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Newspapers' New Revenue Plan — Copyright Suits

Soulskill posted about 4 years ago | from the works-better-than-paywalls dept.

The Media 123

SpicyBrownMustard writes "Wired magazine has coverage of the numerous lawsuits recently filed by Righthaven, LLC regarding the content of the Las Vegas Review-Journal. 'Borrowing a page from patent trolls, the CEO of fledgling Las Vegas-based Righthaven has begun buying out the copyrights to newspaper content for the sole purpose of suing blogs and websites that re-post those articles without permission. And he says he's making money.' The owner of the LVRJ has commented on the strategy, and the Las Vegas Sun has extensive coverage of each suit filed. The owner of one site has apparently settled for more than the site has made in six years. Media Matters suspects many of the suits may be politically motivated, and thus violate federal election law."

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123 comments

The guy isn't exactly innocent either (5, Informative)

SquarePixel (1851068) | about 4 years ago | (#33005820)

The owned of acdc-bootlegs.com site mentioned in the summary isn't exactly innocent either.

To begin with, the site is devoted to offer downloads of bootlegs, which according to current copyright laws is illegal. Even if you don't think it's a big deal, you have to go by laws.

What the current lawsuit is about is the use of copyrighted content from news sites (and not in fair use manner), again a copyright infringement.

Then he is also doing click fraud:

One thing you can do is click on the Google ads on the left side of all of the pages on this site. I make a few cents from each click, which will go directly to paying the settlement. So the more you click, the more you help. And it's free to you! You do not need to fill out any forms or submit your personal information; just click on the link, let the page load and go from there.

The way the /. story title and summary is worded makes it sound bad, but this guy is also blatantly breaking several laws and frauding advertisers to generate money. He just got what he asked for. He should be happy AC/DC or Google hasn't sued him.

Re:The guy isn't exactly innocent either (4, Insightful)

eldavojohn (898314) | about 4 years ago | (#33005978)

The owned of acdc-bootlegs.com site mentioned in the summary isn't exactly innocent either.

To begin with, the site is devoted to offer downloads of bootlegs, which according to current copyright laws is illegal. Even if you don't think it's a big deal, you have to go by laws.

So when those copyright holders come knocking, he should be prosecuted for that. Why are you trying to smear together two separate cases of alleged copyright infringement? Is it easier to wave your hands and say "it'll never happen to Slashdot?" If you're trying to put me at ease that this won't happen to me because I don't also commit other crimes, it's not working. I submit many articles to Slashdot and I quote many articles in my comments here as I dissect news. Will they sue me for my karma?

The way the /. story title and summary is worded makes it sound bad, but this guy is also blatantly breaking several laws and frauding advertisers to generate money. He just got what he asked for. He should be happy AC/DC or Google hasn't sued him.

Then let him be charged for click fraud (is that even illegal?) and bootlegging movies. If he's being charged for reposting news articles, we should probably talk about that and the sort of growing mentality that may come with it if it turns out to be profitable to sue under. I don't care about his speeding tickets or other things he may be guilty of. Your ad hominem attack may help in a court of law as character assassination but given the number of these suits, it's not putting me at ease.

Re:The guy isn't exactly innocent either (3, Interesting)

SquarePixel (1851068) | about 4 years ago | (#33006186)

There is this thing called fair use. When you quote a part of an article to make comments about it, that is fair use. You are also allowed to take a part of video clip and make a comment about it, so that your viewers can see what you are talking about. That is also fair use.

Separate cases don't matter, I was just pointing out that the guys site is otherwise illegal too and he doesn't seem to care about any of that. Also, click fraud can be generally charged as fraud.

Is that click fraud? (3, Funny)

XanC (644172) | about 4 years ago | (#33006234)

He's encouraging people to click on the links. Isn't that what the advertisers want?

Re:Is that click fraud? (2, Insightful)

SquarePixel (1851068) | about 4 years ago | (#33006424)

He's encouraging people to only click on the links so he gets money. Since it's Google ads, advertisers pay for clicks that are completely useless and only costs them high amount of money. It's also against Google's Terms of Services and hence fraud.

Re:Is that click fraud? (1)

XanC (644172) | about 4 years ago | (#33006544)

The only reason he has the links at all is so he gets money. That's entirely expected and okay.

Most clicks are completely useless, and online advertisers are okay with that too. I bet they'd be glad to have somebody actually see their site rather than not click, or they wouldn't bother to advertise.

Are you sure this is against Google's terms of service?

Are you also sure that violating Google's terms of service is, on its face, fraud?

I'm not sure of either of those two things.

Re:Is that click fraud? (4, Informative)

SquarePixel (1851068) | about 4 years ago | (#33006682)

From Google AdSense policies [google.com]

Encouraging Clicks

Publishers may not ask others to click their ads or use deceptive implementation methods to obtain clicks. This includes, but is not limited to, offering compensation to users for viewing ads or performing searches, promising to raise money for third parties for such behavior or placing images next to individual ads.

Yes, it can be counted as fraud, especially when there's money involved. It's only a matter of at what point (how much money is involved) it makes sense for Google and other ad networks to go after the people frauding them. If someone happens to report him to Google, he will get his account disabled and the income lost. If it was a lot of money, he might even get sued by Google.

Also, since he is now using ads he is also commercially benefiting from copyrighted material (bootlegs) he has no right to. That gives even more serious jail time than the casual piracy happening over p2p networks.

Re:Is that click fraud? (1)

jonbryce (703250) | about 4 years ago | (#33007988)

Advertisers don't want people to click on the link and then immediately press the back button without even looking at the site. They pay Google lots of money for advertising, because they want to make even more money in additional sales.

Re:Is that click fraud? (1)

eugene ts wong (231154) | about 4 years ago | (#33010488)

That's exactly it. They're paying for genuine interest. People may not like advertisers, but we're being stupid if we assume that the advertisers are more interested in clicks than they are interested in visitor interest. Believing that fallacy would be like genuinely believing that a DOS attack would be doing the web site owners a favour, by using up processor cycles and bandwidth.

