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Senate Candidate Sued By Copyright Troll

samzenpus posted about 4 years ago | from the lesson-in-the-law dept.

The Media 253

The Iso writes "Las Vegas based company Righthaven found two articles from the Las Vegas Review-Journal about Republican Senate candidate Sharron Angle reprinted on her web site without permission, so it did what it always does: bought the rights to the articles from the Review-Journal and sued the alleged infringer, seeking unspecified damages."

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If they don't put a rat pancreas in a mouse... (-1, Offtopic)

OrangeCatholic (1495411) | about 4 years ago | (#33486492)

...how will mice survive without it?

Next (5, Insightful)

broKenfoLd (755627) | about 4 years ago | (#33486498)

Now we just need a Paul Allen to step up and sue a senator for patent infringement, and maybe we'll get an ear in the Senate to put a stop to this craziness.

The more the better (5, Insightful)

PerformanceDude (1798324) | about 4 years ago | (#33486514)

Hopefully Righthaven finds more politicians to sue. Lots more. Then maybe - just maybe - will we get some consumer friendly copyright laws. In this case it would appear that Sharron Angle is indeed guilty of willful infringement, but if more politicians get hurt in their own pocket by copyright suits then the chance of them creating laws that states that damages must fit the crime may actually come into effect. That would kill the business model behind the *IAA cartel suits.

Re:The more the better (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33486528)

Hopefully Righthaven finds more politicians to sue. Lots more. Then maybe - just maybe - will we get some consumer friendly copyright laws.

pft! Those case will just have "undisclosed settlements" -- and Righthaven will have more politician owing them when it comes time to vote on legislation.

Re:The more the better (3, Insightful)

salesgeek (263995) | about 4 years ago | (#33487236)

Not likely. If Angle wins, and that is highly likely, Righthaven can look forward to subtle changes in the law. Politicians do not see being trolled as a "favor" and tend to be very good at using power to punish their enemies.

Re:The more the better (2, Interesting)

Haedrian (1676506) | about 4 years ago | (#33486530)

Kind of "Biting the hand that feeds you" isn't it?

I wonder what their plan is - they're irritating a politician, who actually has enough contacts and power to damage the whole enterprise of suing people for large sums of money.

Re:The more the better (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33486586)

This is Sharron Angle. She's going to crash and burn against Harry Reid, and never be a factor again. They don't need to worry about pissing her off, or her faction. They'll burn out in a couple of years, and hopefully they won't get a chance to ruin the country first.

Re:The more the better (1, Informative)

scottgfx (68236) | about 4 years ago | (#33486680)

You may want to read this.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/07/02/AR2010070203977.html

Harry has already done enough to ruin the country.

Re:The more the better (3, Informative)

PyroMosh (287149) | about 4 years ago | (#33487206)

I get it that lots of people don't like Harry Reid. That's fine. But angle is amazingly, dangerously, stupidly incompetent, and perhaps crazy.

She made a lot of noise about "second amendment remedies" if she doesn't get elected, and now has to back track that and either avoid questions, or blatantly state that she's not really advocating armed revolution. Always a good sign.
http://www.lvrj.com/blogs/politics/Another_Angle_issue_emerges.html?ref=279 [lvrj.com]

This one is golden. The idea that she should be "friends" with the media and they should report what *she* wants? HILARIOUS!
http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-503544_162-20012559-503544.html [cbsnews.com]

Or just take your pick. She wants most of the federal government abolished, and is more or less anti-science:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sharron_Angle [wikipedia.org]

Re:The more the better (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33487320)

Anti science??? The wiki article says she is pro science :) (As much as a theologist is pro god).

Re:The more the better (4, Insightful)

khchung (462899) | about 4 years ago | (#33486674)

Hopefully Righthaven finds more politicians to sue. Lots more. Then maybe - just maybe - will we get some consumer friendly copyright laws.

No, you will get safehaven laws to shield politicians from these suits instead. Just like the Do-not-call-list specifically contained exemptions to let politicians call you.

Re:The more the better (4, Informative)

TheRaven64 (641858) | about 4 years ago | (#33486936)

A better example is the recent case against RIM. When the court was about to issue an injunction that would cause Blackberry service to be blocked in the USA, you might have thought that this would make Congress consider reviewing whether the current patent system was really in the public interest. Instead, they indicated that, if this were to be the case, then they'd make an exemption to the injunction for politicians in the name of national security.

replica gucci watches (-1, Offtopic)

lynnli (1814052) | about 4 years ago | (#33486792)

Hopefully Righthaven finds more politicians to sue. Lots more. Then maybe - just maybe - will we get some consumer friendly copyright laws. In this case it would appear that Sharron Angle is indeed guilty of willful infringement, but if more politicians get hurt in their own pocket by copyright suits then the chance of them creating laws that states that damages must fit the crime may actually come into effect. That would kill the business model behind the *IAA cartel suits.

Hopefully Righthaven finds more politicians to sue. Lots more. Then maybe - just maybe - will we get some consumer friendly copyright laws. In this case it would appear that Sharron Angle is indeed guilty of willful infringement, but if more politicians get hurt in their own pocket by copyright suits then the chance of them creating laws that states that damages must fit the crime may actually come into effect. That would kill the business model behind the *IAA cartel suits.

Hopefully Righthaven finds more politicians to sue. Lots more. Then maybe - just maybe - will we get some consumer friendly copyright laws. In this case it would appear that Sharron Angle is indeed guilty of willful infringement, but if more politicians get hurt in their own pocket by copyright suits then the chance of them creating laws that states that damages must fit the crime may actually come into effect. That would kill the business model behind the *IAA cartel suits.

Hopefully Righthaven finds more politicians to sue. Lots more. Then maybe - just maybe - will we get some consumer friendly copyright laws. In this case it would appear that Sharron Angle is indeed guilty of willful infringement, but if more politicians get hurt in their own pocket by copyright suits then the chance of them creating laws that states that damages must fit the crime may actually come into effect. That would kill the business model behind the *IAA cartel suits.

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Re:The more the better (1)

flowwolf (1824892) | about 4 years ago | (#33486810)

Is it really infringement if you're republishing an article about yourself? Are the laws clear on this issue? I only ask because I find that to be very odd.

Re:The more the better (2, Informative)

Neil_Brown (1568845) | about 4 years ago | (#33486888)

Is it really infringement if you're republishing an article about yourself? Are the laws clear on this issue? I only ask because I find that to be very odd.

Most lawyers will probably tell you that "clear" means that you have roughly a 51% chance of success, as opposed to a 99-100% chance of success, really.

Copyright protects the expression, not the subject matter, of a work. As such, the mere fact that an article is about you does not give you ownership of the article under copyright law - similarly, if I photograph you walking down the street, the photograph is mine, not yours. (Absent an agreement or relationship to the contrary.)

