Nikki Finke’s Deadline.com and its rival the Hollywood Reporter now have an even closer-to-home story over which to obsess and not source one another: Penske Media Corporation, the owner of Deadline, is taking THR to court over allegations of various kinds of copyright infringement. Both publications issued online statements about the legal battle on Wednesday night. Since THR is the one getting sued, we’ll let them go first: “In March, The Hollywood Reporter responded to an allegation by Deadline.com of so-called ‘stolen’ stories by asking Deadline.com to provide specifics. We got no response, and today we know why. Deadline.com’s parent company PMC has just sued The Hollywood Reporter for copyright infringement based on allegations of ‘stolen’ stories. An initial review of the complaint shows that it is replete with examples of stories that originated from widely-released press releases from publicists, or widespread confirmations from publicists to numerous outlets, including both The Hollywood Reporter and Deadline.com. It is not copyright infringement to report these stories, even if on occasion Deadline.com posts them first.”
The notice goes on to claim that the whole thing is a ploy by Finke to “steer attention away from the ongoing growth” of THR. It adds that PMC is also accusing them of lifting code for the website’s carousel feature, which has been removed while lawyers “look into the matter.”
PMC’s statement details the claims mentioned by THR, along with accusations of attempted employee poaching. And then there’s this: “PMC is taking a stand against desperate and copycat news organizations and media outlets such as THR that constantly monitor PMC’s websites for the sole purpose of copying and imitating PMC websites’ news stories and original content within minutes after online publication. These copycat media outlets such as THR, rather than conducting their own independent reporting and investigation, developing their own sources and insiders, and generating their own leads and stories, simply steal PMC’s content and pawn it off as their own. In truth, THR, faced with the harsh reality that it had become a second-rate entertainment industry news source unable to attract insiders’ attention anymore.” Except for the attention of Nikki Finke, we guess! Many, many, many more details to come.