However, I don't think that we have idiots among us. I think that these people are really evil, and they are trying to deceive us. We have scammers, spammers, and theives among us. Call me an extremist, but nobody is that stupid.

Re:Is that click fraud? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33006640)

No, advertisers want people who view the add to be converted into customers. Number of clicks is the metric they use to estimate the conversion rates and therefore pay the host accordingly.

Encouraging people to click on ads that they aren't actually interested in or to repitedly click the same ad, so you get payed more is similar to a used car salesman running a car in reverse to lower the odomiter reading and thus misrepresent the resale value of the car. The primary distinction is that car odomiters don't actually go down when driving in reverse.

Re:The guy isn't exactly innocent either (4, Insightful)

hairyfeet (841228) | about 4 years ago | (#33007702)

But Fair Use is an affirmative defense (I believe it is the correct term) which means you still have to get to the point that you are standing in front of a judge so you can say "I believe this is Fair Use because" (a judge ultimately decides if it is or isn't) and due to the frankly insane cost of lawyers fees the odds are you'll go bankrupt before they will, which makes this a great weapon against speech.

I think we should be calling lawsuits over imaginary property what they are: Legalized extortion. Because most folks simply cannot afford to defend themselves against the bullies, who go "Hey, it'd be a shame if you lost everything you own due to bankruptcy. Give me $5k and I won't fuck you over". It doesn't matter whether one is guilty or innocent anymore, it is whether you can afford to fight back or not , and most of us simply can't. Just one more way democracy has been destroyed by those with money.

Re:The guy isn't exactly innocent either (3, Insightful)

godefroi (52421) | about 4 years ago | (#33005982)

I agree. Some wannabe-journo "blogger" or someone looking to get a "news" website started plagiarized some newspaper content, and gets busted. I think it's a good thing, even though I'm generally in favor of weaker (meaning drastically shorter) copyrights.

Rule of law, people. Rule of law. If you don't like the law, get it changed though the various means available to you.

Re:The guy isn't exactly innocent either (3, Insightful)

Mordok-DestroyerOfWo (1000167) | about 4 years ago | (#33006034)

So you're posting on Slashdot...where hordes of experts and wannabe-experts comment on articles posted here from other locations. Would you be more approving of him if he simply cited his sources? As one of my old profs used to say, that was the difference between academic writing and plagiarism.

Re:The guy isn't exactly innocent either (5, Insightful)

SquarePixel (1851068) | about 4 years ago | (#33006096)

Slashdot just summarizes the stories and provides links to the source articles. That is fair use. The guy was just copying the whole articles.

Re:The guy isn't exactly innocent either (1)

godefroi (52421) | about 4 years ago | (#33006726)

Would you be more approving of him if he simply cited his sources?

No, but I'd be more approving (and I suspect the paper would have been too) if he'd have posted stuff along the lines of, "I read in today's paper that [article summary here]. You should grab a paper and check it out."

Re:The guy isn't exactly innocent either (1)

mcgrew (92797) | about 4 years ago | (#33007064)

As one of my old profs used to say, that was the difference between academic writing and plagiarism.

About fifteen years ago, a colleague had on his office wall "If you copy one person's work it's plagiarism. If you copy a whole lot of people, that's research".

Re:The guy isn't exactly innocent either (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33008772)

"Rule of law, people. Rule of law. If you don't like the law, get it changed though the various means available to you."

Like making enough money to be able to afford professional lobyists, expensive lawyers and the cost of going to trial? Anyway you don't seem to know your history very well, civil disobedience has always been one of the ways to influence law making. It played a central role in the Women's Suffrage Movement, the abolition of slavery and the Civil Rights Movement to mention only a few. In the same manner the pirate parties that fight for freedom of expression, freedom of information, privacy and fundamental reform of copyright law and that currently have seats in the Swedish and EU parliaments have grown out of the civil disobedience movement that centeres around the Pirate Bay.

Re:The guy isn't exactly innocent either (1)

mcgrew (92797) | about 4 years ago | (#33006788)

I guess I should be proud of my local paper [sj-r.com] . The non syndicated stories (non-AP, non-UPI, etc) are published under a Creative Commons license, so when I link and cut and paste from it for my slashdot journals (example here) [slashdot.org] , I don't have to fear a lawsuit.

Their articles' links disappear after a set time, and you have to pay for archived content. Doesn't seem unfair to me.

Oddly, there are two papers in town; the daily SJ-R linked above, and the weekly Illinois Times [illinoistimes.com] . The SJ-R with its GPL costs seventy five cents for a paper copy, while the IT is free for both paper and web, but it publishes with a standard copyright notice.

Odd.

Re:The guy isn't exactly innocent either (1)

arth1 (260657) | about 4 years ago | (#33007056)

The owned of acdc-bootlegs.com site mentioned in the summary isn't exactly innocent either.

So what?

Are you saying that if I can show that you're a sleaze-bag and fraudster, you should have no rights to call me on it if I try to extort money from you?

My common sense tells me that these lawsuits are indeed frivolous, because (AFAICT) the offended party has taken no steps to have the problem resolved by any other means before going to the step of suing. What happened to cease-and-desist and DMCA takedown notices? Do the courts and judges really want people to start suing first?

Takes one to know one. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33005870)

Media Matters suspects many of the suits may be politically motivated, and thus violate federal election law.

Media Matters is funded by the Democracy Alliance, which is funded by [wikipedia.org] George Soros, MoveOn.org, and the New Democratic Network. Seriously, slashdot, how is that last sentence even worth mentioning? Is this whole article just part of your liberal propaganda machine?

Re:Takes one to know one. (2, Insightful)

NiceGeek (126629) | about 4 years ago | (#33005898)

Who exactly is Media Matters suing? Last I checked, being affiliated with a political movement didn't mean you couldn't state your opinion.
Of course I'm not sure why I'm bothering responding to an AC.

Re:Takes one to know one. (1, Interesting)

RingDev (879105) | about 4 years ago | (#33006056)

The MM argument is that the copy righted content has value (as proven by this company). So the act of giving a political party a gift of valuable content is effectively the same as making a campaign contribution. There for, any such actions would require them to follow election campaign laws.