If you do not own the copyright in the article, and want to perform an act restricted by copyright, then, you'd either need a licence to use it, or else have a particular fair use defence (US) or fair dealing exception (European).

If you host a copy of the article yourself, you've performed an act restricted by copyright by virtue of uploading it to your webserver, and likely other acts too.

Is it "fair use" to host / redistribute an article about yourself? I'm not a US lawyer, so couldn't express any form of valid opinion on this, but, my understanding is, since fair use is a defence, you'd need to cough up for litigation first. In Europe, it would depend on which state you were in - under English law, the "fair dealing" sections would not permit this, absent, perhaps, a very short period of time after initial publication of the article, for "news reporting" - but that's tenuous at best, t omy mind.

(Just my thoughts, not legal advice, no warranties, don't run as root etc.)

Re:The more the better (2, Informative)

Xtifr (1323) | about 4 years ago | (#33487060)

Basically correct as I understand it, but if you're a private citizen, then I believe you retain some rights over images and descriptions of yourself. The creator of those images or descriptions would still be the primary copyright holder, but I don't think they can publish without your permission.

If you become a public figure (like a Senatorial candidate, for example), then it's a whole different story, and you're more or less fair game. This is why regular photographers get people to sign releases, but paparazzi don't.

Re:The more the better (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33486946)

pardon, maybe i misread it - but the articles she reprinted were reviews about herself. so the subject of the articles is in her copyright, how can she infringe willfully something that should belonged to her from the beginning?

actually she should sue the outlets for breaking her rights! At worst this belongs into the fair use category!

TFA is not very informative. (3, Interesting)

jmerlin (1010641) | about 4 years ago | (#33486536)

It'd be nice to see what content was allegedly copied. If that material is freely available on the LV RJ website, I don't think there's much of a case here, it's just trolls grasping at straws again. But we don't know, because that's how trolls work: stay hidden, be vague, try to steal as much money as possible via government enforced monopolies.

In reality, how much would this possibly have cost? A print copy (if the articles are in print only) sitting in a doctors' office might get what.. 50.. 100 reads for the single copy? People get paper copies then give them away because they're just trash.. are they going to claim 100x the cost of the print times some "assumed number of page hits" as damages? I don't see that any reasonable estimate would be worth the time nor effort of buying a copyright then suing. They must be going for millions, when actual damages may be under $5000. Mmm.. gotta love them trolls.

I'm also curious why, when the articles were discovered and there was no permission given to copy them, why the owner of the site wasn't asked to take them down? Usually this is the first course, and if they don't, then you sue for damages. Do trolls not even have 1 shred of decency?

You want links ... LMGTFY ... (3, Informative)

rdebath (884132) | about 4 years ago | (#33486782)

Re:You want links ... LMGTFY ... (1)

Runaway1956 (1322357) | about 4 years ago | (#33486872)

A lot more people need to leave comments. Mine: "Copyright troll is copyright troll, no matter his rationalizations"

Re:TFA is not very informative. (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33486822)

Righthaven has been at this for a number of weeks. Basically, they clearly don't understand how useful people linking to the LVRJ articles are, nor do they understand the application of proper liability. As far as Righthaven is concerned, if anyone anywhere copies three words from an article and links back to the original, that's bad. Techdirt's been following the situation [techdirt.com] pretty well. This post [techdirt.com] in particular highlights how ridiculous their stance is.

Knowing this, the AP/Yahoo don't want to risk a lawsuit by enhancing the article by doing something as simple as link to the LVRJ. Of course, it's you and I who suffer.

Re:TFA is not very informative. (1)

nospam007 (722110) | about 4 years ago | (#33487270)

"A print copy (if the articles are in print only) sitting in a doctors' office might get what.. 50.. 100 reads..."

The doctor will get sued next.

What is the name of the person in charge? (3, Interesting)

RocketRabbit (830691) | about 4 years ago | (#33486538)

What's the name of the person in charge of Righthaven? Seems to me that there is an evil, profiteering son of a bitch in charge of this hot mess of a company.

We need to start suing his ass.

Re:What is the name of the person in charge? (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33486714)

I like to imagine it's someone called Baron Righthaven - at least with such an evil sounding charicature I can try and maintain my naive childhood view of good and evil in the world (and hope that a hero in shining armour will get around to slaying him when he's done rescuing princesses and such).

Re:What is the name of the person in charge? (2, Insightful)

Sygnus (83325) | about 4 years ago | (#33486870)

Darl? Just sayin...

is it really copyright trolling? (2)

zaphod777 (1755922) | about 4 years ago | (#33486542)

I thought this type of thing is pretty straight forward you can't reprint something without prior permission from the copyright holder.

Re:is it really copyright trolling? (5, Informative)

Andorin (1624303) | about 4 years ago | (#33486566)

Righthaven did not create the article in question. They bought the rights from the creators solely so they could sue the infringer and profit from her. That sounds like copyright trolling to me.

Re:is it really copyright trolling? (4, Insightful)

delinear (991444) | about 4 years ago | (#33486732)

Yes it baffles me that you can buy into a situation like that will full prior knowledge and still be allowed to even raise an action in court. In most situations if you knowingly put yourself in a position of harm in order to benefit through legal action (for instance, throwing yourself in front of a car so you can sue the insurance company) and were stupid enough to admit it, you'd be looking at prison time.

Re:is it really copyright trolling? (1)

ThoughtMonster (1602047) | about 4 years ago | (#33487066)

Just because they sued doesn't mean they have a valid case (assuming the case hasn't yet gone through the preliminaries).

Re:is it really copyright trolling? (4, Insightful)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | about 4 years ago | (#33487304)

Unfortunately copyright law is not all that sensible these days. Big media has pushed for, and got, a lot of changes made, all of which make things more of the "zero tolerance" kind of setup. One example would be statutory damages. One would think that copyright damages would have to be actual and punitive only. After all, the whole point of copyright is so you can make money on your work. So to succeed you should need to prove damages. In the event of willful infringement, a court might then also impose punitive damages, that is pretty common. Tripling the actual damages is often the case.

However that'd mean someone downloading 100 songs online might get sued for like $400. You'll notice that's not the case, they are sued for millions. How's that? Because the law specifies statutory damages. That means that doesn't matter what the intent was or if there was any harm, you can get hit with a ton of damages. Up to $250,000 per incident.

Makes no sense at all in the reasoning for copyright, which according to the Constitution is "To promote the progress of science and useful arts." However it is real useful to step on people.

So while the case may be bullshit in the logical sense, it may well be on the up and up with regards to copyright law. I have no idea, it is far, FAR too complex for anyone who isn't a legal expert in it to understand.

