EFF Offers Help to Defendants in Righthaven Copyright Suits

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By: E&P Staff

The Electronic Frontier Foundation announced Aug. 25 that it seeks to assist defendants in copyright suits filed by Righthaven LLC, founded earlier this year to protect newspaper content from use in blogs and on Websites without publishers’ permission.

When Righthaven finds such material from a client, it acquires rights to the material and sues the online publisher that used it. Faced with substantial Copyright Act damages, defendants often settle for lower amounts. The EFF’s announcement states that the “lawsuits are of particular concern because they sometimes target the operators of political websites who re-publish newspaper stories, chilling political speech.”

While the EFF says its small number of lawyers cannot defend all who ask for its help in defending Righthaven lawsuits, it offers help finding attorneys who can.

Calling itself “the first line of defense” against attacks on “freedoms in the networked world,” the 10-year-old non-profit EFF says it enlists lawyers, policy analysts, activists, and technologists on behalf of consumers and the general public.

Two Righthaven suits filed Aug. 18, related to posting of material from the Las Vegas Review-Journal, bring its total to at least 100 since it was founded, according to the Las Vegas Sun, the Review-Journal‘s joint operating agreement partner.

“As it usually does,” the Sun reported, “Righthaven in the latest suits seeks damages of $75,000 apiece and forfeiture of the defendants’ website domain names to Righthaven.”


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