And maybe I missed it, but has MM actually sued yet? Or are they just talking about it?

-Rick

One way street? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33006144)

I don't suppose MM does anything similar with regards to using content to make 'contributions'?

Re:Takes one to know one. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33005938)

That doesn't make the claim wrong and they do lay out their case reasonably clearly. Why not argue against that rather using a vague ad hominem attack?

Re:Takes one to know one. (1, Troll)

Enry (630) | about 4 years ago | (#33006002)

George Soros! Booga Booga!

Really? You're going with that? Go look up Richard Mellon Scaife and then get back to us.

Re:Takes one to know one. (2, Informative)

Anonymusing (1450747) | about 4 years ago | (#33006064)

Media Matters [mediamatters.org] is a media watchdog that is certainly politically motivated but frequently includes actual facts in their analysis. So it's a valid reference, and we can hope that readers will be intelligent enough to make up their own minds. I'll be nonpartisan and note that Newsbusters [newsbusters.org] does the same thing, just from the other end of America's political spectrum.

Given the possible political angle, it is interesting to see what the different sides are saying [left-right.us] about Righthaven.

Re:Takes one to know one. (2, Informative)

ptbarnett (159784) | about 4 years ago | (#33007526)

Media Matters [mediamatters.org] is a media watchdog that is certainly politically motivated but frequently includes actual facts in their analysis. So it's a valid reference, and we can hope that readers will be intelligent enough to make up their own minds.

Media Matters is wrong. All you need to refute them is the recent list of sites that are being sued:

Conservative website among 3 sued over R-J copyrights [lasvegassun.com]

The article identifies Free Republic [freerepublic.com] as one of the recently targeted websites.

To be fair, Media Matter's article pre-dates the suit against Free Republic.

Dumb (4, Insightful)

Bryansix (761547) | about 4 years ago | (#33005950)

Anybody with half a brain realizes that facts are free but content is not. I'm actually happy that these websites that simply repost content so they can steal the ad revenue are being sued. How lazy do you have to be to not just write your own content on the same exact subject and do some semblance of research on the topic?

Re:Dumb (4, Interesting)

CheshireCatCO (185193) | about 4 years ago | (#33006012)

Well, for one thing: in a lot of the cases, it sounds like the site owners aren't posting the content, it's user-uploaded. That calls for a take-down notice, not a lawsuit. So they're more likely trolling for lawsuit money and not interested in protecting IP.

Also, it isn't clear to me how much of each story is being reposted. Is it the whole thing without commentary? Snippets within a much larger post? Somewhere in between?

Fox News is Racist (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33005954)

Fox News promotes coded racism (for the benefit of its Republican overlords) on a regular basis.

I hope I don't get sued for pointing that out.

Re:Fox News is Racist (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33006042)

Fox News promotes coded racism (for the benefit of its Republican overlords) on a regular basis.

I hope I don't get sued for pointing that out.

The only thing anyone would point out is that you're an idiot.

Re:Fox News is Racist (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33010326)

You're right - he probably WILL be sued for pointing out that particular fact. What a moron!

Not entirely evil (4, Insightful)

Enderandrew (866215) | about 4 years ago | (#33005980)

I know this seems evil, but in the end, journalism is important. And if newspapers are going to survive moving into the future, they need to start selling content and protecting content.

I think people should be able to quote 2-3 sentences, summarize your story and link to it. But fully copying content isn't cool. And while I assume I'll get some responses who suggest IP is imaginary and that all information should be free, this is reality. It costs money to produce content. You can give away your content for free if you wish, but content creators deserve the right to make money on their content if they so choose.

Re:Not entirely evil (3, Insightful)

LWATCDR (28044) | about 4 years ago | (#33006044)

I agree. Cut and paste is bad
Linking should be protected.

Re:Not entirely evil (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33006124)

I agree. Cut and paste is bad

Re:Not entirely evil (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33006516)

I agree. C
Linking sh

Rectangle cut/paste is worse.

Re:Not entirely evil (2, Insightful)

kimvette (919543) | about 4 years ago | (#33006988)

"I agree. Cut and paste is bad."

Why? Because if you cut & paste, then you are:

a) "stealing" their content, depriving them of what they own
b) it would require massive security holes in their system.

Copy & paste, with attribution, is not nearly as bad. Even better is summarizing, and using copy & pasted snippets in accordance with Fair Use guidelines.

This has been my obligatory pedantic post for today. :)

Re:Not entirely evil (0, Flamebait)

GooberToo (74388) | about 4 years ago | (#33007342)

Copy & paste, with attribution, is not nearly as bad.

Probably more accurate to say, almost as entirely as bad...almost. The difference between a link and a cut and past is likely revenue.

But hey, I'm sure a photocopy of your pay check is not nearly as bad as not receiving one.

And to continue on the soap box...
People need to understand that copyright violations are harmful and often mean the difference between someone getting a paycheck and not. Its not just billion dollar companies who are harmed. So if you pirate anything, I assume, unless you are complete hypocrite, you never accept a paycheck. Otherwise, you're working hard to deprive someone else of theirs - despite their hard work.

Re:Not entirely evil (1)

Mathinker (909784) | about 4 years ago | (#33007602)

People need to understand that copyright violations are harmful and often mean the difference between someone getting a paycheck and not. Its not just billion dollar companies who are harmed. So if you pirate anything, I assume, unless you are complete hypocrite, you never accept a paycheck. Otherwise, you're working hard to deprive someone else of theirs - despite their hard work.

People need to understand that copyright violations are not always harmful and do not necessarily mean the difference between someone getting a paycheck and not. In fact, some of us both pirate and pay, it's just that copyright law is currently so f***ed up that we need to break the law to use the content that we pay for in the way we want to. Or it prevents us from obtaining content which doesn't generate income for anyone anyway. So if you pirate something, I assume, unless you are a complete hypocrite, you actually think about whether what you are doing is morally correct. Otherwise, if you automatically believe that merely because something is against the law it is morally wrong, you're showing a complete lack of imagination.

