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The Courts The Media Your Rights Online

Newspaper May Have Given Implicit License To Copy 175

An anonymous reader writes "Following up on the story of Righthaven, the 'copyright troll' that is working with the Las Vegas Journal Review to sue lots of websites (including one of Nevada's Senate candidates) for reposting articles from the LVRJ, a judge in one of the cases appears to be quite sympathetic to the argument that the LVRJ offered an 'implied license' to copy by not just putting their content online for free, but including tools on every story that say 'share this' with links to various sharing services (including one tool to 'share' via Slashdot!)."
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Newspaper May Have Given Implicit License To Copy

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  • Um... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by omglolbah ( 731566 ) on Wednesday September 22, 2010 @08:12AM (#33660612)

    Wouldnt this mean that any sharing of a link to your content would also give an implied license to copy?

    How exactly is this going to work? Does this mean that all newspaper stories are freely usable by anyone?... That will sure break a lot of things... :p

  • by Haedrian ( 1676506 ) on Wednesday September 22, 2010 @08:13AM (#33660618)

    The Court system may be sick of it, but the lobbyists sure as hell aren't.

    Not going to happen.

  • by dfm3 ( 830843 ) on Wednesday September 22, 2010 @08:24AM (#33660672) Journal

    The Court system may be sick of it, but the lawyers sure as hell aren't.

    Not going to happen.

    Fixed that for you.

    We know who always wins these cases, and it's not always the plaintiff or defendant...

  • Re:Common Sense? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Pojut ( 1027544 ) on Wednesday September 22, 2010 @08:48AM (#33660822) Homepage

    The fact that common sense usually doesn't win out in these types of cases should be proof enough for anyone that the justice system provides anything but.

  • by drinkypoo ( 153816 ) <> on Wednesday September 22, 2010 @08:48AM (#33660826) Homepage Journal

    something doesn't exactly sit right with me with the Judge's argument that the newspaper gave an implied consent to copy the newspaper. Part of the reasoning is that the newspaper permitted the user to "'right-click' and copy the article". This seems like a dog of an argument to me. Practically all websites allow users to right click

    Just to be clear, browsers allow users to right-click. That's not the website. That's the difference upon which I would focus when attempting to undermine that argument. Website operators can take additional means to prevent stupid people from saving their content, but the law doesn't require them to do so in order to gain copyright protection.

  • by turbidostato ( 878842 ) on Wednesday September 22, 2010 @08:55AM (#33660884)

    "And the people who come to slashdot and think they have the right to any non-physical copyrightted work, even without paying for it."

    Not any. Only what the author already decided to make *public*.

  • by paziek ( 1329929 ) on Wednesday September 22, 2010 @09:00AM (#33660942)

    Not really. This way you could say, that it was the one who made this kitchen knife - used to stab someone - is to blame for it.

  • enough (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Jeek Elemental ( 976426 ) on Wednesday September 22, 2010 @09:07AM (#33661034)

    I think Ive been patient enough, you are starting to bore me now.
    While I dont like to, I will put my foot down now;

    The following commandments should be chiseled in stone, engraved by laser in a meteorite, embedded in the standard neck-chip or other method suitable for your preferred epoch:

    No string of characters, numbers or symbols may be claimed as property.
    Products may be labeled with, in addition to name, manufacturers address, which it is a sin to falsify.

    If you are first with an idea, you may use that to your advantage or not.

    No restraints may be put on sharing of information and ideas.

  • by jamesh ( 87723 ) on Wednesday September 22, 2010 @09:13AM (#33661086)

    After all, if I put a fruit bowl on a table with a note that said "Take one and have a nice day!", I could hardly turn around and sue you for banana-theft.

    If you put a note on the table that said "tell all your friends to come over here and look at this fruit" and one of them stole a banana then you might have a stronger case, which I think better describes what's going on in TFA.

    AFAICT, 'Share this' doesn't copy the entire article, it just copies the blurb and gets people to go visit the news site if they want to know more. IMO that is not an implicit or explicit license to copy anything. I think it's good that the judge isn't just handwaving away the idea that it might be, but I think common sense in this case says that the defendant is in the wrong if they have indeed copied a large chunk of data.

  • Re:enough (Score:4, Insightful)

    by cgenman ( 325138 ) on Wednesday September 22, 2010 @09:51AM (#33661566) Homepage

    You do realize that copyright law doesn't actually cover the sharing of information and ideas, but merely the particular expressive form that entails. If people were to have taken all of these stories and put them into their own words, the newspaper wouldn't have a copyright claim because the information contained therein is not copyrightable. But they didn't, they plagerized to some degree or another.

