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2010: Daily Paul / Michael Nystrom Sued by Righthaven LLC in Massive Blogger Copyright Shakedown

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UPDATE: Please note the date - September 1, 2010. This happened over 2-1/2 years ago. I don't know how this ended up getting bumped this morning. The suit was ultimately dismissed. See my additional comments here. Thanks everyone for your support.

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! Reddit !

The first I heard that I was being sued came in an email from Las Vegas Sun reporter Steve Green. Green and the Las Vegas Sun have been doing a tremendous job covering the saga of Righthaven LLC, a firm that has filed 107 suits against bloggers and website owners since March of this year, including one yesterday against yours truly.

Righthaven's standard shakedown seems to go as follows: The firm goes trolling the web, looking for content that from the Las Vegas Review-Journal that has been reposted on other blogs or websites. Once it finds a match, it acquires the copyright from the Review-Journal, then - without first contacting the accused blogger / website owner - files a lawsuit in Nevada Federal court. The standard damages seem to be for $75,000 and forfeiture of the domain name to Righthaven. I assume that is what I am being sued for as well, though I have yet to see it.

Most of the content on the Daily Paul is user-generated, and my understanding has always been that I am protected by the DMCA against liability for user uploaded content. Under the law, standard procedure is for the copyright holder to contact the website owner and ask that the offending content be removed. This is a request that I have complied with numerous times for other parties. In this particular case, I was never contacted by Righthaven, nor the Las Vegas Review Journal, nor, as far as I can tell, were any of the other 107 defendants.

You can see Steve Green's reportage of the suit against me at the end of this article.

The sidebar of that article contains an excellent archive of the Green's meticulous documentation of each of the 107 suits filed so far, as well as the relevance of these suits in his September 1 article, Why we are writing about the R-J copyright lawsuits

Many of the smaller bloggers have settled their cases for a few thousand dollars, leading lawyers to term this operation as a 'shakedown.' Some are unable to settle for that sum, as their websites don't make any money at all.

Of great interest to our community is that Alex Jones is also being sued by Righthaven. See here, here, and here. Alex is quoted as saying,

“This claim is totally without merit and appears to be purely predatory and I’m weighing all options with counsel including a possible counterclaim, not just to protect myself from being squeezed but also the other sites that have been sued,” said Jones, who said his national talk show is heard on 60 stations around the country.

Also being sued, according to the Las Vegas Sun, are The Armed Citizen (which has since shut down to avoid further legal trouble - see the letter on their website), Free Republic, and NORML, among many, many others.

On August 25th, the Electronic Frontier Foundation announced that they will make efforts to assist Righthaven defendants to the best of their ability. I have initiated contact, as I have absolutely no intention of settling.

Also reporting on this story:

Law.com - Birth of the Copyright Troll

Wired.com - Newspaper Chain’s New Business Plan: Copyright Suits

LA Times: - Las Vegas Review-Journal bares its claws

- - -

While it sucks for me personally to be sued, I intend to fight this battle to the end, resources permitting. I am in the process of assembling a legal team to deal with this. After I get an idea of how best to approach this, I may ask for help in creating a legal defense fund, and I hope that I can count on your support in this battle.

I want to thank the members of the Liberty community who gave me great support today as I digested this news, including bigmikedude, Kurt Wallace, Trevor Lyman, Michael Boldin of the 10th Amendment Center, and others.

Based on what I have heard so far from my fellow patriots, and what other defendants are planning, I believe that Righthaven picked the wrong community to mess with!

In the mean time, I suggest that fellow bloggers and webmasters scour your sites for any links back to lvrj.com. Righthaven has sued websites that published just four paragraphs of a 36 paragraph story, including a link. To be safe, I wouldn't even link back to those bastards at all. Who knows - they might even sue you for that.

If you have any information that may be of value, please do not hesitate to contact me using the contact button on this website above.

Thank you again for your support.

Michael

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Northstar?

Have been in touch,he is on it with everything he can muster.He's watching everything we post very closely,Which reminds me,we should not post any links to RJ,They are also being watched an counted.
Let's not give them any traffic at all,They don't deserve it.

If I disappear from a discussion please forgive me. My 24-7 business requires me to split mid-sentence to serve them. I am not ducking out, I will be back later to catch up.

So what's next?

Will every facebook member next be sued for posting a link to the news (like everyone does) and putting a "quote" from the article above it?