Re:Not entirely evil (1)

LWATCDR (28044) | about 4 years ago | (#33008198)

There is some room for discussion on that one but we are talking about copying news stores.
This is like burning copies of DVDs and selling them.
When you cut and past this into your blog. You are in effect taking someone's work and making money from it "ads" and depriving them of their money "ads" with out their permission.
That really is theft. But making a summary of it and linking to it is not just fair use but helpful to the author as it can drive readers to them and increase their earnings.

Re:Not entirely evil (1)

Mathinker (909784) | about 4 years ago | (#33008642)

You are in effect taking someone's work and making money from it "ads" and depriving them of their money "ads" with out their permission.

But isn't just rewriting the news article also "taking someone's work"? Yet, somehow, it is perfectly legal. But possibly morally wrong, depending on one's outlook.

Yet another example to back up my post, which, by the way, was not restricting itself to the narrow subject of news/copy/paste, but was a general reply to knee-jerk pro-copyright rhetoric.

Re:Not entirely evil (1, Insightful)

Mordok-DestroyerOfWo (1000167) | about 4 years ago | (#33006084)

Here is your requested response...information should be free! If I'm the first to see a car accident do I suddenly own the rights to publish that particular story? I will grant you that simply copying and pasting entire stories without a citation is sketchy. However I'd much rather deal with the ramifications of a few people making a few bucks that way, than have all of the important news locked behind paywalls.

Re:Not entirely evil (3, Informative)

Bryansix (761547) | about 4 years ago | (#33006156)

No you are doing it wrong. You broke your own chain of logic. Where did anybody say that a news story is being copyrighted? The point here is that if you write it then you own it. You are still free to write whatever you want based on any facts available to you. Your whole post is a pointless tangent.

Re:Not entirely evil (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33006442)

So you just want other people to collect the important news for you so you can read it for free.

Re:Not entirely evil (4, Informative)

bws111 (1216812) | about 4 years ago | (#33007184)

The 'information' is free and can not be copyrighted. The information in this case would be the fact that there was an accident, number of cars, etc. However, if you write a creative description of that information, it can be copyrighted.

You could not copyright the following description: There was an auto accident at the corner of A and B streets today. One of the cars was speeding and ran a red light. Minor injuries were reported.

However, the following may be able to be copyrighted: A spectacular auto accident occurred at the corner of A and B streets today. One vehicle was careening down the street and inadvisedly ran the red light. The other vehicle had already entered the intersection, and they collided in a cacophony of breaking glass and crumpling steel. Fortunately for all involved, only minor injuries were reported.

Anyone could strip out all of your 'creative' content and still reprint the facts, adding their own creative content if they wish. But that is not what is occurring. Instead, people are just copying YOUR sentences.

Re:Not entirely evil (1)

PhxBlue (562201) | about 4 years ago | (#33010230)

You could not copyright the following description: There was an auto accident at the corner of A and B streets today. One of the cars was speeding and ran a red light. Minor injuries were reported.

Hi, journalist writing here, and yes, you can copyright the above description precisely because it's a description. What you can't do is copyright the facts of what happened.

So let's say Journalist A writes the description you provided. Journalist B writes, "One person was injured today when a car ran a red light at the intersection of A and B streets." They're both in the clear.

Now, let's make things a bit muddier. Journalist C writes almost the exact same thing as Journalist B. Does that mean Journalist C violated Journalist B's copyright. Not necessarily -- maybe the two journalists both follow the rule, "If it bleeds, it leads": if someone was killed, you lead with the death; if someone was injured, you lead with the injury. But the kicker is the word almost -- if two reports are identical, Journalist C could be in trouble, not so much for violating Journalist B's copyright but for plagiarism. Successive paragraphs would give you more evidence one way or the other: did both stories give the same information in the same order? Were the same direct and indirect quotes used in both articles?

Anyway, tl;dr: You're right that you can't copyright a fact, but any description, which is by definition a creative retelling of facts, can be copyrighted.

Re:Not entirely evil (1)

bws111 (1216812) | about 4 years ago | (#33010500)

Yes, you are of course right. Thanks for the clarification.

Re:Not entirely evil (2, Funny)

strikeleader (937501) | about 4 years ago | (#33006104)

Can this be...wait it is...common sense.

Re:Not entirely evil (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33006814)

Actually not. Sense such as this is actually quite uncommon :P

Re:Not entirely evil (1)

cg3001 (900856) | about 4 years ago | (#33006270)

I actually totally disagree...yes it does cost money to create the content,and the editors need to be paid more..but it doesn't cost to keep reselling that same content. That is free...and should be. It’s like your not seeing the depth of the problem here. This is the same problem that the RIAA is doing, they pay the artist for the content (songs) they distribute it...and expect the revenue to always come from that music they distributed based on a fade in most cases. There should be fair time limit to the holding of all content, it can not go on indefinitely this is wrong..you can not keep asking for money for CD's after the artist have been amply paid, the producers have been amply paid and the middle man. When the Cd's are not costing 3cent to make..and being sold for 14 bucks per copy, this is insane...the right should expire, the content should go free and NEW content should be free to be made after the original without worry of any lawsuit or breach in copyright. The Sonny Bono Act (Digital Millennium copy right is. in itself wrong) when it allows the extension of copyright to keep on going. Everything should end...and it should end, in the times of one average humans life span. I would estimate 30 years..Patents, Copyrights, Trademarks etc etc...its the greedy that have kept this going on, and on...and this is killing our innovation and always will..

Re:Not entirely evil (3, Insightful)

Enderandrew (866215) | about 4 years ago | (#33006406)

When you buy a beer, you are given a glass bottle or alumninum can. The container is cheap. You're suggesting the cost of the container is the only cost that matters. It isn't.

The RIAA and MPAA have been fairly evil in their tactics, but that doesn't mean they have no legitimacy to some of their complaints.

Record companies front an artist the money to pay for a tour for instance. That money comes from album sales. You're suggesting that an artist is going to be paid once for recording an album. Who is going to pay them and why?

