The Dallas Morning News has sued a Wisconsin woman in federal court for repeated copyright violations, alleging that she is selling access to the newspapers’ articles that she reprinted on her own “copycat” websites without permission.
The News claims in the lawsuit, filed Tuesday, that Holly Starks is open and even boastful about the copyright violations, having publicly declared on video that she switched web-hosting companies six times to avoid the newspaper’s attempts to have the content removed.
The News, like other media companies, limits online access to most of its content to subscribers, who pay a fee to access it. The News is Texas’ leading newspaper and winner of nine Pulitzer Prizes. Its products reach an average daily audience of more than 1.1 million people, both in print and online at DallasNews.com.
The News alleges that by knowingly circumventing its paywall, Starks and her company have violated the Copyright Act and the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.
In addition to seeking damages, The News has asked for a court injunction preventing Starks and her company from continuing to violate U.S. law “through their ‘black hat’ SEO scheme.”
Starks provides search engine optimization services to her clients and also sells access to the unlicensed articles on her website through her company, SEOTech.dev LLC, according to the lawsuit.
“Starks is known as a ‘black hatter,’ i.e., someone who performs unethical or illegal actions in violation of…