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Righthaven Sues For Control of Drudge Report Domain

Soulskill posted more than 3 years ago | from the ask-until-they-say-no dept.

The Courts 161

Hugh Pickens writes "The Las Vegas Review Journal reports that in its latest case, Righthaven is seeking relief from copyright infringement by the Drudge Report website and by the Drudge Archives website, and is asking for a preliminary and permanent injunction against infringement on a photo copyright, control of the Drudge Report website and statutory damages up to $150,000. In a lawsuit filed Wednesday, Righthaven complains about the use of a Denver Post photograph of a Transportation Security Administration agent patting down an airline passenger. Drudge displayed an unauthorized reproduction of the photo on the Drudge Report website on Nov. 18, according to the civil complaint. Shawn Mangano, the attorney who filed the lawsuit on Righthaven's behalf, says it is the first time Righthaven has sued over use of a copyrighted illustration. Righthaven also takes issue with the fact that the Drudge Report has no DMCA takedown regime to respond to those who allege violations of copyright. 'I assume it's going to be very seriously litigated,' says Mangano, noting that Drudge has substantial financial resources." We've discussed previous attempts by Righthaven to turn a quick buck on news-related copyright.

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161 comments

I touched it (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34536282)

I touched CmdrTaco's penis! It really is as tiny as others have said! It was so cute too.

Domain seizure? (3, Insightful)

Dachannien (617929) | more than 3 years ago | (#34536324)

Do they really think transferring the domain into their control is even remotely likely? It's one thing when you're talking about a torrent tracker where an injunction alone is unlikely to prevent future infringement. But if the court tells Matt Drudge to take down that photo, I'm pretty sure he'll take it down (once his appeals are exhausted).

Re:Domain seizure? (0)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 3 years ago | (#34536644)

It's one thing when you're talking about a torrent tracker where an injunction alone is unlikely to prevent future infringement.

No, it's not "one thing".

Re:Domain seizure? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34536748)

No, it's not "one thing".

Thank you for your valuable insight. Our lives have been enriched by your candor and wit.

On a serious note, I would agree that domain seizure is unlikely at best, given the nature of the infringement and the simple solutions to the alleged infringement.

Re:Domain seizure? (-1, Flamebait)

mark72005 (1233572) | more than 3 years ago | (#34536740)

I predict once again that the prevailing opinion of /. will turn on a dime when the target is someone they don't like.

wikileaks to politicians - "if you aren't dishonest you have nothing to worry about" = good
government to citizens - "if you aren't dishonest you have nothing to worry about" = bad

Re:Domain seizure? (0)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 3 years ago | (#34536796)

Are you dim?

The reason that gets brought up is because it is what the politicians said to us, turnabout is fair play.

Re:Domain seizure? (-1, Flamebait)

mark72005 (1233572) | more than 3 years ago | (#34536904)

But you have to practice what you preach.

It's hypocritical to take the typical /. stance. "This is WRONG! Unless it's being done to someone I hate and then it's really ok because they deserve it."

Re:Domain seizure? (5, Insightful)

bhtooefr (649901) | more than 3 years ago | (#34537220)

There is actually a difference, though.

This government, in theory, is of, by, and for the people. (Yes, I know, it's not a democracy, it's a republic.) Because the people pay taxes to the government, and vote politicians into office, and the government exists solely to serve the people, the people have a right to know how their taxes are being spent, what their politicians are doing, and what the government is doing for or against them.

On the other hand, the people do not exist for the government. It's not the government's business what the people do, except when the people are employed by the government (and then only what they do on the clock,) when the people are using government services (in which case, the government has an obligation to make sure that the minimum of their services are required, to save the taxpayer money,) or when other people are being wronged, and the people have decided that that particular wrong should be addressed by the government.

In summary: People have a right to know what their government is doing, government has no right to know what its people are doing other than what affects other people under the government. So, no, it's not hypocritical to say that the government shouldn't hide anything, yet the people can hide.

Re:Domain seizure? (-1, Flamebait)

Captain Splendid (673276) | more than 3 years ago | (#34537940)

False equivalence. Thanks for playing.

Re:Domain seizure? (2)

Asic Eng (193332) | more than 3 years ago | (#34536846)

So what if I don't like Drudge and do like Wikileaks? It's still absurd that they are asking for control of the domain for a copyright violation. The courts should reject such attacks on free speech. Unfortunately I have no confidence in the US legal system.

BTW: governments are supposed to be accountable to the electorate - NOT the other way round.

Re:Domain seizure? (1)

FrankSchwab (675585) | more than 3 years ago | (#34537068)

"supposed to"?

And what natural law implies this? How about religious law? How about, oh, say, appealing to history and demonstrating that this is the norm for government/electorate relations?

Re:Domain seizure? (2)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 3 years ago | (#34538626)

>>>And what natural law implies this?

