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July 7, 2015

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Righthaven accuses defendant of running up legal fees in copyright case

Las Vegas copyright enforcement company Righthaven LLC is complaining that one of its litigation foes is needlessly running up legal costs that Righthaven may end up paying for.

Righthaven — the copyright enforcement partner of the Las Vegas Review-Journal and the Denver Post — since March 2010 has filed at least 249 lawsuits against website operators and message-board posters alleging material from those newspapers was re-posted online without authorization.

The lawsuits generally demand damages of $150,000 and forfeiture of the defendants’ website domain names.

Righthaven is regularly accused of coercing defendants into settling by agreeing to settlements under five figures — settlement amounts that are less than what it would cost to hire attorneys to fight the lawsuits.

Righthaven, however, says its no-warning lawsuits are necessary to deter extensive online infringements of newspaper stories, columns, editorials, photos and graphics.

In one of its more extensively-litigated cases, Righthaven sued the Democratic Underground last year after a message-board poster re-posted the first four paragraphs of a 34-paragraph Review-Journal story.

The Democratic Underground replied with a counterclaim against Righthaven and Stephens Media LLC, owner of the Review-Journal. A Stephens Media affiliate co-owns Righthaven.

After suffering a fair-use setback in another case involving a partial story post, Righthaven tried to drop its suit against the Democratic Underground, which would have resulted in a finding of “no infringement.”

But the Democratic Underground is pressing for far more in the case: That Righthaven pay its attorneys fees, that the story post be found to have been protected under the fair use doctrine and that Righthaven’s controversial website domain seizure demand be rejected by the court.

The latest dispute between Righthaven and the Democratic Underground emerged Friday, when Democratic Underground attorneys with the Electronic Frontier Foundation said new evidence had surfaced that would bolster their case.

This evidence hasn’t yet been made public, but involves charges by the Democratic Underground that Righthaven’s litigation campaign over Review-Journal stories involves “sham” copyright assignments from Stephens Media.

In a victory for the Democratic Underground, Chief U.S. District Judge for Nevada Roger Hunt on Tuesday allowed the Democratic Underground to supplement its pleadings with the new evidence.

That caused attorneys for Righthaven and Stephens Media to file motions Wednesday asking Hunt to either reconsider that decision or to give them three weeks to respond to the new Democratic Underground brief.

Righthaven said the Democratic Underground’s motion to use the new evidence amounts to “litigation overkill.”

“Defendants have elected to needlessly increase the burden on this court and its staff and to increase the litigation costs incurred by the parties by escalating the litigiousness of the action. Righthaven contends that this is precisely defendants’ desired effect in this case — to drive up their attorneys’ fees and costs in an attempt to burden Righthaven with an astronomical fee award,” Righthaven said in a filing.

While Democratic Underground attorneys have suggested this new evidence could undermine all the Righthaven lawsuits over Review-Journal stories, Righthaven attorneys on Wednesday said they view the evidence involving copyright transfers differently.

“Righthaven intends to fully expose the readily apparent flaws presented in defendants’ arguments that would completely eviscerate countless years of licensing and related transactions throughout the country. The lack of merit underlying defendants’ arguments aside, there is simply no basis to conclude the ‘newly discovered evidence’ demonstrates the objective unreasonableness of Righthaven’s claims,” said a filing by Righthaven attorney Shawn Mangano.

Democratic Underground attorneys have not yet responded to the charges they’re over-litigating the case. But in the past, they’ve said Righthaven should be responsible for their defense costs and those costs include seeking a fair-use declaration and the court voiding Righthaven’s domain name seizure demand.

“Defendants agree that this case should be over — indeed, it should never have started. But it should not end until Righthaven is called to account for the cost of the defense it provoked. This was a meritless lawsuit from the beginning, launched as part of a well-publicized business model in which Righthaven acquires interests in copyrights for the sole purpose of suing unsuspecting alleged infringers, and then seeks to leverage the cost of defending (and its own purported right to attorneys’ fees and domain name seizures) to coerce settlements. To allow Righthaven to avoid compensating those who have no choice but to defend would be unjust and unsupportable,” Electronic Frontier Foundation attorneys wrote in a December filing.


