RightHaven, the copyright mill which sues unauthorized online reprinters of Las Vegas Review-Journal material without bothering with such courtesies as notice or takedown requests, has now sued more than 100 blogs, online discussion sites, small businesses, community groups, and other defendants (sample: an EMT blog.) Among newer targets is Nevada GOP Senate hopeful Sharron Angle, whose candidacy the paper has endorsed [Politics Daily]. The Las Vegas paper, which has been identified in the past with a conservative editorial line and even sometimes with the cause of lawsuit reform, is apparently of the opinion that suing bloggers and other online mentioners will get it linked to more often [TechDirt]. A site named RightHavenLawsuits.com has compiled what it intends to be comprehensive lists of the lawsuits and of news and opinion coverage of the phenomenon.
Other recent developments: a regional newspaper chain of which the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette is the best-known unit has apparently signed on as a second major client with RightHaven [“We’re up to our armpits in Righthaven defendants,” a referral coordinator for the Electronic Frontier Foundation says; Wired] TechDirt looks into the question of why the company demands the domain names of groups it sues. Ways of protecting oneself before the fact are bruited at Instapundit, Daily Pundit, and Las Vegas Trademark Attorney. More commentary: Legal Ethics Forum (on a grievance filed with the Nevada state bar against RightHaven CEO Steven Gibson), No Lawyers – Only Guns and Money, Las Vegas Sun. A few weeks ago at Cato at Liberty I compared the RightHaven business model to that of ADA filing mills, patent trolls, and the California subculture of entrepreneurial lawsuits against small businesses and school districts over paperwork violations.