And yet in your world, they don't have the rights to sell individual CDs because copies of content shouldn't count.

What business model exists here? How is the artist getting paid at all?

Prices are set by a free market. In the iTunes age, it seems very few people pay $14 for a CD. They pay 99 cents for individual songs they like.

And 99 cents isn't a ridiculous price for something that I can listen to over and over again, and get repeated entertainment and value from.

As a kid I pirated tons of PC software. And I watched all my favorite computer game shops fold citing piracy. We can debate how much piracy affecting them financially or didn't, but if you don't pay for content then you don't get to bitch when that content disappears. If you like something, you need to financially support it to make sure that kind of content is financially feasible in the market.

Re:Not entirely evil (0)

cg3001 (900856) | about 4 years ago | (#33006702)

AGAIN your not seeing the issue, and you are wrong, prices are NOT set by the free market if so they would be free hence why people are STEALING them goofy. yes you buy a beer and you pay the service for the putting the beer in it, but you do not keep paying a monthy copyright on using that beer. Your silly....go reread what I write and come back when you can understand it...properly...

Re:Not entirely evil (2, Insightful)

Enderandrew (866215) | about 4 years ago | (#33006834)

They are being set by the market.

The RIAA said no one would pay for digital music because people can just as easily steal it. I think a WB exec equated it to Coca-Cola coming out of your faucet for free, and suggesting that means no one would ever by a Coke again.

iTunes is now the single largest music retailer in the country. The market has spoken, and enough people choose to purchase their music at that price point to keep the industry salient.

I don't pay a monthly copyright on any of my music. I buy the album/song once, and I'm done. There are business models and other price points to rent music. I don't partake of the personally.

Beer is also gone once I'm done drinking it. It would be near impossible to rent. Where I reuse my music collection. I still regularly listen to albums I bought nearly 20 years ago.

If I bought a Pearl Jam album in 1991 and still enjoying listening to it today, then I got an awful lot of value out of $11. Even better, I'm not done listening to it. I can listen to it as many timeas as I want over the course of my life.

You think that pricetag is unreasonable.

I think you're a punk who doesn't like paying for things and wants to try and rationalize it with bullshit rhetoric.

Mod me down or whatever. It's the truth.

Re:Not entirely evil (1)

couchslug (175151) | about 4 years ago | (#33007706)

"Beer is also gone once I'm done drinking it. It would be near impossible to rent."

Drink American beer, which remains the same before and after digestion.

Re:Not entirely evil (1)

pjt33 (739471) | about 4 years ago | (#33007742)

I think a WB exec equated it to Coca-Cola coming out of your faucet for free, and suggesting that means no one would ever by a Coke again.

Was Dasani [bbc.co.uk] some Coca-Cola exec's attempt to prove them wrong?

Re:Not entirely evil (1)

Omestes (471991) | about 4 years ago | (#33008204)

If I bought a Pearl Jam album in 1991 and still enjoying listening to it today, then I got an awful lot of value out of $11. Even better, I'm not done listening to it. I can listen to it as many timeas as I want over the course of my life.

Except this isn't true. Unless you were on of the lucky few, you bought it on cassette or vinyl. Either way, you got to spend another $16-$20 to switch its format to something modern somewhere in there, even if you bought it is a different (obsolete) format. And now they expect you to buy it in a digital format as well, even if they haven't gotten that wish yet, it still would make them unbelievably happy.

Hollywood is infinitely worse, obviously, since they even made it illegal to watch your movie on some devices, and illegal to switch formats from media that you already own (DMCA). So if you bought in on VHS, you need to buy it on DVD. If your more of a gadgeteer, then you bought it on beta, then VHS, then DVD, and now Blu-Ray, and finally a digital copy so you can watch on the go (as long as you don't run a *Nix, then you must break the law).

I really don't mind IP as long as it makes sense, paying more than once for content is absurd. I don't view it as wrong if you are just format switching. Actually I don't view it as wrong if the artist doesn't get paid, the artist is dead, the media is old enough so that the artist should have gotten a new golden egg laying good (around 30 years). And if someone goes out of their way to screw me, I have absolutely no moral compulsion about playing the same game back. You try to get, via underhanded means, free money from me, then I have no problem with trying to get free stuff from you.

Re:Not entirely evil (1)

uniquename72 (1169497) | about 4 years ago | (#33008536)

Unless you were on of the lucky few, you bought it on cassette or vinyl.

I agree with your basic point, but that line's just ridiculous. I was a dirt-poor college student in 1991, and even then records were considered quaint. CD players were already commonplace, and many "record" stores had stopped selling records.

I don't even recall a single person in my dorm with a record player, but everyone had CD players.

Re:Not entirely evil (1)

Omestes (471991) | about 4 years ago | (#33009014)

In 91? I might have my time off by a year, but I remember that our local stores still had 1 or 2 shelves for CDs versus 100 or so for cassettes. I got a CD player some time around 90, and I was pretty cutting edge.

My memory might be a bit off by this point though. And I agree, the record bit was completely off. I meant 8-track.

Ahem.

Re:Not entirely evil (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Psychopath (18031) | about 4 years ago | (#33006346)

I know this seems evil, but in the end, journalism is important. And if newspapers are going to survive moving into the future, they need to start selling content and protecting content.

I think people should be able to quote 2-3 sentences, summarize your story and link to it. But fully copying content isn't cool. And while I assume I'll get some responses who suggest IP is imaginary and that all information should be free, this is reality. It costs money to produce content. You can give away your content for free if you wish, but content creators deserve the right to make money on their content if they so choose.

Journalism could only survive by doing a better job than the masses. This had to begin with addressing their deservedly tarnished reputation, which was earned by linking editing to ratings and failing to balance ethics with sensationalism. To put it another way, journalism has already died and all that's left is to argue over the carcass.

Re:Not entirely evil (2, Insightful)

Enderandrew (866215) | about 4 years ago | (#33006460)

I'm certainly upset with the lack of quality, ethical journalism.

