The practice of excerpting news and linking to its source is what drives the blogosphere, engages millions in political discussion and aides the dissemination of information the world over.
However, if the so-called “copyright troll” company Righthaven LLC is successful, a vibrant political forum for American progressives could be shut down, all thanks to a five sentence excerpt from the Las Vegas Review-Journal that caught the paper’s attention.
The forum Democratic Underground (DU) which frequently reposts news excerpts for users to discuss, was sued in August for quoting and linking to the Nevada paper. Backed by Internet freedom advocacy group Electronic Frontiers Foundation (EFF), DU filed a counter-suit on Monday, accusing the paper and Righthaven of engaging in copyright fraud.
“Righthaven has brought over 130 lawsuits in Nevada federal court claiming copyright infringement, even though they do not create, produce or distribute any content,” EFF explained. “Instead, they create lawsuits by scouring the Internet for content from Review-Journal stories posted on blogs and online forums, acquiring the copyright to that particular story from Stephens Media LLC (the Review-Journal’s publisher), and then suing the poster for infringement.
“As part of its lawsuit business model, Righthaven claims damages of up to $150,000 under the Copyright Act’s statutory damages provisions and uses that threat to attempt to push defendants into a quick settlement. In the answer and counterclaim filed Monday, Democratic Underground asked the court to affirm that the excerpt of the article does not infringe copyright and is a fair use of the material, with no damages due to Righthaven.”
By wielding copyright law as a blunt instrument, Righthaven has the effect of “chilling free and open discussion on the Internet,” DU founder David Allen claimed in a media advisory.
“Despite what Righthaven claims, it’s hard to interpret these lawsuits as anything else besides a way to bully Internet users into paying unnecessary settlements,” EFF attorney Kurt Opsahl added. “At the same time, Righthaven is trying to discourage the practice of quoting and linking that is both essential to the interconnected Internet and helps drive significant traffic to newspapers online.”
In a profile by Wired, Righthaven CEO Steve Gibson claimed his company has secured an agreement to expand their copyright lawsuit business to all Stephens Media properties, which includes 70 newspapers in nine states.
“Frankly, I think we’re having tremendous success at a number of levels,” he told the magazine. “We file new complaints every day.”
The company has filed more than 80 such complaints, including one against Nevada Republican and US Senate candidate Sharron Angle.
“I hope we’re not the only ones filing a counterclaim,” DU user Occulus opined.
Here’s why Wall Street has decided it’s fine with Democrats sweeping the election
President Donald Trump has tried to portray himself as an economic savior, and warned that Joe Biden winning the election would be a disaster for jobs and businesses.
But according to Politico, Wall Street executives don't agree. Many of them are now actively rooting for Democrats to sweep the 2020 election — because Republicans have failed to deliver crucial stimulus.
"Traders in recent weeks have been piling into bets that a 'blue wave' election, in which Democrats also seize the Senate, will produce an economy-juicing blast of fresh fiscal stimulus of $3 trillion or more that carries the U.S. past the coronavirus crisis and into a more normal environment for markets," reported Ben White. "Far from panicking at the prospect of a Biden win, Wall Street CEOs, traders and investment managers now mostly say they would be fine with a change in the White House that reduces the Trump noise, lowers the threat of further trade wars and ensures a continuation of the government spending they’ve seen in recent years."
Expert: Trump in a ‘dangerous’ battle with Bloomberg to win Texas for Biden
Former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg this week revealed that he's making a major last-minute ad blitz aimed at winning both Texas and Ohio for Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden.
According to the New York Times, Bloomberg's Independence USA super PAC is "directing millions toward television advertising" in the two states in the hopes of swaying undecided voters into backing Biden instead of President Donald Trump.
MSNBC’s Morning Joe can’t wait for Democrats to throw McConnell’s words back in his face
MSNBC's Joe Scarborough said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell gave Democrats every justification to expand the Supreme Court.
The "Morning Joe" host -- an ex-Republican -- said Democrats should throw McConnell's words back in his face to make the case for expanding the court if they retake the majority, after Republicans brazenly violated their own precedent to ram through Amy Coney Barrett.
"I love watching stuff like this," Scarborough said. "This is, like, do I need some popcorn? No, I'll tell you why. Every word that Mitch McConnell -- every single word -- and if Democrats have half a brain, and if they're not wimps, they will actually lift that speech word for word and use it when they expand the court to 11 or 12 justices."