    Also, your description of "No Trademarks" quickly wanders back into the "oh, it's a tradmark" territory. You acknowledge the need for consumers to be able to reliably source the origins of the products they buy, and put a non-falsifiable identifier in there which discriminates manufacturers. Except, of course, that the address of a company doesn't really have any meaning in this day and age, as Apple for example has headquarters and manufacturing all over the world. So you have to fall back to some non-falsifiable unique identifier.

    For trademarks, I feel like the system needs to give legal costs+ punative damages against tradmark abusers who sue for opportunistic inactive tradmarks. But that overall the trademark system is OK.
    The patent system is badly, badly underfunded. If patent clerks had enough time to actually investigate patents, we might see a dropoff in false patents being granted. Bringing in a network of secret outside consultants might help.
    Copyright is getting to be a bit of a mess, but that's mainly due to stupid legislation pushed through by artists groups that don't actually represent the artists. Cut back mandatory damages for small-time personal infringement to something similar to physical theft, modify the DMCA to allow for ANY content protection bypassing so long as it is for things which are within the user's rights, and require the RIAA to sign up each damned artist individually and send each of them a statement every month with the money that they owe that particular artist.

  • Re:enough (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Migraineman ( 632203 ) on Wednesday September 22, 2010 @09:55AM (#33661616)
    Look, if you're going to publish your "manifesto," it's gotta have more verbage. Folks won't take the outline version seriously. And posting it to Slashdot just won't do. You'll need to hijack a schoolbus full of nuns and kittens, hold them at gunpoint at the public library, and put on a hell of a show for the local media, lest they preempt you for the latest episode of "Big Brother: Who's Watching the Watchers?."

    Oh, and body armor. Definitely.

    On a more serious note, chucking the entire copyright and patent systems is swinging to the opposite still-busted extreme from what we have now. Instead of pseudo-permanent ownership of IP elements, you'll end up breeding a pack of predatory IP-stealers who are well funded, and who are capable of getting your product to market faster and cheaper than you can.

    Might I make a suggestion? Push copyright and patent durations back to something more sane - 10-20 years maybe? Make them inalienable - they're stuck to the original creators, and corporations don't qualify as "creators." People create; corporations are simply collections of people who agree to work for a common goal. When the work's creator dies, the IP immediately reverts to the Public, regardless of who it's licensed to. (Note: you can't motivate a corpse into creating additional works.) Finally, bring back the copyright registration requirement. If it's worth the protection, it's worth some effort on your part. The registration should include posting a source master to the Library of Congress, such that the escrowed copy may be presented to the People at the expiry of the copyright term, regardless of your ability to make that happen.
  • by gsslay ( 807818 ) on Wednesday September 22, 2010 @10:32AM (#33662058)

    You appear to be confusing 'troll' with "someone who disagrees with my perfectly correct opinions and therefore must be silenced".

    Trolls are generally not welcome, as they are not interested in discussion, just provoking reaction. They may not even care about the topic discussed one way or another. It's just a way of getting attention for their favorite topic; themselves.

    People who disagree, however, are essential for any good discussion forum. Informed and considered opinion rarely forms from people sitting around congratulating each other on how right they all are and how much they are in agreement. I can't imagine why anyone would want to hang out in any forum like that. Ideas need challenged to prove their worth. Calling those who provide the challenge 'trolls' or 'shills' are just ad hominen attacks that avoid the real issues.

  • Re:Um... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by DerekLyons ( 302214 ) <> on Wednesday September 22, 2010 @11:05AM (#33662628) Homepage

    It is, as they always say in the lawsuits against P2P operators, all about how you advertise your services.

    Correct, and from the responses here on Slashdot, I suspect virtually none have actually gone and checked out the 'advertising'. It doesn't say what you think it says.

    If you say "Here is my article, come read it" then you're not implying anything beyond that, but if you say "Here is my article, come read it and share it with all your friends" then the implication is that you're happy for people to take that article and spread it around.

    However, the LVRJ is not saying "here's the article, share it with all your friends", they're saying "here's a link, share it with all your friends". There's a huge and important difference there.

  • by mcgrew ( 92797 ) * on Wednesday September 22, 2010 @11:16AM (#33662856) Homepage Journal

    People who disagree, however, are essential for any good discussion forum.

    I agree entirely with your post, but when you see strawmen and other deceitful arguments, you're looking at a troll.

"My sense of purpose is gone! I have no idea who I AM!" "Oh, my God... You've.. You've turned him into a DEMOCRAT!" -- Doonesbury