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The Courts The Media

Righthaven Copyright Lawsuit Backfires 88

Posted by timothy
from the almost-like-there's-a-fair-use-doctrine dept.
Hugh Pickens writes "Steve Green reports in the Las Vegas Sun that US District Judge James Mahan has ruled that the Center for Intercultural Organizing, an Oregon nonprofit, did not infringe on copyrights when it posted an entire Las Vegas Review-Journal story on its website without authorization and that there was no harm to the market for the story. Mahan stressed that his ruling hinged largely on the CIO's nonprofit status and said the copyright lawsuit would be dismissed because the nonprofit used it in an educational way, didn't try to use the story to raise money, and because the story in question was primarily factual as opposed to being creative. 'The market (served by the CIO) is not the R-J's market,' says Mahan. This is the second fair use defeat for Righthaven and is significant since it involved an entire story post rather than a partial story post. Green says that Righthaven's strategy of suing 250 web site and demanding $150,000 in damages plus forfeiture of the web site's domain name has clearly backfired and now Righthaven, the self-appointed protector of the newspaper industry, has left the newspaper industry with less copyright protection than if they never filed their lawsuits at all."
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Righthaven Copyright Lawsuit Backfires

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  • Less protection? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 20, 2011 @02:15PM (#35551954)

    Um, no. The legal status is not determined by a judge de novo, but instead existed already. The outcome from lawsuit just exposes it, but it was already there, in the statutes, in the precedents, all of which you could look up.

  • I love it (Score:5, Insightful)

    by DaMattster (977781) on Sunday March 20, 2011 @02:16PM (#35551956)
    when the sue for profit fails miserably. Righthaven deserved being spanked down by the justice system. The mafiosi tactics have failed.
  • HA! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by WillyWanker (1502057) on Sunday March 20, 2011 @02:16PM (#35551958)
    HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA fuck you douchebags!
  • well.. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MickyTheIdiot (1032226) on Sunday March 20, 2011 @02:16PM (#35551962) Homepage Journal

    Did the good guys win for once?

  • by sydneyfong (410107) on Sunday March 20, 2011 @02:42PM (#35552114) Homepage Journal

    Ah. Jurisprudence.......

    I believe in a more SchrÃdinger's Cat model of the law -- before it is decided, the law is half dead and half alive... :)

    But seriously, even if the law existed before the decision, fewer similar cases will be filed against "infringers", which will make their lives easier.

    Not everybody has the will or the means to fight this in court, even if they are actually "right".

  • by davester666 (731373) on Sunday March 20, 2011 @03:15PM (#35552336) Journal

    Yes, Fair-Use Rights do exist. It's an affirmative defense, where you have to prove that you do have the fair-use right [by paying somebody to find the statues and precedents that are relevant and presenting them to the court in the proper way, generally].

    But they only exist, in a legal sense, once a judge has made a determination that, for a given set of circumstances, based on the written law and precedences for a specific location, and for the specific facts of one case, that it is a 'fair-use'. If any of these change, then a judge would have to make a new determination for the new case.

    Before a judge rules, neither side can say with certainty that for a given circumstance, it is or is not a fair use, as it depends on the specific circumstances of a single case, which is unlikely to be exactly the same as an existing precedent [which the copyright holder will be all to happy to point out to you].

    And LTFS, this precedent, like most other ones related to fair-use of copyright material, has a very specific set of circumstances related to it, which may not cover other uses, even if done in a similar way [for example, if you had a personal blog with GoogleAds on it, and you quoted a significant portion of the article, the precedent may not apply to you because the judge could say you are trying to earn money through the use of ads].

    But, then again, IANAL.

A sheet of paper is an ink-lined plane. -- Willard Espy, "An Almanac of Words at Play"

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