Separately, Righthaven filed three more lawsuits in federal court in Denver this week, all alleging the same Denver Post TSA pat-down photo was re-posted without authorization.

The latest website operators to be sued are:

• Tamer Mahrous, associated with the site

• Donald Douglas,

• Fugly Media LLC and an official there, Jeff Mezick;

Requests for comment were left with these three defendants.

The new suits lift to at least 45 the number of Righthaven lawsuits over the photo and to 249 the number of Righthaven suits overall.

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  1. That is their achilles heel. People who have money might fight.

    People who have no money aren't worth suing, the MOM and POP's. (If they are sympathetic defendants, then they might get outside legal help pro bono.)

    I thought Sherm and the Cowboy hat out heir always said that people have a constitutional right to throw their money around for whatever they want when it comes to elections, (Citizens United Supreme Court case)

    Now they are against people spending money to defend themselves?

  2. It's great to see Wronghaven squealing like the pig it is! These creepy-crawlers should have their licenses revoked! They make the usual cast of ambulance chasers look good by comparison! Stephens should be ashamed of itself for getting in bed with these sleaze-bags but, then, shame is a long gone commodity in the USA!


  4. "litigation overkill."

    reminds me of an old saying: sometimes when you mess with the bull you get the horns.

  5. "litigation overkill."

    Righthaven should know all about that term. That is how they are modeled.

    Their business plan did not take into account people fighting back. The cost of going to court will run them into the red quickly and they will have to give up on what they set out to do.

    They only planned on little guys settling with them and it is not happening.

  6. Richard, seriously...

    HA HA HA HA HA!!!
    Ho ho ho ho ho!!!
    He he he he heeeeeee...
    That's just rich...
    Reminds me of the dopers that call 911 to complain that they got a bad sack o' weed from their dealer.

    It must SUCK to find out the shoe has been placed on the other foot.

    I think the end is near.

  7. Turnabout is fair play.

  8. Did the Review Journal report this story??

  9. Boo hoo hoo! Righthaven threatens their victims to drag out the case as long as possible if they do not settle and then has the audacity to complain that someone turns the table on them? Righthaven have you know shame?

  10. Righthaven have you no shame!

  11. Righthaven complains that they may be burdened with an "astronomical fee award" While suing people for %150,000 for posting a stinking photo? Righthaven are not only hypocrites in the 1st order but whiners and cry babies as well.

  12. When Righthaven lawyers spoke to Brian Hill they had zero compassion or sympathy for his disabilities and situation, even threatening to garnish his disability check. Now they expect the court to have some kind of sympathy for them?

  13. Sorry for my occasional misspelling today. I think I am just so incredulous by this story my mind is racing and I am making errors.

  14. The crooks at the journal don't post a word regarding Slimehaven, which tells you pretty much everything. I hope their whole operation goes bust.

  15. So Rock lets see you come to Righthaven's defense over this one. I would love to read it.

  16. To Righthaven:

    Live by the sword, die by the sword!!!

  17. It looks like Rock can't even defend this one. His silence speaks volumes. If he does defend Righthaven then he will show himself to be a pure Righthaven apologist.

  18. Oops, Righthaven's business plan to make money by suing folks and forcing them to pay to settle, somehow failed to account for Rule 9 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. I guess Rule 9 and the cases decided under it were obscured by the haze created by all the vehement expressions of self-righteousness.

  19. Leric: I agree with you except on one point -- It was an RJ/Righthaven plan, probably proposed by Frederick. It's conceivable that the outcome will severely effect the RJ and I don't think it's out of the realm of possibility that it will, at some point in the next year or so, be sold. It's not profitable now and apparently hasn't got the creativity to improve its online presence...and, the liability from this suit certainly could be huge, to say nothing of the legal fees for the RJ.

    I don't like to see any newspaper fail, but at this point, it wouldn't be difficult to make an exception for the RJ, especially because the new editor and publisher have taken not a single step toward resolving this tactic and apparently are pleased with their ability to inflict the kind of pain on the community one wouldn't expect from a newspaper.

  20. Not only should the RJ and Righthaven fail but everyone involved deserve to have their professional reputations destroyed forever. Whatever moral high ground they have in their minds was completely undone by the tactics they employed. They have betrayed the public trust.

