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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

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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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Outrageous!

Parasites like Righthaven are also attacking MY rights to free speech and freedom of the press.

But that is probably why they won't get their just desserts.

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The Virtual Conspiracy

They can deny your rights to

They can deny your rights to free speech, they are not Congress.

Freedom of the press only falls under your right to print your own content not to print or use someone elses.

Desperate paper based media companies

So the dead tree peddlers are spending their last dying gasp lashing out at presumably easy targets like libertarians.

What does this pathetic little Las Vegas newspaper think it will accomplish? Shake down a couple thousand dollars to keep its ventilators running for a few more weeks? Tsk tsk tsk.

The Las Vegas Review Journal is obsolete 20th century mass media trash, peddling dead trees and corporatized "news", they think they have power but they are only destined for the ash heap of history along with buggy whips, typewriters, and petroleum based energy.

Michael, take a vacation for a few weeks and ride it out until this wrinkled old dinosaur declares bankruptcy and liquidates its little "corporation."

I am out of touch with most Americans precisely because I am not out of touch with reality.

These people have no idea what they are getting into.

They have stirred up a political hornet's nest.
Don't worry, Michael. We won't do anything stupid. I have a feeling this will be settled out of court in your favor.
When you seek legal help, remember this word, "Countersuit".

First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight u

"First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, then you win." -- Mahatma Gandhi

I guess you know what stage you are at... But I don't think they realize WHY the Daily Paul is such an worthy adversary... When you attack the DP you are not just attacking Michael Nystrom, you are attacking ALL of us!

This is my favorite site. It is the first site I visit each morning after checking my e-mail. The reason for that is ANYONE can post all kinds of information. It is not just about RP, but the whole philosophy he adheres to. It is a compilation of information on any manner of interesting subjects. Not just that, it is also a place where I can find intelligent people and discuss and debate each topic or just read others thoughts, opinions and additional information they have to add on a specific subject.

Being a part of the DP family has helped me to learn more in a year or two than my entire 12 years of 'schooling'.

This is why WE are being attacked at the DP. Simply because you AND everyone who is part of the DP are having an effect. What is it that Alex Jones often says when he is being attacked in similar ways? "When you are receiving enemy fire it is a sure sign that you are over the target" (or something like that).

I would like to thank you Michael for standing up and providing us with the Daily Paul. You are an inspiration to me. Though we have never meet, and likely never will, you have my full support as well as my appreciation. I will do anything within my power to help you through this ordeal.

I have an image in my mind of you standing firmly in front of the enemy with your arms crossed, your head held high and a resolute but confident look on your face. Slowly, one-by-one a shadowy figure quietly stands up behind you and a light reveals them... And then another, and another, and so on... Some are white, some are black. Some women, some men. Some so old others must assist them in rising and some so young they can't even vote...As you look behind you realize that the room is not filled with strangers, as you originally thought, but your brothers and sisters. A look of love reflects from your face. Tears come to your eyes. As you look back at the enemy there is now a cocky little smirk that says "I didn't choose this fight, but BRING IT ON!" I am but one of those shadowy figures...

I love the scene you painted

in your last paragraph! Just beautiful! I see every comment of support on this thread as each of us standing up to say Michael is NOT alone and he has our full support. This is an attack on all of us!

I don't for one minute think this is really about copyright..that is the tool being used to try and intimidate free speech. This is politically motivated.

"I think we are living in a world of lies: lies that don't even know they are lies, because they are the children and grandchildren of lies." ~ Chris Floyd

Hey I resemble that remark...

...and we will fight for freedom of speech. We are united and we are strong!!!

"First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they attack you, then you win!"
GANDHI

"The belief is worthless if the fear of social and physical punishment overrides the belief."

I'm with you, Michael

It might be important to warn people at other social media sights, and that read lvrj.com, not to link to them, or quote any articles.

It would be terrible if really large sites like Dailykos, or Huffpo, that have really deep pockets, would get sued because of something that a user posted there.

I also wonder how Righthavens software works, I'm guessing it is like turnitin(TM) the software used to find pilagiarism in college papers. I wonder where how many characters it takes to give a hit - then again, they may target certain web sites.