All power comes from the People, and is given to the government with their consent. Likewise the People have the right to take-back that power and dissolve said government. Hence government is merely a servant accountable to the citizens.

Re:Domain seizure? (1)

Quantus347 (1220456) | more than 3 years ago | (#34537026)

Citizens to Government - "if you aren't dishonest you have nothing to worry about" = good
government to citizens - "if you aren't dishonest you have nothing to worry about" = bad


Here, I fixed it for you. Honestly, that looks fine to me. Governments are supposed to have transparency. Its only private citizens that are supposed to be "private"

Re:Domain seizure? (5, Insightful)

Chyeld (713439) | more than 3 years ago | (#34537222)

MY business is not the government's business.

However, the government's business is most definitely my business.

That isn't hypocrisy, that's the realization that this isn't a symmetrical relationship.

Re:Domain seizure? (1)

davester666 (731373) | more than 3 years ago | (#34537240)

What?

These are ENTIRELY different.

Wikileaks is exposing what politicians are doing in our name, but hiding from us [or telling us they are doing/saying the opposite].

Hype (and FUD) sells (-1)

damn_registrars (1103043) | more than 3 years ago | (#34536822)

Do they really think transferring the domain into their control is even remotely likely?

Most likely not. Most likely, no reasonable person actually expects such a thing to happen. But this is, after all, slashdot. And with the new conservative bend on this site (notice how often townhall.com advertises here with various anti-Obama rhetoric) this is exactly what slashdot wants to have on the front page. Because even though the conservatives have power in congress again, they still want to be able to play the "oppressed minority" card, which slashdot will happily aid with.

Re:Domain seizure? (1)

icebike (68054) | more than 3 years ago | (#34537786)

Do they really think transferring the domain into their control is even remotely likely? It's one thing when you're talking about a torrent tracker where an injunction alone is unlikely to prevent future infringement. But if the court tells Matt Drudge to take down that photo, I'm pretty sure he'll take it down (once his appeals are exhausted).

He would probably take it down if they sent him a notice via email.

Still the idea that you can take a domain and control of a website as well as the statutory damages of 150k is ridiculous. Why not ask for his house, car, and wife?

Holy Shit! (1)

SatanicPuppy (611928) | more than 3 years ago | (#34536344)

Maybe two wrongs DO make a right!

Smart of them to pick on Drudge. Deep pockets, widely despised.

Re:Holy Shit! (5, Insightful)

skids (119237) | more than 3 years ago | (#34536492)

IMO it was stupid to pick on Drudge. If they had brains, they would have picked on some anti-establishment podunk site, one whose rights a properly shopped judge would have no qualms about riding roughshod over, and kept doing it to build up layers of precedent, then tackled something bigger. Drudge may be unpopular among many but it still has a huge following and can draw on support from the right-wing astroturfing machine.

However, from my perspective I get to watch two organizations I despise hurt each other, so life is grand. Sure in the end it just means more lawyers get to buy outside decks for their fourth homes, but hey, it beats watching high frequency traders cruise around in yachts.

Re:Holy Shit! (2)

Jeremy Erwin (2054) | more than 3 years ago | (#34536662)

Well, then, aren't you glad they don't have brains?

Re:Holy Shit! (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34536558)

Why despise Drudge Report? All it does is post links to articles. Slashdot summaries are more biased than Drudge Report posts.

And BTW, I knew I would see a lot of people on /. waiver in their anti copyright stance on this one.

Re:Holy Shit! (0)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 3 years ago | (#34536652)

Slashdot summaries are more biased than Drudge Report posts.

Not even remotely true.

Re:Holy Shit! (2)

Mitchell314 (1576581) | more than 3 years ago | (#34536742)

/. does have a very very strong nerd bias. :P

As for the GP . . .

And BTW, I knew I would see a lot of people on /. waiver in their anti copyright stance on this one.

Sorry for the godwin, but if you happen to be anti-nazi and anti-communist, you don't waiver your stance when you root for both to beat each other when they enter a boxing ring.

Re:Holy Shit! (2)

Mashiki (184564) | more than 3 years ago | (#34536942)

Not even remotely true.

Sure it is. Drudge posts aggregated links to an article. /. allows the slant of an individual to post their own summery, and add their own bias to it. Usually leaning towards the left, as the majority of posters here lie in that camp.

Re:Holy Shit! (1, Flamebait)

eyrieowl (881195) | more than 3 years ago | (#34538208)

Not even remotely true. Drudge exhibits its biases on a constant basis. They might not do it with lengthy prose, but they make ample use of the multiple tools in their arsenal.

First, there is story selection bias. Why does drudge highlight stories about "CityX has record cold day for DayOfYear!"? Because he's thumbing his nose at "global warming advocates". And that's just an easy example.

Second tool: link wording. He's not copying the source's headline, nor is he describing the contents of the article in some objective fashion. He's putting a spin on it with his choice of words. Granted, most headlines have a similar source of bias, but just because it's widespread doesn't mean it isn't real.

