Copyright Troll Righthaven's Number One Supporter Caught Putting Infringing Material On His Own Blog

from the nice-one-sherm dept

Former Las Vegas Journal Review publisher and Stephens Media CEO Sherman Frederick was the main champion behind Righthaven. Early on he was the one who explained (in bizarre, nonsensical terms) why the LVRJ was funding and supporting Righthaven, and mocked those who pointed out the ridiculousness of his position. Part of his reasoning was that putting copyright infringing content on your website or blog is absolutely no different than stealing the Corvette out of his driveway. Even if we ignore how this is completely wrong (someone copying content doesn’t remove that content from his site, and he still has the content, etc.) and grant him that premise, it seems rather odd that Frederick himself has now been caught posting infringing material to his own blog.

Now, it’s probably worth mentioning that poor Mr. Frederick lost his job right after the election, but he’s still a columnist for the LVRJ. One of our readers, Joseph, pointed out that one of Mr. Frederick’s recent blog posts was a short one about how Saturday Night Live had done a skit about the TSA patdowns, and he embedded it in his blog post. Except, he apparently chose an infringing one from YouTube, rather than the legit version from Hulu. Oops. NBC has taken down that video, so now Frederick’s blog post simply shows this:


In case you can’t see it, the video box says: “This video contains content from NBC Universal, who has blocked it on copyright grounds.” Of course, note that NBC Universal chose to just take the content down — something that Righthaven never gives anyone the opportunity to do. But, more importantly, I’m wondering if Mr. Frederick can explain why he stole NBC’s Corvette?

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Companies: nbc universal, righthaven, stephens media

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Comments on “Copyright Troll Righthaven's Number One Supporter Caught Putting Infringing Material On His Own Blog”

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54 Comments
TJGeezer (profile) says:

It's Remedial Hypocrisy, folks

When hypocrites posture and rant, they’ll lose their hypocrisy licenses if they start to believe their own crap. The whole point is to preach one thing while doing another.

Those who can’t remember such a basic rule won’t even qualify to take Basic Hypocrisy 101 in business school. Forget about advanced courses specializing in Religion and Politics.

Ken says:

Re: Re: Re: Pulling a Daryl, AnitMike, etc ...

Righthaven would not make this distinction when deciding to sue someone. They will sue you if you embed copyrighted material to your site. Youtube is protected under safe harbors but Shermie is not so NBC should hold him acountable the same way Shermie holds others accountable. He should pay $150,000 and turn over the LVRJ domain name to NBC.

Wayne (profile) says:

RE: F Sherman - email to him

i have sent the following to him

Now that you have updated your blog to show the correct link, maybe you can explain your actions in such a way as to show how your linking infringing material is not like stealing a corvette as you have previously written? Or is it only stealing when someone else does it? Come on, your such a big supporter of RightHaven filing lawsuits against everyone for exactly the same reason, I really would like you to write a blog post defending your action in posting a link to infringing material. Hypocrite.

maybe a little antagonistic but considering his position on the subject i don’t think I went overboard

crade (profile) says:

Re: The latest response

He probably thinks he is morally in the clear because of some functional technicality about embedding a link vs embedding a copy of the video. Like the technical functional details of how the video is being redistributed by him make a difference to the moral implications.

Ask him to explain the moral difference between redistributing the video without permission the way he is doing it as opposed to getting the exact same result using another method.

NotSomeLeetGuy (profile) says:

Tutorial on blocking all RIGHTHAVEN Clients' Websites

https://docs.google.com/leaf?id=0BzxfXpayzEkBMDNhMzRmYWMtOTMwYy00NDRkLTgwYjctZGJiZmJkZGQ2ZDk4&sort=name&layout=list&num=50
(PDF file. Under 100Kb)

How do end users of web content protest against this copyright troll outfit? We whip out the big First Amendment stick of Freedom of Association and boycott the RightHaven client media companies.

This tutorial article will focus on Windows operating system and a freeware program called HostsMan. I will give an Apple OS X alternative with instructions, the program is called GasMask but I have not personally used that software.

The next step will be auto-updated HOSTS files blocking/boycotting the websites of all advertisers on all RightHaven clients’ websites.

First we try this small effort…

average_joe says:

Re: Re: Re:

Did you not read the post?

