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The Courts

The Rise of the Copyright Trolls 169

NewYorkCountryLawyer writes "In the new mass filesharing suit brought in Washington, DC, on behalf of a filmmaker, Achte/Neunte v. Does 1-2094, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, Public Citizen, and two ACLU organizations have filed an amicus curiae brief supporting a motion by Time Warner to quash the subpoena. EFF commented: 'We've long been concerned that some attorneys would attempt to create a business by cutting corners in mass copyright lawsuits against fans, shaking settlements out of people who aren't in a position to raise legitimate defenses and becoming a category of 'copyright trolls' to rival those seen in patent law.'" And reader ericgoldman notes a case that arguably falls under the same umbrella: "Sherman Frederick, publisher of the Las Vegas Review-Journal, wrote a blog post declaring 'Copyright theft: We're not taking it anymore.' Apparently upset that third-party websites are republishing its stories in full, the newspaper 'grubstaked and contracted with a company called Righthaven ... a local technology company whose only job is to protect copyrighted content.' Righthaven has brought 'about 22' lawsuits on behalf of the newspaper, including lawsuits against marijuana- and gambling-related websites. Frederick hopes 'if Righthaven shows continued success, that it will find other clients looking for a solution to the theft of copyrighted material' and ends his 'editorial' (or is it an ad?) inviting other newspapers to become Righthaven customers. A couple of months back Wendy Davis of MediaPost deconstructed some of Frederick's logic gaps."
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The Rise of the Copyright Trolls

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  • by abigsmurf ( 919188 ) on Friday June 04, 2010 @10:27AM (#32457994)
    The summary seems to be abusing the negativity around patent trolls and the actions of the companies in question.

    This isn't companies sitting on pools of copyrighted content they've no intent to distribute. This is companies hiring a third party to protect their material.

    Lots of small companies can't afford their own legal teams to protect themselves so it makes sense to outsource this type of thing.
  • by $RANDOMLUSER ( 804576 ) on Friday June 04, 2010 @10:43AM (#32458226)
    Here's the (PDF warning) complaint [beckermanlegal.com] in case anyone's interested.

    Here's my favorite quote:

    Thus, a Defendant's distribution of even one unlawful copy of a motion picture can result in the nearly instantaneous worldwide distribution of that single copy to a limitless number of people.

  • by postbigbang ( 761081 ) on Friday June 04, 2010 @11:09AM (#32458632)

    For the sake of argument, consider that search engines aren't perfect, and people often click based on SE captions of hits.

    You're a newspaper that uses GoogleAds. You're also the original author and copyright holder of an article. Some other site with a name that suits someone better-- for whatever reason-- has the same article and that person clicks on that third party site-hosted article, instead of the 'original'. The newspaper loses the revenue associated with GoogleAds or whatever clicks that add to their advertiser demographics. They were robbed of the click. Clicks==revenue.

    The other site has no license or authority to reproduce an article in whole. Fair use portions are perfectly acceptable. In the case where articles are lifted wholesale, attributed or not, in lieu of an authorization to do so, that site is misappropriating the copyrighted content.

    The proof is in the dilution of money-producing clicks. Do you understand it now?

  • by brit74 ( 831798 ) on Friday June 04, 2010 @11:12AM (#32458706)

    Yes, "information wants to be free" trolls like Thomas Jefferson.

    Jefferson supported copyright. Yes, he supported a shorter version of copyright than we currently see, but don't try to co-opt Jefferson into some extreme "information wants to be free" supporter - which, by definition, requires that Jefferson opposed any form of copyright.

  • by Bill_the_Engineer ( 772575 ) on Friday June 04, 2010 @11:14AM (#32458728)

    This has been said a thousand times over, but somehow, nobody ever seems to get it.

    Well actually the newspapers have been losing money from the loss of ad sells. This has been very well documented and the primary reason being that advertisers will not spend money when readership is in decline. The reason readership is down is because the articles can be read elsewhere for free.

    The reason newspapers are going to the "pay wall" system is that the only ones that benefit from banner ads is Google and bloggers with very little expenses. After all, how much does it cost to cut and paste? Google is like a casino. They don't care who wins or loses because they always get a share of the money. Bloggers are happy with the small amount of money they get because they don't have the expense. Newspapers are screwed because they spend money for the articles, and watch other people benefit from their work.

    The problem is not the lack of proof.

Someone is unenthusiastic about your work.