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.