Thursday, November 18, 2010

More On The Righthaven Suits

One of the least defensible actions of Righthaven was suing people for excerpting--in some cases, as little as four paragraphs of an article.  Now, there was case law that would have accepted copying of an entire article for a non-commercial purpose (which is what happened to The Armed Citizen--my coblogger copied an entire article), but the cost of defending such a suit was too much.  The suits against bloggers who copied four paragraphs should have caused some form of sanctions.  Fortunately, the November 18, 2010 Wired reports that they have stopped suing for excerpts:

Righthaven is the lawyer-heavy company based in Las Vegas that sprang to life last spring for the sole purpose of suing blogs and websites that repost, or even excerpt, Las Vegas-Review Journal articles without permission. It has filed about 150 lawsuits, and settled dozens of them in its favor.

But the company reached a snag when the Realty One Group fought back, winning a summary dismissal weeks ago. A Nevada judge agreed with the real estate firm’s argument that eight of 30 sentences from a Review Journal story about the real estate market qualified as fair use of the material.

With that precedent set, Righthaven no longer plans to sue websites for posting brief excerpts of newspaper articles, the company told a different federal judge in a separate case this week. “Righthaven does not anticipate filing any future lawsuits founded upon infringements of less than 75 percent of a copyrighted work, (.pdf) regardless of the outcome of the instant litigation,” Righthaven wrote the court.
What operations like Righthaven do should be subject to serious sanctions by the courts.  This was an abuse of the process.

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