RIAA Thinking Of Backing Righthaven

from the can-they-get-any-more-out-of-touch dept

Every time you think the RIAA can’t make things even worse for itself… it does. The latest is that it’s apparently considering helping Righthaven out. Righthaven! The company that has become the total laughingstock of the copyright world, that is on the losing end of a bunch of cases and is desperately trying to get out of paying all the attorneys’ fees awards that are being given to the companies, individuals and sites it has sued. Of course, as some have noted, the good thing about Righthaven is that it has tee’d up a bunch of rulings that will be useful precedents in other copyright cases.

And that’s what has the RIAA scared.

In particular, the RIAA is freaked out about a couple of rulings saying that even reposting full articles can be fair use. That has the RIAA shaking, because the big labels hate the concept of fair use. The major labels are still upset at the idea that the Campbell vs. Acuff-Rose ruling means that commercial use can still be fair use. And they love the the Bridgeport Music ruling that wasn’t about fair use, per se, but did take away de minimis use, saying “Get a license or do not sample.”

So, now the RIAA is realizing that Righthaven — and in particular the Hoehn ruling, which lays out in great detail why the full use of a copyrighted offering can still be fair use — is suddenly an important battlefront in its war on fair use. Just having the line from the case “wholesale copying does not preclude a finding of fair use” freaks the RIAA out.

So we’ve now seen that RIAA’s chief apologist litigator is suggesting that perhaps the RIAA is going to get involved in the fight (from an interview behind a paywall, so we’ll just quote her words) concerning the fair use finding in Hoehn:

“From our perspective, that just can’t stand.”

That certainly suggests that the RIAA is thinking of inserting itself into the appeals process here. Probably with an amicus brief, but it makes you wonder if they won’t also consider figuring out ways to fund Righthaven to keep it afloat. There are already quite reasonable concerns that the company is effectively insolvent due to all the legal fees it owes to those it has sued. Either way, when you’re at the level where you’re joining forces with Righthaven, you’ve really hit the bottom of the barrel.

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Companies: riaa, righthaven

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Comments on “RIAA Thinking Of Backing Righthaven”

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DandonTRJ (profile) says:

That’s pretty noxious. The RIAA is practically admitting that it’s committed to abusing the public for its own gain. There’s plenty of case law on fair use cutting both ways, and while the Hoehn ruling is an excellent one in favor of the principle, it’s not like letting it stand means open season on sampling and unlicensed reproduction. There are plenty of countervailing interests that will crop up in other fair use analyses, especially in a more entertainment-oriented context [music rather than news articles]. If they really jump in to help out a company as cynically abusive and predatory as Righthaven simply because they can’t stand to let just the other side of the aisle have a much-deserved win, they’re just as despicable as the plaintiffs in that case.

Lawrence D'Oliveiro says:

They Need A Monopoly On Lawsuits

So the basic problem is that Righthaven has gone off on its own tangent without consultation with the RIAA, filing cases that lead to verdicts that do not make the RIAA happy at all.

So perhaps what the RIAA wants is monopoly control over the legal strategy, so that nobody can file these sorts of lawsuits without its agreement, so that Big Content can offer a united front with minimal chance of having unfavourable verdicts passed against it.

Anonymous Coward says:

That has the RIAA shaking, because the big labels hate the concept of fair use. The major labels are still upset at the idea that the Campbell vs. Acuff-Rose ruling means that commercial use can still be fair use. And they love the the Bridgeport Music ruling that wasn’t about fair use, per se, but did take away de minimis use, saying “Get a license or do not sample.”

This paragraph is a complete lie. 2 Live Crew was a major label artist when it released “Oh Pretty Woman”, so if the major labels hated fair use, why would they defend it in front of the Supreme Court?

And from Wikipedia: “The most recent significant copyright case involving sampling held that even sampling three notes could constitute copyright infringement. Bridgeport Music Inc. v. Dimension Films, 410 F.3d 792 (6th Cir. 2005). This case was roundly criticised by many in the music industry, including the RIAA.”

You can criticise the RIAA and major label’s efforts to enforce verbatim copyright infringement, but the idea that they “hate fair use” has absolutely no basis in fact.

fogbugzd (profile) says:


>>How can the RIAA just insert themselves into a case that has nothing to do with them?

As the article notes, there are at least a couple of ways. One is to file an amicus (or “friend of the court”) brief. It isn’t unusual to have amicus briefs filed in high-profile cases.

