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WFLA Parent Company Files Suit Against Alleged “Bootlegging” Local Podcast Company

TAMPA, FL, – WFLA News Channel 8’s parent company, Nexstar Media, Inc., filed suit on March 4 against a St. Petersburg true-crime podcast production company and creator for copyright infringement.

Based in Irving, Texas, Nexstar filed its suit in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District Court of Florida.

The Defendant is Jennifer Jaros (Youngblood), 48, of Largo. She created “Jay is 4 Justice,” a true-crime podcast that released – among other stories – numerous episodes covering the Brian Laundrie/Gabby Petito murder and alleged suicide cases. The podcasts were viewed on Apple News, YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, and possibly other digital venues.

According to Nexstar’s lawsuit, “Without authorization, Defendants overlaid a watermark or “bug” onto the Infringing Works, which branded the Infringing Works as “Jay is 4 Justice.” It also states Jay is 4 Justice never sought “authorization, consent or license” to run or re-run WFLA podcasts and videos.

Nexstar seeks injunctive relief and one of two financial settlement options. They demand to be paid based on actual damages and profits earned by Jay is 4 Justice, which is expected to be disclosed during the case’s discovery process, or pre-judgment monetary damages of $150,000 per “bootlegged” news clip, which is 12 episodes that included WFLA’s copyrighted works.

Jaros’ potential financial liability in the case is $1,800,000.00 or more if her claim of “fair use” of WFLA’s video clips doesn’t pass muster with the assigned judge.

In many cases, judges permit “fair use” to override copyright infringement lawsuits, especially when other entities’ or people’s original works are being used for scholarly works, research, education, historical or commentary purposes. Some descriptions of “fair use” include instances of news reporting, parody or criticism.

Based on the language used in the lawsuit, Nexstar does not yet appear to understand how Jay is 4 Justice, an LLC recently incorporated, was compensated at the time of the alleged infringements. Typically, judges favor “fair use” for non-commercial organizations and individuals.

Nexstar challenged YouTube to remove the episodes that infringed on their copyrights. YouTube initially complied.

However, it backtracked and re-released Jaros’ podcasts when she notified YouTube of her “fair use” rights. YouTube told Nexstar they would only retract podcast releases upon a judgment of copyright infringement against them from the courts.

Attorneys for Nexstar, in this case, are Charles Collins Lemley and Ari Scott Meltzer of Wiley Rein LLP, Washington, D.C.

Jaros could not be reached for comment.

*This story has been edited to remove details of a separate case not relevant to the lawsuit.

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