Patio entity and website flagstonepatio.org had on Aug. 1 re-posted without authorization a Review-Journal story about gardening.

Sulimanov responded to Righthaven Nov. 1, saying in a Las Vegas federal court filing he denied the copyright allegations and also expressing “my sincerest apology if I have in any way caused damage to your website and/or company.”

Sulimanov pleaded with Righthaven to “dismiss this incident because I was in no way trying or even thought that I was stealing from anyone.”

Saying he opened his business with limited funds after he was laid off less than a year ago, Sulimanov said he has not made any profits.

He wrote that the Righthaven lawsuit has “put a lot of stress and fear into my daily life” and that “if your firm cannot work with me I will have to close my business because it will go into bankruptcy.”

“I also currently cannot make any money because when a potential customer now researches my name, he or she sees the information of me being sued,” Sulimanov wrote.

“I often get my material from Google News and if there were ever any issues, they just asked me to remove the material and I did so right away,” Sulimanov wrote.

He again pleaded with Righthaven to dismiss the case, saying, “I have a family to support and I cannot afford to travel to court and I do not have the funds to hire and pay a lawyer.”

Sulimanov’s story apparently didn’t impress Righthaven, which named him and a codefendant in a second copyright infringement lawsuit on Tuesday.

Court records indicate that one day after Sulimanov was served with the first lawsuit, involving Flagstone Patio, material from another Review-Journal story was posted without authorization on Oct. 23 on a website called wickesfurniture.org.

The registrant of that website is a company called VXPOSE LLC. Sulimanov and another man, Arthur Kalandarov, are the organizers of VXPOSE, Righthaven alleges.

Sulimanov and Kalandarov have not yet responded to the wickesfurniture allegations and efforts to contact them were not immediately successful.

But after reading a Las Vegas Sun story about Sulimanov and Flagstone Patio, a website operator unaffiliated with Righthaven said he wasn’t surprised that Sulimanov had been implicated in multiple copyright infringement incidents.

He alleged that content from his AsktheBuilder.com site had ended up on the Flagstone Patio site without his permission.

Since he started his site in 1995, Tim Carter said, he’s dealt with hundreds of “pirates” who scrape the Internet for news material that they then place on their advertising-supported sites.

In the Flagstone Patio incident, Carter said, he filed a takedown notice with Google as provided by the federal Digital Millennium Copyright Act. He said the notice resulted in the removal from Google search results of the Flagstone Patio information related to his website.

Carter on Thursday said he’s found such takedown notices are more effective than trying to sue infringers, many of whom operate multiple websites, professionally, from offshore. That’s because even if a copyright holder wins a judgment against such an infringer, there’s little likelihood of collecting on the judgment, he said.

“You can sue them all you want, you’re not going to get anything from them,” he said.

Righthaven, however, has and continues to earn revenue from more than 70 copyright lawsuits that have been settled.

As the active Righthaven lawsuits haven’t yet advanced to the judgment phase, it’s unknown how much revenue Righthaven will be able to earn from judgments against defaulting defendants or those defendants Righthaven may prevail against in court.

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  1. We are trying to diversify our economy. With these lawsuits we need to employ more judges and support staff. With enough, we could revive the construction industry here by building courthouses. The litigants and their counsel would fill vacant hotel rooms and patronize the restaurants.

  2. The fool in this case has more to worry about then the RJ.

    "Wickes Furniture" is also a registered trade name of a major company and I am sure they don't think much of him using their name either.

    People seem to think that no rules apply to the Internet. It is not the wild west, play by the rules or pay the price.