Yet in the free market, it sure seems like slant and sensationalism sell considerably better. Tabloids are the best selling newspapers in the world for a reason.

Re:Not entirely evil (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Psychopath (18031) | about 4 years ago | (#33006618)

I'm certainly upset with the lack of quality, ethical journalism.

Yet in the free market, it sure seems like slant and sensationalism sell considerably better. Tabloids are the best selling newspapers in the world for a reason.

I agree. They are selling what sells best. My argument is that what you're talking about saving has already gone. Selling copyrights to lawyers is just a way to cash one last check.

Re:Not entirely evil (1)

Enderandrew (866215) | about 4 years ago | (#33006748)

So blogs with even more slant, sensationalism, and less fact-checking completely overtake the news?

I'm not crazy about that idea.

And as far as I'm concerned, the same writes should exist for anyone who creates content, be it a blogger, newspaper, or recording artist when it comes to protecting their creations.

Re:Not entirely evil (2, Interesting)

Junior J. Junior III (192702) | about 4 years ago | (#33006394)

I copy and paste entire articles in my blog. I started doing this when I realized that the news changes the stories. Post-publishing editing is an Orwellian fact of life. I like to preserve what I know I saw at one point, so I have something I can point back to in order to prove I'm not crazy. I consider it a mild form of saving the world.

Re:Not entirely evil (2, Interesting)

Enderandrew (866215) | about 4 years ago | (#33006506)

Let's say a major news story happens, such as 9/11. CNN will publish an initial article on their page. I recall hearing initial reports that the Pentagon was bombed. That was obviously incorrect.

CNN doesn't just republish 50 independent stories over the course of the day to change one small detail as the stories develops.

You can make the argument that they could consider wiki-like revisions of articles so people can see what changed.

Re:Not entirely evil (1)

Junior J. Junior III (192702) | about 4 years ago | (#33007774)

Yes, sometimes articles can be corrected to fix errors. Sometimes they are corrected to fix the reporting with respect to the official truth. We used to have a trail of tangible copies that would help us to establish this in the past. We're in danger of losing that now.

Re:Not entirely evil (3, Insightful)

SydShamino (547793) | about 4 years ago | (#33007408)

Why don't you save a personal copy of the story as you saw it (fair use)? Then, if the story changes, you can revise your own article to point out the changes, quoting both the relevant portions of the old and new text (also fair use).

Re:Not entirely evil (1)

Junior J. Junior III (192702) | about 4 years ago | (#33008404)

Why don't you save a personal copy of the story as you saw it (fair use)?

Oh, I do that too.

I only blog about stuff I have something to say about. I also put a url to go back to the original story, as a way of crediting the source. Hopefully readers click through and give them ad revenue.

It's worthwhile to them, because I capture only text, not any images, and I don't capture links to related stories, etc.

Of course, since I run AdBlock/NoScript/FlashBlock, I never see their ads. I guess I'm double stealing, in their eyes. But honestly, I'm only protecting my resources. Their ads take up space and cpu cycles on my computer, I have a right to block if I want to.

Then, if the story changes, you can revise your own article to point out the changes, quoting both the relevant portions of the old and new text (also fair use).

I could do that, but I don't always go back and check articles to see if they've been modified; I am only interested in the article at the time that I found it, and am preserving it in its own state as though I clipped it out of the newspaper.

Posting it on a blog is like if I owned a store with a bulletin board, and posted articles on it that I felt were important, with my comments, and allowed others to comment as well. As I see it, it's completely fair use, analogous to something that is perfectly legal to do with a physical copy.

Re:Not entirely evil (2, Insightful)

mcgrew (92797) | about 4 years ago | (#33007226)

And while I assume I'll get some responses who suggest IP is imaginary and that all information should be free, this is reality.

Information is free. You're free to read that AP story and rewrite it in your own words, but you're not free to copy the whole damned thing and call it your own.

It costs money to produce content.

Only if you believe that "time is money".

content creators deserve the right to make money on their content if they so choose

No, nobody has a right to make money, but they don't have the right to copy others' work, either. Just because I create content doesn't give me the right to money; I only get money of someone is willing to pay for that content.

Re:Not entirely evil (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33007346)

Fully copying just adds clutter to the intertubes. Search for something, get hundreds back hundreds of sites with the exact same article, word for word.

Steals from the people who did the work, slows the rest of us down sorting through the mess.

Re:Not entirely evil (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33009644)

I never pay for news and yet I'm way more informed than your average newspaper reader. Your "pro-copyright because we need journalism" argument is baseless.

Traditional newspapers may have been important before the Internet, but now it seems that the unrestricted flow of information is most relevant to our society. That means: no copyright infringement cases shutting down information sources.

Imaginary property is imaginary. information should be free.

The last sentence is misleading (4, Insightful)

Attila Dimedici (1036002) | about 4 years ago | (#33006026)

What Media Matters really means is that who they choose not to sue may be politically motivated. The claim is that because they allow people they agree with to use their copyrighted material, they should be required to allow people they oppose to use their copyrighted material. What is the point of copyright if I don't get to pick and choose who gets to copy my material on whatever basis I wish?

Re:The last sentence is misleading (3, Interesting)

Bigjeff5 (1143585) | about 4 years ago | (#33006094)

They could always come up with a "Because We Like You" license and issue it to any site they like.

Perfectly legal (as far as I know, IANAL though), and it can't be bought.

Re:The last sentence is misleading (2, Informative)

DannyO152 (544940) | about 4 years ago | (#33006286)

The point of copyright is to encourage the tangible expression of ideas for those who need an economic basis to do so. We, through the government, offer that limited monopoly because we think ideas, education, culture, political debate, and their propagation are a very good thing. We don't really care about your material wealth, or, rather, I care about your material wealth to the degree you care about mine. Doing well? That nice.

Now if you sincerely only want some people to receive and share your thoughts, write them a letter.