Third tool: highlighting. Why do some stories get the flashing red light? Why are some linked in bold red? Why are others bold? Others normal font? It's purely a function of bias. It's not the output of any objective function.

Is drudge worse than other sites? Probably not...although I think some of his biases are disingenuous (the aforementioned global warming issue being one of my big complaints. "Global warming" was a bad name, but right or wrong, it is certainly not proved or disproved because Arlen, TX had a record cold day on July 27th.). The biases that Drudge exhibits are true of pretty much any news organization. Only a more automated tool, more like Google News, is capable of being free of that sort of internal bias. Even something like Google News is subject to collective bias...if the majority of its indexed sites have a bias, the stories it highlights will likely have a similar bias...but at least it's not adding an additional bias for the most part (recognizing that they've added some extra functionality which isn't simply about indexing news sites...some "value add" stuff).

Re:Holy Shit! (1)

orthancstone (665890) | more than 3 years ago | (#34538892)

Drudge uses specifically worded one liners in his links to form the bias he wants the reader to get from the article. It's not uncommon to see him harp on something that, when reading the article, you realize was a small one line entry in an entire news story.

Sure /. allows for bias in the summary, but don't get fooled into thinking Drudge isn't manipulating your mindset via his aggregation.

Re:Holy Shit! (0)

SETIGuy (33768) | more than 3 years ago | (#34536754)

What do you expect from an Anonymous Coward hiding under a bridge?

Re:Holy Shit! (1)

meerling (1487879) | more than 3 years ago | (#34537768)

Or perhaps someone who wants to voice their opinion in public without having to dodge the shitflingers at home.

Re:Holy Shit! (4, Informative)

mattack2 (1165421) | more than 3 years ago | (#34537236)

Why despise Drudge Report?

Because he started out as a spammer, spamming tons and tons and tons of newsgroups, including rec.arts.tv, which is where I saw his spamming. He'd spam his off topic 'report' there, _and_ would never see the various corrections to factual errors he very often made.

He's no better than the Green Card Lawyers.

He picked a fight with the wrong website (0)

Aussenseiter (1241842) | more than 3 years ago | (#34536358)

The only thing scarier than a copyright infrigement troll is Drudge Report's army of angry commentators.

Re:He picked a fight with the wrong website (0)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 3 years ago | (#34536656)

The only thing scarier than a copyright infrigement troll is Drudge Report's army of angry commentators.

Matt Drudge's army of rentboys is pretty scary, too.

I don't understand (1)

hether (101201) | more than 3 years ago | (#34536362)

I'll admit I don't know anything about Righthaven, had to look them up, but I'm wondering why they would ask for (or have any hope of getting) control of the web site? The statutory damages and removal of infringing content I can understand, but why would they possibly get control over something due to copyright infringement, especially for content they don't own? Are they filing at the request of the News Media Group?

Re:I don't understand (1)

0123456 (636235) | more than 3 years ago | (#34536388)

I'll admit I don't know anything about Righthaven, had to look them up, but I'm wondering why they would ask for (or have any hope of getting) control of the web site?

Indeed. Since they're claiming that Drudge is a copyright violator, surely the US government should just steal his domain and hand it over to the lawyers without the hassle of a court case?

Re:I don't understand (3, Insightful)

Locke2005 (849178) | more than 3 years ago | (#34536392)

Lawyers love to make idle threats and request compensation that they know they have a snowball's chance in hell of actually collecting. It's a bargaining tactic. I'm sure nobody actually expects to have Druge's domain handed over to them, as much as some of us would like to see that happen.

Re:I don't understand (2)

AltairDusk (1757788) | more than 3 years ago | (#34536550)

Lawyers love to make idle threats and request compensation that they know they have a snowball's chance in hell of actually collecting.

It's too bad there's no penalty for doing this. Seems to me the court system would function better if there were less frivolous garbage clogging things up.

Re:I don't understand (4, Insightful)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | more than 3 years ago | (#34536806)

Lawyers love to make idle threats and request compensation that they know they have a snowball's chance in hell of actually collecting.

It's too bad there's no penalty for doing this.

There no penalties for doing it, but there are penalties for not doing it. I was sued, and decided to fight it pro per (without a lawyer). I did some research while preparing my response to the complaint, and found out it is standard practice to list every possible defense, even when they don't apply, because if some other evidence some to light, you cannot add another defense later. So everyone includes pages and pages of standardized superfluous boilerplate. Lawyers recognize this stuff and just skim over it.

Seems to me the court system would function better if there were less frivolous garbage clogging things up.

Both lawyers and judges benefit from a clogged, inefficient system. Since 85% of politicians are also lawyers, there is little chance things will change.

Re:I don't understand (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34538256)

Lawyers love to make idle threats and request compensation that they know they have a snowball's chance in hell of actually collecting.

It's too bad there's no penalty for doing this.

