Righthaven Gives No Warning to Copyright Infringers

By Joseph Mandour on January 31, 2011

no-camera Los Angeles – Righthaven LLC, a controversial “technology company” which sues unsuspecting websites for copyright infringement of its clients’ newspaper articles and photographs, is now targeting The Drudge Report over use of a photo. In addition to suing for monetary damages, Righthaven is reportedly also going after control of The Drudge Report’s domain.

The suit, filed in U.S. District Court for Nevada, claims that a November 18 Denver Post illustration titled “Transportation Security Administration agents perform enhanced pat-downs” was posted without permission on The Drudge Report website. Apparently, Righthaven applied with the U.S. Copyright Office to register the copyright in the photograph.

Righthaven’s business model has traditionally focused on filing claims against individuals and small business that were more likely to pay a small settlement amount rather than go through the expense and hassle of litigation. To date, Righthaven has filed more than 230 copyright infringement suits and has earned an estimated $320,000 in settlements. There are no warning cease and desist letters sent out. Righhaven goes straight for the jugular by filing the claim.

Many Righthaven critics refer to their litigation tactics as frivolous and part of a shakedown strategy to obtain easy settlements. Righthaven claims that these lawsuits are absolutely necessary to protect the copyrighted works as well as the works for the entire newspaper industry.

The drudgereportarchives.com website states: “Matt Drudge does not own, operate or maintain this archive site. He is not responsible for it in any way.” Righthaven lawyers argued back: “At all times relevant to this lawsuit, Mr. Drudge has been and is a direct financial beneficiary of the Drudge Archives website.”

Righthaven is suing for $150,000 in damages as well as ownership of the drudge report.com and drudgereportarchives.com website domain names.

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