iMediaEthics has written about the web copyright battle between The Las Vegas Review-Journal and websites that have posted the newspaper’s content as it develops. Our first story, in June, explained that the newspaper had started filing lawsuits in the name of copyright protection. The Review-Journal hired a company named Righthaven to track down Review-Journal content online and file lawsuits.
At the beginning of this month, we noted that the newspaper had tallied more than 144 lawsuits against websites for posting Review-Journal content. And, the nonprofit Electronic Frontier Foundation joined with one of the lawsuit defendants, Democratic Underground, to file a counterclaim against the newspaper. The lawsuits have been marked unusual because reports indicate that lawsuits are filed before or without asking websites to remove content – normal practice in copyright protection.
The Electronic Frontier Foundation responded to our e-mail asking about its involvement in the counterclaim. Media relations director Rebecca Jeschke wrote to iMediaEthics that “Right now, the Democratic Underground case is the only Righthaven case we are working on. But anyone who is the target of a Righthaven lawsuit and is in need of representation should contact Eva Galperin at email@example.com.” Jeschke explained that the EFF can’t represent everyone, but that the organization “is very concerned about this recent phenomenon,” labeling Righthaven a “copyright troll.” (See more on the EFF’s “copyright troll” issue here.)
“We got involved in the Democratic Underground case because this was a clear case of fair use of copyrighted material. Only five sentences were used from the full story, and it was for the purposes of criticism and commentary. Additionally, there was a link back to the Review-Journal website. Here’s more on fair use,” Jeschke wrote.
See our earlier stories on this web content battle here.