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Achtung Kids! Lawyers Now Suing Bloggers For Copyright

Discussion in 'Blogging' started by The Scarlet Pimp, Jul 27, 2010.

  1. The Scarlet Pimp

    The Scarlet Pimp Jr. VIP Jr. VIP Premium Member

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    If you run an auto-blog, better watch out! Here come the lawsuits... For real! :eek:


    Newspaper Chain's New Business Plan: Copyright Suits
    By David Kravets

    Steve Gibson has a plan to save the media world's financial crisis ? and it's not the iPad.

    Borrowing a page from patent trolls, the CEO of fledgling Las Vegas-based Righthaven has begun buying out the copyrights to newspaper content for the sole purpose of suing blogs and websites that re-post those articles without permission.

    And he says he's making money.

    ?We believe it?s the best solution out there,? Gibson says. ?Media companies? assets are very much their copyrights. These companies need to understand and appreciate that those assets have value more than merely the present advertising revenues.?

    Gibson?s vision is to monetize news content on the backend, by scouring the internet for infringing copies of his client?s articles, then suing and relying on the harsh penalties in the Copyright Act ? up to $150,000. for a single infringement ? to compel quick settlements.

    Since Righthaven?s formation in March, the company has filed at least 80 federal lawsuits against website operators and individual bloggers who?ve re-posted articles from the Las Vegas Review-Journal, his first client.

    Now he?s talking expansion. The Review-Journal?s publisher, Stephens Media in Las Vegas, runs over 70 other newspapers in nine states, and Gibson says he already has an agreement to expand his practice to cover those properties.

    (Stephens Media declined comment, and referred inquiries to Gibson.)

    Hundreds of lawsuits, he says, are already in the works by year?s end. ?We perceive there to be millions, if not billions, of infringements out there,? he says.

    Righthaven?s lawsuits come on the heels of similar campaigns targeting music and movie infringers. The Recording Industry Association of America sued about 20,000 thousand file sharers over five years, before recently winding down its campaign.

    And a coalition of independent film producers called the U.S. Copyright Group was formed this year, already unleashing as many as 20,000 federal lawsuits against BitTorrent users accused of unlawfully sharing movies.

    The RIAA's lawsuits weren't a money maker, though ? the record labels spent $64 million in legal costs, and recovered only $1.3 million in damages and settlements. The independent film producers say they nonetheless expect to turn a profit from their lawsuits.

    ?People are settling with us,? says Thomas Dunlap, the head lawyer of the Copyright Group's litigation. The out-of-court settlements, the number of which he declined to divulge, are ranging in value from $1,500. to $3,500. ? about the price it would cost defendants to retain a lawyer.

    The RIAA's settlements, which it collected in nearly every case, were for roughly the same amounts.

    But experts say that settling the Righthaven cases, many of which target bloggers or aggregation sites, might not be as easy. The RIAA lawsuits often accused peer-to-peer users of sharing dozens of music files, meaning the risk of going to trial was financially huge for the defendants.

    The same is true of the BitTorrent lawsuits. The movie file sharers are accused of leeching and seeding bits of movie files, contributing to the widespread and unauthorized distribution of independent movies such as Hurt Locker, Cry of the Wolf and others.

    But each of the Righthaven suits charge one, or a handful, of infringements. Defendants might be less willing to settle a lawsuit stemming from their posting of a single news article, despite the Copyright Act's whopping damages.

    ?You?d have to go after a lot of people for a relatively small amount of money,? says Jonathan Band, a Washington, D.C. copyright lawyer. ?That is a riskier proposition.?

    Gibson claims Righthaven has already settled several lawsuits, the bulk of which are being chronicled by the Las Vegas Sun, for undisclosed sums.

    One defendant who is ready to settle is Fred Bouzek, a Virginia man who runs bikernews.net, a user-generated site about hardcore biker news. He was sued last week on allegations the site ran a Las Vegas Review-Journal story about police going under cover with the Hell?s Angels.

    Even if he had grounds to fight the case, he says it would be cheaper to settle. ?The only choice I have is to try to raise money and offer a settlement,? he says.

    Bill Irvine of Phoenix says he is fighting infringement allegations targeting AboveTopSecret.com, the site he controls under The Above Network. The site is accused of infringing a Review-Journal article on the Gulf of Mexico oil spill.

    The site is a user-generated discussion on ?conspiracies, UFO's, paranormal, secret societies, political scandals, new world order, terrorism, and dozens of related topics? and gets about 5 million hits monthly, Irvine says.

    Righthaven, he says, should have sent him a takedown notice under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, because the article was posted by a user, not the site itself.

    ?In this case, we feel this suit does not have merit,? he says. ?We are confident we will have success challenging it.?

    Gibson says he's just getting started. Righthaven has other media clients that he won?t name until the lawsuits start rolling out, he says.

    ?Frankly, I think we're having tremendous success at a number of levels,? Gibson says. ?We file new complaints every day.?

    http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2010/07/copyright-trolling-for-dollars/
     
  2. volund

    volund Senior Member

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    What do you call 10k lawyers at the bottom of the ocean?



    A Good Start!!


    Fing lawyers.....
     
