HolyCoast: Copyright Troll Righthaven Dropped by Media Chain

Friday, September 09, 2011

Copyright Troll Righthaven Dropped by Media Chain

About time:
The new chief executive of MediaNews Group, publisher of the Denver Post and 50 other newspapers, said it was “a dumb idea” for the nation’s second-largest newspaper chain to sign up with copyright troll Righthaven.

The Denver-based publisher’s year-long copyright infringement litigation deal with Righthaven is terminating at month’s end, said John Paton, who replaced Dean Singleton to lead the company on Wednesday.

“The issues about copyright are real,” Paton told Wired.com in a telephone interview. “But the idea that you would hire someone on an — essentially — success fee to run around and sue people at will who may or may not have infringed as a way of protecting yourself … does not reflect how news is created and disseminated in the modern world.”

“I come from the idea that it was a dumb idea from the start,” Paton added, noting that Righthaven was informed of the decision to end relations last month.

On Wednesday, Wired reported that Las Vegas-based Righthaven, founded more than a year ago to monetize print news content through copyright infringement lawsuits, was struggling after several courtroom setbacks. Righthaven has not prevailed in court on any of the infringement lawsuits filed over MediaNews’ content, though it appears from court records that about two dozen cases had settled out of court.
If you're unfamiliar with the situation, basically Righthaven would look for articles by the company's newspapers that were quoted by bloggers, they would then buy the rights to that article and sue the bloggers for copyright violations, even if the blogger gained nothing from the quotes and directed links back to the newspapers. It put a lot of fear into the blogging world for awhile, and some even created Google extensions to block those newspaper links from working on their computers (I used one).

fortunately judges saw through Righthaven's activities and started throwing cases out and sanctioning the firm for frivolous suits. It cost the media's newspapers untold millions of links they would have otherwise gotten, not to mention a lot of bad press.

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