  21. The sooner RH goes down the tubes the better.

  22. Okay, I'm against Righthaven as are most who are commenting. However, we should all remember that it's the RJ that transfers the copyrights, has a piece of whatever action there is and started this whole thing. In my opinion, it may well be the dumbest newspaper in the nation. And, yes, I continue to read it online, but were it ever to charge for an online subscription, count me out.

    I'm very surprised also that Sigma Delta Chi and the Public Relations Society of America hasn't commented on this.

  23. I will not read or link or send any traffic to any paper associated with Righthaven. I will not even read or link to my local Salt Lake Tribune since they are part of Media News Group. Any company that associates with Righthaven has sold their soles and has no integrity. They are whores as far as I'm concerned.

  24. Rock, Rock, where are you? Is this even too much for you to stomach? Can't defend Righthaven on this one? Is the biggest Righthaven fan lost for words?

  25. Chunky says:

    Righthaven doesn't like the taste of their own medicine!

    Pour it on!

    That's what Chunky thinks!

  26. Rock

    So how do I contact Righthaven to get permission to use the photo? Oh yeah they don't give permission. They just sue. So to say someone copies and pastes without permission is a ridiculous notion when to receive permission is impossible.

  27. Rock

    Actually I have done just that many times. Infact the only people to ever not even respond to the request with a yes or a no was the Denver Post when I did a test email to see how they would respond. Denver Post did not even have the courtesy to send a form email. I have talked to others with a similar experience.

    Rock you are confusing the rightness of asking permission to use a photo with the wrongness of Righthaven's tactics. Remember they have sued plenty of people who were inline with the newspapers own stated policy and are now in the process of appealing when one of those suits didn't go their way so you have no moral authority to lecture us on right and wrong when you are defending the indefensible. You are defending evil. You are defending an organization whose stated purpose is to monetize and make money on the very thing you are lecturing us about. No one is buying your arguments. I would dare say you have not convinced a single person of your position.

    So go back to your office at Righthaven and tell your masters you have failed.

  28. " can choose not to copy and then just link back."

    Or how about we as bloggers stop sending these free loading newspapers any traffic at all? Why should they be sent free traffic when we get nothing in return? Seems like newspapers should start paying for the traffic that bloggers send their way. It's time for newspapers to stop getting the free ride and benefit that bloggers give them when they are just going to turn around and bite the hand that feeds them.

  29. There are statistics all over the place regarding newspaper readership. For example, the Audit Bureau of Circulations said that the six-month average for the top 25 U.S. Sunday newspapers, dropped by 3.2 percent to 7.2 percent in 2009 from 2008, with the Washington Post falling 3.2 percent, and the New York Daily News dropping 7.2 percent.

    On the other side of that coin is the fact, well documented, that online readership is up. So, I'm not sure if the "reading the Sun in print supports the RJ" argument is, although true, an effective one as the RJ's and the Sun's print circulation has been declining for years.

    While I have no doubt that both papers will survive, I think it's going to be an online battle for readership. From an aesthetic perspective, I prefer the Sun's site and arguably that's a subjective view. It just seems a bit easier to read and more organized to me.

    As a newspaper, I prefer the Sun as I just think it has better reporting, which has been borne out by its recent and past national awards. I do read the RJ online, and it has some fine stories. However, the new management I think made a serious error in firing the investigative staff. On the other side of that coin, the paper does seem to have more local stories up front, and that's good.

    The argument that reposted articles draws from a newspaper's readership, in my view, is close to be spurious. In the case of the RJ and the Sun, I doubt seriously if out of state readers attend their sites regularly or enough to impact advertising revenues.

    What we're all looking at now is the detritus of Frederick's poor management. Even though the suits continue, I have to believe that even with the settlements RH and the RJ have gotten, it's just not enough to make this avenue profitable.

    The fact that only the RJ and now the Denver Post are doing this, in my view, bears this out. It's been going on for a year and I can't imagine the RJ is going to pour much more money into Gibson's enterprise with such small returns.

  30. murrayburns

    I agree with your assesment however I think there is more to this than just a money making scheme for RH and the RJ. Bloggers and alternative media have reduced newspapers readership for the major newspapers and this is one way they are fighting back. However they have the reason for their decline completely wrong.

