RightHaven Ramping Up Its Copyright Trolling Business

from the sue-sue-sue-sue dept

We’ve written a couple of times about RightHaven, the new operation set up by the publisher of the Las Vegas Journal Review to shakedown any site that reposts its stories. There were some oddities in the way RightHaven was acting, starting with the fact that it gives no warning to sites and doesn’t send a DMCA takedown. It goes straight to suing… and then quickly demands a settlement fee. Of course, most of the sites its suing aren’t competitors to the LVJR at all. In fact, they’re usually organizations or people written about by the newspaper, who want to post the publicity — with links back to the original — on their own sites. In many cases, it would seem that they have pretty strong fair use claims, but fighting a copyright infringement lawsuit in federal court is expensive, which is exactly what RightHaven is counting on.

Wired is now running a profile of Righthaven, where the company’s CEO (who was or is the general counsel for LVJR) is pretty upfront that this has nothing, whatsoever, to do with stopping infringement. It’s entirely a way to squeeze money out of people. And he’s rapidly expanding. Apparently, he’s filing new lawsuits every day, and the publisher of the LVJR has given him the right to sue on behalf of other newspapers he publishes, while they look to sign up other publishers as well. This is, clearly, a blatant abuse of copyright law, and not at all what the law intended to do. Between this and the shenanigans of US Copyright Group, is it really too much to ask that the courts or Congress recognize that copyright law is being blatantly abused in a quasi-shakedown system?

Along those lines, JC was the first of a few of you to point to a blogger who was just sued by Righthaven. Because of this, the blogger has taken down their entire blog, because it now represents too big a liability. Again, this is not what copyright law is supposed to be for.

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Companies: righthaven

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Comments on “RightHaven Ramping Up Its Copyright Trolling Business”

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24 Comments
RD says:

Well, thats clear cut

“There were some oddities in the way RightHaven was acting, starting with the fact that it gives no warning to sites and doesn’t send a DMCA takedown. It goes straight to suing… and then quickly demands a settlement fee.”

This is, of course, a violation of a persons civil rights, right to due process and a clear case of extortion. As soon as someone stands up to them and takes this nonsense to a trial (or even gets it in front of a judge) they are going to get a serious spanking. Judges take a dim view of those who try to abuse the legal system by so blatantly trying to skip due process.

:Lobo Santo (profile) says:

Re: Well, thats clear cut

You’re kidding, right?

You have the right to a speedy trial–guess which right you’re required to waive when you go to court for a ticket? If you refuse to waive your rights, you’ll just be summarily judged guilty.

I think you meant to say “Judges take a dim view of those who are not in law-enforcement abusing the legal system.

Mike Masnick (profile) says:

Re: Well, thats clear cut

This is, of course, a violation of a persons civil rights, right to due process and a clear case of extortion. As soon as someone stands up to them and takes this nonsense to a trial (or even gets it in front of a judge) they are going to get a serious spanking. Judges take a dim view of those who try to abuse the legal system by so blatantly trying to skip due process.

Not really sure of that. There’s no requirement to issue a DMCA takedown notice. It is legal to go straight to suing. It might not be very nice or smart, but it’s not violating due process by itself. Whether or not the other aspects of the process amount to “extortion”… well… that’s a more difficult question.

John Grant (profile) says:

Re: Re: Well, thats clear cut

While there is no requirement to issue a DMCA takedown notice, there is the possibility of a defendant in a copyright suit collecting attorney’s fees and court costs in a successful defense.

A website owner who (1) has properly obtained the DMCA liability shield* and (2) can show that the infringing material was placed on the site at the direction of a user** has a complete defense to a copyright infringement claim. While courts are sometimes hesitant to grant attorney’s fees to prevailing copyright defendants, they are available under the statute. I’d think that anyone with a valid DMCA defense (particularly if it is coupled with another defense like fair use) would have a decent chance of convincing a judge to award fees and costs to the defense due to the frivolous nature of such a suit.

Of course that means you still have to pony up to pay for your defense in the first place…

* Not as easy as many people think: be sure to closely follow the instructions in the statute and on the Copyright Office website.

** This takes most bloggers and other website owners out of the DMCA’s umbrella if they post the material themselves

AW says:

Well this is what the conservatives in America wanted right? Power to business. Now they see what businesses that sue the system without any oversight can do…apparently they didn’t get the message with BP, since that is Obama’s fault, but now that they are getting websites taken down after defending these creeps I am supposed to care? This is just the going around meeting the coming around.

harbingerofdoom (profile) says:

Re: Re:

please do not try to pull this into a “cons vs dems” type of argument. its got nothing to do with that from a political ideology standpoint.

this is a broken system that elected officials on both sides of that deviding line have been more than happy to ignore and push legislation favorable to their campaign contributors. allowing yourself to get drawn into such an arguement accomplishes exactly what both sides want, you get side tracked on non-issues of ideology and forget to focus on the real issues at hand.

