Schizophrenic Righthaven Goes Over the Edge - Sues Reporter; Drops Suit Same WeekSubmitted by Michael Nystrom on Tue, 03/29/2011 - 17:12
Steve Green of the Las Vegas Sun (Las Vegas's good newspaper) broke the news yesterday that legal terrorist and copyright troll Righthaven sued a reporter, Eriq Garnder, of Ars Technica. An article written by Gardner included a black and white screenshot of the Drudge Report. The screenshot showed the Denver Post's now infamous TSA image that Righthaven is going crazy suing bloggers over, and was taken directly from Righthaven's own public court documents.
The grainy screenshot, found in the article Copyright troll Righthaven sues for control of Drudge Report domain was captioned, "The photo in question as it appeared on Drudge Report."
A clearer case of fair use there never was.
When I was being sued by Righthaven, I discussed exactly such a hypothetical case with my awesome lawyer. In order to talk about what Righthaven is suing over, reproducing the image in question is clearly a fair use of that image. This, he explained, is probably why Righthaven has yet to file suit against Wired for reproducing the LVRJ's Vdara Death Ray image reproduced by Wired.com
In this case, Righthaven didn't sue Ars Technica, which is (like Wired) owned by publishing giant Conde Nast, and instead went directly after the Gardner, the reporter. (!!!) (???) (WTF?) Righthaven was immediately ridiculed across the internet for (yet another) epically dumb move.
Mike Masnick at Techdirt also notes that "this lawsuit is so clearly wrongly targeted, I'm wondering if Gardner can't ask for sanctions against Righthaven for filing it in the first place."
Let's hope so. There is a legal term for what Righthaven is doing. It's called (among other things) barratry - the stirring up disputes and quarrels for the benefit of the lawyer filing the suits - and it is illegal in every state of the Union.