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Sherman Frederick, publisher of the Las Vegas Review-Journal, wrote a column May 30 explaining why his newspaper has sued more than 20 Web sites for re-posting Review-Journal articles. (Credit: Las Vegas Journal Review)

RGJ.com reported May 30 that the Las Vegas Review-Journal is suing Web sites that have copied Review-Journal stories on to their sites.

The newspaper has filed 26 lawsuits against Web sites.  Most recently, The Review-Journal  has sued localslovevegas.com for publishing two Review-Journal stories without permission.

Sherman Frederick, the publisher of The Review-Journal, wrote a column May 28 about the lawsuits.

“If there’s one thing that is ‘the essence’ of a newspaper it is content — the news, information, pictures and opinion that makes any given newspaper worth a reader’s time and money,” Frederick wrote in his column.

Frederick wrote that the newspaper contracted local technology company Righthaven to find the newspaper’s content on other Web sites.  According to Frederick, Righthaven’s “only job is to protect copyrighted content.”

Frederick noted that the newspaper has sued “a variety of websites, ranging from those that report marijuana news to sports betting sites.”

MediaPost reported May 16 when Righthaven filed two lawsuits against Ecological Internet and madjacksports.com respectively.  Those were the 12th and 13th lawsuits.  Some of the other sites sued by Righthaven have included Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, a real estate blogger, and the National Organization for Reform of Marijuana Laws.

MediaPost reported that president and founder of Ecological Internet, Glen Barry, said that in his 15 years running the site, this is the first time he has had to face litigation.  Barry said no one has ever clicked on the four articles that Ecological Internet reposted from The Review-Journal.

Righthaven has reportedly been filing lawsuits without or before asking for the Web sites to remove The Review-Journal’s material, which is unusual.

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Righthaven CEO Steven Gibson is focused on “fighting the ‘rampant’ copyright infringement occurring online,” according to MediaPost. Gibson also said specifically that Righthaven is “non-discriminatory” politically.

POLITICS

Frederick noted that one of the sued Web sites, PLAN, claimed the newspaper and Righthaven are targeting liberal Web sites. Frederick didn’t really defend the newspaper from that claim, but wrote that “We can’t fix crazy. Or paranoia. But we can fix pilfering.”

As of May 16, MediaPost reported that Righthaven hadn’t sued “any right-wing organzations or Republican groups that the paper currently appears to support.”

The Las Vegas Journal Review, which is not affiliated with the Review-Journal, and Media Matters both wrote that Righthaven and The Review-Journal have not sued  U.S. Senate candidate Danny Tarkanian for re-publishing Review-Journal articles on his campaign Web site, MediaPost reported.

The Journal Review found Danny Tarkanian published at least five articles of the Review-Journal’s here, here, here, here, and here.

MediaMatters wrote about the politics of the lawsuits May 7.

The Las Vegas Journal Review wrote that “there’s nothing typical about starting a discussion about fair use with a federal court lawsuit seeking to take away the web domain of the organization that purportedly didn’t use your stuff fairly.”

Las Vegas Journal Review is a ProgressNow Nevada journalism watchdog site.  ProgressNow Nevada is a non-proft progressively-focused organization.

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Las Vegas Review-Journal Sues Websites for Reposting Its Articles

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