Re:is it really copyright trolling? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33487350)

Yes it baffles me that you can buy into a situation like that will full prior knowledge and still be allowed to even raise an action in court.

A company which has copyrights/patents it does not wish to exert towards its users gets bought by another company. That other company than starts to pursue them.

Although the "bought themselves into the situation" it seems to have got all the rights to do so. So why not this Righthaven company ?

Disclaimer : I have no idea what that Righthaven companies motives are, and in the above reply I did not consider them.

Re:is it really copyright trolling? (2, Insightful)

BasilBrush (643681) | about 4 years ago | (#33487352)

The copyright infringer has done exactly the same wrong, no matter who legally owns the rights. All we have here is the newspaper outsourcing their pursuit of copyright infringers to a separate company. And they've decided between them that the most effective way to do that is to assign the rights to the company that's doing the pursuing.

Re:is it really copyright trolling? (2, Interesting)

elronxenu (117773) | about 4 years ago | (#33487376)

Yes, it seems pretty sensible. Righthaven was not harmed at the time of publication. They clearly looked for an infringement and then brought the harm upon themselves.

On the other hand, it could be said that the Las Vegas Review-Journal had suffered harm, and Righthaven bought the rights, thus relieving LVRJ of the harm and taking it upon themselves.

Re:is it really copyright trolling? (5, Insightful)

BasilBrush (643681) | about 4 years ago | (#33487326)

Righthaven did not create the article in question. They bought the rights from the creators solely so they could sue the infringer and profit from her. That sounds like copyright trolling to me.

No, that makes it sound like the LV Review Journal aren't party to it. In fact the owners of the NVRJ also own Rightshaven. They set up the arrangement to pursue copyright infringers.
  http://www.lvrj.com/blogs/sherm/Copyright_theft_Were_not_taking_it_anymore.html?ref=164 [lvrj.com]

There's no copyright trolling here. Just a case of setting up a separate company to do the pursuit of copyright infringement. A company which can then also offer that service to other content creators.

It's perfectly reasonable. Neither LV RJ nor Rightshaven are at fault here. The only people who are at fault are those who steal their content rather than create it themselves; who copy and paste rather than link; who go beyond fair use, and just reproduce the whole article.

Re:is it really copyright trolling? (4, Insightful)

clarkkent09 (1104833) | about 4 years ago | (#33486596)

Its copyright trolling at its best. There are several amusing parts to this story. The smug smile [wired.com] on the Righthaven CEOs Steve Gibsons (new Darl?) face as he openly brags about his business plan being all about extorting settlement money which the victims generally would rather pay then spend more on legal fees and not being interested in ending infringements, on the contrary, the more infringements the better. The legally dubious tactic of not sending takedown notices or but going straight to the lawsuit, demanding $150,000 and then settling for a much smaller amount. Also, the fact that the Review Journal is generally seen as a newspaper with conservative/libertarian bias and it strongly endorsed Sharron Angle, and now (through Righthaven) is suing her for posting two articles which praised her on her website.

Re:is it really copyright trolling? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33486896)

Is this the same Steve Gibson of www.GRC.COM?

Re:is it really copyright trolling? (2, Interesting)

TheRaven64 (641858) | about 4 years ago | (#33486960)

he openly brags about his business plan being all about extorting settlement money which the victims generally would rather pay then spend more on legal fees

That might be a pretty fatal mistake. In a lot of jurisdictions, that would qualify as barratry. Even the RIAA make an effort to maintain the pretence that they want to end infringement and get fair recompense from pirates, and they're skirting dangerously close to the edge.

I really hope they try this in Texas, where barratry is a felony.

Re:is it really copyright trolling? (2, Interesting)

BasilBrush (643681) | about 4 years ago | (#33487396)

That might be a pretty fatal mistake. In a lot of jurisdictions, that would qualify as barratry.

I think for barratry the lawsuits would have to be generally without merit. These copyright infringements seem perfectly real. There might be a defence against them in cases where the copyright material has been posted in user forums. Safe harbour defence would work. But where a blogger has posted a news story from the paper, in full, and the blogger is the one being sued, then there seems nothing legally wrong with persuing them in order to extract recompense.

Buying rights with the purpose to sue! (4, Interesting)

wvmarle (1070040) | about 4 years ago | (#33486544)

Let's call this a very interesting business model. Or should I say bizarre business model. Maybe one should start making a list of companies with bizarre business models, this should be on the top.

Also the Review-Journal publication should be careful to keep track of which articles they have sold off the rights, otherwise they may end up on the receiving end of a law suit.

Otoh as this troll appears to only handle Review-Journal articles, and obviously can easily buy copyrights from this journal (I can't think of many papers that are so happy to sell the copyrights on their articles - this must be a complete transfer of copyright, not just a license), it sounds like they are a related company one way or another, and basically suing on behalf of Review-Journal just under a different name.

At first I misread the headline as "patent troll". This is not too different. But at least these copyright trolls sue people that really should know better - it is after all much easier to unknowingly infringe on patents than copyrights. Copying stuff verbatim without asking permission is silly, especially when done by a public figure.

Re:Buying rights with the purpose to sue! (1)

GWRedDragon (1340961) | about 4 years ago | (#33486576)

Also the Review-Journal publication should be careful to keep track of which articles they have sold off the rights, otherwise they may end up on the receiving end of a law suit.

They probably sold the copyright, and as a part of the deal got an unlimited license for it.

Re:Buying rights with the purpose to sue! (1)

quantumRage (1122013) | about 4 years ago | (#33487210)

from http://www.righthavenlawsuits.com/ [righthavenlawsuits.com]

Righthaven LLC is owned 50/50 by two limited liability companies. The first is Net Sortie Systems, LLC, which is owned by Las Vegas attorney Steven Gibson – the Nevada attorney who is behind all of the lawsuits filed by Righthaven. The second is SI Content Monitor LLC, which is owned by family members of investment banking billionaire Warren Stephens whose investments include Stephens Media, LLC which owns the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

It looks to me that Review-Journal is part of this troll-scheme.

Re:Buying rights with the purpose to sue! (3, Insightful)

jmerlin (1010641) | about 4 years ago | (#33486658)

This really just should be made illegal. Both for copyrights and patents. Purchasing an intellectual monopoly with intent to cause fiscal harm to another party is profiteering and should be made illegal. The punishment? No less than jailtime for the trolls involved, and it should pierce the corporate veil to nab the CEOs that permit this kind of scheme to happen. Intellectual monopoly have been under scrutiny for a very long time as "not working" and inhibiting intellectual progress, but permitting this kind of action most definitely is a direct inhibition of progress and a blatant abuse of the system. Sure, abolishing both would be best, but for now, hopefully criminalizing profiteering with copyrights and patents should stop at least some of the abuse.

