Feeds

Judge tosses lawsuit from copyright troll

Only 156 more to go

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

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. ®

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

More from The Register

next story
Doctor Who's Flatline: Cool monsters, yes, but utterly limp subplots
We know what the Doctor does, stop going on about it already
Facebook, Apple: LADIES! Why not FREEZE your EGGS? It's on the company!
No biological clockwatching when you work in Silicon Valley
'Cowardly, venomous trolls' threatened with TWO-YEAR sentences for menacing posts
UK government: 'Taking a stand against a baying cyber-mob'
Happiness economics is bollocks. Oh, UK.gov just adopted it? Er ...
Opportunity doesn't knock; it costs us instead
Ex-US Navy fighter pilot MIT prof: Drones beat humans - I should know
'Missy' Cummings on UAVs, smartcars and dying from boredom
Sysadmin with EBOLA? Gartner's issued advice to debug your biz
Start hoarding cleaning supplies, analyst firm says, and assume your team will scatter
Zippy one-liners, broken promises: Doctor Who on the Orient Express
Series finally hits stride, but Clara's U-turn is baffling
Don't bother telling people if you lose their data, say Euro bods
You read that right – with the proviso that it's encrypted
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.
Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
Win a year’s supply of chocolate
There is no techie angle to this competition so we're not going to pretend there is, but everyone loves chocolate so who cares.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.