  3. ch8878

    ch8878 Elite Member

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    Ya the way to avoid this is to not mention a companies name, and not to copy any articles just pay someone to make a new article not rewrites because rewrites will be the next thing thats getting lawsuits !!
     
  4. ghettogong

    ghettogong Regular Member

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    Yes, they are going to go to hundreds of millions of blogs in the US and not to forget the REST of the world just to take em to court.....SCARE TACTICS 101
    Posted via Mobile Device
     
  5. zverr

    zverr Regular Member

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    Hehe I want to see him sue someone in Russia :D or sue me in my coutry. Is he for real ? In my coutry I can hire a very good lawyer for less than $1000 and I will get away with almost everything. Well if you live in nazi USA then watch out.
     
  6. nirmar

    nirmar Regular Member

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    Thats why, I will never make any auto-blogs.

    I will copy the content and give the credit to original writer at the end of my article or highlight at the end with lable "Source" or "Shared by".

    just like an OP always do.:D
     
  7. MaxWeber

    MaxWeber Regular Member

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    Is it just me.... or does he look very like Joel Comm?
    Check out his photo on the link from OP.
     
  8. ch8878

    ch8878 Elite Member

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    You still can get in trouble from copying and giving credit to the original writer, if they wanted to be a a hole I would just buy some for cheap that arent rewrites !!
     
  9. someguy

    someguy Registered Member

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    Still trouble, because a credit to the original is just blogger ethics. From the legal standpoint, it does not change anything! Infact, it shows, that you even knowingly copied from that source.

    This is really bad news. Good, that I do not publish articles nor live in the USA. :worm3:
     
  10. milton

    milton Regular Member

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    Textbook publishers are suing college students in the USA for similar stuff. Except their settlements are like $60,000. I kid you not.
     
  11. The Scarlet Pimp

    The Scarlet Pimp Jr. VIP Jr. VIP Premium Member

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    time to move the blogs offshore.
     
  12. Fwiffo

    Fwiffo Power Member

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    This is correct - DMCA allows for a site to be notified of a copyright violation from user generated content, and given the chance to take it down with no liability to the site itself. (a quick understanding and summary, please correct me if I'm wrong)

    Would be interesting to see what will happen in regards to every web 2.0 and article directory that has their content from users submitting it - if they try these tactics with the bigger boys, likely to get a good countersuit or precedent against them.....
     
  13. jolt3500

    jolt3500 Junior Member

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    Well this really killed my morning.
     
  14. bavahz

    bavahz Registered Member

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    Freakin Ambulance chasers.
    Hatched from pond scum
    Sorry pond scum didn't mean to insult you :)
    This is some SERIOUS Sh*t WOW!
    Enough with the FTC and all the other alphabet agencies sticking their nose up everyones butt holes.
    New papers don't have a clue how to actually make a profitable change to the internet so, might as well squeeze the little guy?
    Crap-o-la and just yesterday I was reading about Auto-blogs too.
    That clinches it,I'm going with plan "B"...getting my Gigolo outfit out of storage and hitting the country clubs :)
    JB
     
  15. Isendale

    Isendale Junior Member

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    So I should wring by hands and slit my wrists over a .0001% chance of getting sued and settling out of court for a couple thousand dollars?

    I have other things to fret about.
     
  16. jolt3500

    jolt3500 Junior Member

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    A poll would be interesting to see here
     
  17. Kingfresh

    Kingfresh Regular Member

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    This tricky lawyer found a profitable niche haha
     
  18. Biscut

    Biscut Regular Member

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    Use articles from article directories that allow them to be reposted with the original owners link. I would also think using RSS feeds to get content are allowed otherwise they wouldn't have RSS feeds to begin with.
     
  19. gonzomcribbinz

    gonzomcribbinz Regular Member

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    I wouldn't worry TOO much about autoblogs just yet. Like FWIFFO said, the DMCA allows for the site to be notified and the content to be pulled in the event of a complaint.

    My best guess is that this guy is going for the "biggest fish" he can grab right now. The ones with MAJOR traffic.

    But...all it takes is for one single major blog to fight back with the stance of "internet is all about sharing and linking blah blah blah" and win and his whole scheme will be blown out of the water with that newly-found case law.

    Cliff notes: he'll get away with it as long as he can and then move on to the next racket. He's the black-hatter of law.
     
  20. DigitalGangster

    DigitalGangster Regular Member

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    Why are you guys even bothering? Unless you guys pull around 1 million UV a month to your blog or then maybe you should feel some fear from this stupid fat fuck. But he is going after the big fishes, you guys are not worth going after . Did you guys even take in consideration the freaking legal fees this guy is paying. Think about it this guy needs money to invest into a legal team and some very good fucking lawyers.The only way any of you autoblogglers should be worried is if any of you guys have a big network of blogs and you do the stupid mistake of putting them on the same ip, same host or even put a freaking footer on your blog connecting all of your blogs to you. Otherwise dont even give a fuck, all this news and shit keeps you away from concentrating on the money part.The only news that ever came here that seemed to affect me was when the guy with the cookie stuffing script was sued by ebay, now thats some real shit to worry about and not of this non-sense bullshit.