Commentary

Copyright Troll Righthaven Suing Posters To Google Groups, Other Forums

The Las Vegas Review-Journal recently ran a column outlining how airport security officials' screening process humiliates elderly and disabled passengers.

After the piece appeared, a Google Groups user who goes by the name -- or screenname -- Jim Higgins posted the article to soc.retirement. Now, copyright troll Righthaven has filed an infringement suit against Higgins for posting the column.

As of Wednesday afternoon the text of the column could still be seen on Google Groups, indicating that Righthaven didn't attempt to send a takedown notice to Google. Instead, the company followed its standard operating procedure of simply filing suit.

One has to wonder whether Righthaven or the Las Vegas Review-Journal seriously believes that the newspaper industry is harmed when its articles appear in posts in message boards. If so, it seems likely that the company would want the article taken down. But the fact that Righthaven doesn't even attempt to get the article offline -- even though doing so wouldn't preclude filing suit -- indicates that it can't seriously believe the article's presence is harmful.

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Regardless, Higgins isn't the only individual user Righthaven has sued recently. The company reportedly has filed suit against several individual Web users who don't also operate blogs or message boards. Doing so could prove complicated, given that some of these users undoubtedly post under pseudonyms. It also could prove wasteful, if the defendants lack the resources to pay a judgment for copyright infringement.

Meanwhile, the Salt Lake City Weeklyreports that the Salt Lake Tribune recently started warning readers that its content can't be reposted without written permission. A similar notice appeared in The Denver Post shortly before Righthaven started suing sites for allegedly reposting material from that newspaper.

3 comments about "Copyright Troll Righthaven Suing Posters To Google Groups, Other Forums".
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  1. Susan Breidenbach from Broadbrook Associates, January 19, 2011 at 7:06 p.m.

    It's sad: These newspapers don't realize the paradigm has shifted, or if they do they think they can force it back. And precisely because they don't really get social media, the future of journalism lies elsewhere.

  2. Georgia Garrett from Valassis, Inc., January 19, 2011 at 7:08 p.m.

    What an inordinate waste of resources. What ever happened to simple good will? I little of that goes a long way.

  3. Chuck Lantz from 2007ac.com, 2017ac.com network, January 19, 2011 at 7:52 p.m.

    I just visited the Salt Lake Tribune page linked from this article, and posted the following:

    "'The Salt Lake Tribune wants to remind readers that The Tribune ’s articles, photographs and other content are protected by the federal Copyright Act, and legally cannot be reproduced elsewhere without written permission from The Tribune .'

    There. I just posted your content "elsewhere", ...on your own website.

    So, what are you waiting for? Sue, me! I dare ya!"

    I'll be starting a legal defense fund soon. Be the first on your block to make a huge contribution.

    More seriously, I suggest that any media that utilizes RightHaven's thuggish methods should be ridiculed, insulted, boycotted and shunned at every opportunity.

    On a personal level, I'm looking into ways that any photographs of mine that are sold by agencies cannot be sold to RightHaven's media customers. Small stuff, but their antics sicken me.

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