There no penalties for doing it, but there are penalties for not doing it. I was sued, and decided to fight it pro per (without a lawyer).

First, it's not pro per, it's pro se.

Second, there are penalties for bringing a lawsuit with not basis. See rule 11 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.

Re:I don't understand (1)

Thinboy00 (1190815) | more than 3 years ago | (#34538582)

Second, there are penalties for bringing a lawsuit with not basis. See rule 11 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.

Frivolous litigation is unrelated to what everyone else it talking about (listing frivolous damages in an otherwise non-frivolous lawsuit).

Re:I don't understand (1)

Agent__Smith (168715) | more than 3 years ago | (#34537076)

In other countries (England springs to mind) you can inccour all court expenses, including the fees and attorney costs to the opposing party if your motion or case is determined to be frivolous and or without merrit. Would likely make one think twice about stupid lawsuits.

Re:I don't understand (1)

Ihmhi (1206036) | more than 3 years ago | (#34537952)

I recall another poster on Slashdot in another legal-related article stating that lawyers are taught to file every motion they conceivably can - no matter how ridiculous - just in case it flies. There's no real penalty to filing a motion that barely has a chance of going through.

Re:I don't understand (1)

demonlapin (527802) | more than 3 years ago | (#34537070)

as much as some of us would like to see that happen

Why? Do your political opponents not deserve free speech?

Re:I don't understand (5, Insightful)

clone52431 (1805862) | more than 3 years ago | (#34536422)

That’s their MO.

Another recent case by them asked for the same thing: [arstechnica.com]

Nelson put eight sentences of a 30-sentence Review Journal article in one of his posts, along with a link back to the paper; for this he was sued in federal court.

Righthaven demanded that his domain name should be locked and transferred to Righthaven. In addition, the company demanded "willful" statutory damages for copyright infringement, which can be as high as $150,000.

Also, what I don’t understand is this:

Righthaven sends no cease-and-desist letters before suing.

The DMCA is clear-cut about how to handle infringement. A company that side-steps the normal DMCA takedown process (which might have to be snail-mailed – that’s not quick enough for them though!) should have no right to straight away sue the infringing party. None whatsoever. But apparently they can, legally, get away with it.

Re:I don't understand (1)

Jeff DeMaagd (2015) | more than 3 years ago | (#34536626)

Sounds sloppy to me. Doesn't the lack of a cease-and-desist give an opening to the defense to have the suit dismissed? The legal system is more about procedure than anything else, so not following procedure can really set you back if the other side catches on to it.

Re:I don't understand (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34536668)

The DMCA's takedown provisions have no relevance here.

An ISP is immune from liability if they act upon takedown requests, but Drudge isn't an ISP, he's the publisher. Nothing prevents a copyright holder (or their agents) from just suing the person who is (allegedly) committing the infringement.

Rightshaven isn't doing anything unlawful or even "irregular" here. OTOH, their actions might be unwise. Drudge has some rather well-connected friends, and a few million bucks to his legal defence fund would be pocket change for some of them.

Re:I don't understand (1)

clone52431 (1805862) | more than 3 years ago | (#34536706)

Who said anything about an ISP? Nelson wasn’t an ISP, he was a real-estate agent running a blog.

Re:I don't understand (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34536812)

That's exactly the point. If Nelson or Drudge were an ISP, then the DMCA would be relevant. It's designed as a way for people who deliver content but don't create it to avoid being held accountable for that content. Since Drudge and Nelson were the actual infringers themselves, the DMCA is irrelevant and the copyright holder is free to sue them without first asking them to stop.

Re:I don't understand (1)

clone52431 (1805862) | more than 3 years ago | (#34536902)

If Nelson or Drudge were an ISP, then the DMCA would be relevant... Drudge and Nelson were the actual infringers themselves, the DMCA is irrelevant

If I am not mistaken, the DMCA is still the applicable piece of legislation. Just not the part of the DMCA that you’re thinking of.

Re:I don't understand (1)

Blue Stone (582566) | more than 3 years ago | (#34536696)

In some countries, judges look extremely unfavourably on people who sue first and ask questions later, without attempting to settle things out of court, through less drastic channels. I don't know if the US courts take a similar view.

Re:I don't understand (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34536762)

Hmm... too bad that French news aggregator (similar to the AP in the US) didn't think of this strategy a few years ago when it was hassling Google News linking to their news stories.

Re:I don't understand (1)

DragonWriter (970822) | more than 3 years ago | (#34536776)

The DMCA is clear-cut about how to handle infringement. A company that side-steps the normal DMCA takedown process (which might have to be snail-mailed – that’s not quick enough for them though!) should have no right to straight away sue the infringing party.

That's not what the DMCA says.

The DMCA provides a takedown process that is directed at innocent service providers hosting information provided independently by users, and creates a safe harbor for the service provider only (so long as the service provider complies with the specific requirements of the safe harbor provision.)

