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April 29, 2016

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Six more suits filed over R-J copyrights

Groups promoting the legalization of Internet gambling and safe medical injection practices are among the latest to be sued for copyright infringement after Las Vegas Review-Journal stories allegedly were posted on their websites without authorization.

Six copyright infringement lawsuits involving Review-Journal stories were filed Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Las Vegas against:

--Hyde Park Communications Inc., alleged operator of the website for the Safe and Secure Internet Gambling Initiative in Washington, D.C. Court records show several Review-Journal stories involving Internet gambling were posted on the website, with the R-J credited as the source of the stories.

--Mary J. Santilli in Boston, who operates a blog about the American Idol TV show called mjsbigblog.com. Records show the blog website in April posted an R-J column, crediting the R-J, about American Idol contestants visiting Las Vegas.

--South Coast Partners Inc. doing business as Keller Williams OC Coastal Realty in San Clemente, Calif.; Taloa Inc.; and two officials associated with South Coast: real estate broker Robert Walter Hunt and real estate agent and mortgage company officer Jeffrey L. Nelson. The suit says Hunt supervises Nelson at the real estate brokerage.

The suit says Nelson is also the president of Taloa.

Court records indicate that on May 3, an April 30 R-J story about a homeownership program in Nevada was posted on a Taloa real estate website -- without attribution to the R-J.

--Honor Inc., a Fremont, Neb., nonprofit company advocating for patient safety and justice, and an individual associated with the company, Evelyn McKnight.

The nonprofit website www.oneandonlycampaign.org allegedly posted an April 30 R-J story about a hepatitis C lawsuit. The R-J was credited as the source of the story, court records show.

A look at the website Wednesday showed it has links to numerous medical stories from around the country, including additional stories by the Las Vegas Review-Journal and the Las Vegas Sun.

The website says the One & Only Campaign, promoting "One Syringe Only One Time," is a public health campaign led by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Safe Injection Practices Coalition.

--Dean Mostofi, whose address and contact information were unavailable, and who allegedly has a website called deanmostofi.com. That site in April allegedly posted an R-J story about a lawyer being reprimanded for running misleading advertising. Only partial credit to the Review-Journal was included with the post, court records show.

--Ronald Gollner, whom Righthaven says ran a blog forum called rgryan.vox.com. That site allegedly posted a March R-J column involving politics. The post was credited to a columnist for the Arkansas News Bureau who contributes to the R-J.

Messages for comment were left with Hyde Park, Nelson, the Safe Injection Practices Coalition and Gollner. Mostofi could not be located for comment.

Santilli, in Boston, said she was surprised that she was being sued since no one from the R-J had contacted her to advise her that her posting of the R-J column was infringing on a copyright.

Santilli, who lists 5,430 followers on her Twitter account, said that besides posting the story on her blog, she had re-Tweeted R-J Tweets about the American Idol contestants visiting Las Vegas.

"I probably brought them a million 'hits,'" she said, adding she's a middle-age woman who blogs from her home and doesn't have any money for Righthaven to take as damages.

"This is a shock to me they would do something like that," she said of the suit, adding she regularly posts stories about American Idol from numerous news sources and always credits the sources.

"I'm not knowingly infringing on anybody," Santilli said.

The suits were filed by Righthaven LLC, which has partnered with the R-J to file copyright infringement lawsuits. At least 56 such lawsuits have been filed since March over Review-Journal stories.

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