Blog Hyperlinks to News Stories With Copyright Protection = Copyright Infringement or Not?


The expression "bad facts make bad law" comes to mind when reading the news reports about Righthaven LLC and the Las Vegas Review-Journal ("Las Vegas Review"). Namely, the Las Vegas Review has partnered with Righthaven to sell their copyright interest in articles after the articles in whole or part are attached as hyperlinks to blogs. Righthaven registers the copyrights it purportedly acquires from the Las Vegas Review and then sues the blogs without sending the standard "cease and desist" letter beforehand.

The facts are pretty egregious, and this litigation business model is being soundly criticized. Since March 2010, Righthaven has filed over one 140 actions. In these actions, Righthaven is overreaching and demands forfeiture of the blog site's domain - relief that is appropriate perhaps in cybersquatting cases, but not actions for alleged copyright infringement. Righthaven is becoming very rich from this business model. Most of the cases settle quickly with roughly 20% reportedly settling for several thousands of dollars.

And, Righthaven has every intention of adding more newspapers to its list of clients. Stephens Media LLC, the publisher of the Las Vegas Review, runs over 70 other newspapers in nine other states. The CEO of Righthaven is reported as saying that he has an agreement with Stephens Media to sue bloggers who hyperlink to articles in these other newspapers as well. Hundreds of lawsuits are already in the works. And, with ad revenues down, other newspapers are deciding to make money by partnering with Righthaven. WEHCO Media, Arkansas, is reported to be the second client of Righthaven.

Please see full article below for more information.

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Sheppard Mullin Richter & Hampton LLP on:

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