Righthaven Helping To Establish A Much More Expansive View Of Fair Use In Copying Newspaper Articles

from the not-what-they-planned dept

Ah, Righthaven. Steve Green, who has covered the Righthaven situation like no one else, has a long and fascinating blog post detailing how with each new move, Righthaven and Stephens Media's attempts to crack down on people reposting their works, has actually had the exact opposite impact -- creating a series of court rulings that not only slam Righthaven, but also detail a very expansive view on fair use and other copyright issues when it comes to sites copying material from newspapers. In the end, this may be Righthaven and Stephens Media's lasting legacy: creating a series of really ridiculous cases, so ridiculous that they demonstrated the dangerous extremes of copyright law today, and allowed courts to mark down a series of key rulings on fair use to protect against such abuses.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 29th, 2011 @ 6:24am

    now if only ALL the patent trolls got pwnd and established precdent for reasonable copyright

     

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  2.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 29th, 2011 @ 6:34am

    Confused

    Uh...yay team Righthaven?

     

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  3.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 29th, 2011 @ 6:41am

    Yes righthaven have done a service for being rubbish, maybe it was a ploy, maybe there are trolling to improve fair use. If so, good work team :D

     

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  4.  
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    Chargone (profile), Jun 29th, 2011 @ 6:42am

    clearly, their legal team is a spy.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5.  
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    Call me Al, Jun 29th, 2011 @ 6:48am

    Re:

    "clearly, their legal team is a spy."

    It does make you wonder... surely no serious legal team can be quite as incompetent as they appear to be.

     

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  6.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 29th, 2011 @ 7:00am

    Umm where exactly are you seeing these rulings? I didn't think any of the righthaven cases had made it to the point of setting caselaw regarding fair use.

     

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  7.  
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    Jay (profile), Jun 29th, 2011 @ 7:02am

    Re:

    And I see someone hasn't clicked the described article...

     

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  8.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 29th, 2011 @ 7:02am

    Re: Re:

    never blame malice what incompetence could explain

     

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  9.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 29th, 2011 @ 7:07am

    y'all should read the article by steve green specifically note the quote

    “What becomes of a free press if virtually everything can be freely taken and used by others

    emphasis mine

     

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  10.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 29th, 2011 @ 7:15am

    Re: Re:

    I read the article. The rulings are all preliminary rulings of the legality of the Righthaven methods, not so much about the actual fair use implications. The judges are adding their own commentary, but it is done without trial, only based on filings and motions.

    I don't think a single one of these cases so far as been tried to conclusion and lost based on fair use. Please, correct me if I am wrong.

     

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  11.  
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    DannyB (profile), Jun 29th, 2011 @ 8:00am

    The same thing resulted from SCO vs The World

    IBM actually raised the GPL in a counterclaim. This was possibly the very first "test" of the GPL in court. There have been plenty since.

    The open source community was suddenly galvanized and took IP issues very seriously. Everything is now carefully documented.

    Linux is one of, and perhaps the cleanest FOSS codebase in terms of IP.

    The sealed AT&T-BSD settlement was unsealed and its contents revealed just how clean BSD actually was, and how SCO had lied about the contents of the sealed settlement.

    Many other things happened during the last eight years that were the most opposite of what SCO could have ever wanted to happen.

    In other news: the outrageousness of ISPs attempting to charge customers higher prices for access to certain websites caused Net Neutrality to become law.

    Cutting off Internet access results in the UN calling it a human right.

    Next up: maybe hollywood and the major labels will push for draconian enough laws that things will flip in the worst way they could possibly imagine. Go ahead. Push for a police state. See what happens.

     

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  12.  
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    Keith (profile), Jun 29th, 2011 @ 8:08am

    Re: Confused

    Is it time to send them a fruit basket and a "get well soon" card?

     

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  13.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 29th, 2011 @ 8:23am

    The question all the Righthaven suits and responses from the courts have raised in my mind is: is it constitutional to sell your rights? Sure a content creator can sell a license to produce a product based on their content, but throughout the history of copyright, that hasn't been the case. The various industries have forced artists to sign over their rights, but can they do that? Is it really legal?

     

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  14.  
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    wallow-T, Jun 29th, 2011 @ 9:07am

    This is massively important. The writing style of politics blogs in which one links to mainstream stories, or excerpts them, and then comments on the news, is becoming central to the political nervous system in the USA. (The Democratic Underground case is a prime example, and I'm sure there are cases on the political right as well.) The vast majority of the leading-edge political activists are communicating with blogs now, and this "comment on the news" style is well established.

    With the importance of this style of dialectic argument to political speech, we are now moving towards core First Amendment concerns, which give the highest protection possible to political speech, and I think the courts are seeing this.

     

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  15.  
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    Chosen Reject (profile), Jun 29th, 2011 @ 9:24am

    Re: Re: Re:

    From the article:
    U.S. District Judge James Mahan found an Oregon nonprofit was protected by fair use in posting without authorization an entire 33 paragraph R-J story. That was Righthaven’s second fair use loss over R-J material.

    Judge Larry Hicks in Reno, last year dealt Rightaven its first fair use loss, with that case involving a partial R-J story post by a Las Vegas real estate agent.

     

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  16.  
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    Mike Masnick (profile), Jun 29th, 2011 @ 9:37am

    Re: Re: Re:

    I read the article. The rulings are all preliminary rulings of the legality of the Righthaven methods, not so much about the actual fair use implications.

    Not true. There have been two rulings on fair use.

    I don't think a single one of these cases so far as been tried to conclusion and lost based on fair use. Please, correct me if I am wrong.

    You are wrong.

     

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  17.  
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    Hephaestus (profile), Jun 29th, 2011 @ 4:54pm

    Re:

    It all becomes like HuffPo ... people working to promote themselves. Or people like me, that just like pointing out injustice, stupidity, and corruption.

    I think that should scare you more than FREE and freely taken. It means the mainstream media and its biased views are dead, and the truth, not hype, is being heard.

    Something to think about ...

     

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  18.  
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    Prashanth (profile), Jun 29th, 2011 @ 6:22pm

    This actually reminds me of something I read somewhere recently (either in the Washington Post or in TIME magazine) which said that by late last decade, the Tories in the UK had drifted so far to the right that they needed David Cameron to become relevant again, and I would say that by US standards, for a Tory, David Cameron is left-of-center. Similarly, these Righthaven lawsuits have pushed the debate over copyright so far in favor of copyright maximalism that these verdicts have effectively brought the debate to the other side by actually expanding fair use.

     

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  19.  
    identicon
    dwg, Jun 30th, 2011 @ 11:53am

    Re:

    One actually CAN assign his or her rights to a cause of action...just not in copyright (and a few other carve-outs). See, I have a feeling that RH thought of the former, but didn't bother to look into the latter. Or, more likely, that none of the small fry it was shaking down would bother.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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