You know the tide has turned in the media landscape when bloggers begin demanding payment from newspapers for copyright infringement.
After all, it was not too long ago when a Las Vegas company was shaking down bloggers for copyright infringement on behalf of newspapers.
Righthaven burst on the scene in 2010 under the guise that they were saving journalism.
Or as Las Vegas Review-Journal publisher Sherman Frederick stated at the time:
Yet, when it comes to copyrighted material — news that my company spends money to gather and constitutes the essence of what we are as a business — some people think they can not only look at it, but also steal it. And they do. They essentially step into the front yard and drive that content away.
Well, we at Stephens Media have decided to do something about it. And, I hope other publishers will join me
Fast forward to 2012 and Righthaven is history after actually having to go to court in one of its suits instead of just collecting on a settlement as it did so many times.
According to Wired:
Ironically, Righthaven sought — as payment — the domain names owned by the people it was suing, and now it has lost its own domain name and any other available assets in the process. The company has threatened to file for bankruptcy protection.
The domain auction and the unscheduled auctioning of Righthaven’s copyrights is to help pay Las Vegas lawyer Marc Randazza for successfully defending Vietnam veteran Wayne Hoehn against a Righthaven copyright lawsuit seeking large damages for posting the entirety of a Las Vegas Review-Journal editorial to a small online message board.
The lawsuit against Hoehn, one of hundreds of Righthaven’s lawsuits, accused him of unlawfully posting all 19 paragraphs of a November 2010 editorial from the Las Vegas Review-Journal. Hoehn posted the article, and its headline, “Public Employee Pensions: We Can’t Afford Them” on medjacksports.com to prompt discussion about the financial affairs of the nation.
Judge Pro ruled that the posting was fair use of the article, an issue that is on appeal. Whether Righthaven retains the financial wherewithal to litigate the appeal was not immediately known. Righthaven’s chief executive, Steve Gibson, did not immediately respond for comment.
Bloggers, including myself, have long claimed “fair use” to justify reposting copyrighted material. But fair use has never been specifically defined by any court.
I try to limit myself to using not more than four paragraphs from a single story but sometimes I use more if it calls for it. I also am sure to cite and link to the source.
Last week, a federal judge in Georgia handed down a long-awaited ruling regarding fair use in the electronic age, which favored the defendant who was accused of copyright infringement.
But you never really hear about bloggers suing newspapers over copyright infringement.
Over the years, I’ve heard stories from local bloggers accusing the Miami Herald of ripping off their stories, but I’ve never seen any proof.
But here we have a case where Duane Lester of All American Blogger discovered that the Oregon Times Observer of Oregon, Missouri has republished one of his pieces in its entirety.
Rather than send him a threatening letter, Lester decided to confront the newspaper’s managing editor Bob Ripley in person while holding a camera.
Lester ends up with a $500 check written out for “bullshit” in just over six minutes, which shows us we can all save ourselves a ton of cash and time by resorting to cameras instead of lawyers.
Lester is being praised on his blog and all over the internet for handling a “tense situation very well,” even though Ripley is 40 years older than him and a head shorter and didn’t come across anymore aggressive than the old man down the street yelling at kids to get off his lawn.
Lester did handle it well, but so did Ripley, even if he did tell Lester to get “your ass out of my building” after writing the check.
But best of all, Ripley didn’t get all stupid about the whole incident being recorded, even though he probably could have ordered the videographer out of his building before signing the check.
Please send stories, tips and videos to firstname.lastname@example.org.
CARLOS MILLER’S LEGAL DEFENSE FUND
I am immersed in a legal case where I not only want to clear my criminal charges stemming from my arrest in January, but I want to sue the Miami-Dade Police Department for deleting my footage, which I was able to recover.
My goal is to set some type of precedent to ensure this does not happen as often as it does today where cops simply get away with it.
So if you would like to contribute, please click on the “donate” button below and contribute whatever you can afford.
You can also contribute to my Legal Defense Fund by purchasing a photographer rights lens cloth and/or laminated card to wear around your neck like a press badge through Zap Rag.Please write “carlos3” in the comments section of the Paypal transaction to ensure I receive a portion of the sale.
Also, in an unrelated PINAC matter, I recently went through a hair transplant operation and I’m documenting my recovery on this blog if you are interested.