Re:The last sentence is misleading (4, Informative)

Artifakt (700173) | about 4 years ago | (#33006602)

As copyright law was originally written, you sued only over financial damages. For roughly 200 years, you had no basis to pick and choose except financial harm. The law still doesn't give you that right in the US - if it did, it would include what are called 'moral copyright clauses', as, for example, the ones now used in French law which the US has deliberately avoided including in treaty. Now that parts of copyright law have been criminalised, you are in effect arguing that your right allows you to compel the state to engage in selective prosecution of crimes, as is expressly forbidden in the bill of rights, for damned good reasons.

Selective prosecution (1)

gknoy (899301) | about 4 years ago | (#33007816)

... state to engage in selective prosecution of crimes, as is expressly forbidden in the bill of rights, for damned good reasons

It is? I don't recall anything about that, can you tell me which of the first ten amendments relate to selective prosecution? I don't think any of them do, from my cursory re-reading of them. The closest is perhaps the prohibition on cruel or unusual punishment, but I don't think that applies at all.

Selective prosecution (choosing which crimes and criminals to prosecute) allows a judicial system to prioritize crimes or criminals who are most disruptive, to avoid enforcing an unjust law, or merely to scale their workload to fit the number of people they can leverage. For example, we don't have enough cops to ticket everyone for jaywalking, or littering, or speeding. So, the police in some places spend more of their time pursuing things that are either more harmful (robberies/assaults) or more lucrative (drug busts, speed traps). Clearly, in some cases it feels unjust when law enforcement chooses to devote many resources to things like speed traps, but that's a problem with their funding or with their local mandate, rather than with a "problem" of selective prosecution.

Selective prosecution is basically an opposite extreme of "zero tolerance". It allows people in authority to either overlook minor offenses or to tell someone, "Look, you're a good kid, so knock that the hell off" rather than jailing/expelling/punishing them. In some cases it's not a good idea, but it's unwise (IMO) to try to avoid it completely, simply because no matter how hard you work at enforcement, there are always some that slip through your grasp.

Re:The last sentence is misleading (1)

Attila Dimedici (1036002) | about 4 years ago | (#33008718)

No, I am arguing that I don't sue those who have my permission to use my copyrighted material, even if they never asked for that permission. While I do sue those who do not have my permission to use my copyrighted material. Under copyright law, I get to decide who may use material for which I hold the copyright.

Re:The last sentence is misleading (1)

Dausha (546002) | about 4 years ago | (#33009294)

"As copyright law was originally written, you sued only over financial damages. For roughly 200 years, you had no basis to pick and choose except financial harm. The law still doesn't give you that right in the US - if it did, it would include what are called 'moral copyright clauses', as, for example, the ones now used in French law which the US has deliberately avoided including in treaty. Now that parts of copyright law have been criminalised, you are in effect arguing that your right allows you to compel the state to engage in selective prosecution of crimes, as is expressly forbidden in the bill of rights, for damned good reasons."

Where in the U.S. Bill of Rights does it forbid selective prosecution?

Re:The last sentence is misleading (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33008274)

RTFA. They're not saying that they can't choose to selectively enforce. They're saying that the action of selective enforcement is in effect an in-kind contribution to the individual. Since they're contributing something of value the fair market value must be reported as a contribution. Depending on the kind of contribution it is possibly illegal.

Re:The last sentence is misleading (2, Insightful)

DavidTC (10147) | about 4 years ago | (#33009276)

Because free stuff to specific politicians count as, duh, political contributions.

For an an actual real life example of this, google 'c-street boarding house', and look at something that certainly should be under investigation, although it's not as far as we know. Renting a house you own to politicians at a fraction of the normal rent in that area is a political contribution.

However, I don't understand the logic here. They're not refraining from suing politicians, because politicians aren't normally bloggers. Nor do they appear to be refraining from suing any tax-deducible political organizations, which might possibly be relevant, or at least require disclosure.

It's perfectly legal to find some blogger who agrees with you politically and give them money (Or not sue them to take money away), as far as I'm aware. Media matters appears incorrect here under any interpretation of the law.

Of course, if they're a publically traded company, they could be subject to shareholder lawsuits for that sort of behavior.

And, soon, assuming people can get the bill passed, all corporations will be required to disclose to their owners, and get unanimous consent, for political actions. Sadly, this has not passed yet.

Not a troll (1)

harmonise (1484057) | about 4 years ago | (#33006072)

They don't sound like trolls to me. They find someone infringing their copyright and take steps to protect their work. There's nothing wrong with that. Besides, it's just as easy to find a link to an article rather than repost the entire text of an article. Reposting the whole article is not fair use.

Re:Not a troll (4, Informative)

Overzeetop (214511) | about 4 years ago | (#33006194)

They sound like trolls. It appears as if they don't actually produce any of the content. They buy an exclusive license to redistribute on speculation that someone will intentionally or inadvertently infringe, then they sue for enough money to make them money, but not enough to make it worth fighting in court.

Re:Not a troll (1)

harmonise (1484057) | about 4 years ago | (#33007084)

It appears as if they don't actually produce any of the content.

That's completely irrelevant. If they own the rights to the content then they own the rights. It doesn't matter if they are producing it or not. Many companies purchase exclusive rights to things they did not create.

They buy an exclusive license to redistribute on speculation that someone will intentionally or inadvertently infringe, then they sue for enough money to make them money, but not enough to make it worth fighting in court.

So what? Good for them. Copyrights aren't like patents. No one is going to "inadvertently infringe" an entire copyrighted work. If you need to reference an entire work, link to the primary source. There's no need to copy the entire thing to your forum, blog, or whatever. This isn't difficult to understand. If you do it and get sued, consider it an expensive education in using others' works without permission.

Re:Not a troll (1)

Daniel Dvorkin (106857) | about 4 years ago | (#33008070)

That's completely irrelevant. If they own the rights to the content then they own the rights.

It's quite relevant if you consider the actual purpose of IP law as spelled out in the Constitution. We, the people, have an interest in protecting the rights of those of who actually produce useful content. We have no interest whatsoever in protecting the "rights" of those who buy old content and use it for trolling.

