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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 SquarePixel (1851068) on Friday July 23, 2010 @01:35PM (#33005820)

    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.

    What the current lawsuit is about is the use of copyrighted content from news sites (and not in fair use manner), again a copyright infringement.

    Then he is also doing click fraud:

    One thing you can do is click on the Google ads on the left side of all of the pages on this site. I make a few cents from each click, which will go directly to paying the settlement. So the more you click, the more you help. And it's free to you! You do not need to fill out any forms or submit your personal information; just click on the link, let the page load and go from there.

    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.

    • 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.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by SquarePixel (1851068)

        There is this thing called fair use. When you quote a part of an article to make comments about it, that is fair use. You are also allowed to take a part of video clip and make a comment about it, so that your viewers can see what you are talking about. That is also fair use.

        Separate cases don't matter, I was just pointing out that the guys site is otherwise illegal too and he doesn't seem to care about any of that. Also, click fraud can be generally charged as fraud.

        • by XanC (644172) on Friday July 23, 2010 @02:07PM (#33006234)

          He's encouraging people to click on the links. Isn't that what the advertisers want?

          • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

            by SquarePixel (1851068)

            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 XanC (644172)

              The only reason he has the links at all is so he gets money. That's entirely expected and okay.

              Most clicks are completely useless, and online advertisers are okay with that too. I bet they'd be glad to have somebody actually see their site rather than not click, or they wouldn't bother to advertise.

              Are you sure this is against Google's terms of service?

              Are you also sure that violating Google's terms of service is, on its face, fraud?

              I'm not sure of either of those two things.

              • by SquarePixel (1851068) on Friday July 23, 2010 @02:38PM (#33006682)

                From Google AdSense policies [google.com]

                Encouraging Clicks

                Publishers may not ask others to click their ads or use deceptive implementation methods to obtain clicks. This includes, but is not limited to, offering compensation to users for viewing ads or performing searches, promising to raise money for third parties for such behavior or placing images next to individual ads.

                Yes, it can be counted as fraud, especially when there's money involved. It's only a matter of at what point (how much money is involved) it makes sense for Google and other ad networks to go after the people frauding them. If someone happens to report him to Google, he will get his account disabled and the income lost. If it was a lot of money, he might even get sued by Google.

                Also, since he is now using ads he is also commercially benefiting from copyrighted material (bootlegs) he has no right to. That gives even more serious jail time than the casual piracy happening over p2p networks.

              • by jonbryce (703250)

                Advertisers don't want people to click on the link and then immediately press the back button without even looking at the site. They pay Google lots of money for advertising, because they want to make even more money in additional sales.

                • That's exactly it. They're paying for genuine interest. People may not like advertisers, but we're being stupid if we assume that the advertisers are more interested in clicks than they are interested in visitor interest. Believing that fallacy would be like genuinely believing that a DOS attack would be doing the web site owners a favour, by using up processor cycles and bandwidth.

                  However, I don't think that we have idiots among us. I think that these people are really evil, and they are trying to deceive

            • As already pointed out - NO ONE puts ads on their site for any reason other than to generate money. Not slashdot, not Google, not even Microsoft. There is one reason, and one reason only, that 99.99999% of people advertise anything - to make money.

              That odd person in however many only advertises a couple of items, which he really believes in. Like me with Linux. I advertise it, but I don't make a cent. I advertise it because I believe in it, and I want more people to be exposed to it, and to give it a t

        • 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.

    • by godefroi (52421) on Friday July 23, 2010 @01:48PM (#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.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        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 SquarePixel (1851068) on Friday July 23, 2010 @01:57PM (#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.

        • by godefroi (52421)

          Would you be more approving of him if he simply cited his sources?

          No, but I'd be more approving (and I suspect the paper would have been too) if he'd have posted stuff along the lines of, "I read in today's paper that [article summary here]. You should grab a paper and check it out."

        • by mcgrew (92797) *

          As one of my old profs used to say, that was the difference between academic writing and plagiarism.

          About fifteen years ago, a colleague had on his office wall "If you copy one person's work it's plagiarism. If you copy a whole lot of people, that's research".

          • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

            :^D Hey, we should create a template for that. The template would contain quotes from tons of people, so that you only need to copy from 1 person. This save us so much time, and bring down the cost of research. ;^P

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

        any idea what the rate of change for laws is, especially those that are against the people who have bought the law-making system? you'd have equal the chance of getting slavery re-instated.

        • by godefroi (52421)

          So you propose what, then? Ignoring the law and bitching when you get arrested?

          • i do ignore laws that i oppose. the bitching about it can go either way. if you can get enough people to rally your cause and become a martyr, more power to you. if not, oh well. personally, i'd rather go to jail for something i believe in than blindly follow the law.
            • by godefroi (52421)

              I salute your conviction, but I don't feel strongly enough about most laws to go to jail in an attempt to get them changed. Especially this particular one, where I think the guy got exactly what was coming to him for his blatant copyright violations. This is the GOOD use of copyright, not the bad one. This is what it was intended to do.

    • by mcgrew (92797) *

      I guess I should be proud of my local paper [sj-r.com]. The non syndicated stories (non-AP, non-UPI, etc) are published under a Creative Commons license, so when I link and cut and paste from it for my slashdot journals (example here) [slashdot.org], I don't have to fear a lawsuit.

      Their articles' links disappear after a set time, and you have to pay for archived content. Doesn't seem unfair to me.

      Oddly, there are two papers in town; the daily SJ-R linked above, and the weekly Illinois Times [illinoistimes.com]. The SJ-R with its GPL costs seventy five

    • by arth1 (260657)

      The owned of acdc-bootlegs.com site mentioned in the summary isn't exactly innocent either.

      So what?

      Are you saying that if I can show that you're a sleaze-bag and fraudster, you should have no rights to call me on it if I try to extort money from you?

      My common sense tells me that these lawsuits are indeed frivolous, because (AFAICT) the offended party has taken no steps to have the problem resolved by any other means before going to the step of suing. What happened to cease-and-desist and DMCA takedown noti

      • by MacWiz (665750)

        The RIAA sued 40,000 people. Only took two cases to court. If that wasn't frivolous, then the newspapers aren't even close to approaching that label.

        Do the courts and judges really want people to start suing first?

        No, but the lawyers do. The RIAA spent $64 in legal fees for every $1 they collected.

  • Dumb (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Bryansix (761547) on Friday July 23, 2010 @01:46PM (#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?
    • Re:Dumb (Score:5, Interesting)

      by CheshireCatCO (185193) on Friday July 23, 2010 @01:51PM (#33006012) Homepage

      Well, for one thing: in a lot of the cases, it sounds like the site owners aren't posting the content, it's user-uploaded. That calls for a take-down notice, not a lawsuit. So they're more likely trolling for lawsuit money and not interested in protecting IP.

      Also, it isn't clear to me how much of each story is being reposted. Is it the whole thing without commentary? Snippets within a much larger post? Somewhere in between?

  • Not entirely evil (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Enderandrew (866215) <enderandrew AT gmail DOT com> on Friday July 23, 2010 @01:48PM (#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 LWATCDR (28044) on Friday July 23, 2010 @01:54PM (#33006044) Homepage Journal

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

      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by Anonymous Coward

        I agree. Cut and paste is bad

        • by DavidTC (10147)

          I agree. Cut and paste is bad

          I think you should be able to cut and paste to quote something to to rebut a argument.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by kimvette (919543)

        "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. :)

        • Re: (Score:1, Flamebait)

          by GooberToo (74388)

          Copy & paste, with attribution, is not nearly as bad.

          Probably more accurate to say, almost as entirely as bad...almost. The difference between a link and a cut and past is likely revenue.

          But hey, I'm sure a photocopy of your pay check is not nearly as bad as not receiving one.

          And to continue on the soap box...
          People need to understand that copyright violations are harmful and often mean the difference between someone getting a paycheck and not. Its not just billion dollar companies who are harmed. So if you pirate anything, I assume, unless you are complete h

          • by Mathinker (909784) *

            People need to understand that copyright violations are harmful and often mean the difference between someone getting a paycheck and not. Its not just billion dollar companies who are harmed. So if you pirate anything, I assume, unless you are complete hypocrite, you never accept a paycheck. Otherwise, you're working hard to deprive someone else of theirs - despite their hard work.