The implications of this are limitless

If you have a lawyer

you are deemed incapable of handling your own affairs and consent to being bound by the statues of the law society. Not a path i would follow.

Tell them to validate their claim.
All the best, good luck.

Unfortunately,

most individuals ARE incapable of handling their own affairs when defending themselves against the machine of the court system.
Defending yourself in court is a great concept, in theory, but virtually impossible, for most people, in reality.
Akin to an individual taking on a SWAT team, and we all know how well those events usually turn out.

the stranger's picture

…in a lifetime of chance

Damn good points, it can’t be stressed enough.

The court system doesn’t exist to give you justice, it exists to give you chance at justice. And that chance has diminished greatly over time. Pretty much all judges were lawyers first, but that’s not how it all began. Perhaps old Billy was right…

Swat team, great analogy; the mechanisms in place amount to that kind of weaponry, training, and precision. Defending yourself in court at one time was probably common. It comes at great cost now. Sometimes, your only chance at survival is to represent yourself, but still at enormous cost – your knowledge, skill, and execution will need to overpower every obstacle in real time.

Another thing; for someone who is being prepped for surgery, telling them that the operation is routine, when they already know that, doesn’t give them comfort.

But in reading on this I have found

That there may be certain limits in damages applied to sole owner operators that are not extended when it becomes something larger with council.It needs to be studied very thoroughly.

If I disappear from a discussion please forgive me. My 24-7 business requires me to split mid-sentence to serve them. I am not ducking out, I will be back later to catch up.

Avoiding Stephens Group altogether

How To Make Sure You Don't Accidentally Visit Organizations That Don't Want You

To make sure that you don't unintentionally copying and pasting too much, and getting sued by Righthaven LLC, it is perhaps wisest to not visit any of the news organizations associated with the Stephens Group - who apparently are funding at least part of Righthaven's actions.  The Stephens Group has a lot of different newspapers.  While the list of these organizations has been floating around for a couple of weeks, someone pointed out this useful Firefox add-on.

http://claytonecramer.blogspot.com/2010/08/how-to-make-you-d...

photoshopwiz's picture

nice ~ new facebook group

~
facebook: stop the LVRJ/RIGHTHAVEN witch hunt!

Description:
The Las Vegas Review Journal, a newspaper located in Las Vegas, Nevada, has hired lawyer group Righthaven LLC, to basically sue any and all web site owners who they accuse of copyright infringement over improper use of their news articles. These lawsuits are being issued without ANY previous contact or cease and desist orders as far we know. This is a blatant money making venture, not simply an attempt at copyright protection.

See Discussions for further information, let's get the word out that while every business has the right to protect their property both real and intellectual, there is no ethical reason to not simply give notice to these website owners and allow them to comply with the wishes of the copyright owner.

http://www.facebook.com/pages/stop-the-LVRJRIGHTHAVEN-witch-...

Moderators "trimming" posts?

Now that we're on the subject, I've noticed some threads where there are more than "a few" paragraphs posted from other sites. Should/could the moderators here step in and trim these down? Maybe add some guidance text to the Create Forum Topic posting area?

This is covered under #3

under the DP Posting Guidelines: http://www.dailypaul.com/node/78343

I can't speak for the other moderators, but I do trim articles when I come across them. I have also encountered, more than once, people who will repost the article in full after it has been trimmed. Moderators are not always around, so it's up to the community to be personally responsible for their own posts and to self-regulate. No moderator wants to be like the government.

If you notice an article that needs to be trimmed, let the poster know. If they don't do anything about it, ask for a moderator.

Thanks AAAAANDRE.

Ron Paul "Sign Wave Across the USA" -- November 5th!

I've tried to be nice about

I've tried to be nice about it, but there are a few who take umbrage at any suggestion they need to follow rules.

Don't worry Michael - We're behind you all the way.

You'll get donations from us if you need a defense but...I say again...who is profiting from using any content from their publication?

Where are the damages?

To my knowledge, the DailyPaul isn't a commercial site where someone is profiting from the posts here.

It's simply an interactive forum for thoughts, learning, and exchanges of ideas and philosophies.

I have learned countless things from this site and hopefully have even taught a few things on occasion.

This lawsuit is NONSENSE and any judge worth his salt would just throw it out of his court and not waste his time on it.

"We have allowed our nation to be over-taxed, over-regulated, and overrun by bureaucrats. The founders would be ashamed of us for what we are putting up with."
-Ron Paul

a useful story

from a competing newspaper:

http://www.lasvegassun.com/news/2010/aug/04/some-targets-rig...

