House GOP could end copyright lawsuit abuse 

As House Republicans move malpractice lawsuit reforms through Congress, they might want to add another abuse of the legal system to their agenda.

Throughout the Reid-Angle Senate race in Nevada, we were scared to death to quote or link to anything at the Las Vegas Review Journal (dare I even post something with their name in it?) because they have farmed out copyright infringement to a serial lawsuit abuser.

Righthaven, LLC, about whom you can read more here, has agreements with several newspapers, including also the Denver Post, to enforce copyrights by filing ridiculous lawsuits against anyone who excerpts their work. The latest is their $150,000 lawsuit against an autistic blogger who used a photograph from their website. The company's modus operandi is to file lawsuits without notice and then offer settlements, usually of less than $10,000, which most small-time bloggers would sooner pay than engage in a lengthy court fight. It's great work if you can get it, and the site linked above estimates that it's brought in about $364,000 in just a year, but it still has plenty of cases pending.

As the linked article explains, part of the problem is that current copyright law is ambiguous about what constitutes "fair use." Congress could put an end to this gaming of the legal system by rectifying this. It's something that House Judiciary Chairman Lamar Smith, R-Tex., should seriously consider.

About The Author

David Freddoso

David Freddoso came to the Washington Examiner in June 2009, after serving for nearly two years as a Capitol Hill-based staff reporter for National Review Online. Before writing his New York Times bestselling book, The Case Against Barack Obama, he spent three years assisting Robert Novak, the legendary Washington... more
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