Blogger Wayne Hoehn republished an entire article from the Las Vegas Review-Journal and was taken to court by RightHaven, widley known as a “copyright troll.” A judge has ruled posting the entire article is Fair Use. That’s fairly shocking, since posting more than about 200 words of someone else’s work is generally considered a no-no if you want to protect yourself.
“Righthaven did not present any evidence that the market for the work was harmed by Hoehn’s noncommercial use for the 40 days it appeared on the website. Accordingly, there is no genuine issue of material fact that Hoehn’s use of the work was fair and summary judgment is appropriate,” Judge Pro ruled…
The judge also said he took into consideration that only five of the editorial’s paragraphs were “purely creative opinions” of the author.
“While the work does have some creative or editorial elements, these elements are not enough to consider the work a purely ‘creative work’ in the realm of fictional stories, song lyrics, or Barbie dolls,” he wrote. “Accordingly, the work is not within ‘the core of intended copyright protection.’”
Judge Pro, in his fair-use analysis, also found that the posting was for noncommercial purposes, and was part of an “online discussion.”
That said, Pro did not need to decide the fair-use question.
RightHaven is terrorizing bloggers across the ‘sphere, and has sued 200 bloggers, with 100+ settled out of court. The following is from RightHaven Victims. See a list of media that that you do not want to quote or link to or from – including the Las Vegas Journal Review and the Denver Post – both of which are among the most notorious:
Righthaven LLC — a bottom feeding legal outfit — has teamed up with the Las Vegas Review-Journal and the Denver Post to sue ‘mom and pop‘ websites, advocacy and public interestgroups and forum board operators for copyright violations. The strategy of Righthaven is to sue thousands of these websites and counts on the fact that many are unfunded and will be forced to settle out of court. Most cases are being filed in a Nevada Federal Court and must be fought in this jurisdiction.
UPDATE: See another Threat Level report. Bloggers who have paid out thousands in settlements are “mulling” action against RightHaven. Over 100 blog owners and other sites have settled for undisclosed sums.
Related (courtesy of Threat Level):
- Newspaper Chain’s New Business Plan: Copyright Suits
- EFF Decries ‘Sham’ Copyright-Troll Legal Tactics
- Denver Judge Taps Brakes on Righthaven Copyright Lawsuits
- Righthaven Expands Troll Operation With Newspaper Giant
- The $105 Fix That Could Protect You From Copyright-Troll Lawsuits
- EFF Demands Copyright Troll Pay for Suing Democratic Underground
- Litigious Newspaper Chain Calls Online Aggregators ‘Parasitic’