Michael, First of all if you

Michael,

First of all if you haven't received a summons this is speculation at this point.

Second, don't listen to people saying they lost their case because they haven't notified you to take down the information, This is not true! The proper procedure is to notify the infringer advance notice of the stated infringement but, they can still go right to law suit if they choose. They will also file for permanent injuctive relief against the infringer.

3rd : There are two types of infringement, willful and unwillful. Willful means you knew the information was known to be copyrighted, unwillful is when you didn't know it was copyright protected. Even if you state you didn't know they will claim that you did, this is called known or should have known in the lawsuit world but, still needs to be proven.

4th : No one can take away your domain name, this is NOT TRUE in any way unless your domain name is an infringement of their intellectual property, which I am sure it is not. So forget about that part of the rumor.

5th : You are protected under DMCA laws so your ISP must first notify you of the violation and allow you a response or counter notice before they can take down your site. They must also privde many things before they threaten to take down your site.

6th : This could also fall under the fair use act.

7th : They can't just pick a number to sue for, they will have to show actual damages or possibly punitive damages as to what they would be owed.

I would be happy to give you more information via telephone for it would be much easier than typing all this out as well as not laying out the hand you need to possibly play for all to see before you actually play it.

Drop me an email or have sunny drop me an email and I will provide you my toll free number as well as my cell phone number to explain further, of course there is no charge for this, no worries.

Talk to you soon.

The wrong community to

...mess with is right!

You ought to be very proud

I know I am proud of you. When the tuckfards come after you, you know you did something right!

Love or fear? Choose again with every breath.

They would also have to show proof of damages.

Where are the damages?

Craziness

You would think linking back to them they would support. I can understand some anger if a whole article is posted and no link given.

There should be some kind of etiquette about how much a blog can post of an article. I think an industry norm should start to be formed after this lawsuit is defeated by DP. Maybe 100 words, and a link back. That should be enough.

Why don't they sue Digg and Reddit?

There is sort of

I will be following the

I will be following the developments. You have my support. I like your approach.

You have my support.

I'm not sure what they are thinking. They will lose a lot of backlinks/traffic long term from their decision.

Counterclaim

Michael,
You have our unwavering support. This is a shakedown and something the attorneys should never had filed. You should go after their license.

I would look into not only your rule 11 counterclaim for frivolous lawsuits, seeking censure and attorneys fees but I would examine your options and standing to file grievances with their bar. I would also ask the DP community to learn everything they can about these attorneys (everything) and start posting the information here so we can learn what other naughty things they may be up to and embarrassed about or criminally liable for. We need pictures of all the opposing parties on this site so if anyone recognizes them, they can share what they know.

Bottom line, honest people don't act like this and dishonest people are usually guilty of things that create professional or criminal liabilities.

(Ok my iPhone is not working here I will reedit later)

When the dust settles, please have a fundraising drive to purchase yourself a policy to indemnify you against nuisance suits like this in the future. I hate that you will spend anything out of pocket for this.

Finally, you are not alone. This is everyone's fight.
Thank you for what you have done, do, and will continue doing for liberty.

Finally this is not your battle this is ours. Thank you for everything you have done, do, an will continue doing for liberty.

Finally, after this is over. Please have a drive to raise money for an umbrella policy to indemnify you against nonsense like this.

This is not your fight Michael, this is all of ours.
Bottomline, honest people just don't act like this and dishonest people are often guilty of many things which create professional an criminal liabilities.

After this is over, please purchase an insurance policy if you can for nuisance suits like this.

A couple of thoughts ...

1. choose your legal counsel carefully.

2. If you choose to fight this, make sure you get some free pub from it; never turn down an interview, but always insist on recording the interview.

3. Have you copyrighted "Daily Paul"? If so, it would seem to me that you have a counterclaim.

4. Prepare for the worst and protect your assets. Hopefully you have a circle of trustworthy people that you can gift some of your assets to. The earlier the better.

5. Be personally involved in your legal defense.

6. This is not personal to your opponent, so don't take it personally, and never let yourself get offended or become defensive.

