LOS ANGELES (CN) - McClatchy and Dow Jones provided articles to LexisNexis and other online databases without permission, their author claims in Federal Court.
Eric Watkins, a journalist specializing in energy issues, filed two lawsuits for copyright infringement, in Federal Court.
One names as defendants The McClatchy Co., ProQuest and Reed Elsevier, the owner of LexisNexis. The other defendants are Dow Jones & Co., Stephens Media and ProQuest.
Watkins claims that he submitted articles to The Wall Street Journal and Knight-Ridder. Dow Jones operates the Factiva database and the Wall Street Journal. McClatchy owns Knight-Ridder.
A journalist for 20 years, Watkins says he has written thousands of freelance pieces that appeared in the Oil and Gas Journal, the Financial Times, Wall Street Journal, and Washington Post.
When he wrote articles for The Wall Street Journal and Knight-Ridder, Watkins says, he never authorized Dow Jones or McClatchy to license or republish his work elsewhere.
Nevertheless, in 2012, Watkins says, he discovered that Dow Jones had provided more than 150 of his copyrighted articles for publication on the Factiva Database. McClatchy had allowed ProQuest and LexisNexis to publish 10 of his opinion pieces, according to his complaint.
"The stories written by plaintiff that were contained in the Factiva database had originally been provided by plaintiff to other sources such as The Associated Press, The Middle East, African Business, The Wall Street Journal, Lloyds List and others," the complaint states. "Plaintiff did not have an employment relationship with any of those sources, did not have a written contract with any of those sources, and did not have an agreement with any of those sources granting them permission to republish or sublicense his work," the 16-page complaint against Dow Jones states.
Watkins notes that the Las Vegas Review Journal also provided articles to Factiva, though he had never directly written anything for the publication.
He wants a judge to enjoin the defendants from publishing his work, profits, recovery of his original film materials, statutory damages and costs.
He is represented by Stephen Doniger with Doniger/Burroughs of Culver City.
Neither McClatchy nor Dow Jones responded to requests for comments.