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November 26, 2014

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Report on AP corrected, new Righthaven suits filed

Here's an update to yesterday's blog about The Associated Press launching a news licensing/royalty venture.

Yesterday, the Corporate Counsel/law.com website suggested The Associated Press is beefing up efforts for news creators to be paid for their work -- but in doing so won't be working with Las Vegas copyright enforcement company Righthaven LLC.

The Corporate Counsel writer quoted an AP attorney who asked to remain anonymous and provided details on the plan.

Corporate Counsel has now corrected that report and notes the AP had announced this initiative in February.

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There's still no new information, in the meantime, on Righthaven's lawsuit against the thespec.com website for The Hamilton Spectator newspaper in Hamilton, Ontario. That's part of the Toronto Star group of newspapers.

That's the case where the Denver Post pat-down photo was credited to The Associated Press, which distributed the Denver Post photo to news outlets. As recently as today, thespec.com was displaying Associated Press photos -- a pretty good indication it's authorized to do so.

The Associated Press is not a news aggregator like Google. It's a news service that sells news, photos and other content to paying members and subscribers like newspapers, radio stations and TV stations.

The question remains: If thespec.com is authorized to display Associated Press photos, why is it being sued by Righthaven over a photo distributed by The Associated Press?

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Righthaven sued two more website operators in federal court this week in Colorado over the Denver Post TSA pat-down photo.

The latest defendants accused of copyright infringement are:

• Christopher Mahon and Ambidextrous Civic Discourse, allegedly associated with the website ambidextrouscivicdiscourse.com

• Ran Decisions Inc. and Ben Schlappig; allegedly associated with the website boardingarea.com

Messages for comment were left with the defendants in these lawsuits, which as usual demand $150,000 apiece in damages and forfeiture to Righthaven of the website domain names.

These suits lift to at least 254 Righthaven's lawsuit count since it started filing lawsuits in March 2010. Fifty of those suits involve the pat-down photo.

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