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Newspapers' New Revenue Plan — Copyright Suits 123

Posted by Soulskill
from the works-better-than-paywalls dept.
SpicyBrownMustard writes "Wired magazine has coverage of the numerous lawsuits recently filed by Righthaven, LLC regarding the content of the Las Vegas Review-Journal. 'Borrowing a page from patent trolls, the CEO of fledgling Las Vegas-based Righthaven has begun buying out the copyrights to newspaper content for the sole purpose of suing blogs and websites that re-post those articles without permission. And he says he's making money.' The owner of the LVRJ has commented on the strategy, and the Las Vegas Sun has extensive coverage of each suit filed. The owner of one site has apparently settled for more than the site has made in six years. Media Matters suspects many of the suits may be politically motivated, and thus violate federal election law."
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Newspapers' New Revenue Plan — Copyright Suits

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  • by NiceGeek (126629) on Friday July 23, 2010 @02:42PM (#33005898)

    Who exactly is Media Matters suing? Last I checked, being affiliated with a political movement didn't mean you couldn't state your opinion.
    Of course I'm not sure why I'm bothering responding to an AC.

  • Dumb (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Bryansix (761547) on Friday July 23, 2010 @02:46PM (#33005950) Homepage
    Anybody with half a brain realizes that facts are free but content is not. I'm actually happy that these websites that simply repost content so they can steal the ad revenue are being sued. How lazy do you have to be to not just write your own content on the same exact subject and do some semblance of research on the topic?
  • The owned of acdc-bootlegs.com site mentioned in the summary isn't exactly innocent either.

    To begin with, the site is devoted to offer downloads of bootlegs, which according to current copyright laws is illegal. Even if you don't think it's a big deal, you have to go by laws.

    So when those copyright holders come knocking, he should be prosecuted for that. Why are you trying to smear together two separate cases of alleged copyright infringement? Is it easier to wave your hands and say "it'll never happen to Slashdot?" If you're trying to put me at ease that this won't happen to me because I don't also commit other crimes, it's not working. I submit many articles to Slashdot and I quote many articles in my comments here as I dissect news. Will they sue me for my karma?

    The way the /. story title and summary is worded makes it sound bad, but this guy is also blatantly breaking several laws and frauding advertisers to generate money. He just got what he asked for. He should be happy AC/DC or Google hasn't sued him.

    Then let him be charged for click fraud (is that even illegal?) and bootlegging movies. If he's being charged for reposting news articles, we should probably talk about that and the sort of growing mentality that may come with it if it turns out to be profitable to sue under. I don't care about his speeding tickets or other things he may be guilty of. Your ad hominem attack may help in a court of law as character assassination but given the number of these suits, it's not putting me at ease.

  • Not entirely evil (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Enderandrew (866215) <[moc.liamg] [ta] [werdnaredne]> on Friday July 23, 2010 @02:48PM (#33005980) Homepage Journal

    I know this seems evil, but in the end, journalism is important. And if newspapers are going to survive moving into the future, they need to start selling content and protecting content.

    I think people should be able to quote 2-3 sentences, summarize your story and link to it. But fully copying content isn't cool. And while I assume I'll get some responses who suggest IP is imaginary and that all information should be free, this is reality. It costs money to produce content. You can give away your content for free if you wish, but content creators deserve the right to make money on their content if they so choose.

  • by godefroi (52421) on Friday July 23, 2010 @02:48PM (#33005982)

    I agree. Some wannabe-journo "blogger" or someone looking to get a "news" website started plagiarized some newspaper content, and gets busted. I think it's a good thing, even though I'm generally in favor of weaker (meaning drastically shorter) copyrights.

    Rule of law, people. Rule of law. If you don't like the law, get it changed though the various means available to you.

  • by Attila Dimedici (1036002) on Friday July 23, 2010 @02:52PM (#33006026)
    What Media Matters really means is that who they choose not to sue may be politically motivated. The claim is that because they allow people they agree with to use their copyrighted material, they should be required to allow people they oppose to use their copyrighted material. What is the point of copyright if I don't get to pick and choose who gets to copy my material on whatever basis I wish?
  • by Mordok-DestroyerOfWo (1000167) on Friday July 23, 2010 @02:53PM (#33006034)
    So you're posting on Slashdot...where hordes of experts and wannabe-experts comment on articles posted here from other locations. Would you be more approving of him if he simply cited his sources? As one of my old profs used to say, that was the difference between academic writing and plagiarism.
  • by LWATCDR (28044) on Friday July 23, 2010 @02:54PM (#33006044) Homepage Journal

    I agree. Cut and paste is bad
    Linking should be protected.

