Nevada Political Candidate Faces Copyright Lawsuit

It appears that Sharon Angle’s campaign is the target of a Copyright Infringement Suit according to Fox News (Click here for the original story).

Fox is reporting that the campaign allegedly reprinted two stories from the Las Vegas Review Journal. What’s really interesting is that the Review Journal sold their rights to Righthaven, who actually filed the suit.  Fox News reports that Righthaven scours the Internet looking for copies of Review Journal stories.  When they find someone with deep pockets, they purchase the copyrights and file suit.

If you’ve read my other blogs on Copyright Infringement you know I’m dead set against the theft of intellectual property.  What I find really interesting about Righthaven is that they have turned this into a business.  Find a potential violation, buy the rights, and file a suit.

This tactic reminds me of the now-famous Getty Images letter program. Getty hired a third-party to scan the Internet looking for copies of their images. Once found, they would send the site owner a letter demanding proof of licensing or a fee between $1000 and $1500 per image as a settlement in lieu of a lawsuit.

One of their major issues was that the vast majority of the images they sell have not been registered with the Federal Copyright Office.  The lack of registration severely limits what they are entitled to collect. That said, if the material is registered, statuatory damages can be huge.

There are a couple of lessons in this for bloggers. 

First, never “reblog” articles.  You’re better off rewriting the story and referencing it rather than “reblogging” it (note this does not apply to AR’s reblog button).  Second, always use your own photos or purchase them from a reliable source.


About Tom Branch

Tom Branch has written 597 posts in this blog.

Have you ever just met someone, but felt you like you'd known him for years? That's what most people experience with Tom. He has a knack for making folks feel right at home. After 21 years in the Air Force, loyalty and honesty are the foundation of everything Tom does. In addition to being a Texas Real Estate Broker, Tom is a Certified Distressed Property Expert (CDPE) and a Short Sales & Foreclosure Resource (SFR).