The DMCA does not limit the ability of the rights-holder to file suit directly against the infringing user, nor do the limitations on liability under the safe harbor provision apply at all to sites where:
1. The service provider, without acting expeditiously to remove infringing material, has either actual knowledge that the activity or material is infringing, or awareness of facts or circumstances from which the infringement is apparent, or
2. Receives a financial benefit directly attributable to the infringing activity.

A rights-holder can certainly can file a suit against the allegedly infringing user, or against a site operator alleging any of the circumstances which put the operator outside of the safe harbor, without filing a DMCA takedown notice first.

Re:I don't understand (1)

clone52431 (1805862) | more than 3 years ago | (#34536830)

I was getting the terminologies mixed which made my post unclear.

Yeah, the DMCA “takedown notice” is a method of dealing with an independent content host. But under the DMCA you can also send a cease-and-desist notice to the infringing party personally. However they’ve made it their practice to just immediately sue.

Re:I don't understand (1)

DragonWriter (970822) | more than 3 years ago | (#34537660)

Yeah, the DMCA “takedown notice” is a method of dealing with an independent content host. But under the DMCA you can also send a cease-and-desist notice to the infringing party personally.

You can always (the DMCA has nothing to do with this) send a cease-and-desist notice to someone who you believe is violating your legal rights. This is typically done when you believe that the probability and result of resolving the issue via a cease-and-desist is worth the additional delay it imposes over filing suit immediately.

(A cease-and-desist, if you are lucky, gets the offender to stop further violation of your rights.)

But that's a far cry for your claim in GGP that "The DMCA is clear-cut about how to handle infringement"; the DMCA does not provide a mandatory process that applies to alleged direct violators analogous to the takedown notice process in the safe harbor provision that applies to innocent hosts of user-placed infringing content.

Re:I don't understand (1)

Thinboy00 (1190815) | more than 3 years ago | (#34538604)

IIRC the DMCA only applies to user-produced content. Drudge posts everything himself, so he's not subject to the safe-harbor at all.

IANAL, TINLA, I might be wrong.

Re:I don't understand (3, Informative)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 3 years ago | (#34536504)

The domain name is an asset, with some value. It isn't unheard of to request a specific asset, rather than a financial payment, as damages. Of course, there is often a very large difference between the damages that are requested and the damages that are granted by the court. The only cases I've heard of where a domain name has changed hands as the result of legal action have been trademark cases, but I haven't actually searched for relevant cases so there may well be other examples.

Re:I don't understand (3, Informative)

Attila Dimedici (1036002) | more than 3 years ago | (#34536536)

What you apparently are unaware of is that Righthaven is a company that was created by one or more newspapers in order to sue others for copyright infringement without getting the newspapers' own names on the lawsuit. Righthaven exists solely for the purpose of suing people for copyright infringement. One or more newspapers "sell" their copyright to Righthaven in return for the right to publish the material as the newspaper sees fit. Righthaven then sues anyone else who uses and/or links to that material for copyright infringement.

Re:I don't understand (2)

Chapter80 (926879) | more than 3 years ago | (#34536582)

As someone else said, lawyers make huge demands, just as positioning in a lawsuit - for leverage.

The beauty of this threat (taking the domain name) is that it is a reasonable answer to the issue "How much damage did you really suffer from us using your photo."

"We're not asking for much - domain names are $30/year at Go Daddy. That seems about an even trade."

Point is, damage is well beyond the price of the image.

Goodwill still matters (2)

KublaiKhan (522918) | more than 3 years ago | (#34536850)

...except that no judge would allow that particular argument unless he was a complete tosser who had never worked in, around, or with a business in his life.

The whole reason for copyrighting company names, the whole reason for brand names on websites and on products--hell, the entire justification for the concept of a 'trademark'--is summed up in a line-item in corporate accounts: Goodwill.

Goodwill is an attempt by the beancounters to make tangible the company's reputation--the name brand recognition, the associations made by the customers with it, and everything associated with that.

The Drudge Report has -significant- goodwill (though not all of it is good ;-P) associated with the name "The Drudge Report"--and as such, any judge or lawyer who has the word "competent" in his dictionary would immediately shoot down the "it's only $30" argument--any lawyer suggesting that wouldn't even be able to finish the statement before the objection would happen.

So no, there is no 'beauty' to this demand. It's stupid. It's demanding a significant chunk of the goodwill and trademark recognition of the alleged infringer for a minor alleged act of infringement. It is -vastly- out of proportion to the alleged offense.

(And, IMHO, Righthaven and all other IP-trolling companies really ought to be denied the ability to litigate, being as they have, technically, no direct interest in the IP in question.)

Re:I don't understand (1)

DragonWriter (970822) | more than 3 years ago | (#34536890)

I'll admit I don't know anything about Righthaven, had to look them up, but I'm wondering why they would ask for (or have any hope of getting) control of the web site?