  • by Mordok-DestroyerOfWo (1000167) on Friday July 23, 2010 @02:56PM (#33006084)
    Here is your requested response...information should be free! If I'm the first to see a car accident do I suddenly own the rights to publish that particular story? I will grant you that simply copying and pasting entire stories without a citation is sketchy. However I'd much rather deal with the ramifications of a few people making a few bucks that way, than have all of the important news locked behind paywalls.
  • by SquarePixel (1851068) on Friday July 23, 2010 @02:57PM (#33006096)

    Slashdot just summarizes the stories and provides links to the source articles. That is fair use. The guy was just copying the whole articles.

  • Drive it away? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by bhagwad (1426855) on Friday July 23, 2010 @03:00PM (#33006138) Homepage
    From TFA. He starts with a car analogy (so far so good)

    But then, you entered my front yard, climbed into the front seat and drove it away. ....Yet, when it comes to copyrighted material some people think they can not only look at it, but also steal it. And they do. They essentially step into the front yard and drive that content away.

    What am I reading here? How can you "drive away" content? After "driving away" with your car, is your car still in place? Unharmed? Ready for you to use? Or sell if you want? Not making a point here. I'm just saying that comparing copyright infringement to driving away a car is beyond silly.

  • by Anonymous Psychopath (18031) on Friday July 23, 2010 @03:16PM (#33006346) Homepage

    I know this seems evil, but in the end, journalism is important. And if newspapers are going to survive moving into the future, they need to start selling content and protecting content.

    I think people should be able to quote 2-3 sentences, summarize your story and link to it. But fully copying content isn't cool. And while I assume I'll get some responses who suggest IP is imaginary and that all information should be free, this is reality. It costs money to produce content. You can give away your content for free if you wish, but content creators deserve the right to make money on their content if they so choose.

    Journalism could only survive by doing a better job than the masses. This had to begin with addressing their deservedly tarnished reputation, which was earned by linking editing to ratings and failing to balance ethics with sensationalism. To put it another way, journalism has already died and all that's left is to argue over the carcass.

  • by Enderandrew (866215) <[moc.liamg] [ta] [werdnaredne]> on Friday July 23, 2010 @03:22PM (#33006406) Homepage Journal

    When you buy a beer, you are given a glass bottle or alumninum can. The container is cheap. You're suggesting the cost of the container is the only cost that matters. It isn't.

    The RIAA and MPAA have been fairly evil in their tactics, but that doesn't mean they have no legitimacy to some of their complaints.

    Record companies front an artist the money to pay for a tour for instance. That money comes from album sales. You're suggesting that an artist is going to be paid once for recording an album. Who is going to pay them and why?

    And yet in your world, they don't have the rights to sell individual CDs because copies of content shouldn't count.

    What business model exists here? How is the artist getting paid at all?

    Prices are set by a free market. In the iTunes age, it seems very few people pay $14 for a CD. They pay 99 cents for individual songs they like.

    And 99 cents isn't a ridiculous price for something that I can listen to over and over again, and get repeated entertainment and value from.

    As a kid I pirated tons of PC software. And I watched all my favorite computer game shops fold citing piracy. We can debate how much piracy affecting them financially or didn't, but if you don't pay for content then you don't get to bitch when that content disappears. If you like something, you need to financially support it to make sure that kind of content is financially feasible in the market.

  • by SquarePixel (1851068) on Friday July 23, 2010 @03:22PM (#33006424)

    He's encouraging people to only click on the links so he gets money. Since it's Google ads, advertisers pay for clicks that are completely useless and only costs them high amount of money. It's also against Google's Terms of Services and hence fraud.

  • by Enderandrew (866215) <[moc.liamg] [ta] [werdnaredne]> on Friday July 23, 2010 @03:24PM (#33006460) Homepage Journal

    I'm certainly upset with the lack of quality, ethical journalism.

    Yet in the free market, it sure seems like slant and sensationalism sell considerably better. Tabloids are the best selling newspapers in the world for a reason.