The RIAA could also help fund Righthaven, although that might be tricky. Also, the RIAA is no longer has limitless resources itself. As you might have heard, CD sales are down just a bit, and the labels haven’t really figured out how to replace the revenue. Apple has been trying to show them one way, but the labels have resisted because the execs are fascinated by shiny round objects. A lot of the funding for IP FUD has been coming from the MPAA which seems to be flush with money in spite of infringement. However, I don’t think the Hoehn ruling threatens the MPAA as much as it does the RIAA.

gorehound (profile) says:


Fucking RIAA is always up to no good.I would love to see this Organization die before my death.That is one of my greatest wishes.I will feel no sympathy for these guys if anything bad were to happen to them or anyone who has the stupidity to work for them.These are the schmucks who are also one of the main players behind SOPA, etc.
Suck my dog’s Ass RIAA !!!

Nigel (profile) says:

wait, what now?


RIAA hates fair use, FACT! They have been bitching about it for years.

Sort of ironic that I compared the MPAA to Righthaven last night on the not so Creative America facebook page. Just better funded lol…

Tip of the hat to Mike for chiming in as well. Very concise post about Korea.

It comes as no surprise to me that they have zero facts or metrics to back up their position and have now resorted to pleading with their base to help support their futile cause. And I quote….

“Creative America has over 11,300 Facebook fans, yet the recent debate on our wall has been dominated by a handful of fans who nonetheless oppose the legislation we support. This legislation will protect creative content and jobs in the entertainment industry. This is an important conversation worth having ? so, if you think protecting creative content matters ? start responding to those who disagree. Fight back by continuing a civil discourse. And please, everyone, we don’t need endless loops of discussion on the same points, repetitive arguments, or impugning of wisdom, knowledge, motive or perspicacity.”

Unfortunately, they have nothing to say rooted in fact or logic but I did spend a few amusing hours going rounds with Attorney P.Michael Nugent. Who, incidentally, is the Executive Director of Creative America and as one would guess, on the MPAA payroll. Pretty sad when your base leaves you hanging to fend for yourself.

All your bases belong to us 🙂


TtfnJohn (profile) says:


Not all amicus briefs have to be accepted by the court nor do they have to be considered at the end of the day. Most aren’t.

What’s ironic here is that the guys that head the *AAs are boomers, the same ones that made them in the first place. Recorded music and medium and high end sound systems were devoured by us Boomers to listen to that awful Jungle Music, modern Country music and a host of other things. We’re also the same ones who mixed our LP’s to listen to in the car or play at parties or dances which didn’t seem to hurt album sales. I’m sure the *AA heads did the same thing. Cassettes were wonderful things even if they had a limited life expectancy.

We’re also the ones who flocked to movies when they were affordable and didn’t resemble or copy television shows.

Keep in mind the RIAA was pretty small spuds before we boomers came along and, while the MPAA (Studios by another name) were powerful in one area but not really anywhere else.

Now it’s our kids who won’t pay for shiny plastic disks filled with crap for one good song and, funnily enough, nor will their parents. Welcome to the world on the MP3, sonic junk but still better than what they studios have to offer.

I suspect that at the end of the day what’s scaring them both is the rise of do-it-yourself recording (wide spread now) and the same for “movies” (ramping up) now that the equipment and software allows just about anyone to do it at a comparatively inexpensive price.

First it’s piracy, then it’s independent bands, then guys and gals making their own films…who knows where it will end?

These guys may be sleeping under tarps in parks soon, ya’know, bottle of cheap vodka in hand passing stories about the good old days when they could afford great booze and better drugs!

hmm (profile) says:


RIAA loves their OWN definition of fair use “we can use anything of yours because it belongs to US, fuck your human/legal/civil rights and if you try to use anything of ‘OURS’ we will take great delight in maliciously screwing you over via the legal system until you are bankrupt and your wife/husband/granny has to give handjobs behind the local mcdonalds for sustenance.”

The Devil's Coachman (profile) says:


What a load of shit! They hate fair use, and have repeatedly demonstrated that. Their version of fair use is paying again and again for the same content just because of a hardware platform change, such as going from vinyl to cassette, or CD to digital download. Screw the RIAA, the MPAA, their mothers, children and pets. I hope they die and burn in hell. Eventually, they all will.

Anonymous Coward says:

Hey, Mike...


Because copyright in the USA is automatic? I highly doubt that he’s registered them. If you want to use Mike’s articles, feel free, you have his explicit permission (crediting him is optional as well, but considered common courtesy).

And I recommend taking a look at the Insight Community link, which is, in fact, free.

I know you were trying to make some point, but you failed, badly.

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