I did. I just don’t think it’s newsworthy. Embedding a YouTube video is not infringement. Not if you didn’t upload the video in the first place. If he embedded a video that someone later flagged as their IP, how was he supposed to know up front that was going to happen? Funny how you defend YouTube’s not knowing which clips are uploaded by Viacom, but you don’t do the same for the Sherminator. ๐Ÿ™‚

Ash Crill says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

You’re not fooling anyone here with your disingenuity.

Either you didn’t understand the post or you’re deliberately trolling.

Obviously Mike doesn’t believe that embedding a YouTube video is infringement, but Mr. Frederick is known for his position that using a copyrighted video is indeed infringement.

Mike’s post point out the irony of this situation.

average_joe says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

You’re not fooling anyone here with your disingenuity.

Either you didn’t understand the post or you’re deliberately trolling.

Obviously Mike doesn’t believe that embedding a YouTube video is infringement, but Mr. Frederick is known for his position that using a copyrighted video is indeed infringement.

Mike’s post point out the irony of this situation.

Apparently I’m fooling you, since I’m not being disingenuous. Of course I understand the post, I just think it’s silly and reaching. If this was somebody Mike liked and they had embedded a video that someone later flagged, Mike would be defending them tooth and nail. He’d be complaining about takedown notices are used to chill free speech, he’d point out that perhaps the takedown notice was even issued by the rights holder, etc. But when it’s someone he doesn’t like there’s no such defense. It’s a double-standard and it’s pretty transparent. Maybe you don’t see it, but I’m sure others do.

Perhaps you can point me to where the Sherminator claims that “using a copyrighted video is indeed infringement.” I’d like to see the basis of your claim. Was he talking about embedding YouTube videos at the time? I seriously doubt it. And I’d love for someone to explain to me how he was supposed to know it was copyrighted? Heck, how do we know that this wasn’t a legit upload that someone else wrongfully issued a takedown notice for? How can you prove that it’s even infringing in the first place?

The only irony I see here is that Mike felt this was newsworthy. I think this whole “story” says more about Mike than it does about Shermy.

Mike Masnick (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

I did. I just don’t think it’s newsworthy

As I’ve told you in the past, until you’re my boss, your opinion on what is and what is not newsworthy means nothing to me. That you don’t like Righthaven’s corporate masters (who you’ve publicly endorsed) being shown up as hypocrites explain why you’d rather bury such a story.

Embedding a YouTube video is not infringement.

Agreed. But, I’m sorry if this is so difficult for someone like yourself to comprehend, but we’re talking about what *his* stance is. And his stance seems pretty clear. Putting infringing content on your own blog is like stealing a corvette. That’s what he said, and we’re pointing out the hypocrisy.

If he embedded a video that someone later flagged as their IP, how was he supposed to know up front that was going to happen?

Ok, so then you have no problem with people reposting content on their website that the LVRJ says “share!”, right? Oh wait, you claim it’s infringement.

Funny how you defend YouTube’s not knowing which clips are uploaded by Viacom, but you don’t do the same for the Sherminator.

Ugh. Are you serious? Do they not teach logic in law school? Again, we’re talking about Sherm’s view on things based on his statements.

average_joe says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

As I’ve told you in the past, until you’re my boss, your opinion on what is and what is not newsworthy means nothing to me. That you don’t like Righthaven’s corporate masters (who you’ve publicly endorsed) being shown up as hypocrites explain why you’d rather bury such a story.

Wow, you’re really emotional about this. I don’t care if my opinion means nothing to you. I’m just stating my opinion, just like everyone else. I don’t agree that they’re being hypocrites. Not even close.

Agreed. But, I’m sorry if this is so difficult for someone like yourself to comprehend, but we’re talking about what *his* stance is. And his stance seems pretty clear. Putting infringing content on your own blog is like stealing a corvette. That’s what he said, and we’re pointing out the hypocrisy.

Really, Mike? Are you going to insult me and pretend like this is “so difficult for” me to “comprehend”? Give me a break. Let’s leave aside the personal attacks and stick to the merits. Can you do that? I comprehend just fine. Please prove that the video he embedded was infringing. If you’ve no proof, then you’re guessing.

Ok, so then you have no problem with people reposting content on their website that the LVRJ says “share!”, right? Oh wait, you claim it’s infringement.

They are inviting you to share a LINK, not to share the text of the article. I’ve never seen you acknowledge this distinction, which honestly, is quite remarkable. I’ve often wondered if you just don’t see it, if you see it and are blocking it out, or if you’re intentionally glossing over that fact. Do you really not understand the difference? I’ve brought this up several times, and you’ve never once addressed it.