Re:Buying rights with the purpose to sue! (2, Insightful)

micheas (231635) | about 4 years ago | (#33486826)

Although, if someone is infringing on your copyright and you cannot afford to take legal action, shouldn't you be able to sell the work including all legal claims/liabilities?

Personally I would rather get rid of the doctrine of "holder in due course". Which seems to incite fraud, this just seems to incite vigilantism against those that thought that the victim was to inconsequential to worry about.

Re:Buying rights with the purpose to sue! (2, Informative)

advocate_one (662832) | about 4 years ago | (#33487200)

"Although, if someone is infringing on your copyright and you cannot afford to take legal action, shouldn't you be able to sell the work including all legal claims/liabilities?"

it wasn't your copyright when they infringed it though... this is what the Judges should be throwing these cases out for, lack of standing at the time the alleged infringement took place.

Re:Buying rights with the purpose to sue! (1)

advocate_one (662832) | about 4 years ago | (#33487208)

please ignore the above, I replied to the wrong post... arghh!!! damn this stupid posting timer...

Extinctio per absurdum (1)

srussia (884021) | about 4 years ago | (#33486860)

Sure, abolishing both would be best, but for now, hopefully criminalizing profiteering with copyrights and patents should stop at least some of the abuse.

I say let all the absurdities play out until things us so untenable that both patent and copyright get repealed.

Re:Buying rights with the purpose to sue! (1)

TFAFalcon (1839122) | about 4 years ago | (#33487148)

There is a difference between patent and copyright trolls.

With patent trolls and the current state of the patent system, there doesn't have to be any actual link between the patent and the product for the 'infringing party' to be held liable, as long as the patent holder has enough lawyers.

With copyright at least you can clearly see that someone copied your work.

So why not give people the ability to buy 'suing rights'?

What a choice... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33486556)

This is like choosing between Darth Vader and the Shredder from TMNT.

Such a tough decision who to support.

Meh, I'll just put them in a cage and hope something good comes out of it.

Re:What a choice... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33486578)

I'd be content if nothing came out of it...

Well, Yeah (3, Interesting)

BenJCarter (902199) | about 4 years ago | (#33486558)

The party of trial lawyers isn't going to change without some feedback.

How do these people sleep at night. (4, Insightful)

fredmosby (545378) | about 4 years ago | (#33486574)

I like to think that what I do at my job benefits other people. How can someone work a job where they harass people into giving them money, and nothing they do could possibly help anyone but themselves. Lawyers who file suits like these have the same effect on society as people who steal for a living. The only difference is they can't get arrested.

Re:How do these people sleep at night. (1)

mukund (163654) | about 4 years ago | (#33486592)

The bad sleep well [wikipedia.org] indeed.

Re:How do these people sleep at night. (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33486614)

nothing they do could possibly help anyone but themselves

That is a bit of an overstatement. Didn't you even read the summary? This suit will very likely benefit society as a whole; this is a REPUBLICAN candidate they are suing.

Re:How do these people sleep at night. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33487084)

it does need to be said that the republican voterbase is growing at this time when common wisdom says it should be shrinking, and history seems to be repeating itself. Just like in 2001 when we elected bush, the dog is being wagged by it's tail here. Republicans are screaming that obama has not acomplished squat when he has done what he said he would do, the only legitimate gripe is that the economy is not growing at the rate predicted, however it is growing at a rate something on 4x faster than it did during the clinton presidency. Yet the republican and tea party rhetoric is saying that democrats are going to lose their voter base in the house and senate during the next election cycle and that Obama is going to be a one term president, when how they have performed in their jobs has been nothing short of amazing given the debacle that they inherited at the hands of a republican president, house of representatives and senate. Someone needs to stand up to the talking heads and demand that the truth be told here, or we do stand a chance of having the government swing to the right at a very bad time and with disasterous effects. Please do me the courtesy of not just deleting this post as it needs to be said, is relevant and is only slightly off topic. It is on topic in that things like this need to affect the fact that the republican position in this election cycle is one that needs to show that when you disrespect a sitting president, and all of your actions are about rhetorical criticisms and are thinly veiled attempts at a power grab, and not rightly motivated action at improving the quality of life for Americans, you have set yourself up for failure. I hope that the republicans lose their ability to fillibuster and we actually can get some things done in the 2nd half of Obama's first term, things that needed to get done during to last half of Bush's last term but werent going to happen. These things I speak of are winding down of the wars in Iraq and Afganistan, serious help for th economy and unprecedented ammounts of action to do something about global warming. The republican angle on global warming is chapeter and verse what I am talking about. There is no scientific debate, global warming is happening and we can do things to minimize the damage. The republicans have the public almost convinced that there is scientific debate that global warming is happening and that is 100% BS. Do you really want to put people in office, running the country that believe that what there is already a scientific consensus on and can make or break the lives of our children and our childrens children for the sake of a power grab is just a debate that is standing in the way of their takeover of the government? Me neither! so Please vote accordingly!

Voice of Reason

They are sociopaths (5, Informative)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | about 4 years ago | (#33486652)

They cannot empathize with others, they cannot feel the emotions of another. They are totally and completely self centered. So long as something is good for them, they do it.

Most people associate the term with serial killers and it is true, all serial killers I'm aware of are sociopaths, but there are actually a surprising amount of them. Nearly 10% of the population is like that. Most are just inconsiderate assholes, the sort of people that just don't seem to care when they cause problems for others.

That's what happens with people like this. They seem to have no morals because they don't. They'll act perfectly justified in their actions, After all, it is all within the law, why shouldn't they do this? You are stupid for not doing it! Etc, etc.

You will also find, that when someone does something to them the same as they do to others, they get PISSED. It is COMPLETELY different when done to them and they can't see the irony in that.

Happened to a spammer some years ago. He got interviewed by a local paper. He justified his spamming as being no big deal, people could just delete it, didn't cost them anything, etc, etc. What he did was 100% fine according to him. He also bragged on his new $800,000 house. Enterprising Slashdotters figured there couldn't have been many houses sold in that area at that price in the timescale talked about. They were right: There was one. As a result he was signed up for more or less every mailing list there was. A postal truck full of mail would show up every day.

He was livid, threatened to sue any and everyone, hissed, spitted and screamed about how big a problem this was. No recognition, at all, that this was just like what he did to others. In his mind inconveniencing other people was fine, but him being inconvenienced was a crime of epic proportions. Reason is he can only understand his own emotions and needs. Other people are just objects to him.

Re:They are sociopaths (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33486862)

Funny story that - sociopath punished with his own method.