    Newspapers main problem is they have tried to structure their online sites similar to a traditional newspaper when that is not how people use online media. Most people do not read an online newspaper the same way they read a paper newspaper. They do not go to a site and peruse all the articles. Infact in most cases people may only read just one article and then they immediately leave the site. It is an in and out proposition. In fact why Righthaven is so counter productive for newspapers is that many people come to a newspapers website precisely because it was linked someplace else and they came to the source.

    Another problem with online newspapers is the very model they use to track advertisements. Online adds are tracked completely different than newspapers or TV adds. With newspaper, magazine, and TV adds simply exposing the reader/viewer to the add is what is important. With online adds however they are not tracked by simple exposure but by how many people actively click on the add. This is an important distinction because very few people actually click on an add but very many people are exposed to the add. If advertisers expected people to make some overt action while viewing TV commercials they would also come out thinking their adds are ineffective because very few people would take that overt act. This model has artificially suppressed the market for online advertising which is why newspaper's online additions are having a hard time making money. The model needs to change to reflect the true value of online advertisements.

  31. Ken, that's an interesting take and assessment, particularly, "Most people do not read an online newspaper the same way they read a paper newspaper. They do not go to a site and peruse all the articles. Infact in most cases people may only read just one article and then they immediately leave the site."

    As to online ads, I have no idea how effective they are. Personally, while I notice them, I can't recall ever clicking on one.

    This is such a great quandary for the industry. I recall reading a book about a year ago, "The War At The Wall Street Journal," about Murdoch's takeover. There was a section discussing Murdoch (I may be a bit off on this, but I think I'm close) almost dismissing the WSJ Online, until he was told it had nearly 200,000 subscriptions. Now, The New York Times is going to some of "metered paywall," for which I'll gladly pay, as I do for the WSJ.

    I hope newspapers perservere on this path. It will take a while for readers to accept it, but ultimately, I believe they will. As I said before, I'd pay for the Sun online.

    The copyright litigation and the condition on the newspaper industry, I think, are two of the more interesting continuing stories around today, aside, of course, from breaking news as in Japan today, among others.

    Now off topic: I truly lament the passing of the Sahara and such a great bit of Vegas history.

    And, I wish there were less rancor in these comments, and more fact. Thanks for an interesting view, but no thanks for giving me so much more to consider.

  32. "The newspapers did not ask you to steal their stuff and post it on your site."

    I have stolen nothing so who is now libeling who?

    Also according to the Copyright Office Righthaven is the copyright holder which has no terms of use so if RJ or Denver Post is no longer the copyright holder then their terms of use are irrelevant. Are you admitting that Righthaven is not really the copyright holder except for some sham agreement between the newspapers and Righthaven? Sounds like you are privy to some inside information? Do you care to elaborate or will that get you in trouble with your Righthaven masters?

  33. Okay, I wish there were a copyright attorney here. First, the RJ "transfers" its copyrights to Righthaven. Righthaven sues violators. Assuming the suit is "settled," does the copyright return to the RJ? If not, does the RJ then have to have "permission from Righthaven to maintain the article in its archives?

  34. Murrayburns

    Yes isn't that interesting that Righthaven demands from their clients to give up control over their own works for the purpose of "protecting" them. Also any copyrighted works bought by Righthaven completely lose any inherent value they had except for tools for litigation so the newspapers get nothing in return except the initial money from Righthaven and possibly the proceeds of litigation ( which would be illegal ). So the newspapers lose a lot for a small amount of money from Righthaven plus a lot of bad press and PR problems and boycotts from bloggers so yeah this is a really good deal for newspapers isn't it?

    Plus Righthaven is now suing a newspaper so they are now suing their own potential customers. Good move Righthaven. This may accelerate your demise even faster. Looks like you will need to find another job Rock. Try honest work for a change.

  35. Rock

    Do you really think $150,000 is an appropriate penalty for posting an image on a non-commerical site, especially those that get little traffic? People say that taking an image is akin to shop lifting but no one in their right mind would believe fining someone $150,000 for swiping a candy bar is an appropriate penalty. When Congress included such a penalty they had major corporate copyright infringers in mind who take and distribute on a massive scale not some guy in his basement without much a penny to his name who happened to put up a website.