Ugh. Are you serious? Do they not teach logic in law school? Again, we’re talking about Sherm’s view on things based on his statements.

And here you go right back into the “do they not teach logic in law school.” Such a lame attempt to bring me down. Why don’t you just drop that, Mike. It’s gotten really old at this point. Try to stick to the merits. Show me where Sherm says embedding a YouTube video that you have no knowledge of its authenticity is infringement. You simply cannot.

average_joe says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

I’ll spell this out for you…

When you go to YouTube, they encourage you to share videos by using the supplied link or embed code to the original video on YouTube. They do not invite you to share the material by downloading the video locally and then uploading the video on your own. They want you to use their link or code. This is exactly what Shermy did.

When you go to the LVRJ, they encourage you to share stories by using the supplied link to the original story on LVRJ’s website. They do not invite you to share the material by downloading the story locally and then uploading the story on your own. They want you to use their link. This is exactly what Shermy wants people to do.

Shermy is no more culpable for embedding a YouTube video that may be infringing than you would be if you linked to a LVRJ story that may be infringing. I would never fault you for linking to a YouTube video or an LVRJ story that happened to be infringing since that wouldn’t be fair. Do you really not get it?

And please, Mike, drop the personal attacks. Stop pretending like I’m stupid and I don’t understand logic just because I don’t agree with you. Do you really think that people who disagree with you are stupid? I hope not. I know I’ve gotten personal in the past, but I’m making a concerted effort not to do that again. I hope you can appreciate that.

Mike Masnick (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

And please, Mike, drop the personal attacks.

Would you like me to list out and link to the long series of personal attacks you made on me, using various cursewords — calling me a “fucking idiot,” a “fuckwad” etc.? I may challenge your mental capabilities, but I’ve never gone down that road. Don’t get all sanctimonious now.

I agree with you that embedding a YouTube video is not infringing, but I also think that reposting content is not like stealing a Corvette. But Sherman Fredericks made that claim, and his use of infringing content suggests he doesn’t seem to recognize his own hypocrisy. Your entire argument is based on the belief that *I’m* saying embedding is infringing. I am not. I’m basing my comments on Fredericks’ position.

average_joe says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Re:

I agree with you that embedding a YouTube video is not infringing, but I also think that reposting content is not like stealing a Corvette. But Sherman Fredericks made that claim, and his use of infringing content suggests he doesn’t seem to recognize his own hypocrisy. Your entire argument is based on the belief that *I’m* saying embedding is infringing. I am not. I’m basing my comments on Fredericks’ position.

I do not think you are saying that “embedding is infringing,” nor have I indicated that is your position. You have jumped to the conclusion that the video he embedded was in fact infringing, and you have not offered any evidence to back up that assertion. But that is really a side issue.

The main issue is this: Shermy did not repost content, hence your analogy fails and there is no hypocrisy. Had he reposted something, then you would have a point. But he did not.

Anonymous Coward says:

Actually, the funny part of this story isn’t that someone got caught with something on their blog. That is just the usual gotchya crap. No, what is funny is that YouTube obviously obscures and confuses people about their rights enough that even this guy thinks he can just link it with impunity.

It is pretty logical. If it is on YouTube, it must be legal. This guy just followed that to it’s logical conclusion.

The story does nothing but prove that YouTube makes at least some of it’s money by violating copyright wholesale.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

The logic sticks. If I find a video on YouTube, my assumption is that it is legal. Further, because YouTube encourages me to embed it in my blogger blogs, I assume that they have the needed rights to do so.

Now, someone goes to a news website, which has a large “copyright to this news organization” and “this photo copyright to this news organization” and uses it anyway, that is sort of different. There is nothing that they can say that would convince me that there were no aware that they were violating copyright.

So you get a choice: Are you saying that everything on Youtube is suspect and should never be used? That would suggest that YouTube was in fact guilty in the Viacom case, right? We can’t have it both ways, can we?

Chosen Reject says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

So you get a choice: Are you saying that everything on Youtube is suspect and should never be used? That would suggest that YouTube was in fact guilty in the Viacom case, right? We can’t have it both ways, can we?

No, it would not make youtube guilty. The judges in the ruling said youtube can’t be guilty because something somewhere might be infringing. It wasn’t enough to be fairly certain that some videos were infringing. It would take specific instances of infringing material be known AND for youtube to take no action for youtube to be guilty.

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