Got a link for the Slashdot article?

Re:They are sociopaths (1)

a_claudiu (814111) | about 4 years ago | (#33487190)

I believe it's this article [slashdot.org] .

Re:They are sociopaths (1)

thijsh (910751) | about 4 years ago | (#33486932)

Excellent example. The question that now remains is: How do you deal with sociopaths? Is the only solution to force them to feel exactly like their victims? Your example seems to indicate there is no 'hey, maybe I did unto others...' moment for sociopaths, so will they ever truly learn from their mistakes? Hmmm, the cynic in me knows the answer is probably 'They will learn not to get caught next time'.

Re:They are sociopaths (3, Interesting)

Aeternitas827 (1256210) | about 4 years ago | (#33486992)

Is the only solution to force them to feel exactly like their victims?

This would generally make them feel like a victim, and tend to escalation of their attacks; because to a degree, they will see it as being retaliation; for example, the person who runs around mugging people for months ends up mugged himself; from there on, he'll continue mugging people, but he'll debiliate them in one way or another--knocking them out from behind, breaking a few bones, possibly killing them (though this would require a quite robust catalyst)--to prevent retaliation.

Re:They are sociopaths (1)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | about 4 years ago | (#33487124)

The only real thing you can do is punish them for their actions. As I said, most of them aren't serial killers (obviously), they are just assholes. While they don't care about others, they are about themselves and most critters, including humans, are reasonably good at learning "If I do X, then Y happens."

So when they do things they shouldn't you punish them. This can mean legal punishment in the case they are breaking laws, or societal punishment in other cases. If you have a sociopath at work you may just have to fire them, but maybe not. If you crack down on them every time they are an asshole to someone, they may perfectly well be capable of being nice. They learn that it is either be nice, or get in trouble.

It also depends on the individual, of course. Like everything else people aren't all the same. There are degrees of the problem and so on.

However basically what it comes down to it you can't rely on moral/ethical arguments to work. You can't say "This hurts people you need to stop." It has to be a carrot/stick situation of "You do what you are supposed to, you get what you want, you don't, you get punished."

In the case of something like this? Well we probably need a change to the law. They've revealed a loophole that should be plugged. Change it so that purchasing copyright with the intent to sue is illegal, and maybe a provision that if you purchase it you have to give reasonable take down notice and so on.

Sometimes assholes just reveal a flaw that can be exploited in the system. The answer may not be to play whack-a-mole with the assholes, but rather to fix the hole. You could compare it to a security hole in a computer you run. Sure having the hacker that exploits it arrested (we'll presume this is possible) would work, and I'm not saying don't, but that it temporary till the next one comes along. The real solution is to fix the problem in the system. Then the assholes can't do anything.

Re:They are sociopaths (1)

thijsh (910751) | about 4 years ago | (#33487212)

You make a good point, but the problem is some holes cannot be fixed (inherently)...

So that leaves conditioning as the only working treatment. But some things can't be punished by law currently (and neither should there be a law against anything and everthing).

But it's also possible to condition without punishment, but what kind of conditioning would work well on a sociopath?

Re:They are sociopaths (1)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | about 4 years ago | (#33487324)

Depends on the sociopath. As I said, all people are different. Might be giving them what they want when they behave.

At work we've got a couple professors that I strongly suspect are sociopaths. They are just assholes and don't seem to care about anyone else. However they are generally nice and civil to us (computer support). Reason is they've found out being nice to us means that we fix your problems faster, and will help you more. If you are jerks to us you can find yourself rather low on the priority list and getting nothing but the minimum we are required to do.

Not saying this works in all cases, but then what in human interactions does? There is no "one-size-fits-all, completely permanent" solution to assholes.

Besides, not all assholes are necessarily sociopaths. Some might just be people who are really dense and not perceptive to others. They may not realize that they are being such jerks.

Re:How do these people sleep at night. (4, Informative)

interkin3tic (1469267) | about 4 years ago | (#33486790)

Maybe they're scared that Sharon Angle will actually get elected. I mean, a look at her positions [wikipedia.org] SHOULD scare even copyright trolls.

Lets see... Thinks rape and incest should not be an exception for abortion? Check. Thinks global warming is a conspiracy? Check. Eliminating the IRS (like, actually eliminating it, not just grumbling at tax time)? Check. Wants to continue the failed prohibition of marijuana? Check, and possibly wants to restart the prohibition on alcohol. Etc..

Sure, she's a republican, and so I'm going to disagree with her on a lot of things (like eliminating all federal influence over education and letting half the states teach that evolution is a lie made up by the devil), but I think her platform goes beyond reasonable. Is copyright trolling against dangerously out-of-touch politicians justified? Probably not, and it's not going to stop her, but this is really more funny in my book for now than an outrage.

Re:How do these people sleep at night. (2, Insightful)

fredmosby (545378) | about 4 years ago | (#33486854)

In this case they're suing someone you don't like, but that's just a happy coincidence. From the article is sounds like the just go to work and sue random people to extort money from them all day. The people who originally wrote the articles don't even benefit from it.

Re:How do these people sleep at night. (4, Insightful)

salesgeek (263995) | about 4 years ago | (#33487268)

The people who originally wrote the articles don't even benefit from it.

This is why copyright reform is necessary. It sums up the problem in the most concise way possible.

Re:How do these people sleep at night. (4, Insightful)

Black Parrot (19622) | about 4 years ago | (#33486876)

Maybe they're scared that Sharon Angle will actually get elected. I mean, a look at her positions SHOULD scare even copyright trolls.

Lets see... Thinks rape and incest should not be an exception for abortion? Check. Thinks global warming is a conspiracy? Check. Eliminating the IRS (like, actually eliminating it, not just grumbling at tax time)? Check. Wants to continue the failed prohibition of marijuana? Check, and possibly wants to restart the prohibition on alcohol. Etc..

Her hard-line views are what got her nominated.

What's funny is seeing all the "Tea Party" politicians running from the cameras, now that they've gotten nominated and don't want the broader public to know what their views are. Back in the regular world, politicians don't miss a chance to get in front of a camera and brag about their grand accomplishments and the more to come.

When a politician doesn't want media attention, you know something is *seriously* wrong.

Re:How do these people sleep at night. (-1, Troll)

clarkkent09 (1104833) | about 4 years ago | (#33487016)

Maybe they're scared that Sharon Angle will actually get elected. I mean, a look at her positions SHOULD scare even copyright trolls.

Having Harry Reid re-elected should scare them even more. That Wikipedia article is actually pretty biased and most of the citations come from hit pieces in liberal newspapers on behalf of Harry Reid's campaign. The quotes from Las Vegas Sun are particularly laughable as the Sun is practically a part of Reid's campaign team and it's a "newspaper" with tiny circulation even though it's given away for free.