  • by Enderandrew (866215) <[moc.liamg] [ta] [werdnaredne]> on Friday July 23, 2010 @03:47PM (#33006834) Homepage Journal

    They are being set by the market.

    The RIAA said no one would pay for digital music because people can just as easily steal it. I think a WB exec equated it to Coca-Cola coming out of your faucet for free, and suggesting that means no one would ever by a Coke again.

    iTunes is now the single largest music retailer in the country. The market has spoken, and enough people choose to purchase their music at that price point to keep the industry salient.

    I don't pay a monthly copyright on any of my music. I buy the album/song once, and I'm done. There are business models and other price points to rent music. I don't partake of the personally.

    Beer is also gone once I'm done drinking it. It would be near impossible to rent. Where I reuse my music collection. I still regularly listen to albums I bought nearly 20 years ago.

    If I bought a Pearl Jam album in 1991 and still enjoying listening to it today, then I got an awful lot of value out of $11. Even better, I'm not done listening to it. I can listen to it as many timeas as I want over the course of my life.

    You think that pricetag is unreasonable.

    I think you're a punk who doesn't like paying for things and wants to try and rationalize it with bullshit rhetoric.

    Mod me down or whatever. It's the truth.

  • by kimvette (919543) on Friday July 23, 2010 @04:01PM (#33006988) Homepage Journal

    "I agree. Cut and paste is bad."

    Why? Because if you cut & paste, then you are:

    a) "stealing" their content, depriving them of what they own
    b) it would require massive security holes in their system.

    Copy & paste, with attribution, is not nearly as bad. Even better is summarizing, and using copy & pasted snippets in accordance with Fair Use guidelines.

    This has been my obligatory pedantic post for today. :)

  • by mcgrew (92797) * on Friday July 23, 2010 @04:19PM (#33007226) Homepage Journal

    And while I assume I'll get some responses who suggest IP is imaginary and that all information should be free, this is reality.

    Information is free. You're free to read that AP story and rewrite it in your own words, but you're not free to copy the whole damned thing and call it your own.

    It costs money to produce content.

    Only if you believe that "time is money".

    content creators deserve the right to make money on their content if they so choose

    No, nobody has a right to make money, but they don't have the right to copy others' work, either. Just because I create content doesn't give me the right to money; I only get money of someone is willing to pay for that content.

  • by SydShamino (547793) on Friday July 23, 2010 @04:35PM (#33007408)

    Why don't you save a personal copy of the story as you saw it (fair use)? Then, if the story changes, you can revise your own article to point out the changes, quoting both the relevant portions of the old and new text (also fair use).

  • But Fair Use is an affirmative defense (I believe it is the correct term) which means you still have to get to the point that you are standing in front of a judge so you can say "I believe this is Fair Use because" (a judge ultimately decides if it is or isn't) and due to the frankly insane cost of lawyers fees the odds are you'll go bankrupt before they will, which makes this a great weapon against speech.

    I think we should be calling lawsuits over imaginary property what they are: Legalized extortion. Because most folks simply cannot afford to defend themselves against the bullies, who go "Hey, it'd be a shame if you lost everything you own due to bankruptcy. Give me $5k and I won't fuck you over". It doesn't matter whether one is guilty or innocent anymore, it is whether you can afford to fight back or not , and most of us simply can't. Just one more way democracy has been destroyed by those with money.

  • Because free stuff to specific politicians count as, duh, political contributions.

    For an an actual real life example of this, google 'c-street boarding house', and look at something that certainly should be under investigation, although it's not as far as we know. Renting a house you own to politicians at a fraction of the normal rent in that area is a political contribution.

    However, I don't understand the logic here. They're not refraining from suing politicians, because politicians aren't normally bloggers. Nor do they appear to be refraining from suing any tax-deducible political organizations, which might possibly be relevant, or at least require disclosure.

    It's perfectly legal to find some blogger who agrees with you politically and give them money (Or not sue them to take money away), as far as I'm aware. Media matters appears incorrect here under any interpretation of the law.

    Of course, if they're a publically traded company, they could be subject to shareholder lawsuits for that sort of behavior.

    And, soon, assuming people can get the bill passed, all corporations will be required to disclose to their owners, and get unanimous consent, for political actions. Sadly, this has not passed yet.

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