Re:Not a troll (1)

harmonise (1484057) | about 4 years ago | (#33010330)

It's quite relevant if you consider the actual purpose of IP law as spelled out in the Constitution.

There is no "IP law" in the Constitution.

We have no interest whatsoever in protecting the "rights" of those who buy old content and use it for trolling.

In other words, you only want certain classes of people to have rights while others do not. I'm all for protecting everyone's rights. If someone wants to create something and allow me to purchase it to use as I wish, I certainly don't want Daniel Dvorkin taking away my right to do so. In your world view, a business owner who hires a graphic design company to develop a logo and graphic identity for their company wouldn't be able to acquire the rights to the design and use them as they please. Likewise, a musician who hires a video production company and producer to make a music video for their song wouldn't be able to acquire the rights to the video.

No thanks!

Re:Not a troll (1)

wizkid (13692) | about 4 years ago | (#33007580)

2 things to consider,
Is the blog open for subscribers to post material? If so aren't the folks running the blog protected by the dcma? They should tell the law firm to file a dcma takedown notice, and they will take the content down post haste.

And what if what they've put up is fair use? They are allowed to quote and put a small insert under certain circumstances. Are they trolling, or protecting there clients. In this case, it sounds more like trolling. If the website is a public blog, I would think that there protected as long as they follow the dcma rules. Of course, how much is a lawyer going to charge to protect you from the copyright trolls?

Drive it away? (4, Insightful)

bhagwad (1426855) | about 4 years ago | (#33006138)

From TFA. He starts with a car analogy (so far so good)

But then, you entered my front yard, climbed into the front seat and drove it away. ....Yet, when it comes to copyrighted material some people think they can not only look at it, but also steal it. And they do. They essentially step into the front yard and drive that content away.

What am I reading here? How can you "drive away" content? After "driving away" with your car, is your car still in place? Unharmed? Ready for you to use? Or sell if you want? Not making a point here. I'm just saying that comparing copyright infringement to driving away a car is beyond silly.

Just like the Getty trolls (4, Interesting)

Overzeetop (214511) | about 4 years ago | (#33006154)

Getty, I'm convinced, makes a good living off of crawling the web looking for their images. They put a bunch of them on stock photo CDs years ago, and the licensing on the box covers implies that they are free to use when you buy the cd (royalty free, I believe, its the term). It turns out, though, that by royalty free, they mean you don't have to pay per impression, but you still have to buy a license for each image separately, per year. I got hit for two thumbnails a couple years ago, and had to cough up $2000 for the transgression.

Thing is, for $2k, you can't fight it. And even if you've got a 90% chance of winning (which I didn't, though the oversight was unintentional - or rather, I thought I actually did own a license), it's not worth $20,000-$100,000 legal bill to try and prove you're right.

It extortion, but legal.

Oh, and I'll never, ever license a Getty work, and I actively discourage it with everyone I know.

Re:Just like the Getty trolls (1)

MemoryDragon (544441) | about 4 years ago | (#33007320)

Btw. Getty Images is owned by Bill Gates.. so go figure...

Re:Just like the Getty trolls (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33007450)

No they're not. Their competitor Corbis is.

Re:Just like the Getty trolls (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33008976)

No, Bill Gates owns one of Getty's competitors, Corbis.

It begins! (3, Interesting)

Drakkenmensch (1255800) | about 4 years ago | (#33006262)

Companies now OWN world events!

Re:It begins! (1)

El_Muerte_TDS (592157) | about 4 years ago | (#33006826)

Wow... that must be world news.

I wonder who owns the rights.

Re:It begins! (1)

Animaether (411575) | about 4 years ago | (#33008942)

Or maybe they just 'own' (hold copyright on) that 8 page in-depth article on soldiers who fell victim to roadside IEDs, written from hours of interviews with locals, the soldiers themselves, their superiors, the soldiers' family, a real life account of being a convoy where the 2nd vehicle in the convoy was hit just in front of the 3rd with the reporter in place, with weeks of travel.

I guess if the time, effort, money spent and risk taken are worth zilch to you* - then absolutely.. go copy/paste that onto your Joe Blow World News site and rake in the ad impressions/clicks.

Just don't go crying if the copyright holder comes collecting.

Even if it's filler pieces from the AP/Reuters/etc. - guess what, you can license those.

When you don't feel like licensing, you can still summarize / extract / etc. If you're not sure where to draw the line in quoting articles / providing summaries, then maybe you shouldn't be running a 'news website'.

( * generic 'you' - not you, specifically )

How do I contact Righthaven? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33006450)

I'd like to buy some stock.

-Darl McBride

Business Plan (1)

ctchristmas (1821682) | about 4 years ago | (#33006620)

Well I guess that is the standard money making back up plan: If you can't make money by working hard or providing a useful product or service, sue someone else to make money.

Counteroffer (1)

Nom du Keyboard (633989) | about 4 years ago | (#33006952)

How long, I wonder, before one of these lawyers gets the counteroffer: You drop your suit and I don't shoot you?

Just a question for now.

Re:Counteroffer (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33009264)

The article said he sued a hardcore biker site.
Now that's an excellent career move.

Bad Choice (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33007150)

Other newspapers made the decision to move to paywalls and severely reduced the traffic to their site. At least they made some money off that. This guy is creating essentially a free paywall, where people will avoid the site without even bothering to pay for what is shown. I just hope his choice proves fiscally prudent and that whatever he gets in return from the lawsuits, if anything, is worth the decreased traffic to his site.

Will they sue google for shows clips of the conten (1)

Joe The Dragon (967727) | about 4 years ago | (#33007822)

Will they sue google for shows clips of the content?

Who owns the News? (1)

the_bogus_1 (1045892) | about 4 years ago | (#33010412)

The media (concerning print, TV, radio, news, tabloids, gossip etc.) have set a precedence on who owns the news when they started buying story's from celebrities, accident victims, national hero's, etc. So with a precedence in place, how can they now say that "they" own the story just because they reported it? Unless the person. company, state or Country etc. that they are reporting about have sold the rights to them. Otherwise the news belongs to the person/persons that the news report is based on.
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