            People need to understand that copyright violations are not always harmful and do not necessarily mean the difference between someone getting a paycheck and not. In fact, some of us both pirate and pay, it's just that copyright law is currently so f***ed up that we need to break the law to use the content that we pay for in the way we want to. Or it prevents us from obtaining content which doesn't generate income for anyone anyway. So if you pirate something, I assume, unless you are a complete hypocrite, y

            • by LWATCDR (28044)

              There is some room for discussion on that one but we are talking about copying news stores.
              This is like burning copies of DVDs and selling them.
              When you cut and past this into your blog. You are in effect taking someone's work and making money from it "ads" and depriving them of their money "ads" with out their permission.
              That really is theft. But making a summary of it and linking to it is not just fair use but helpful to the author as it can drive readers to them and increase their earnings.

              • by Mathinker (909784) *

                You are in effect taking someone's work and making money from it "ads" and depriving them of their money "ads" with out their permission.

                But isn't just rewriting the news article also "taking someone's work"? Yet, somehow, it is perfectly legal. But possibly morally wrong, depending on one's outlook.

                Yet another example to back up my post, which, by the way, was not restricting itself to the narrow subject of news/copy/paste, but was a general reply to knee-jerk pro-copyright rhetoric.

                • by LWATCDR (28044)

                  A summary and link is not the same.
                  Yes copying the article word for word or even almost is wrong. It is called plagiarism.

                  I am all for copyright reform but I am not anti-copyright. To create takes a lot of work. Just because you can make a copy of that work easily doesn't decrease the value of the work.
                  It is still stealing the fruits of somebody's labor.
                  It is like going into someone garden and taking what they have grown. After all more will grow.
                  People like to say that copying someone's work isn't deprivin

                  • by Mathinker (909784) *

                    You really didn't address anything I wrote about in my second post, so I'm a bit confused.

                    My post was about the big difference in the way copyright law relates to news stories and the way it relates to wholly creative works like, for example, a book which is totally fiction. Because copyright doesn't cover facts, the only protection which copyright gives a news story is protecting the way the facts are expressed. If a newspaper pays lots of money to send a reporter to a far-away and dangerous place and he w

    • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

      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.
      • Re:Not entirely evil (Score:4, Informative)

        by Bryansix (761547) on Friday July 23, 2010 @02:01PM (#33006156) Homepage
        No you are doing it wrong. You broke your own chain of logic. Where did anybody say that a news story is being copyrighted? The point here is that if you write it then you own it. You are still free to write whatever you want based on any facts available to you. Your whole post is a pointless tangent.
      • Re:Not entirely evil (Score:5, Informative)

        by bws111 (1216812) on Friday July 23, 2010 @03:15PM (#33007184)

        The 'information' is free and can not be copyrighted. The information in this case would be the fact that there was an accident, number of cars, etc. However, if you write a creative description of that information, it can be copyrighted.

        You could not copyright the following description: There was an auto accident at the corner of A and B streets today. One of the cars was speeding and ran a red light. Minor injuries were reported.

        However, the following may be able to be copyrighted: A spectacular auto accident occurred at the corner of A and B streets today. One vehicle was careening down the street and inadvisedly ran the red light. The other vehicle had already entered the intersection, and they collided in a cacophony of breaking glass and crumpling steel. Fortunately for all involved, only minor injuries were reported.

        Anyone could strip out all of your 'creative' content and still reprint the facts, adding their own creative content if they wish. But that is not what is occurring. Instead, people are just copying YOUR sentences.

        • by PhxBlue (562201)

          You could not copyright the following description: There was an auto accident at the corner of A and B streets today. One of the cars was speeding and ran a red light. Minor injuries were reported.

          Hi, journalist writing here, and yes, you can copyright the above description precisely because it's a description. What you can't do is copyright the facts of what happened.