    The problem with Righthaven is they are using a sledge hammer to swat flies. You might get the flies but you do a lot of damage in the process.

    Congress must overhaul the copyright laws to first make copyright penalties proportional to actual damage and change the laws to reflect the realities of the internet and how it is used for a free flow and sharing of ideas. If anything Righthaven's excesses is leading to greater calls for reform not only against copyright trolls like Righthaven but for patent trolls as well who are both causing irreparable harm to the internet and technology in general.

  36. Rock

    There are more stories and comments coming out about Righthaven having the audacity to complain about over-litigating. Righthaven is becoming a laughing-stock. I would be very embarrassed if I were you but of course Righthaven has no shame.

  37. Just like I have said before the DMCA was passed by a bunch of technical nitwits with no idea the consequences of their actions. As usual Congress allowed corporations to write into laws that only satisfied their own narrow self interest with little regard for anything else.

    The DMCA is single-handedly the worst legislation to be written in decades. It will be changed and Righthaven is putting a spotlight on its many gaping flaws. If the DMCA was ever to be enforced to the letter and on a massive scale the Internet as we know it would cease to exist and everyone including copyright holders would suffer. The Internet cannot function if everyone who contributes to it must first consult a lawyer to make sure everything they put on it is 100% original. In fact no innovation or idea is 100% original. New inventions and ideas are always derived from existing ones and trolls take advantage of this fact.

    Copyright trolls have not yet caught up with patent troll's path of destruction but only because the Righthaven model has not caught on to any large degree. This is why we need to nip Righthaven in the bud and fast. It appears though they are imploding from within so we may not have to worry about them much longer.

  38. Rock

    You sanctimonious and pompously lecture us about the virtues of copyrights but then you defend an the indefensible Righthaven. How do you sleep at night? But then again those on a moral crusade often can't see their own moral failing from perched atop their high horse.

  39. I would even argue that our current copyright laws are unconstitutional since the Constitution only grants a limited time for a copyright to be in force.

    "To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries."

    When copyrights have been extended far past the lifetime of the creator of the works hardly counts for "limited times". It may be a good idea for the DMCA to be challenged on that basis.

  40. SgtRock,

    Why don't you visit this page ( ) and then tell me if you think that is within the spirit of the copyright laws.

    I *detest* what Righthaven is doing. I refuse to refer to them or their clients in any way. Granted, my sites would probably send little traffic to them, but I know for a fact that I have sent traffic to the sites I have quoted from and linked to. A bare link doesn't do much good, you have to use excerpts and commentary to generate interest.

    FYI, I also republish a couple of the Sun's RSS feeds on a different site of mine (with permission.) I would never think of using a feed from the RJ because of their support of Righthaven.

    Righthaven goes against everything that the Internet stood for in the beginning. We had a saying back then: "Information wants to be free." That attitude is just as applicable today as it was then. The EFF is defending that position and I support them wholeheartedly in that effort.

  41. Rock

    Libeling me again huh? You know nothing about me. My interest in this is purely because I see a gross abuse of the system and a great injustice being perpetrated by an organization that the RICO law was designed to take down. I don't believe in taking without asking and as I mentioned I have asked many times and sometimes they say yes and sometimes they say no. I also believe in fair use and that there are instances where permission is not required such as satire. You do not have to ask someones permission to make fun of or criticize them. There are free speech issues here and last time I checked free speech trumps copyright law. It doesn't mean that applies to every situation but Righthaven would like it if fair use went away. It won't because it benefits the copyright older as well. If anything judges are going to expand fair use because of Righthaven's irresponsible litigation.

    Righthaven is trampling on others rights in the way they are asserting theirs. This is not right, moral, or ethical and you show your ethics by being their toady.

  42. The complex question is, copyright laws notwithstanding, "How do you steal something that's available without cost?"

    Most on this venue are discussing the issue and voicing opinions in a polite, intellectual manner. Yes, others are extraordinary rancorous, angry and insulting.

    I remember the old Sartre-Kierkegaard arguments over quite a bit of whiskey as being passionate, but never angry. Unfortunately, the way of the world today seems to be one side must be right, the other wrong.

