Quick settlement reached in copyright lawsuit against PR company

A quick settlement has been reached in a copyright infringement lawsuit pitting Righthaven LLC against the largest public relations company in Las Vegas.

Righthaven is a Las Vegas company that regularly sues website operators it says have infringed on copyrighted material generated by the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

Righthaven filed suit Sept. 1 against Kirvin Doak Communications and partners Dave Kirvin and Bill Doak alleging a Review-Journal story had been posted on the Kirvin Doak website without authorization.

The Feb. 10 story was about plans by Celine Dion to return to The Colosseum at Caesars Palace in March 2011 for a three-year residency — a story promoted at the time by Kirvin Doak.

As both a public relations and advertising agency, Kirvin Doak regularly provides news and information to and places advertising with the Review-Journal and other news organizations.

Terms of the settlement weren’t disclosed in a Tuesday court filing revealing the dispute had been resolved.

“Righthaven, Kirvin Doak, Mr. Kirvin and Mr. Doak have agreed to settle the matter by a written agreement,” Righthaven said in the court filing.

“The Righthaven complaint was quickly and amicably addressed last week,” Dave Kirvin told the Las Vegas Sun on Thursday.

Separately, Righthaven filed four more lawsuits in federal court in Las Vegas on Thursday, lifting its lawsuit total since March to at least 123. The latest defendants are:

• America’s Independent Party of Iowa and the founder and chairman of America’s Independent Party, Thomas Hoefling.

The suit claims they displayed on the party’s national website, www.aipnews.com, a Review-Journal column about “the obituary of a long-time Las Vegas, Nev., resident that expresses dissatisfaction with Harry Reid’s performance as United States senator for the state of Nevada.”

Records indicate the column was posted on the aipnews site by a user named “EternalVigilance” — apparently Hoefling — and that the Review-Journal was credited for the information.

• Billy Bob Wells in San Antonio, Texas, who has a website called www.texasprocessservers.blogspot.com, is a bounty hunter and is a board member of the United States Professional Bail Bond Investigators Association.

Wells is accused of posting without authorization an Aug. 10 Review-Journal story about Las Vegas process servers suspected of filing false court affidavits and a Review-Journal story from Feb. 10 about a process server arrested in a Las Vegas slaying.

A look at the blog on Thursday showed the Review-Journal story on false affidavits fully credited the Review-Journal. Also posted on the blog was a related story by Las Vegas television station KLAS Channel 8.

Court records indicate the Review-Journal story about the Las Vegas process server arrested in the slaying was also posted at the blog in its entirety by Wells, with the R-J receiving full credit for the information.

• Rad Geek Enterprises and Charles W. Johnson, who are associated with the website libertarianleft.org (Las Vegas Alliance of the Libertarian Left) and are accused of posting a July 17 Review-Journal story about a suspected drug dealer shot and killed by a Las Vegas police detective.

Besides copyright infringement, Righthaven claims the defendants altered the headline of the story without authorization from “Affidavit alleges detective bought marijuana from man officer killed” to “More lies from Officer Bryan Yant, Las Vegas’s finest.”

Records indicate the Review-Journal was not credited for the post on the libertarianleft.org blog. The post appeared to be the majority of the Review-Journal story.

• John Glenn, an enterprise risk management professional in Hollywood-Fort Lauderdale, Fla., who has a website called www.johnglennmbci.blogspot.com and is accused of posting a July 11 Review-Journal story about officials considering increasing OSHA fines for workplace safety violations.

Like most recent Righthaven lawsuits, the new complaints seek damages of $150,000 apiece and forfeiture of the defendants’ website domain names to Righthaven.

Messages for comment were left with Glenn, Hoefling and Johnson.

After he was contacted by the Las Vegas Sun, Wells said he deleted the allegedly infringing material from his process server website.

“Thanks for letting me know. I removed their article as soon as I was aware there was a problem,” he said.