          So let's say Journalist A writes the description you provided. Journalist B writes, "One person was injured today when a car ran a red light

          • by bws111 (1216812)

            Yes, you are of course right. Thanks for the clarification.

          • Anyway, tl;dr: You're right that you can't copyright a fact, but any description, which is by definition a creative retelling of facts, can be copyrighted.

            Well, not any description. There can be a few that aren't copyrightable. For example, there is the merger doctrine: if there is only one, or are only a few, reasonable descriptions possible, the description may be deemed to 'merge' with the underlying facts, since copyrights on the handful of available descriptions could in effect result in an impermissib

    • Re: (Score:1, Funny)

      by strikeleader (937501)
      Can this be...wait it is...common sense.
    • by cg3001 (900856)
      I actually totally disagree...yes it does cost money to create the content,and the editors need to be paid more..but it doesn't cost to keep reselling that same content. That is free...and should be. It’s like your not seeing the depth of the problem here. This is the same problem that the RIAA is doing, they pay the artist for the content (songs) they distribute it...and expect the revenue to always come from that music they distributed based on a fade in most cases. There should be fair time limit
      • by Enderandrew (866215) <enderandrew AT gmail DOT com> on Friday July 23, 2010 @02:22PM (#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.

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

          That's not precisely what he said: "There should be fair time limit to the holding of all content, it can not go on indefinitely this is wrong..you can not keep asking for money for CD's after the artist have been amply paid, the producers have been amply paid and the middle man."

          That sounds to me as though he's just saying that after a fair length of time, the copyrights should expire, and tha

        • by MacWiz (665750)

          Record companies front an artist the money to pay for a tour for instance.

          Only if the artist signed up for a "360" contract and the record company is getting a percentage of the tour income, merchandise sales and anything else that brings income in.

          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?

          No one is going to pay an artist to record an album. Ever. That's not how things work.

          They get an advance on record sale revenue at the beginning of their contract. They get charged all the expenses of recording an album. The combination of the advance, any expenses incurred to record the album -- and let's not forget marketing and pro

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      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.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Enderandrew (866215)

        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.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          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.

          I agree. They are selling what sells best. My argument is that what you're talking about saving has already gone. Selling copyrights to lawyers is just a way to cash one last check.

          • So blogs with even more slant, sensationalism, and less fact-checking completely overtake the news?

            I'm not crazy about that idea.

            And as far as I'm concerned, the same writes should exist for anyone who creates content, be it a blogger, newspaper, or recording artist when it comes to protecting their creations.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      I copy and paste entire articles in my blog. I started doing this when I realized that the news changes the stories. Post-publishing editing is an Orwellian fact of life. I like to preserve what I know I saw at one point, so I have something I can point back to in order to prove I'm not crazy. I consider it a mild form of saving the world.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Enderandrew (866215)

        Let's say a major news story happens, such as 9/11. CNN will publish an initial article on their page. I recall hearing initial reports that the Pentagon was bombed. That was obviously incorrect.

        CNN doesn't just republish 50 independent stories over the course of the day to change one small detail as the stories develops.

        You can make the argument that they could consider wiki-like revisions of articles so people can see what changed.

        • Yes, sometimes articles can be corrected to fix errors. Sometimes they are corrected to fix the reporting with respect to the official truth. We used to have a trail of tangible copies that would help us to establish this in the past. We're in danger of losing that now.

      • by SydShamino (547793) on Friday July 23, 2010 @03:35PM (#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).

        • Why don't you save a personal copy of the story as you saw it (fair use)?

          Oh, I do that too.

          I only blog about stuff I have something to say about. I also put a url to go back to the original story, as a way of crediting the source. Hopefully readers click through and give them ad revenue.

          It's worthwhile to them, because I capture only text, not any images, and I don't capture links to related stories, etc.

          Of course, since I run AdBlock/NoScript/FlashBlock, I never see their ads. I guess I'm double stealing, in their eyes. But honestly, I'm only protecting my resources. Their

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by mcgrew (92797) *

      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 rig

  • by Attila Dimedici (1036002) on Friday July 23, 2010 @01:52PM (#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 Bigjeff5 (1143585) on Friday July 23, 2010 @01:57PM (#33006094)

      They could always come up with a "Because We Like You" license and issue it to any site they like.