Fortune Favors the Bold

northstar's picture

That's just for that site

We need to check all of their other sites. It says "...arising from this website".

Real eyes realize real lies

We want our country back

Every year is a year for Ron Paul!

Apparently Sharon Angle, or her campaign has just been sued by

them as well.

One more vote in the Senate to fix this mess, if the law in fact needs changing...! But I'm thinking your defense is good, and they were just counting on no one challenging it, because of the cost.

http://www.whas11.com/news/politics/102234424.html

Integrity means having to say things that people don't want to hear & especially to say things that the regime doesnt want to hear -RonPaul

the stranger's picture

The Fund

It might be prudent to start up a fund sooner, rather than later. That way it’s in place if needed. Also, the fund could be maintained in, or periodically shifted to, an account that could insulate the fund from the ravages of inflation. That could also amplify its original purpose (I recommend Turk’s Goldmoney).

If the fund is not needed for the DP specifically, then part stays as insurance, and part of the fund goes where it is needed; where it is needed within this specific need to defend internet organizations against malicious attacks; or perhaps to organizations that are already gearing up for this battle. Such a fund could become a force unto itself.

Very good idea

Question though, if they think there is more money to be had would they up the ante.?

If I disappear from a discussion please forgive me. My 24-7 business requires me to split mid-sentence to serve them. I am not ducking out, I will be back later to catch up.

the stranger's picture

one way to find out

Not quite sure I understand your question; but, however you meant it, there’s one sure way to find out. At any rate…

I’d like to see the successful results of money bombs go somewhere besides to into politicians coffers (picturing Candy and Pryor). And this attack on Nystrom is a good start; a damn good start. But, regarding fund raising campaigns, and beyond simply defending the internet, there are many folks doing good work. I guess the thought of these massive amounts collected going straight to politicians (no matter who they are) makes me ill.

I think it would work as you say

But it would need to be a discrete fund in a discrete name that is not pointed to a particular person or group so that it becomes a "Silent" support fund as to not show our hand with true finances.

If I disappear from a discussion please forgive me. My 24-7 business requires me to split mid-sentence to serve them. I am not ducking out, I will be back later to catch up.

I would favor putting it in a clickbank account/trust account...

Some private account that no one(including paypal) can just have access to. That way its secure, its untarnished.

It could use Alertpay and other different ways to donate etc.

That the fund could be used to FIGHT for free speech online(and off) seems like an idea who's time has come quite literally.

Perfect

Discretion is important I think because if it was known how much there was,They would start to request larger and larger amounts in damages and settlements.

If I disappear from a discussion please forgive me. My 24-7 business requires me to split mid-sentence to serve them. I am not ducking out, I will be back later to catch up.

the stranger's picture

...

SS, TrueP, good points…

Glad you saw it strangerr

I wanted to make sure I clarified myself for you,Thanks.

If I disappear from a discussion please forgive me. My 24-7 business requires me to split mid-sentence to serve them. I am not ducking out, I will be back later to catch up.

There's something wrong in the neighborhood.

Michael Nystrom and DP will be in the history books!
I say that because history is making right before our eyes.

We have Righthaven setting up lawsuits, you have the FCC delaying net nutrality, Joint Strategic Plan statement was relesed in June and now we have a secreitve The Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement that is planned on being signed this month! The US GOV is looking to make examples out of us for the rest and I don't like it! Smells like sour piss to me....

Foolish statists!

Thankfully, some leaders still understand the rule of law, and especially the Bill of Rights.

"Hence, naturally enough, my symbol for Hell is something like the bureaucracy of a police state or the office of a thoroughly nasty business concern." ~~C.S. Lewis
Love won! Deliverance from Tyranny is on the way! Col. 2:13-15

Fair Usage

Hi Michael,

I do not think you need lawyers so much.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Las_Vegas_Review-Journal

Just friends who can help should be fine. Do not be afraid of these fascists, make your stand.

"Fear is the mark of a slave."

Diogenes of Sinope

"Walls are stronger than the men that defend them."

Ghengis Khan

Good find Khan.... I agree

Good find Khan.... I agree this is just a fly buzzing around his head.

northstar's picture

Michael, got new stuff I sent you in email

.

Real eyes realize real lies

We want our country back

Every year is a year for Ron Paul!