Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Great Article From the Las Vegas Sun About The Lawsuits

Steve Green writes a lengthy article about Righthaven's suemania in the August 4, 2010 Las Vegas Sun, contrasting how respectable news organizations handle the situation. He points out that most papers firmly request infringers take it down, and link back to the paper.  This doesn't gobble up money or time with lawyers.  What might have been an antagonistic relationship turns into an alliance.

By comparison, Righthaven goes directly to suing, without any request to take down links.  Green points out that the advantages involved with the traditional approach--which makes websites and bloggers into sources of incoming traffic for the newspapers.  (It will be a cold day in hell before many bloggers ever again link to the Las Vegas Review-Journal or other Stephens Group newspapers.)  The article quotes Journalism Professor Steven Bates of University of Nevada, Las Vegas as calling these bolts-out-of-the-blue "preposterous" and comparing them to the McDonald's hot coffee suits.

I've spoken to a number of attorneys in Las Vegas the last few days--I'm impressed how many of them had already developed a deep disrespect and dislike for Righthaven's CEO even before this started.  One attorney told me that one of the partners approved a somewhat more friendly rate than their usual $250/hour because of Gibson's past behavior.  Apparently, Gibson hasn't made himself too many friends on the bench in Vegas, either.


  1. Clayton - under the DCMA, isn't Righthaven (or the copyright holder) *required* to notify the alleged infringer of the alleged infringement, before filing any suit? (I think there may still be a claim for infringement even if the takedown is prompt, but the law doesn't look kindly on not following the proper procedures.)

  2. " . . . comparing them to the McDonald's hot coffee suits."

    Off-topic pet peeve here - sorry - but we ought not be helping to solidify cultural memes that are untrue.

    Speaking as an attorney who works exclusively for insurers - not an "insurance defense lawyer" but in a different role - I will simply say that the infamous hot coffee lawsuit had far more merit than is commonly acknowledged, McD's had far more culpability than the popular fable recognizes, and the plaintiff was undercompensated.