Thinks global warming is a conspiracy?

No she doesn't. Like many conservatives she thinks that there is enough doubt about causes of warming and the effects, if any, that the proposed policies would have on it not to proceed with measures that could seriously damage the economy.

Eliminating the IRS

Not true. Even according to the Wikipedia article (or the Sun hit piece used as a citation in it), she never said so. She is for replacing the current IRS code with a simpler one, preferably a flat tax, as per Tea Party platform. Where did she say that IRS should be eliminated?

Abortion and pot regulation are frankly silly issues and while I don't agree with her there I don't think it's as big a deal as the issues I do agree with her on, such as decentralizing education, replacing pseudo-welfare Social Security with an actual retirement savings system, auditing the Fed and other government agencies etc. I think we need some anti-government senators even if they are slightly rough at the edges compared with professional Washington sleaze bags like Reid.

Re:How do these people sleep at night. (1)

Asic Eng (193332) | about 4 years ago | (#33487188)

No she doesn't. Like many conservatives she thinks that there is enough doubt about causes of warming and the effects, if any, that the proposed policies would have on it not to proceed with measures that could seriously damage the economy.

Yes, and there is no scientific basis for these doubts. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scientific_opinion_on_climate_change [wikipedia.org] :
[...] no remaining scientific body of national or international standing is known to reject the basic findings of human influence on recent climate change.

That is, unfortunately, a problem with Wikipedia (1)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | about 4 years ago | (#33487238)

While they are generally good about demanding sources (though I've seen some very unsourced articles) there is no checking on the quality of sources. Now that in and of itself isn't a massive problem since of course sources are listed, and readers can check them for themselves. The problem is that a lot of people these days take Wikipedia to be The Truth(tm). If it says it on Wikipedia, it must be right. It is their first and last source for info. Whatever it says, goes.

My coworkers and I have joked about how we could create a link circle to make something "true" using Wikipedia. Create a website or two with some info, link to them from a blog. Create a little circle of blogs (or use existing ones) that link to each other and to the sites, use some of those to source a Wikipedia article. Once that is up, have some of the other blogs link back to it. Create a nice little circle so that on first view, the fluff "copy-paste" job that blogs like so much all has a source. Wikipedia is happy as there are citations, and so on. Then cite the Wikipedia article where you want to use it to prove your point.

Sure, it would all fall apart under analysis, people would realize that nothing ever links to a credible primary source, but people don't do that usually. Wikipedia is right, and the article wouldn't be resilient to take downs and changes because it would be well sourced.

Don't get me wrong, I like Wikipedia, but it isn't always a good source for information. For technical info, it tends to be the best. This is in part because a lot of geeks take part in it, so there are more experts, and in part because there is little controversy. However the more controversial something is, the more current events it is, and for sure the more political it is the worse the quality tends to be. The group that controls the page (meaning is winning the edit war) determines the nature of the presentation.

So remember: If you want to do a good job citing, don't cite Wikipedia, cite the sources. Use it to find primary sources, and cite those. That is how proper citations are done in academics anyhow. You don't cite a paper that talks about another paper (unless you are specifically talking about the analysis they are doing) you go and get the original paper and cite that.

Re:How do these people sleep at night. (-1, Offtopic)

Totenglocke (1291680) | about 4 years ago | (#33487182)

She's got a lot of bad ideas, but some (one of which you try to list as a negative) are quite good.

1) Eliminating the Department of Education and having states deal with education. Considering that the bureaucracy of the Department of Education itself consumes a great deal of the education budget instead of it being put towards schools, this is a fantastic idea. We need better schools and incompetent bureaucrats in Washington are not the way to improve schools.

2) Pulling out of the UN. Since the UN wants to always extort money from the US for every project under the sun and constantly tries to weaken the sovereignty of the US, we'd be much better off if we pulled out. True, the rest of the world would lose their sugar daddy who pays for all of their programs, but that's the whole point of a countries government - to look out for their citizens, not the rest of the world.

3) Abolishing the IRS and switching to a set consumption tax instead of the colossal mess that is the current tax system would do amazing things for the economy, not to mention make citizens better off.

4) Phase out Social Security. Social Security does not work, hence why it's bankrupt. It was never planned to work - it was planned to just be an extra tax for more revenue, that's why when they first started it the age required to get it was higher than the average life expectancy. Setting up a voluntary system where people could have the government direct part of their earnings into private investment accounts (and those who don't want it could have the extra money to invest as they chose) is a much better system than our proven to fail system we currently have.

5) End the ban on offshore drilling / drilling in ANWR. Sorry, but one thing that's always pissed me off is how Democrats get up and say "We need to stop relying on foreign oil!" and then at the same time support laws preventing us from using the oil on our own soil. Don't say we need to be independent and then refuse to let us use the resources we have in our own country and force us to rely on others.

So yes, the rest of her ideas I either find irrelevant or stupid. That's why I support neither Democrats or Republicans - they both have a few good ideas that are overshadowed by a lot of idiotic ones.

Re:How do these people sleep at night. (1)

roman_mir (125474) | about 4 years ago | (#33487192)

Sharon Angle is something, ain't she? She's crazy.

However this here:

Eliminating the IRS (like, actually eliminating it, not just grumbling at tax time)

- everybody should want that.

AFAIC the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan started to steal money and redistribute that money to contractors - military and civilian alike. Politicians saw the SS money and needed to take it.

Why pay income taxes at all, if you against wars? That's first.

Then there is the entire issue of Freedom. The gov't is telling you: we own you. We own your wages and we'll give you what we decide out of the money you earn. That is unconstitutional and it is immoral.

Third: economy. Economy is suffering due to government taxing/regulating/subsidizing/creating moral hazards/creating monopolies and killing competition to small businesses/bailing out monopolies it creats.

Government is always spending, it is never shrinking and it spent even during the burst of the credit bubble in 2008. Government is printing and borrowing money, it never reduces its consumption, even though anybody as a person or a business (that is not subsidized) has to either find more income or reduce expenses during tough times. Government only spends, which gives a short boost, like an alcoholic drinking more after a binge because it's easier than to stop drinking and face the consequences. Government is the entity that takes in income taxes, prints and lends t-bills all the time - moves debt from one credit card to another, prints cash - dilutes value of everybody's dollars.

Government is the reason why prices always go up, prices skyrocket for everything, for the gov't subsidized through guaranteed mortgages houses, gov't subsidized health care prices went up thousands of times since Nixon fucked it up, gov't subsidized food industry and gov't fixing food prices caused obesity epidemic in US, UK and other places due to fructose used by companies to lower cost and to force people to buy and eat/drink more because they had to figure out a way to lower down costs instead of just having fluctuating prices all that while corn is subsidized. Government causes the tuition prices to go up by giving out loans on public money. Etc.etc., I can type all day long.

