Tuesday, June 14, 2011

U.S. District Judge Roger Hunt May Have Knocked Righthaven LLC Out Of The Copyright Trolling Business, But Too Late To Help Dr. David Duke

On June 14th, 2011, the Las Vegas Sun delivered good news to those who treasure free speech and creativity. They reported that a U.S. District Judge issued a ruling in Nevada that could knock Righthaven LLC out of the copyright trolling business once and for all. Whether those who have already settled with Righthaven, to include our very own Dr. David Duke, could ultimately benefit, is unclear at this point. Update: Nathaniel Bacon, operator of Newsnet14.com, is also a Righthaven victim; he was targeted in March 2011 for posting the infamous TSA photo on his website. According to Justia.com, the Newsnet case was indefinitely stayed on May 19 pending Judge John L. Kane's resolution of a Motion to Dismiss. The eight-page suit document is available HERE.

Chief U.S. District Judge for Nevada Roger Hunt dismissed Righthaven's copyright infringement lawsuit against Democratic Underground because he found that Righthaven doesn't have standing to sue. The reason they don't have standing is because the recently-unsealed lawsuit contract between Righthaven and Stephens Media -- called the Strategic Alliance Agreement (SAA) -- clearly leaves Stephens Media in control of the copyrights and gives Righthaven only the right to sue. Judge Hunt ruled that in order to file lawsuits, copyright plaintiffs have to have actual control of the copyrights, not just the right to sue.

-- Read Judge Hunt's complete 16-page ruling HERE.

If adopted by other federal judges hearing Righthaven lawsuits in other locations, Hunt's ruling could effectively ground Righthaven's lawsuit campaign -- though it can always appeal or amend its lawsuit contracts with the newspapers. Righthaven has filed 274 lawsuits over Review-Journal and Denver Post material since March 2010, though many of those suits have been settled. The Righthaven Victims blog maintains a list of all the lawsuits; the Las Vegas Sun has their archive of Righthaven stories HERE.

But even if Righthaven is ultimately grounded, it may not help those who chose to settle with Righthaven. Instead of taking preliminary steps like most plaintiffs do, Righthaven chose to use the lawsuit as a first resort instead of a last resort. Righthaven would blindside a target with a lawsuit, but offer to settle out of court in exchange for a payment generally in the $3,000 to $10,000 range, unless the target was considered to be rich and prominent. In January 2011, Righthaven boss Steven Gibson gave a rare interview to Fortune in which he explained why he uses lawsuits as a first resort. Since Righthaven would file the suits in the cities where the source of the infringed material was originally published, a prospective defendant would have to travel to that city and pay for local legal representation and accommodation to fight the suit. This can all add up financially -- which explains why even rich and prominent targets such as Matt Drudge and Sharron Angle ultimately chose to settle.

One of those who chose to settle was Dr. David Duke. As discussed in this previous post, Righthaven LLC filed suit against Dr. Duke and his European-American Unity and Rights Organization (EURO) organization on February 4th in U.S. District Court in Denver. Righthaven accused Dr. Duke of allowing a Denver Post photo of a TSA officer patting down a passenger at Denver International Airport from November 18th, 2010 to be posted on WhiteCivilRights.com. A Righthaven court exhibit showed the Denver Post photo accompanying a column by James Buchanan complaining about the highly intrusive enhanced TSA screening and pat-down procedures. The exhibit shows the Denver Post was not credited as the source of the photo on Duke's website. The post was entitled "TSA Abuses: Is Flying A Right Or A Privilege", published on November 24th, 2010; the photo has long since been removed. The suit was filed despite the fact that a Google image search revealed numerous other sources of the photo; Righthaven merely presumed that James Buchanan got it from the Denver Post.

On April 2nd, the Las Vegas Sun reported that Dr. David Duke settled with Righthaven out of court. Terms of the settlement were not disclosed, but he at least got to keep both the DavidDuke.com and the WhiteCivilRights.com domains. Dr. Duke never discussed this issue on his website, on Stormfront, or any other public venue; perhaps the terms of the settlement precluded public discussion.

Update: Bloggers who paid thousands of dollars each to settle copyright-infringement allegations with Righthaven are now mulling their legal options in the wake of Judge Hunt's ruling. Clayton Cramer, the former operator of the now-defunct Armedcitizen.net, wants his money back. The possibility of those who settled uniting and filing a class action lawsuit against Righthaven exist. In response, Righthaven CEO Steven Gibson is unfazed by the latest developments, and still insists the bloggers who settled were guilty of infringement. Gibson also said that Righthaven and Stephens Media have altered their licensing arrangement in a bid to obtain legal standing, and further hinted that the bloggers who settled might be sued again if their settlements or lawsuits are vacated, because rights holders have three years to file a lawsuit from the time the infringement occurs.

It's high time Righthaven was brought down. This has nothing to do with protecting copyrights; instead, it has everything to do with a cottage industry established by Righthaven. While some of Righthaven's victims were clearly blatant offenders who cut-and-pasted complete articles from their clients without attribution, others made an honest effort to stay within Fair Use guidelines. Had Righthaven used the lawsuit as a last resort instead of a first resort, they wouldn't be in this fix. They deserve to go out of business.


Anonymous said...

You must be that same sad sick bastard who is always trying to attack and smear Rocky and the ANP - FUCK OFF! AA you ought to control your site more and ban these creeps.

Anonymous said...

People who refuse to get out in the street have absolutely no room to talk. I watched the video and the fight between the NSM and the ARA in Trenton looked even to me.

Anonymous said...

How does street fighting like a gang help the struggle in any way??

Anonymous said...

Putting out literature is 'getting out in the streets', its more effective than anything else you can do! When someone gets a leaflet they don't KNOW how many are behind that leaflet. When people see a pitiful handful getting their ass kicked they figure thats the best that that group can do, and 99.9% are NOT rushing to join anything like that. Ever wonder why after literally thousands of 'public-demonstrations' over the years, numbers are lower than ever? They're putting the cart before the horse, instead of working to build up the ranks - then 'go public'. Hail the ANP! www.ANP14.com

Mikey said...

All I know is this. The ANP is having an indoor rally on July 23rd in South Carolina. FACT! While the NSM is picking up trash and having their tires sliced by the ARA in a second defeat in Milwaukee. FACT!

Note* The NSM had 5 people sent to the hospital by the ARA in April at their National Meeting; but no ARA member was sent to the hospital by the NBM; but people comment here it has a even match. Righttttttttt! lol

Oh, lets not forget NSM California leader beating his kids and wife and his ten year old son shooting him in the head. What a great dad he was.

The ANP doesn't have to do anything but stand still and they are better than the NSM and NSALP and ANSP.