Righthaven always asks for that in their suits; AFAIK, every one of them has been settled without going to trial. Whether they could get it is debatable; I would assume their basis for asking is a rather expansive interpretation of the forfeiture provisions in copyright law. Until there's a case that firmly says they don't extend that far, they might as well shoot for the moon.

Re:I don't understand (1)

Zerth (26112) | more than 3 years ago | (#34536892)

It's bad enough when the government is stealing domain names, but if copyright trolls start doing it too, I want to move my domain names to someplace safer.

Is there such a place, or should I just look into .cn addresses?

Copyrighted Image (1)

locallyunscene (1000523) | more than 3 years ago | (#34536396)

While I think that Righthaven(nice doublethink name right there) is just a huge troll and doesn't deserve a cent, it's possible they have a leg to stand on legally here. Images in the news industry have a precedent of being licensed so if one that was owned by Righthaven was used without authorization by the Drudge Report then that's different from their attempting to claim that they "owned" a news story.

Re:Copyrighted Image (1)

SatanicPuppy (611928) | more than 3 years ago | (#34536440)

What they're claiming they own is a specific written version of an event, which is also supported by a wide body of copyright law protecting written works.

Not that I agree with them, but their argument isn't wholly ridiculous.

Re:Copyrighted Image (3, Interesting)

pugugly (152978) | more than 3 years ago | (#34536456)

I suspect you're right - as much as I hate to 'root' for either of these two, Righthaven may have a valid infringement case here; The Drudge Report is hardly creating anything additional in a story. Of course, going from infringement and the thought that a DMCA complaint can be actually valid (Valid DMCA complaints! Who Knew?) to grabbing a domain name rather than the simple damages seems a bit odd.

Pug

Re:Copyrighted Image (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34536578)

The 'fair use' concept fades away in the mind of the slashdot moon bat when someone they despise relies on it. DCMA take over of Drudge? Cool! Get 'em!

Re:Copyrighted Image (1)

locallyunscene (1000523) | more than 3 years ago | (#34538414)

Nice troll. Here are some helpful points in case you ever actually read my post:
legally =!= morally
"Righthaven ... doesn't deserve a cent"
"Images in the news industry have a precedent of being licensed "

Take Notice (0)

bky1701 (979071) | more than 3 years ago | (#34536430)

If copyright infringement is "theft," this is highway robbery committed by a biker gang armed with uzis against a bus full of nuns all under the sanction of the local warlord.

Please clarify. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34536810)

Who is under the sanction of the warlord? The bikers? Or the nuns?

Re:Please clarify. (1)

bky1701 (979071) | more than 3 years ago | (#34536870)

Either or both would work, I guess, but the nuns would be funnier now that I think about it.

Let's hope this case goes on forever... (4, Funny)

digitaldc (879047) | more than 3 years ago | (#34536432)

...thereby bankrupting both and teaching us all a very important lesson. Never try.

Fair Use! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34536438)

Using copyrighted images to illustrate news stories is generally considered fair use...

Re:Fair Use! (1)

clone52431 (1805862) | more than 3 years ago | (#34536478)

That probably depends upon the image being properly credited, which I’m not sure that Drudge did.

Re:Fair Use! (1)

OldeTimeGeek (725417) | more than 3 years ago | (#34536704)

Considered Fair Use by whom? The people who created the image, the ones that wanted to use it without attribution or the U.S. Copyright Office?

All the Drudge Report needed to do is attribute the original copyright holder in their post, but they chose not to. Drudge or anybody else who uses someone else's images should expend the minimal effort necessary to do what's right. That being said, the penalty asked for far exceeds the crime.

DMCA notice (1)

Rijnzael (1294596) | more than 3 years ago | (#34536444)

ctrl+f "DMCA" in that article doesn't find anything. Has this Righthaven organization heard of the DMCA, and the provisions it provides for relief from copyright infringement? Seems like a textbook case for a DMCA takedown notice. IANAL, but I imagine a judge will take one look at this and say "did you even TRY to work something out with the infringing party before litigating?"

Re:DMCA notice (1)

clone52431 (1805862) | more than 3 years ago | (#34536552)

ctrl+f "DMCA" in that article doesn't find anything.

You must have been looking at the wrong article, then:

“This lawsuit, though, is a rarity insofar as copyright infringement being connected to linking. Righthaven takes issue with the fact that the Drudge Report has no DMCA takedown regime to respond to those who alleged violations of copyright.”

Has this Righthaven organization heard of the DMCA, and the provisions it provides for relief from copyright infringement?

It would seem not: [arstechnica.com]

Righthaven sends no cease-and-desist letters before suing.

I imagine a judge will take one look at this and say "did you even TRY to work something out with the infringing party before litigating?"

You’d certainly hope so, but apparently not.

Re:DMCA notice (1)

DragonWriter (970822) | more than 3 years ago | (#34536632)

ctrl+f "DMCA" in that article doesn't find anything.

