The Drudge Report’s Matt Drudge probably won’t have to turn over his domain name to copyright enforcement group Righthaven after allegedly breaching the Denver Post’s copyright.
Righthaven, as iMediaEthics has been reporting, has been filing lawsuits to protect the copyright of newspapers the Las Vegas Review-Journal and the Denver Post. Righthaven has filed “at least 238 lawsuits since March” 2010, according to the Las Vegas Sun’s count. Righthaven also now has a website, where it labels itself “the nation’s pre-eminent copyright enforcer.”
As iMediaEthics previously reported, Righthaven filed a lawsuit in December against Matt Drudge for posting a Denver Post photo of TSA patdowns at airports. Rghthaven has sued at more than 30 “websites operators” over the alleged misuse of that photo, according to the Las Vegas Sun.
But, “documents filed in court by Righthaven” Feb. 15 reportedly indicate that “the case has been settled.”
Even though Righthaven called for $150,000 in damages and Drudge’s domain name, it appears that Drudge “will likely keep his valuable website domain name.” In court paperwork, Righthaven reportedly said “Righthaven and defendants have agreed to settle the matter by a written agreement,” in court paperwork.
“Righthaven typically settles its lawsuits for less than five figures and allows defendants to keep their domain names,” the Las Vegas Sun explained.
Righthaven has also recently appealed an October ruling in which a Nevada judge found Righthaven didn’t have grounds to sue, the Las Vegas Sun reported. Righthaven had sued over a real estate agent’s posting of eight of thirty sentences from a Las Vegas Review-Journal website. The judge found that the real estate agent, Michael Nelson, posted material that would be protected by “fair use.”
As a result, the Las Vegas Sun reported, the ruling “caused Righthaven to alter its litigation strategy to limit its lawsuits to entire stories, photos and graphics — rather than partial stories — that were reproduced without authorization.”
Currently, four defendants in Righthaven suits have filed “counterclaims against Righthaven and Review-Journal owner Stephens Media LLC.”
The Denver, Colorado news site, Westword.com, reported Feb. 7 that one website — Rocky Mountain Right — took itself off the web recently “due to concerns about possibly being sued by the Denver Post for copyright infringement.” The “conservative news and commentary ” site’s “overseer” Antony Surace posted the following explanation, according to Westword (Rocky Mountain Right was a dead site when StinkyJournalism visited Feb. 22).
“Rocky Mountain Right is temporarily off-line due to the decision by the Denver Post to partner with RightHaven, a Las Vegas-based firm dedicated to suing bloggers for “copyright infringement” even if it falls within fair use guidelines in order to turn a profit.
“While this site has not been the target of a lawsuit by RightHaven on behalf of the Denver Post, RightHaven is notorious for suing without warning in cases where fair use is justified in order to intimidate bloggers into paying a settlement. This site is a strictly non-profit venture.”
Further, Surace reportedly explained that the site “will be expunging any quotes or links to the Denver Post website from all of these posts, even if they fall within fair use guidelines, in order to avoid a frivolous lawsuit.” Surace also called for readers to read about Righthaven on the Electronic Frontier Foundation’s website and “consider canceling your subscription to the Denver Post in the event that you have one.”
Read more about Rocky Mountain Right’s decision here.
See iMediaEthics’ previous reporting on Righthaven here. We are contacting Drudge for comment.