AW says:

Re: Re: Re:

I’m normally for such temperance when it comes to the issues because I realize that most of the time it is exactly as you say, but here’s the thing on this one. The only thing the Democrats have done since Clinton is managed to pass a conservative health care plan they recycled from the Republicans who were around in the 90’s. They would have to actually pull their heads out of their asses to be able to do anything productive.

SO I hope that clarifies my position on it. It’s not the that Dems are better it’s that the Repubs are the only ones who have managed to do anything in 10 years. Under Bush th most corporate judge to ever take a seat on the bench was placed, not conservative or liberal, corporate.

Let’s also not mince that this is a decidedly political attack from his targets. He targeted Freepers, a Gun lobbying website and a few other websites to include a DNC site, or maybe he just thought they would have more money witht he current climate of the country.

So I guess my real feeling is that yes both parties are responsible, one through action one through inaction. I ahd just visited the freerepublic website and the hate is kind of infectious. I apologize.

Anonymous Coward says:

“This is, clearly, a blatant abuse of copyright law, and not at all what the law intended to do. Between this and the shenanigans of US Copyright Group, is it really too much to ask that the courts or Congress recognize that copyright law is being blatantly abused in a quasi-shakedown system?”

What exactly is copyright law intended to do? Exactly how is this an abuse of copyright law? Use citations and authorities to back up every aspect of your arguments. Point us to scholarly sources. Give us a detailed, thorough analysis of the issues. Leave your unsupported opinions at the door.

“Again, this is not what copyright law is supposed to be for.”

Again, please explain this in detail using several different sources as authority. Can you make arguments that would hold up in a court of law?

I really wonder about you, Mike.

Not Important says:

Re: Re:

The Constitution tells you what copyright law is supposed to do – “To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries.”

That’s it. We give up a bit of our right to free speech in order to promote progress of science and useful arts. So – does this achieve that goal?

Jim Rob (user link) says:

We got sued too!

We got sued too! And in the middle of a fund raising drive if you can believe that! You know how hard it is to raise the 40,000 per month it takes to run 3 servers that haven’t been updated in years with such a threat over my head?

But I am not worried! I will pray and God will solve these problems for me just like how he fixed the oil spill.

P.S. Obama is a traitor because he want to use the works of others for free!

Stacy Romele says:

Righthaven and the Obama's connection

He was selected as an editor of the Harvard Law Review at the end of his first year,[37] and president of the journal in his second year.[38] During his summers, he returned to Chicago, where he worked as a summer associate at the law firms of Sidley Austin in 1989 and Hopkins & Sutter in 1990

[link to en.wikipedia.org]

…Guess where Mr and Mrs Obama met….

Following law school, she was an associate at the Chicago office of the law firm Sidley Austin, where she first met her future husband.

>>>> And Guess what Michelle and Steven Gibson both did???
INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY LAW…AT THE SAME LAW FIRM…!!!

At the firm, she worked on marketing and intellectual property.

[link to en.wikipedia.org]

Unreal…the networking between these people is staggering…Sorry Harry, November cannot come soon enough to flush out the scum…

The Truth says:

Righthaven and the Obama's connection

This RightHaven founder Steven Gibson is definitely a “Chicago Guy”…so I did a little digging in the public domain…..

Steven A. Gibson

Born: Chicago, Illinois, December 11, 1963

School: Chicago-Kent College of Law
Degree: J.D.
City: Chicago
State: IL
Year: 1990
Honors: IIT/Chicago-Kent College of Law. Cum Laude 1990.

Prior to establishing his own firm, Mr. Gibson was an associate at Sidley Austin LLP a Chicago Law firm…

Just click on “Work History”

[link to http://www.nolo.com]

well well well…another Chicago guy who was there at the time finishing up Law School along with….Barack Obama…maybe they crossed paths?

In late 1988, Obama entered Harvard Law School. He was selected as an editor of the Harvard Law Review at the end of his first year,[37] and president of the journal in his second year.[38] During his summers, he returned to Chicago, where he worked as a summer associate at the law firms of Sidley Austin in 1989 and Hopkins & Sutter in 1990

[link to en.wikipedia.org]

…Guess where Mr and Mrs Obama met….

Following law school, she was an associate at the Chicago office of the law firm Sidley Austin, where she first met her future husband.

>>>> And Guess what Michelle and Steven Gibson both did???
INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY LAW…AT THE SAME LAW FIRM…!!!

At the firm, she worked on marketing and intellectual property.

[link to en.wikipedia.org]

Unreal…the networking between these people is staggering…

Unreal…the networking between these people is staggering…Sorry Harry, November cannot come soon enough to flush out the scum…

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