AFAIC nobody should want IRS to collect income taxes, it's immoral, it causes wars and steals money that people could use to invest into their own future, money they won't see again, it kills economy.

But of-course it's NOT JUST IRS, it's the Fed, it's gov't in economy in principle, it's ability of gov't to guarantee outcomes and thus providing reasons to corrupt gov't, and at the end that is what gov't is for - it wants to be corrupted because it has the power to help those, who corrupt it. It dangles that carrot and says: here here, rabbit, here, come and seduce me, come and corrupt me, I'll give you what you want - your monopoly, but you'll give me some of that money back.

Gov't in economy is the actual root cause of economy dying, it's more than IRS.

Re:How do these people sleep at night. (1)

TFAFalcon (1839122) | about 4 years ago | (#33487096)

But in a way these trolls do encourage the creation of new works.

Think about it. If you write a good enough article that someone with cash copies without your permission, then these guys come along and buy the rights to your article. It's almost exactly like record companies, except you don't have to deal with them until you have your creative work completed and published, so you can gauge the public response to it, and it's subsequent value. With a record company you have to sign over all rights (for a fraction of their probable worth), and they'll keep 99% of the money if your work is a success, or stick you with the bill if it's a flop.

Re:How do these people sleep at night. (3, Funny)

vadim_t (324782) | about 4 years ago | (#33487178)

On top of a pile of money with many beautiful ladies

Re:How do these people sleep at night. (1)

roman_mir (125474) | about 4 years ago | (#33487226)

ha ha ha, it's the quickest and the easiest and the best way of making the most money (or taking the most resources), and it stays the best, the easiest and the quickest way forever.

A virus or a bacteria uses your body to survive, if they are not deadly, you survive and let them survive in you, that's one way to use you. Beating people up and taking their stuff is the quickest way of becoming much richer than the rest, around you, that's what governments are based on - they take your stuff that they didn't earn and they have authority and power over you and they live better than you, a clown like this one in the story is small potatoes compared to what a government does to you.

Killing you to take your resources is perfectly natural, the only question is this: is it smart? If you are dead the resources you produce can only be taken once. If you are kept alive because only a part of your resources you produced are taken from you, you'll continue being a useful source of said resources, that's why gov't doesn't kill you, and it's against a clown like this killing you - you are a natural resource for the gov't.

How does anybody like that sleep at night? With a big smile, on expensive sheets, on an expensive bed, in an expensive house with sla... assistants and cooks, and cleaners working around to keep all things up.

It actually is quite rewarding for some people, because they want everything and they are vane, so they literally do not care and they literally could kill you in cold blood (but not necessarily by their own pretty hand) if it became more profitable than letting you live. That's life.

Scientology connections (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33486590)

Please mod this up...

Sharon Angle is (allegedly) involve with Scientology and she is getting racked over the coals because of it. Right now there is a microscope on her and this is very possibly one of those things someone noticed and busted her on it.

What else do you expect from a Scientologist tool? (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33486594)

Too late to deny it. [whyweprotest.net]

That's it... (4, Insightful)

Aeternitas827 (1256210) | about 4 years ago | (#33486598)

This whole goddam thing has gotten out of hand. The U.S. has become far too litigious--it's not even a matter of suing for stuff you made anymore; suing for something that someone else made (wrote, in this case), and being able to do so simply because you gave them a few bucks for the rights to it...just ridiculous.

Honestly, if there's anyone who really, truly believes--on their own, not because a few pushy groups with money to finance campaigns--that the current system is the way things should be, then this country has really gone tits-up. Are there ways that some of these abuses could be curbed? Sure, there are; but it should not be, by any stretch of the imagination, be necessary. There is no way anyone with a hand in copyright law before this generation would have wanted this type of bullshit.

To summarize, the extent of copyright should be to protect your work from other people making a profit off of it; if no one else is making money (DIRECTLY) off of it, then STFU, you're not losing anything you wouldn't have already not gotten already; if they are, then you get a) a nice injuction, and b) the sum total of what they made off of it (that you should have)...and maybe attorney's fees. And if you didn't make it, but you acquired the rights to it later, then STFU about anyone having used it before you had the rights; if the original owners didn't care, then you shouldn't either.

Like watching dumb and dumber (1)

syousef (465911) | about 4 years ago | (#33486626)

On the one hand why is the senator infringing copyright?
On the other hand why is anyone allowed to buy a copyright then sue without giving the infringer an opportunity to simply take down the infringing work?

Two wrongs make a right, dumb and dumber, disappearing up one's own back passage. Take your pick.

Copyright law is irreparably broken.

Really Slashdot? Really?! (-1, Flamebait)

eparker05 (1738842) | about 4 years ago | (#33486634)

So because a copyright troll sued a conservative it is somehow benign or OK? What if somebody sued Obama for reprinting a NYT article on his campaign website? What if somebody sued a college professor for reprinting a journal article on his class web page? Either of these actions would be no different in principle, but both would cause slashdot to go into a state of perpetual bloodlust for the copyright troll's head.

Anyways, I'm just saying that it's not right no matter who it is. If the newspaper was really offended, perhaps they should have sent a letter requesting her to take it down before they let some scumbag get the rights to sue her.

Re:Really Slashdot? Really?! (0, Offtopic)

amiga3D (567632) | about 4 years ago | (#33486668)

Well really if someone sued Obama that's obviously completely different. Obama is a democrat, you can't go around suing democrats.

Re:Really Slashdot? Really?! (1)

Black Parrot (19622) | about 4 years ago | (#33486670)

So because a copyright troll sued a conservative it is somehow benign or OK?

25 posts so far. Looks like most of them are saying it's *not* OK. A few bring up what a nutcake Angle is, but don't say anything about that making the lawsuit good.

Re:Really Slashdot? Really?! (4, Insightful)

clarkkent09 (1104833) | about 4 years ago | (#33486702)

So because a copyright troll sued a conservative it is somehow benign or OK?

Nobody actually said that except you. Btw, Righthaven sued plenty of left wing sites too [blogspot.com] . They are apparently averaging several lawsuits per day so I don't really think there is a political agenda here.

Re:Really Slashdot? Really?! (-1, Troll)

Totenglocke (1291680) | about 4 years ago | (#33487198)

So because a copyright troll sued a conservative it is somehow benign or OK? Nobody actually said that except you. Btw, Righthaven sued plenty of left wing sites too [blogspot.com] . They are apparently averaging several lawsuits per day so I don't really think there is a political agenda here.

