Las Vegas copyright enforcement company Righthaven LLC is now suing individual message-board posters, not just website operators.
Righthaven, which files copyright infringement lawsuits over unapproved online postings of material from the Las Vegas Review-Journal and the Denver Post, filed seven infringement lawsuits Tuesday and Wednesday in U.S. District Court for Nevada, lifting its lawsuit total since March to at least 203.
Among the defendants sued Monday were message board posters identified as James Higgins and Wayne Hoehn. Higgins, according to Righthaven, posts as Jim_Higgins on a Google Groups message board. Records indicate that on Nov. 21 he posted a Review-Journal column about Transportation Security Administration pat downs of the elderly and disabled at Reno-Tahoe International Airport. The post credited columnist John L. Smith but didn't credit the Review-Journal, records show.
Righthaven, which is half owned by an affiliate of Review-Journal owner Stephens Media LLC, says its lawsuits, typically filed without warning, are necessary to crack down on rampant online infringement of newspaper stories, columns, editorials, photos and graphics. Prior to the Righthaven lawsuits, the Review-Journal and Denver Post generally tried to resolve copyright disputes out of court and that's still the practice of most of the newspaper industry.
Critics and defense attorneys call the lawsuits frivolous and in some cases are fighting back, hitting Stephens Media and Righthaven with counterclaims charging abuse of the court system and the copyright law. Most of the lawsuits are settled, apparently for under five figures, and Righthaven observers are waiting for Nevada federal judges handling the contested cases to issue rulings on several motions for dismissal.
So far, the only definitive ruling is one that went against Righthaven when a judge found a Las Vegas real estate agent was protected by the fair use doctrine in posting part of a Review-Journal story on his website.
Edited by Union_Thug, 18 January 2011 - 07:29 AM.