Righthaven Extends Reach, Sues Blogger For Reposting Denver Post Column

Branching out beyond Stephens Media and its flagship publication, the Las Vegas Review-Journal, copyright enforcement outfit Righthaven seems to be working with an additional company: Denver Post owner MediaNews.

Last week, Righthaven filed a lawsuit against blogger Dana Eiser of the right-wing site for allegedly publishing a column that originally appeared in the Denver Post.

Following its standard operating procedure, Righthaven filed suit without first asking Eiser to remove the material, according to the Las Vegas Sun.

While at least one other media company, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette owner WEHCO Media, previously said it would work with Righthaven, the complaint against Eiser appears to be the first known lawsuit dealing with work that didn't originally appear in a Stephens Media paper.

It's also the first lawsuit that Righthaven has filed outside of Nevada -- where some judges have been pushing back against the company.

It's not yet known whether MediaNews intends to tap Righthaven to file additional lawsuits, either stemming from articles that originally appeared in the Denver Post or elsewhere in the chain.

One of the stated goals of Righthaven CEO Steve Gibson is to discourage online copyright infringement -- activity that the company says has hurt newspapers.

But even if Righthaven does continue to expand, and continues to sue small publishers and bloggers for reposting stories, it seems extremely unlikely that newspapers will be in better financial shape as a result.

Perhaps newspapers will face less "competition" from sites that repost work, but ending online infringement certainly won't decrease competition from the vast array of entirely legitimate online news sites that siphon away readers, and ad dollars. And very little that Righthaven does in court can reverse the migration of classified ads to Craigslist and other listings sites. Since 2000, $14 billion in classified ad revenue has evaporated from newspapers' coffers.

Seems that given newspapers' dim financial situation, executives would do better to come up with creative ways to sell their products, either to advertisers or consumers, rather than litigating against their readers.

1 comment about "Righthaven Extends Reach, Sues Blogger For Reposting Denver Post Column".
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  1. Mark Moran from Dulcinea Media, December 9, 2010 at 12:13 a.m.

    I just don't get it - why are you so sympathetic to "small publishers and bloggers" who willfully steal from others? It's just wrong to copy the entire work of another and pass it off as your own, even if you link to it. And taking it down when asked, after the news has gone stall, does not in any way compensate the original publisher. Also, do you know Google's Page Rank system penalizes duplicate content? A publisher who is routinely copied and does nothing about it may find its search rankings drop. I hope Righthaven signs new publishers in droves. No, it won't solve all of the newspaper industry's problems, but it will solve one of them.

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