Actually if you read the above comments, there's a few people saying that it's perfectly ok because she's a conservative - which is pretty much par for slashdot anymore.

Re:Really Slashdot? Really?! (1, Troll)

The Iso (1088207) | about 4 years ago | (#33486780)

I am the submitter of this story. I am a registered Libertarian and much more sympathetic to Sharron Angle than to Barack Obama.

Re:Really Slashdot? Really?! (2, Insightful)

interkin3tic (1469267) | about 4 years ago | (#33486836)

So because a copyright troll sued a conservative it is somehow benign or OK?

Don't malign conservatives like that and don't malign slashdotters like that either. This woman is not conservative. She says she is, but a more precise classification would be "delusional." And those slashdotters like myself who find this a little amusing aren't saying it's okay, this is still a symptom of an incredibly broken copyright system and overly litigious society. Still, it sure as shit ain't sad when slightly bad things happen to dangerous politicians. She's going to a fraction of her warchest to this. If Fox news picks this up, it will probably be spun as a conspiracy to keep it down, will rally her supporters, and she'll come out ahead.

This is me not giving a crap (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33486640)

Sharon Angle is a nutcase and deserves whatever grief she gets.

Righthaven Bahhhhh Phooey (1)

cheezegeezer (1765936) | about 4 years ago | (#33486754)

Is it not time someone sorted this bunch of five knuckle shuffle merchants out once and for all and yes i advocate violence where violence is due to get the desired result i have no objection to someone inserting a few baseball bats to solve the problem :-) ..

-ENOPARSE (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33486788)

wtf?

Las Vegas based company Righthaven found two articles

annotate much?

from the Las Vegas Review-Journal

about Republican Senate candidate Sharron Angle

reprinted on her web site

without permission

So... party A (annotated) found out that party B (annotated) was pirating (annotated) material (annotated) copyrighted by party C.

so it did what it always does

Unfounded libel much?

bought the rights to the articles from the Review-Journal and sued the alleged infringer, seeking unspecified damages.

So... party A saw a business opportunity and took it. I'd like to see a judge ask for party A's motivation for the acquisition. I would like to hope that judges will not take kindly to prostituting the law.

Copyright is a big player in this Senate race... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33486806)

Wasn't Sharron Angle the one who sent Harry Reid a c&d for mirroring an old version of Angle's website? A version that showed Angle to be quite a radical candidate in the Republican primary?

Relevant outside USA? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33486850)

I'm not sure this story is relevant outside the USA. Quit it with the excessive nationalism.

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Phone Booth (1)

w00tsauce (1482311) | about 4 years ago | (#33486966)

Steve Gibson needs to walk into a phone booth.

Term "copyright troll" misused here. (-1)

Narcogen (666692) | about 4 years ago | (#33487014)

This is not a copyright troll.

If the OP or many of the posters had bothered to read TFA they would understand why not.

Righthaven's client in this case is the Review-Journal of Las Vegas. Like many media outlets, its core business is creating content, and while it has an interest in having its intellectual property rights protected, it lacks the internal resources for doing so.

They engage Righthaven to search the Internet for infringing material. When they find it, they purchase the rights from the content producer for the express purpose of suing the infringer for damages.

There are several ideas here: one, that monitoring the Internet for this kind of content is a full-time job, and would be a big distraction if every content producer had to do it full-time.

Two, that issuing takedown notices is ultimately ineffective, since it is possible for considerable time to elapse between when infringing material is made available and when a takedown notice ultimately results in a takedown. If the infringer were a news site or an aggregator, reproducing content in full without permission, link, or attribution, all the while collecting advertising revenue and other benefits from the infringing content, a takedown notice may not provide enough deterrent against future infringement. Such an infringer would likely receive a small number of complaints compared to the amount of content they infringe upon. It is easier just to take the risk, knowing that no one will notice the content immediately, and afterwards it can be taken down-- by which time it has already served its purpose.

The approach used by Righthaven and its clients is to put some teeth into the deterrent by suing for damages. This is what makes it necessary for them to buy the rights from the content producer in order to sue for damages. I don't know what financial arrangements are made; possibly they pay Righthaven a monthly fee for monitoring, plus the sale of the rights on each piece of infringing content, plus damages, if any-- or perhaps damages are shared. I can only guess.

The point, however, is that this outfit is not out there just looking for random infringing content and then profiteering by suing for infringement. They are performing a service, outsourced to them by content producers, for policing the Internet for infringing content, for which any damages paid may (or may not) constitute part of their compensation for doing the monitoring and the litigation.

Intellectual property rights are like other rights-- rights over property. Like real property, it can be bought and sold. In this case, Righthaven buys it in order to make it part of a service they provide to the paper, which is to try and ensure that others are not reproducing content without permission.

The term "copyright troll" invokes an unfair comparison to the term "patent troll" in which a company buys patents or companies that hold patents that have never been, nor were ever likely to be, commercialized, in the hopes of building revenue from court enforced settlements alone. There is an important distinction here: while Righthaven itself does not produce content, it has a content producer as its client, and the content in question is part of that client's real, commercial activity: the newspaper.

In a patent troll situation, the link between the patent and the activities of the companies being sued can be entirely arbitrary. They need not have been aware of nor at any time in contact with the company that holds the patent. It need not be proved that the companies being sued had any special knowledge, conducted any industrial espionage, or undertook any reverse engineering. All they need to have done was to have reproduced some method for achieving a goal that is sufficiently similar to one previously registered by the patent office.

The link between the infringing content in this case and the commercial product of Righthaven's client is not coincidental or arbitrary: they are one and the same.

lame, lamer, american (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33487134)

just waw....how pathetic can you be as a company/person. I guess only in America...

Odd reasoning (1)

zoomshorts (137587) | about 4 years ago | (#33487250)

From the article, "Righthaven tracks Internet traffic for copyright infringements of Review-Journal stories. It then buys the copyright for a story from the newspaper's owner, Stephens Media LLC, and sues the alleged infringer."

IF the article is correct ,Review-Journal seems to be the entity that should be suing.
Righthaven did not have the rights at the time of the infringement. They purchased the rights after the fact.

Of course, it's not like Angle is innocent... She (1)

SunSpot505 (1356127) | about 4 years ago | (#33487328)

got the race litigating early on when she tried to sue Harry Reid's campaign for re-posting her old website [talkingpointsmemo.com] after she had changed it substantially. The situation of the purchase of articles followed by litigation is certainly some dirty business, but I just can't help but think that perhaps this is a little comeuppance??

Let me get this straight .... (2, Insightful)

thephydes (727739) | about 4 years ago | (#33487366)

I use an article, you buy it, then you sue me for using it before you owned it? Sorry I do not understand - the system that allows this is seriously fucked!
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