      Perfectly legal (as far as I know, IANAL though), and it can't be bought.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by DannyO152 (544940)

      The point of copyright is to encourage the tangible expression of ideas for those who need an economic basis to do so. We, through the government, offer that limited monopoly because we think ideas, education, culture, political debate, and their propagation are a very good thing. We don't really care about your material wealth, or, rather, I care about your material wealth to the degree you care about mine. Doing well? That nice.

      Now if you sincerely only want some people to receive and share your thoughts,

    • by Artifakt (700173) on Friday July 23, 2010 @02:32PM (#33006602)

      As copyright law was originally written, you sued only over financial damages. For roughly 200 years, you had no basis to pick and choose except financial harm. The law still doesn't give you that right in the US - if it did, it would include what are called 'moral copyright clauses', as, for example, the ones now used in French law which the US has deliberately avoided including in treaty. Now that parts of copyright law have been criminalised, you are in effect arguing that your right allows you to compel the state to engage in selective prosecution of crimes, as is expressly forbidden in the bill of rights, for damned good reasons.

      • ... state to engage in selective prosecution of crimes, as is expressly forbidden in the bill of rights, for damned good reasons

        It is? I don't recall anything about that, can you tell me which of the first ten amendments relate to selective prosecution? I don't think any of them do, from my cursory re-reading of them. The closest is perhaps the prohibition on cruel or unusual punishment, but I don't think that applies at all.

        Selective prosecution (choosing which crimes and criminals to prosecute) allows

      • No, I am arguing that I don't sue those who have my permission to use my copyrighted material, even if they never asked for that permission. While I do sue those who do not have my permission to use my copyrighted material. Under copyright law, I get to decide who may use material for which I hold the copyright.
      • by Dausha (546002)

        "As copyright law was originally written, you sued only over financial damages. For roughly 200 years, you had no basis to pick and choose except financial harm. The law still doesn't give you that right in the US - if it did, it would include what are called 'moral copyright clauses', as, for example, the ones now used in French law which the US has deliberately avoided including in treaty. Now that parts of copyright law have been criminalised, you are in effect arguing that your right allows you to compe

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by DavidTC (10147)

      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 blogg

  • They don't sound like trolls to me. They find someone infringing their copyright and take steps to protect their work. There's nothing wrong with that. Besides, it's just as easy to find a link to an article rather than repost the entire text of an article. Reposting the whole article is not fair use.

    • Re:Not a troll (Score:5, Informative)

      by Overzeetop (214511) on Friday July 23, 2010 @02:05PM (#33006194) Journal

      They sound like trolls. It appears as if they don't actually produce any of the content. They buy an exclusive license to redistribute on speculation that someone will intentionally or inadvertently infringe, then they sue for enough money to make them money, but not enough to make it worth fighting in court.

      • It appears as if they don't actually produce any of the content.

        That's completely irrelevant. If they own the rights to the content then they own the rights. It doesn't matter if they are producing it or not. Many companies purchase exclusive rights to things they did not create.

        They buy an exclusive license to redistribute on speculation that someone will intentionally or inadvertently infringe, then they sue for enough money to make them money, but not enough to make it worth fighting in court.

        So what? Go

        • That's completely irrelevant. If they own the rights to the content then they own the rights.

          It's quite relevant if you consider the actual purpose of IP law as spelled out in the Constitution. We, the people, have an interest in protecting the rights of those of who actually produce useful content. We have no interest whatsoever in protecting the "rights" of those who buy old content and use it for trolling.

          • It's quite relevant if you consider the actual purpose of IP law as spelled out in the Constitution.

            There is no "IP law" in the Constitution.

            We have no interest whatsoever in protecting the "rights" of those who buy old content and use it for trolling.

            In other words, you only want certain classes of people to have rights while others do not. I'm all for protecting everyone's rights. If someone wants to create something and allow me to purchase it to use as I wish, I certainly don't want Daniel Dvorkin takin

            • There is no "IP law" in the Constitution.