Then you are looking at the wrong linked article. If you read the one linked from the sentence in TFS about the DMCA ("Righthaven also takes issue with the fact that the Drudge Report has no DMCA takedown regime to respond to those who allege violations of copyright") surprisingly enough contains the exact sentence that is in TFS.

Has this Righthaven organization heard of the DMCA

Since their lawsuit includes complaints about Drudge Report not following the DMCA process, I'd say that it seems that they have heard of the DMCA.

Can we build a right to link into web standards? (1)

presidenteloco (659168) | more than 3 years ago | (#34536476)

I wonder if the Drudge report just linked to the image. If so, that should definitely be legal.

The HTML spec and or http spec should make it clear (are they even licensed?)
that it is always de-facto legal to create a link (anywhere) to content that has been
published and is publicly accessible on the world wide web,
so long as the content is legal to view.
i.e. re-linking to child porn could still be illegal, as it is collaborating in the crime, but
everything else is legal.

Those that wish to restrict access to their content can use some other technical measure
such as requiring a user login. Such content is by definition not on the public world wide
web, so the right does not apply.

Re:Can we build a right to link into web standards (2)

DragonWriter (970822) | more than 3 years ago | (#34536650)

I wonder if the Drudge report just linked to the image.

No, they posted the photograph with their story as an "illustration".

The HTML spec and or http spec should make it clear (are they even licensed?)
that it is always de-facto legal to create a link (anywhere) to content that has been
published and is publicly accessible on the world wide web,
so long as the content is legal to view.

Neither IETF nor W3C have any authority to dictate what is legal and what is not legal.

Re:Can we build a right to link into web standards (1)

presidenteloco (659168) | more than 3 years ago | (#34536746)

"Neither IETF nor W3C have any authority to dictate what is legal and what is not legal."

No but they could give authoritative guidance to the courts about what the assumed
intent is when one is publishing content on a publicly accessible portion of the world wide web.

They can state that there exists a legal entity called the "World Wide Web",
whose incarnation is the sum total of content accessible directly or indirectly
by hyperlinks which have themselves been made publicly known by the publisher.

They could state that the World Wide Web entity relies for its existence on the right for
people and software web client programs to freely traverse the web, freely view and process
the content, and freely link in new pages to the content that constitutes the World Wide Web.

Re:Can we build a right to link into web standards (1)

DragonWriter (970822) | more than 3 years ago | (#34537542)

No but they could give authoritative guidance to the courts about what the assumed
intent is when one is publishing content on a publicly accessible portion of the world wide web.

No, they can't provide authoritative guidance to courts on presumed intent.

Presumed intent, where that matters in a legal case, a question on which some of the content of standards documents might in some cases have some persuasive weight, they certainly would not be "authoritative" on the question of presumed intent.

If you want to change the law, you need to deal with the entities empowered to make and change laws.

They can state that there exists a legal entity called the "World Wide Web"

They can state anything they want, but legal entities are either natural persons or creatures of law (e.g., juridical entities like nations, subordinate government entities, and corporations chartered by nations or subordinate government entities.)

Statements by standards bodies are not the mechanisms by which actual legal entities are created.

Re:Can we build a right to link into web standards (1)

bhtooefr (649901) | more than 3 years ago | (#34537648)

Alternately, what they could have done is something like this:

Patent some critical component of HTTP
Write a small bit of code that implements that patent
License that bit of code under a license that is like the GPL3, but with an additional clause stating that by using this code, you agree that anyone can link to any content made publicly available

Problem is, then nobody would've adopted HTTP.

Operation Payback (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34536486)

I have a feeling the next Operation Payback target may be selecting itself if Wikileaks isn't stealing too much of the spotlight...

Just goes to show our country's priorities (1, Insightful)

MikeRT (947531) | more than 3 years ago | (#34536524)

In most statutes, it's legally dangerous to even point a gun at a team of thieves who've parked a van in front of your house and who are systematically robbing you. Someone "steals" a picture that is probably worth a few hundred dollars and has no real value apart from the original story... $150k in possible statutory damages.

This isn't a sign that we're sophisticated or advanced as a society. It says we're a bloody banana republic where the common man has no legally sure way to defend what is his, but some photographer or corporation can try to ruin your business over what should be a minor infraction (that they too often commit, just look at how often major bloggers are copied by big media outlets).

Re:Just goes to show our country's priorities (1)

NiceGeek (126629) | more than 3 years ago | (#34536568)

I'm sorry, are you trying to convince us that Mike Drudge represents "the common man"?

Re:Just goes to show our country's priorities (1)

clone52431 (1805862) | more than 3 years ago | (#34536576)

Mike Drudge

Is he Matt Drudge’s nephew or something?

Re:Just goes to show our country's priorities (1)

NiceGeek (126629) | more than 3 years ago | (#34536590)

Sigh...this will teach me to post while on cold meds.

