Bloggers, Lawyers Stand Against Anti-Conservative Copyright Troll RightHaven
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Meet Columbia, SC lawyer Todd Kincannon: Republican… “Nationally noted parliamentarian.” Election law expert… Pop-culture connoisseur… The blogosphere’s last, best hope against anti-blogger legal firms?
Anti-blogger legal firm RightHaven—best known for suing Senate candidate Sharron Angle for posting a portion of a Las Vegas Review-Journal article on her campaign website and demanding that she relinquish her ownership of her personal campaign website—is the brainchild of a Las Vegas attorney working for the owners of the Review-Journal, going after bloggers who reprint newspaper articles from their clients.
Since May 2010, 110 of RightHaven’s lawsuits against bloggers have been settled or closed. According to the Las Vegas Sun, the law firm’s predatory ways have likely generated hundreds of thousands of dollars, earned from bloggers unwilling or unable to fight the lawsuit in court.
However, one blogger is standing up to RightHaven’s founder, Steve Gibson. Dana Eiser, who runs the small blog Lowcounty912, counterclaimed Gibson’s claim, noting that commenting about and reprinting newspaper articles was protected by the fair use doctrine and the First Amendment. Kincannon also noted that RightHaven had violated South Carolina’s Unfair Trade Practices Act by suing Eiser, adding that Righthaven had committed unfair and deceptive acts by wrongly branding Eiser as a copyright infringer.
Also, the counterclaim notes that there is no provision in the Digital Millenium Copyright Act that provides for the transfer of domain names—in other words, Gibson and his hordes of attorneys were overreaching the boundaries set down by the law, in its pursuit of conservative bloggers who dared to talk about articles printed on dead trees.
Not only are the Summerville, SC native and the Columbia lawyer seeking to defend the rights of bloggers, they are calling the copyright-trollish Gibson out on his horse hockey. Team Eiser is asking for all of RightHaven’s ill-gotten funds to be refunded, to all the bloggers they’ve scalped or scammed into coughing up cash.
While I am not a lawyer, I know what a scam is, and what a scam looks like; RightHaven LLC is definitely a scam.
As the conservative blogosphere grows and evolves, we must remember that an attack on the rights to free speech against even the least of us is an attack on all of us. RightHaven attempted (and failed) to take down one of the first conservative New Media warriors, Matt Drudge. While Gibson’s attacks on new media don’t appear to be political, they do have political implications: the case of Diana Eiser and Lowcounty912 is definitely a warning shot across the bow of dying, progressive-dominated industries such as the Old Media.
Let the rallying cry of the online conservative movement echo across the BlogoWeb: “we’re here, we’re conservative, get used to it!”