Feeds

Judge tosses lawsuit from copyright troll

Only 156 more to go

Security for virtualized datacentres

A federal judge has summarily shot down a lawsuit filed by a copyright enforcer that's filed more than 150 complaints against websites for quoting all or parts of articles published by a Las Vegas newspaper.

The order dismissing Righthaven's lawsuit is significant because it lends credence to arguments leveled by critics that the lawsuits are an abuse of US copyright laws. It came in a suit the group filed against a real estate blogger who quoted eight sentences from a 30-sentence article published by The Law Vegas Review Journal. The excerpt included factual information but specifically left out the reporter's commentary.

Like almost all of the 156 other lawsuits Righthaven has filed, the complaint was filed without first sending the website a notice to remove the supposedly infringing material. Like most of the other defendants, the blog in this case, www.michaeljnelson.featuredblog.com, quoted only a small part of the overall article and provided a link to the newspaper's site where it could be read in its entirety.

Last week, a federal judge in Las Vegas dismissed the action on grounds that the quote was protected by the fair use exception.

“The court finds that Nelson's use of the copyrighted material s likely to have little to no effect on the market for the copyrighted news article,” US District Judge Larry R. Hicks wrote.

“Nelson's copied portion of the work did not contain the author's commentary. As such, his use does not satisfy a reader's desire to view and read the article in its entirety the author's original commentary and thereby does not dilute the market for the copyrighted work. Additionally, Nelson directed readers of his blog to the full text of the work. Therefore, Nelson's use supports a finding of fair use.”

According to Santa Clara University law professor Eric Goldman, it's “the most important Righthaven ruling yet.”

“The case shows that judges will pay close attention to fair use defenses, especially when it's simply not credible that the republications had any detrimental effect on the newspapers,” Goldman explained. “The case also shows that judges will tolerate partial quotations of articles.”

The Electronic Frontier Foundation has recently agreed to defend one website sued by Righthaven and has offered legal assistance to others. It wouldn't be surprising to see more courts rule against Righthaven in the months to come. ®

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

More from The Register

next story
Ex-US Navy fighter pilot MIT prof: Drones beat humans - I should know
'Missy' Cummings on UAVs, smartcars and dying from boredom
Facebook, Apple: LADIES! Why not FREEZE your EGGS? It's on the company!
No biological clockwatching when you work in Silicon Valley
The 'fun-nification' of computer education – good idea?
Compulsory code schools, luvvies love it, but what about Maths and Physics?
Doctor Who's Flatline: Cool monsters, yes, but utterly limp subplots
We know what the Doctor does, stop going on about it already
Happiness economics is bollocks. Oh, UK.gov just adopted it? Er ...
Opportunity doesn't knock; it costs us instead
'Cowardly, venomous trolls' threatened with TWO-YEAR sentences for menacing posts
UK government: 'Taking a stand against a baying cyber-mob'
Sysadmin with EBOLA? Gartner's issued advice to debug your biz
Start hoarding cleaning supplies, analyst firm says, and assume your team will scatter
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Cloud and hybrid-cloud data protection for VMware
Learn how quick and easy it is to configure backups and perform restores for VMware environments.
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.