              In US law, the justification for IP law comes from Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution, where its purpose and limitations are clearly spelled out.

              In your world view, a business owner who hires a graphic design company to develop a logo and graphic identity for their company wouldn't be able to acquire the rights to the design and use them as they please. Likewise, a musician who hires a video production company and producer to make a music video for their song wouldn't be able to acquire the rights to the video.

              Irrelevant. IP trolls are nothing like either of these examples.

              I suspect you're perfectly well aware of both the Constitutional justification for copyrights and patents, and the extent of the abuse to which that innocuous little line has been subjected, but choose to pretend otherwise because you're hoping to join the trolls' ranks yourself one of these da

              • I suspect you're perfectly well aware of both the Constitutional justification for copyrights and patents, and the extent of the abuse to which that innocuous little line has been subjected, but choose to pretend otherwise because you're hoping to join the trolls' ranks yourself one of these days.

                Patents? Now you are confusing patents and copyright because you keep talking about "intellectual property." This is about copyrights. Patents have nothing in common with copyrights.

                Copyrights protect specific crea

    • by wizkid (13692)

      2 things to consider,
      Is the blog open for subscribers to post material? If so aren't the folks running the blog protected by the dcma? They should tell the law firm to file a dcma takedown notice, and they will take the content down post haste.

      And what if what they've put up is fair use? They are allowed to quote and put a small insert under certain circumstances. Are they trolling, or protecting there clients. In this case, it sounds more like trolling. If the website is a public blog, I would think

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

    by bhagwad (1426855) on Friday July 23, 2010 @02:00PM (#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 Shotgun (30919)

      The car is still there, but you drove away in an exact duplicate, except with the backseat full of the viewers. The car was a cab, and those were toll paying customers.

  • by Overzeetop (214511) on Friday July 23, 2010 @02:01PM (#33006154) Journal

    Getty, I'm convinced, makes a good living off of crawling the web looking for their images. They put a bunch of them on stock photo CDs years ago, and the licensing on the box covers implies that they are free to use when you buy the cd (royalty free, I believe, its the term). It turns out, though, that by royalty free, they mean you don't have to pay per impression, but you still have to buy a license for each image separately, per year. I got hit for two thumbnails a couple years ago, and had to cough up $2000 for the transgression.

    Thing is, for $2k, you can't fight it. And even if you've got a 90% chance of winning (which I didn't, though the oversight was unintentional - or rather, I thought I actually did own a license), it's not worth $20,000-$100,000 legal bill to try and prove you're right.

    It extortion, but legal.

    Oh, and I'll never, ever license a Getty work, and I actively discourage it with everyone I know.

  • It begins! (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Drakkenmensch (1255800) on Friday July 23, 2010 @02:10PM (#33006262)
    Companies now OWN world events!
    • Wow... that must be world news.

      I wonder who owns the rights.

    • Or maybe they just 'own' (hold copyright on) that 8 page in-depth article on soldiers who fell victim to roadside IEDs, written from hours of interviews with locals, the soldiers themselves, their superiors, the soldiers' family, a real life account of being a convoy where the 2nd vehicle in the convoy was hit just in front of the 3rd with the reporter in place, with weeks of travel.

      I guess if the time, effort, money spent and risk taken are worth zilch to you* - then absolutely.. go copy/paste that onto y

  • Well I guess that is the standard money making back up plan: If you can't make money by working hard or providing a useful product or service, sue someone else to make money.
  • How long, I wonder, before one of these lawyers gets the counteroffer: You drop your suit and I don't shoot you?

    Just a question for now.
  • Will they sue google for shows clips of the content?

  • The media (concerning print, TV, radio, news, tabloids, gossip etc.) have set a precedence on who owns the news when they started buying story's from celebrities, accident victims, national hero's, etc. So with a precedence in place, how can they now say that "they" own the story just because they reported it? Unless the person. company, state or Country etc. that they are reporting about have sold the rights to them. Otherwise the news belongs to the person/persons that the news report is based on.

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