Florida Keys News - Key West Citizen
Tuesday, October 2, 2012
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Piracy lawsuit tossed
Judge dismisses claim that employees hijacked website

A federal judge on Monday dismissed a claim filed last year by a Marathon-based radio broadcaster who alleged the owners of a Key West-based fishing magazine swindled him out of tens of thousands of dollars and stole his website domain name.

Joe Nascone, owner of Boot Key-based Keys Radio Group, which operates WFFG 1300 AM, accused former employees Scott and Deanne Hopp in July 2011 of trademark infringement, trademark dilution, cyber-piracy, violating Florida's Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act, unfair competition, conversion, tortious interference with business relationships, civil conspiracy and breach of duty of loyalty and care, according to court records.

U.S. District Judge James Lawrence King filed notice on Sept. 19 that, barring some legal progression, he would be dismissing the case on Oct. 1 for "lack of prosecution" citing that the case "has been pending before this court without proceedings" for more than three months.

Nascone's lawyer, Barton Smith of Key West, declined to comment on the case Monday.

Marathon lawyer John Campbell was representing the Hopps when the case was filed, but he did not return a message left at his office seeking comment.

Nascone claimed the Hopps redirected Internet traffic from www.floridakeysradio.com to the website of their media company, Fishmonster Inc., which he alleged cost his company $30,000.

Nascone hired Deanne Hopp to build the radio broadcaster's website, but Nascone alleged in the lawsuit that she then registered the website in her own name, assigned it to the fishmonstermedia.com server and linked it to the defendants' own website at http://fishmonster.com, according to the lawsuit.

As a result, Internet traffic to the broadcast company website, http://www.floridakeysradio.com, was directed to the Fishmonster Magazine website, the suit alleged.

Nascone alleged that when Scott Hopp sold advertising spots for the radio station, he either pocketed the money directly or bartered for ads, in which he gained but the company did not.

Scott Hopp vigorously denied the allegations when reached by The Citizen in July 2011.

alinhardt@keysnews.com

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