After telling the trade to “f— off” last week, Finke and her parent company have actually filed suit and demanded $5 million
Updated 5 p.m. PT
The Hollywood Reporter has removed the homepage carousel design cited by Deadline parent PMC in its lawsuit alleging copyright infringement. The homepage now has a more standard blog-style presentation, with stories stacked on top of each other more or less chronologically.
The trade implemented the carousel presentation that highlighted four top stories in August. Earlier Wednesday, code identified as "MMCFeaturedCarousel11" was still present, the MMC apparently referring to the old name of Penske Media Corp. That source code has been exised from the site.
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."
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 "carouasel" (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.
Perhaps her public upbraiding of THR on Friday – her most pugnacious post about a competitor to date — was a sign. It mostly consisted of a letter in response to a note from THR's lawyers accusing Finke of illegal conduct.
Finke summarily told the lawyers to "shove the letter up their asses and concluded by telling them "get the fuck out of my face."
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