Once this is over, I'm going to tell the full story of what we are being put through. This has nothing to do with justice, or even law. I knew that our system was bad, but I had no idea how bad. The temptation to leave America forever when this is done gets stronger and stronger. This country is now run by people too evil to share a nation with any longer. Other readers are telling me the same thing--America is finished.
UPDATE: For those who think that this could be settled out of court cheaply: think again. Other defendants who have approached Righthaven without a lawyer to settle this matter have been told variously, "$7500" or "low five figures" for a single newspaper article infringement.
Now, if something like this went to court, it is almost certain that a jury would award at the absolute bottom of the range for infringement: $750. Potentially, because of the vague nature of fair use for noncommercial purposes, it might even be the $200 statutory penalty. A judge might even reduce it below either of those levels (which they have within their discretion to do) because the actual economic damage is so slight. But it would cost at least $10,000 to get to trial--and there is essentially no chance of getting any of those legal fees from the plaintiffs, even if we won the case completely. Theoretically, judges can award defendant's costs if the plaintiff loses his case. But I've discovered that there is a lot of stuff that is theoretically possible in law, but doesn't seem to actually happen.