Re:Just goes to show our country's priorities (1)

gknoy (899301) | more than 3 years ago | (#34536990)

You might wam them up first, yeah.

Re:Just goes to show our country's priorities (1)

Anubis IV (1279820) | more than 3 years ago | (#34536718)

In most statutes, it's legally dangerous to even point a gun at a team of thieves who've parked a van in front of your house and who are systematically robbing you....It says we're a bloody banana republic

People like to make fun of Texas, but you gotta give us credit where credit is due. You hear stories a few times a year of homeowners scaring off robbers with a shotgun or rifle.

Re:Just goes to show our country's priorities (1)

larry bagina (561269) | more than 3 years ago | (#34538778)

Big deal. I hear stories of homeowners killing or injuring robbers a few times a month. Castle Doctrine ftw (unless you're a perp)

The Warden don't like... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34536786)

...nobody fighting. He also don't like it when you stand up for yourself neither.

Re:Just goes to show our country's priorities (1)

radish (98371) | more than 3 years ago | (#34537652)

Or maybe it shows that we see a difference between threatening to kill someone (which is what you're doing, implicitly or explicitly, if you point a gun at them) and filing suit against them in court. I would MUCH rather lose a $150k law suit than be shot - just saying.

Drudge is going to win this - "thumnail" precedent (5, Insightful)

Animats (122034) | more than 3 years ago | (#34536554)

Drudge's page is mostly a directory of links with the occasional thumbnail picture. Google already won a case in which it was decided that thumbnail images in connection with a directory of links was a transformative use, and thus was considered fair use. Drudge is driving traffic to the newspaper that published the image, just as Google does.

Drudge is going to win this, if Righthaven even litigates it, which is unlikely.

Fear Not, Mr. Drudge (0)

damn_registrars (1103043) | more than 3 years ago | (#34536760)

Now that the conservatives at slashdot (those who hadn't already heard of your plight) are aware of the situation you can rest easy knowing that they've got your back. If you ask nicely Taco may even send some of his TownHall.com ad revenue your way to help with your legal bills.

Re:Fear Not, Mr. Drudge (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34537118)

There are conservatives on Slashdot? You'd never know it, thanks to the mods...

Re:Fear Not, Mr. Drudge (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34539020)

There are conservatives on Slashdot? You'd never know it, thanks to the mods...

WTF?

The teabaggers are running rampant here.

To be accurate... (1)

molecule1 (1752394) | more than 3 years ago | (#34536888)

To be accurate / jokingly pedantic, the TSA agent is "feeling up", and not "patting down" the prospective airline passenger.

DMCA takedowns (2)

wiredlogic (135348) | more than 3 years ago | (#34537022)

DMCA takedown notifications are handled by ISPs. Website operators don't have to do anything special to accommodate them. It doesn't look like Brightcove's lawyers are very bright. Must be the inbreeding.

i understand but ... (1)

smoondog (85133) | more than 3 years ago | (#34537054)

I've always been confused about how meta news isn't news itself and therefore constitutionally protected. If the denver post (or the AP) posts a picture, and someone republishes that picture as 'news' because they reported it, how is that not journalism in itself. Is all copyrighted material off limits as 'news'? (headline, 'the denver post published this picture today claiming that ... '

My gut would tell me, although I'm not a lawyer, that since reproduction for educational purposes is 'fair use' (which isn't constitutionally protected), shouldn't journalism be similarly protected as fair use?

They learn so fast (1)

Captain Spam (66120) | more than 3 years ago | (#34537120)

Shawn Mangano, the attorney who filed the lawsuit on Righthaven's behalf, says it is the first time Righthaven has sued over use of a copyrighted illustration.

He then added, "So, immediately taking complete administrative, editorial, and publishing control of a website IS the right amount of punishment to expect for unauthorized use of one single image, right? I mean, we ARE new at this, we don't want to look like overreacting jackasses who don't know what we're talking about. That'd just be embarrassing!"

Actually, I take that back. Given what the MPAA/RIAA seem to want, that seems light of a punishment.

Internet Death Penalty for them (5, Insightful)

Just Some Guy (3352) | more than 3 years ago | (#34537314)

It's time for LVRJ to get what they've asked for: to be left alone. Completely. Utterly. Don't mention them, don't link to them, don't discuss them, don't acknowledge that they exist. Let that be the last $150,000 of income they ever collect. If they don't want publicity, respect their wishes and let them die off in a corner by themselves.

It's all about deep pockets (1)

WCMI92 (592436) | more than 3 years ago | (#34537540)

Drudge makes money, and these charlatans want to be paid. I'm sure they are trolling for a cheap settlement.

If Drudge fights this (and he will, he's in the free speech business) this one shouldn't last very long, first off, even if he used a photo, it's covered by fair use, and secondly, is Righthaven the copyright owner? If they aren't, they have no standing.

These righthaven lawyers need to be disbarred. They are the Jack Thompson of insane IP barratry.

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