The first I heard that I was being sued came in an email from Las Vegas Sun reporter Steve Green. Green and the Las Vegas Sun have been doing a tremendous job covering the saga of Righthaven LLC, a firm that has filed 107 suits against bloggers and website owners since March of this year, including one yesterday against yours truly.
Righthaven’s standard shakedown seems to go as follows: The firm goes trolling the web, looking for content that from the Las Vegas Review-Journal that has been reposted on other blogs or websites. Once it finds a match, it acquires the copyright from the Review-Journal, then – without first contacting the accused blogger / website owner – files a lawsuit in Nevada Federal court. The standard damages seem to be for $75,000 and forfeiture of the domain name to Righthaven. I assume that is what I am being sued for as well, though I have yet to see it.
Most of the content on the Daily Paul is user-generated, and my understanding has always been that I am protected by the DMCA against liability for user uploaded content. Under the law, standard procedure is for the copyright holder to contact the website owner and ask that the offending content be removed. This is a request that I have complied with numerous times for other parties. In this particular case, I was never contacted by Righthaven, nor the Las Vegas Review Journal, nor, as far as I can tell, were any of the other 107 defendants.
You can see Steve Green’s reportage of the suit against me at the end of this article.
The sidebar of that article contains an excellent archive of the Green’s meticulous documentation of each of the 107 suits filed so far, as well as the relevance of these suits in his September 1 article, Why we are writing about the R-J copyright lawsuits
Many of the smaller bloggers have settled their cases for a few thousand dollars, leading lawyers to term this operation as a ‘shakedown.’ Some are unable to settle for that sum, as their websites don’t make any money at all.