Las Vegas Review-Journal Thinks Suing Sites Over Copyright Will Mean More People Link To It

from the uh,-try-less dept

We've been following the lawsuits filed by Righthaven for a few months now. If you haven't been following the story, this is the company, funded by the owner of the Las Vegas Review-Journal, that is suing a bunch of sites (over 100, and increasing rapidly) for reposting content from the LVRJ. In many cases, the lawsuits hit message boards, where the site owners have clear DMCA protections. Also, Righthaven does not issue any DMCA takedown notices -- it just goes straight to suing. Joe Mullin has a story about Righthaven that includes a few more details, including the fact that about 30% of those sued have settled -- but for amounts ranging from $2,185 to $5,000 -- well below the $75,000 demanded. And, none of the settlements have resulted in anyone turning over their domain, as demanded. So, if we assume 30 of the lawsuits have paid $5,000 (we'll take the upper bound), that's $150,000 over the course of about 4 or 5 months. Take away the "cost" of buying the copyrights, and filing the lawsuits (a few hundred bucks) and this hasn't been a hugely lucrative business. Some of the sites that haven't settled are gearing up to fight this in court (we've heard from a bunch), and suddenly whatever Righthaven earned seems to go negative fast if it has to spend time in a courtroom.

But, even more ridiculous are the laughable claims from Steve Gibson, the guy behind Righthaven, and Mark Hineuber, the general counsel for the parent company of the LVRJ. Hineuber is claiming:
"My hope," says Hinueber, "is we will raise awareness of copyright laws, and have more links back to our site, and have less of our material infringed on the Internet."
Yeah, right. Suing people linking to you is going to get more links? Considering that some of the examples of sites being sued included one that posted just 4 paragraphs of a 34-paragraph article... with a link, it seems that these lawsuits are almost guaranteed to lead to less linking.

Gibson keeps claiming that his is not a legal shakedown business, but a technology business. This is pretty laughable too. If they invested in technology beyond "searching Google," they've wasted money here. But even more ridiculous is the claim that this somehow makes business sense:
"Since the advent of the Internet, there has been an ocean of infringements of copyright that have gone unaddressed," Gibson says. "I've also seen that many media companies have been facing financial difficulties. I was inspired to pursue technological solutions and marry them with the available legal machinery."
Actually, no, that's not true. It hasn't gone unaddressed. Lots of companies have tried suing, and so far it's been a dismal failure, costing a lot more money than it ever brought it and calling much more attention to the ability to infringe. To ignore that basic history is pretty laughable.

Amusingly, the article also has the Righthaven folks admitting some "kinks" that need "to be worked out," such as the time it sued the very source for an article (apparently, this has happened more than once). In the one case that we wrote about, after that came to light, Righthaven dropped the lawsuit. I'm guessing that after some more lawyers start fighting back against Righthaven, it's going to discover quite a few more "kinks" in its system.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

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    average_joe (profile), Aug 18th, 2010 @ 7:16am

    He thinks more people will want to link to his site? Good luck with that!

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 18th, 2010 @ 7:25am

    "Also, Righthaven does not issue any DMCA takedown notices -- it just goes straight to suing."

    I don't blame them, they wouldn't want people selling those notices on e-bay and making a ton of money.

     

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    Righthavenvictims, Aug 18th, 2010 @ 7:33am

    I can't understand the money model either. The cost of bringing one of these suits is not small despite Gibson's boilerplate documents and cookie cutter routine. Gibson could not have possibily picked a better economic time for his disgusting "technology company" either.

     

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      Brian (profile), Aug 18th, 2010 @ 8:11am

      Re:

      Unless they drop the lawsuits right before it goes to court and say it was a "mistake" and they "apologize". Then they go after the next wave of "infringers" and do the same thing over and over. Most will fight the lawsuits, but some will pay up. So they will have to drop the lawsuits again as a "mistake". It can't go on forever before most people realize whats going on, but they gotta make money somehow. Adapting to a changing market isn't an option since that's progress and innovation, something we can't have in a world run by lawyers.

       

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    Yogi, Aug 18th, 2010 @ 7:34am

    stupid

    Suing is stupid - the money should be invested in buying legislators. I hear they come a dime a dozen these days.

     

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      Dark Helmet (profile), Aug 18th, 2010 @ 7:38am

      Re: stupid

      Your best bet is to buy your legislators wholesale, or from warehouse type stores like CostCo (I.E. the House of Representatives).

      The brand name legislators in the Senate certainly look nicer with all of their shiny packaging, but they taste exactly the same....

       

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        TtfnJohn (profile), Aug 18th, 2010 @ 8:28am

        Re: Re: stupid

        So there's a difference in how you cook and present Representatives and Senators?

        Would you suggest a 5 course meals for Senators and a quick stir fry for House of Representatives members?

        For those of us in a Parliamentary system based on London that would be 5 course meals for front bench Cabinet members and a stir fry for everyone else. ;-)

         

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        •  
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          Dark Helmet (profile), Aug 18th, 2010 @ 8:42am

          Re: Re: Re: stupid

          Well, for House Reps, they have a reputation for having a weaker flavor, so you may need to marinade the shit out of them. Since they're a tough kind of meat, I suggest something strong, like equal parts Balsamic Vinegar and Worstecer Sauce.