    That is rarely true. In my opinion, again, most of those who violated the copyright law, had no idea they were doing so...and you all know why they had no idea. In my view, they should have been noticed of their violation first, not served.

  43. boftx

    You make a good point. Newspapers want the links but people seldom follow just a bare link. It is much more effective to whet the readers appetite with a snippet of the article.

    If newspapers don't understand this then they deserve to go out of business. Most do understand which is why they are not suing and likely don't appreciate Righthaven damaging a significant and extremely valuable source of traffic. I'm sure their advertisers don't appreciate it either.

    The evidence of this was the suit against Drudge. the drudgereport sends millions of hits of traffic to news sites whenever he links to them. Do you think Drudge will ever link to a Righthaven paper again? I doubt it and this fact has severely hurt the advertisers of those papers. Infact so much so that the drudge settlement may not have had a financial component to it. My guess is advertisers told Righthaven and News Media Group to make a settlement with Drudge that would not completely alienate him. I notice since the suit Drudge has not budged an inch on continuing to post photos copyrights be damned.

  44. Murryburns. I apologize if I am coming across as "rancorous, angry and insulting". I will try for now on to increase the level of discussion. I shouldn't let Rock get under my skin.

    There are plenty of ways websites can stop cutting and pasting. I am a programmer and there are codes that can stop disable this feature. Yes there are ways of getting around it but most people will not go beyond an attempt to cut and paste if it isn't an option. Newspapers can also post their articles that are not just in html text and cannot be copied. Newspapers could also help themselves by creating a share button that automatically generates code for people to embed in their sites. This way they would have complete control over what is displayed on the other sites and it would not even require a take down request if they wanted to withdraw it since the paper could control it on their end. There is plenty of technology that exists that would make it very difficult for people to copy their content. There is a symbiotic relationship between bloggers and newspapers and together everyone could benefit. But the Righthaven model will ultimately benefit no one including the people at Righthaven and especially their client newspapers.

  45. "I remember the old Sartre-Kierkegaard arguments over quite a bit of whiskey as being passionate, but never angry." - murrayburns

    Murray, I doubt that you are quite *that* old (but I agree that it would have been a great experience to have been a fly on the wall for those.) :)

    Not to digress, but I have always felt that almost any disagreement between reasonable people could be resolved over enough BBQ, Scotch, and good cigars.

  46. It is actually Rule 11 which will come into play for Righthaven.

  47. Ken: I wasn't referring to you as being "angry..." If you perceived that, my apologies. And, the discussion of programming you just proferred is enlightening. I wonder why newspapers (a) don't do that, the code implementation; or (b) just post a brief notice at the top of each page, as I've asked before.
    Boftx: I am that old, taught that stuff and agree completely on the scotch, BBQ and cigars.
    Leric: I'm not an attorney, but I thought Rule 11 applied only to criminal procedures.

    It's tough to gauge how courts are going to rule, but it's going to be interesting to "see" the rulings as they begin to roll out -- especially the EFF and North (South?) Carolina battles which seem to be coming to the fore.

  48. Murrayburns

    Thank you for your comments. Yes business spend thousands of dollars on security. Shops put locks on their doors to keep their inventories safe but news sites won't do even the most simplest of things to keep people from cutting and pasting. The reason is because they WANT people cutting and pasting. They want people linking to their sites. People linking increases their Google ranking. These sites pay SEO (Search Engine Optimization) people thousands of dollars to get a high ranking on Google. One thing every SEO person does is encourage links and lots of them from many different sources. As long as there is a link back most people don't care or even mind if you cut and paste. People who do mind usually do take some measure to protect the content. The fact that the RJ and Denver Post make no effort to secure their content shows they are more interested in extracting money out of people via Righthaven than making any effort to stop it in the first place.

    They are even deceptive with their copyright attribution. It makes no mention of Righthaven, infact they still claim to be the copyright owners. it is illegal to post a false copyright so either the papers are breaking the law or Righthaven does not truly own the copyright.

  49. Rock

    So you do acknowledge that comments are solely owned by te site and not the commenter? This is true which makes Righthaven's suits against commenters who have posted copyrighted materials invalid. Righthaven has tried to circumvent the DMCA by suing the commenter instead of the site when they have registered their site with the DMCA safe harbors.

