Righthaven Continues To Sue On Behalf Of Stephens Media, Gets Sued Itself In The Process

The saga continues.

Outtakes has been tracking the behavior of Righthaven LLC of Las Vegas, which has been suing Internet sites that use any copyrighted material from Stephens Media properties. More than 130 website operators have been sued as a part of this effort, and more may be in danger as other news sources begin to follow the Stephens Media example. On Sept. 25, Stephens Media Vice President and General Counsel Mark Hinueber told the Las Vegas Sun that he was encouraged by the Associated Press' efforts to stop unlicensed postings of its material as well.

Tom Hurley, AP's CEO, recently said that a process was in place to track the unauthorized use of AP material, according to a press release on AP's website. Despite negative publicity, Hinueber expressed to the Sun his hope that other news organizations would take action to deter infringements and maintained that the Righthaven lawsuits would continue.

He was proven right almost immediately, though likely not in the way he imagined. On Sept. 28, the Electronic Frontier Foundation announced on its website that it would be representing the Democratic Underground in suing Righthaven. The EFF is a donor-funded nonprofit that functions to defend issues of free speech, privacy, innovation and consumer rights on the Internet.

The Democratic Underground was sued by Righthaven on Aug. 10, for an excerpt of a Las Vegas Review-Journal news story that a user posted on a forum, with a link back the Review-Journal website. According to the EFF's press release, the Democratic Underground is arguing that "the short excerpt the news article at issue in the suit is a clear case of fair use."

The Arkansas properties of Stephens Media - based in Las Vegas but owned by Little Rock's own Stephens family - and the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette have all signed on as clients of Righthaven, but so far we haven't spotted any copyright infringement suits filed in the state.