          Senators, on the other hand, are known for having an overbearing flavor. Let's be honest, their taste/smell can simply take over a room. Your best bet with them is to temper them down, either by a light soak in a flavorful red wine (cabernet sauvignon works best), or even a light garlic butter sauce to provide a strong base flavor.

          Either way, once you've done that, you'll want to throw either on the grill and make sure you cook them real good. Both House Reps and Senators tend to carry small but debilitating diseases that will thieve away your hope for the world (not, oddly, unlike a Dementor, except real). An open grill should get the grate up to at least 400 degrees, a closed grill can be less, like 350 degrees.

          Either way, feed some of the House Rep or Senator to your dog first. If the dog does not immediately goose step over to the television to watch either Fox News or MSNBC, you should be in the clear....

          (As a side note, it strikes me that a parody cook book in which it discusses how to cook all the things we hate in this world and all the funny "dangers" posed by them might be worth exploring....)

           

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            TtfnJohn (profile), Aug 18th, 2010 @ 8:53am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: stupid

            So if I put a dish out for my cats (the noted free thinkers of the animal world) and they bury it in the litter box I should avoid at all costs, I guess.

            (Actually it would be worth exploring, wouldn't it? ;-) Got me thinking now, you have, about who and what to cook next.)

             

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              Dark Helmet (profile), Aug 18th, 2010 @ 8:57am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: stupid

              "(Actually it would be worth exploring, wouldn't it? ;-) Got me thinking now, you have, about who and what to cook next.)"

              In the tradition of TechDirt: Copyright Law.

               

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              Dark Helmet (profile), Aug 19th, 2010 @ 6:35am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: stupid

              "(Actually it would be worth exploring, wouldn't it? ;-) Got me thinking now, you have, about who and what to cook next.)"

              BTW, not sure if anyone is still reading this thread, but I am starting the TechDirt Cookbook with this previous example as the basis for the first "recipe". If anyone would like to help or has suggestions, please let me know....

               

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    FreemonSandlewould, Aug 18th, 2010 @ 8:11am

    Wish these newspapers would hurry and die already

    ....the antique media just needs to go ahead and die off.

     

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    cc (profile), Aug 18th, 2010 @ 8:17am

    Clearly, their "extortion model" is nowhere as effective as USCG's.

     

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      TtfnJohn (profile), Aug 18th, 2010 @ 8:31am

      Re:

      Actually it sounds based on SCO's. Maybe the same technology, too, and the next target will be Linux.

      Oh, been there, done that got head handed to plaintiff; sorry.

       

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    Marc J. Randazza, Aug 18th, 2010 @ 8:50am

    Link Boycott

    Bias alert - I represented NORML vs. Righthaven, and I represent a number of other Righthaven defendants.

    This "purpose" seems like an after-the-fact and cooked up tale to try and control the negative publicity that these suits have brought raining down on the Las Vegas Review Journal. From what I have seen, many of the defendants DID provide back-links.

    If anything, this is likely to result in a link boycott rather than more links to the LVRJ.

     

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      average_joe (profile), Aug 18th, 2010 @ 9:17am

      Re: Link Boycott

      NORML just settled, right? Considering NORML didn't host any of the files it's a shame you guys didn't fight back, especially since statutory damages weren't on the table. I get the desire to avoid the cost of litigation though.

      Does linking back to the article somehow change whether it's copyright infringement or not? I didn't think so, but if it does, please do tell.

       

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      Righthavenvictims, Aug 18th, 2010 @ 9:36am

      Re: Link Boycott

      I was disgusted reading it -- I couldn't finish. It was clearly designed to help patch up the negative publicity. Has anyone created an official "Boycott Righthaven" button that webmasters can place on their webpage? Maybe in two sizes 88x31 and 120x60:
      http://www.iab.net/iab_products_and_industry_services/1421/1443/1452

       

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        Mike Masnick (profile), Aug 18th, 2010 @ 11:02am

        Re: Re: Link Boycott

        I was disgusted reading it -- I couldn't finish. It was clearly designed to help patch up the negative publicity. Has anyone created an official "Boycott Righthaven" button that webmasters can place on their webpage? Maybe in two sizes 88x31 and 120x60:

        But Righthaven doesn't have any business to "boycott." Wouldn't it make more sense to boycott the LVRJ?

         

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    Righthavenvictims, Aug 18th, 2010 @ 12:20pm

    That is what I meant and Stephens Media.

     

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    Pete, Aug 19th, 2010 @ 9:58am

    Yeah, right !

    "Generate more links back to R-J" ??
    Haha, yeah, right. I frequently post on a number of message boards in Las Vegas, and all have instituted policies of not posting any links to lvrj.com. Goog luck with the ambulance chasing, R-J !

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 4th, 2010 @ 11:34pm

    Daily Paul / Michael Nystrom Sued by Righthaven LLC in Massive Blogger Copyright Shakedown

    http://www.dailypaul.com/node/143700

     

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