    These suits are the weakest of all Righthaven cases because it is very difficult to prove who the commenter truly is. This is another case where Righthaven is counting on strong arming settlements instead of arguing in court because they will not be able to prove who actually posted the comment.

  50. Rock

    I do think the stated terms of use on these papers are reasonable accept when they say to never post an image. There are legitimate fair use examples when an image is fair use such as when the image itself is being commented on or for criticism or satire.

    From the US copyright office:

    "Section 107 contains a list of the various purposes for which the reproduction of a particular work may be considered fair, such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research"

    It seems like many Righthaven victims fall into many of these categories especially comment and news reporting. Many people used the TSA image for criticizing the TSA for the pat downs. This is clearly fair use but it will be up to the courts to decide what limits these categories have.

    This brings me back to my biggest criticism of Righthaven. They do not sue based on arguing the merits of their case in court but rather leveraging the draconian copyright laws to extract nuisance settlements out of people. Clearly their business model does not allow for many challenges evidenced by the problems they are facing with those that are fighting. I suspect they factored in few people fighting when they created their business model. They may not have anticipated the amount of opposition they have received.

    The RIAA only had one case actually go to court and they won but theirs is a different situation than Righthaven's. downloading a song illegally is much more cut and dry than cut and pasting or downloading an image or article. There is a far greater degree of fair use arguments with an image than there is with downloading a song. Righthaven assumed they would have a similar experience as the RIAA but that has not happened. Even the RIAA could not make money by suing downloaders. The cost of litigation proved to be much higher than the settlements they received and actually collecting on those settlements proved even more difficult since they sued so many people of low means.

    I notice Righthaven has been going after more deep pocketed people and businesses lately and to be honest I am less sympathetic for business that take copyrighted material because they have less of a fair use argument and more of a financial motive. There is a risk with this strategy that the people they are suing have much greater means to defend themselves. Many may go ahead and settle just to get Righthaven out of their hair but even one or two challenges could erase every penny Righthaven has ever received.

  51. Rock

    There is a difference. If I make a comment on this board and then make the exact same comment on another I am not violating the Sun's copyright.

  52. Rock

    You can use an entire image if it is for satire, parody or criticism. There are several court precedences for this.

    You do not have to get permission to make fun of someone but the works used to create the parody does have to be germane to what is being parodied.

    For instance if you want to make fun of or satirize the President you can use a photo of the President and you do not have to get anyone's permission. This has not only been found to be fair use but a protected form of speech guaranteed by the First Amendment.

    If I wanted to use the TSA image to directly satirize/parody Righthaven and the Denver Post I could use it and have several court decisions and case law backing me up.

    The use of thumbnail photos ( have also been upheld as fair use even though the thumbnail is a complete photo albeit in smaller size. This is what allows thumbnail photos to be displayed on Facebook pages. So your claim that a photo can never be used is not supported by court precedents and caselaw.

  53. Rock or should I say Sherman Frederick?

    Mr Frederick you are going by a pseudoname Sgt Rock and not disclosing this information. This is highly unethical. Admit who you are and start disclosing this information.

    You call others a "copyright thief" when you yourself was caught lifting an NBC Saturday Night Live skit.

    So YOU have been lecturing us and calling us copyright thieves when YOU yourself have been caught with your own hands in the cookie jar?

  54. This is some very interesting reading Rock. You are an "untrusted" commenter so your comments get deleted after a time however, the internet remembers and gives up its secrets. So a Google search and look at the archived text only version and it reveals alot.

    Looks like I am not the only one who has made the connection that you are Sherman Fredrick.

    It also shows that you have been wrong alot with these Righthaven cases. You said the Democratic Underground's case was weak and it was a slam dunk for Righthaven. WRONG!

    Just wait till I find the little secrets in the nook and crannies of the RJ. I bet there is some good information on sgt Rock. I will leave no Rock unturned to find the truth.

  55. All of sgt Rock's comments have now been deleted because he has not signed up as a trusted commenter. Got something to hide Rock? However this link will lead you to all comments for this post including sgt Rock's.