Las Vegas Sun

July 29, 2014

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5 more website operators sued over R-J copyrights

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National Wind Watch Inc. of Rowe, Mass., says postings of news stories on its website are "protected by fair use."

Posting of an entire Las Vegas Review-Journal story on the site without authorization, though, is not the Review-Journal's idea of "fair use."

Most newspapers, including the Las Vegas Sun, allow websites to post a link to a story and a few sentences or the first paragraph.

The Review-Journal also allows links, but copying of entire Review-Journal stories without advance permission isn't allowed by that newspaper under its website rules.

The owner of the Wind Watch website, which covers environmental problems associated with wind energy, was sued for copyright infringement on Monday in federal court in Las Vegas by the Review-Journal's copyright enforcement partner, Righthaven LLC.

This was one of five copyright infringement lawsuits filed Monday by Righthaven over allegedly unauthorized posts of Review-Journal material, bringing to 141 the number of lawsuits Righthaven has filed since March. Defendants in the 141 lawsuits are website owners and operators throughout the United States and Canada.

The Wind Watch lawsuit charges an Aug. 16 Review-Journal story about bats being potentially endangered by wind turbines in Nevada's Great Basin National Park area was posted on the www.wind-watch.org website without authorization.

The version posted on the Wind Watch website credited the Review-Journal's reporter and the paper's owner, Stephens Media LLC, and a Stephens website, www.elynews.com. Records indicate the entire story was re-posted.

"This article is provided as a service of National Wind Watch Inc.," says a note at the end of the story. "The use of copyrighted material is protected by Fair Use."

But Righthaven, which obtains Review-Journal copyrights and then sues over those copyrights, charged in its lawsuit: "National Wind Watch distributed, and continues to distribute, an unauthorized reproduction of the work (story) on the website, in derogation of Righthaven’s exclusive rights."

Also sued Monday by Righthaven in the same court over allegedly unauthorized postings of Review-Journal material were:

--Climate Change Fraud and two officials Righthaven says are associated with its website www.climatechangedispatch.com, Thomas Neveu and Thomas Richard.

--Michael Easton and Puget Sound Radio in Victoria, British Columbia, who have a website called www.pugetsoundradio.com.

--An entity called Medbillz in San Ysidro, Calif., and Michael Leon, whom Righthaven says are associated with the website www.veteranstoday.com.

--AR15.com, a website in Honeoye Falls, N.Y., about firearms, and officials there Juan Avila and Edward Avila.

Requests for comment were left with the defendants. The suits each seek $150,000 in damages and forfeiture of the defendants' website domain names.

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  1. Keep it up, first sue losing Senate candidate Angle, now a veterans group and gun outfit, oh and the ex-news guy, now a right wing blogger.