September 14, 2011 / 9:35 PM / 8 years ago

"Deadline" blogger sues The Hollywood Reporter

NEW YORK (TheWrap.com) - Deadline Hollywood’s founder and editor-in-chief Nikki Finke has made a habit of threatening to sue her competition, and now she has actually done it.

Finke’s parent company, Penske Media Corporation, on Wednesday sued Prometheus Global Media, the parent company of rival The Hollywood Reporter, for copyright infringement.

The suit, which seeks $5 million in damages, alleges “outright theft of intellectual property, including but not limited to whole articles, content, software, source code and designs.”

Finke, who engaged in an unpleasant public spat with the trade publication last Friday, already posted a summary of the suit online, including links to the complaint and exhibits.

The suit echoes Finke’s previous diatribe with claims that THR tried to hire away Deadline employees and copied editorial content, but it appears the theft of source code may make for the strongest case. The lawsuit compares images of source code from PMC’s TVLine.com and THR that are identical, including misspellings of such word as “carousel” (see graphic) and the use of “MMC,” PMC’s former name.

However, the claim of stealing whole stories appears to be unsubstantiated. The suit lists dozens of examples of stories THR published within an hour of Deadline, which it says is a result of THR “monitoring website minute-by-minute to spot key news stories, original content and reproducing them.”

But all sites post stories within moments of one another, particularly in the hyper-competitive online niche of entertainment news.

There are no examples of entire articles being plagiarized.

However, the lawsuit tries to claim that THR steals “intellectual decisions.” It gives an example of a THR story that follows Deadline’s Nellie Andreeva’s story about two unrelated television deals. The THR story similarly combines the two deals for no apparent reason.

Finke has often threatened to sue her rival trade publications, including TheWrap, but this is the first time she has followed through on it.

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