New Newspaper Business Model: Create Compelling Graphic, Wait For Others To Use It... And Then Sue

from the righthaven-way dept

As a bunch of folks have been submitting, it appears that Righthaven's latest strategic shift is to sue a bunch of sites that posted a popular illustration that was published in the Las Vegas Review-Journal. The story had to do with the so-called "Vdara death ray." The Vdara hotel on the Strip in Vegas apparently was built in such a way that at certain points, the sun would reflect off of the building in a focused manner, down towards the guest pool area, and it actually singed one guest's hair. The story is the sort of thing that goes viral quickly, and became fodder for talk shows and comedians and such. And, not surprisingly, a variety of sites used the illustration that was published in the LVRJ to explain the "death ray." So, now, of course, Righthaven is suing a whole bunch of them. Considering that this is a story about the image, and we're commenting specifically on the image itself (not just the story), it seems likely that posting this particular image here is fair use -- though I will follow Wired's lead and use the version of the image that was from the lawsuit filing, rather than the original image:
While the specifics in different cases may vary, I would imagine many would have strong fair use claims as well. It's hard to see how posting this image harms the LVRJ, and it seems quite likely that it would actually draw more people to finding the original article. To be honest, I first heard about the Vdara death ray a few months back when I saw this image on another site, and then went to the original LVRJ article.

Either way, with this new effort, it suggests increasing desperation on Righthaven's part. But, you can just see the next step should these cases actually lead to cash: just keep creating "viral" type images, wait until people highlight them, and then sue, sue, sue, until the world over learns to simply avoid the LVRJ or other Righthaven associated newspapers entirely.

Filed Under: copyright, death ray, fair use, images, las vegas review-journal, vdara
Companies: righthaven, stephens media

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  1. icon
    ChurchHatesTucker (profile), 22 Dec 2010 @ 5:00pm

    Simple solution

    If only we could just convince the LVRJ to embrace the benefits of paywalls...

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