Righthaven rulings impact everyone

Via Wired:

A federal judge ruled Monday that publishing an entire article without the rights holder’s authorization was a fair use of the work, in yet another blow to newspaper copyright troll Righthaven.

the problem with lawyersThe newspaper industry has generally been quiet about this whole Righthaven nonsense, and it deserves what is happening in the wake of these rulings. I wrote about this a year ago.

Suing is the last thing we want to be doing for only two outcomes are possible. One, fair use provisions are solidified and possibly even expanded, which will weaken the argument that traditional media companies want to use in protecting their “property.” That would not be good for them. Two, fair use takes it on the chin, which would give traditional media companies a sense of power and victory. In this case, others will seize the opportunity presented, and people will go elsewhere, New York Times be damned. That would not be good for media companies either.

Rather than talk some sense into Righthaven’s “client,” it appears we chose to sit back and hope. Instead, this stream of anti-Righthaven court rulings is establishing a very dangerous precedent for copyright future suits, and the industry will rue the day it decided not to get involved.

Chalk another one up for the personal media revolution.


  1. The most troublesome aspect of Righthaven expanding fair use is the clarification of market value as it pertains to content, specifically user-generated content. If someone shares a photo or video online, they inherently own the work; others need to ask permission to use it. But how do you calculate the market value of this content? If there’s no market for it, it seems to make it quite easy for news organizations to use it and claim fair use because it doesn’t harm it’s market value. And that logic seems to unravel copyright protection for individuals. I’m curious if you think news organizations could freely use uploaded media without worry. Have you heard of any cases where a company was sued for publishing a user’s content without permission?

  2. Nathan, I’ve not seen it yet, but only a fool would assume it’s not coming. Copyright badly needs to be rewritten, ’cause it clearly doesn’t work.

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