7. It sounds like the biggest hurdle for your opponent may be the first hurdle, "standing". Don't overlook this.

8. If you are insured, the final decision may not be yours, don't play the hero unless you are willing to lose alot simply for standing on principle.

9. Good luck, and while it may be difficult to do, try to get some enjoyment and satisfaction from this battle.

10. God Bless, I will be praying for you.

Identical predatory suit scam

Google "Getty images lawsuit scam" and you'll see the exact same scam being perpetuated, but by a company that owns images, not blogs.

They settle for several hundred dollars.

That's the only difference.

I'm being sued by them.

There us a Class action counter suit in the works, as these guys are the criminals, not innocent people they prey on.

"It is well enough that people of the nation do not understand our banking and monetary system, for if they did, I believe there would be a rEVOLution before tomorrow morning." - Henry Ford

Michael Nystrom's picture

Thank you

Good info. It all helps.

The only way to make sense out of change is to plunge into it, move with it, and join the dance. - Alan Watts

More detail

Michael,

These links will be helpful. There is a lot of great legal counsel listed by lawyers at these links:

http://www.sitepoint.com/forums/showthread.php?t=390902&page=4

http://www.sitepoint.com/forums/showthread.php?t=390902&page=4

http://www.ripoffs.org/gettyimageslawsuit

"It is well enough that people of the nation do not understand our banking and monetary system, for if they did, I believe there would be a rEVOLution before tomorrow morning." - Henry Ford

They lost their case when they never said "take it down".

This is also a timely reminder to DP users not to copy and paste chunks of text from articles.

For every person that sues, there must be thousands who contact the DP to politely say "take it down".

That's alot of time and hassle for the site owner. Much better to put a link there with your own words.

You have my support...

I can chip-in some $ or whatever else is necessary.

yup

+1

I'd rather have a bottle in front o' me than a frontal lobotomy
www.tattoosbypaul.com
www.bijoustudio-atx.com

Michael, sorry

a. to hear about this.
b. linking to unverified info.

http://www.godlikeproductions.com/forum1/message1144773/pg1

"The two weakest arguments for any issue on the House floor are moral and constitutional"
Ron Paul

VERY Interesting! RightHaven founder Steven Gibson + Obamas

** Thanks for the link! I just logged on DP and read Michaels thread..the first thought in my mind is this is definitely a political agenda based action! Then I clicked on your link from GLP and now I feel sure of it!

comments from your link to GLP:

Prior to establishing his own firm, Mr. Gibson was an associate at Sidley Austin LLP a Chicago Law firm...

In late 1988, Obama entered Harvard Law School. He was selected as an editor of the Harvard Law Review at the end of his first year,[37] and president of the journal in his second year.[38] During his summers, he returned to Chicago, where he worked as a summer associate at the law firms of Sidley Austin in 1989 and Hopkins & Sutter in 1990

Guess where Mr and Mrs Obama met....

Following law school, she was an associate at the Chicago office of the law firm Sidley Austin, where she first met her future husband.

>>>> And Guess what Michelle and Steven Gibson both did???
INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY LAW...AT THE SAME LAW FIRM...!!!

At the firm, she worked on marketing and intellectual property.

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Barack Obama, Michelle Obama...and Steve Gibson ALL worked for the same firm around the same time????....And Michelle is an Intellectual Property Lawyer??????

Geeezus...you think there might just be a TEENY COINCIDENCE THERE?????

Think there might just be some motivation from the Whitehouse NOW?????
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"I think we are living in a world of lies: lies that don't even know they are lies, because they are the children and grandchildren of lies." ~ Chris Floyd

Michael, you would be a fool...

...to assemble a legal team. BAR attorneys are a part of the corruption, and exist only to extend the controversy so that they can put more money in their pockets. That's how they make a living. The courts have ruled that ignorance of the law is not an excuse, so get your facts and evidence together and get file your own lawsuit counter-claim like Alex Jones is doing but do it pro se.

Yes, go pro se...

...don't feed the legal industry beast. And file a counter claim.

Which court?

US District?

Hell...

...I got a friend with a suit against courts and the police in both state supreme and federal. The more the merrier. ;) Honestly, I'm not too sure; would have to look into it.