Righthaven LLC -- a bottom feeding legal outfit -- has teamed up with the Las Vegas Review-Journal and Denver Post to sue mom and pop websites, advocacy and public interest groups and forum board operators for copyright infringement. The strategy of Righthaven is to sue thousands of these website owners, who are primarily unfunded and will be forced to settle out of court.
Righthaven lawsuitsTo date Righthaven has been ordered to pay $323,138 in legal fees and sanctions.Righthaven lawsuits

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

The Words 'Chilling Effect' Simply Do Not Do it Justice, Says New CALA Amicus Brief

South Carolina lawyer Todd Kincannon along with Citizens Against Litigation Abuse (CALA) have sent an amicus brief to Colorado Federal Judge John L Kane. Judge Kane presides over all Righthaven cases in Colorado and has ordered a stay on all cases pending his decision on Righthaven's standing to sue over their agreement with MediaNews Group which is similar to the SAA agreement between Righthaven and Stephens Media.

The brief underscores the political nature of Righthaven's attacks and the chilling effect their actions have over discussing political issues where it pertains to the news of the day.
The Righthaven cases directly implicate freedom of speech and have an obvious chilling effect on core political speech on the Internet. A large proportion of Righthaven cases involve core political speech, as one would expect with lawsuits filed over material appearing in newspapers. Righthaven has sued political speakers from all over the political spectrum. From left to right, from radical to moderate, no group has escaped Righthaven‟s litigation campaign.

The following politically-oriented defendants jump out from just a quick scan of a list of Righthaven cases:
  • The Democratic Party of Nevada
  • The Democratic Underground website
  • Free Republic LLC, a conservative website
  • The Drudge Report, a major political news website
  • The Center for Intercultural Organizing
  • Thoughts From A Conservative Mom
  • Pajamas Media, a major political blogging association
  • The Second Amendment Foundation
  • Virginia Citizens Defense League, Inc.
  • Climate Change Fraud
  • The United States Marijuana Party
  • Americans Against Food Taxes
  • America's Independent Party of Iowa
  • Americans for Legal Immigration Political Action Committee
  • American Political Action Committee
  • Second Amendment Sisters, Inc.
  • Americans for Immigration Reform
  • Americans for Democratic Action, Inc.
  • Independent Political Report
  • No Quarter, a national security and terrorism blog
  • Progressive Leadership Alliance of Nevada
  • Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, Inc.
  • National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws
As Judge Mahan noted in Righthaven v. Jama, "Righthaven's litigation strategy has a chilling effect on potential fair uses of Righthaven-owned articles, diminishes public access to the facts contained therein and does nothing to advance the Copyright Act's purpose of promoting artistic creation."

Righthaven does not sue people who have downloaded pirated movies or music. Righthaven sues people who are communicating their views about issues of the day and discussing important matters of public interest. CALA submits that Righthaven's litigation strategy is so brutal and abusive that the words “chilling effect” simply do not do it justice. The free and open exchange of ideas is fundamental to American democracy.
See: Amicus Curiae Brief of Citizens Against Litigation Abuse, Inc


  1. This is the main reason why I have opposed Righthaven so vehemently because I have always thought from the beginning that their tactics allowed to flourish would essentially end political discussions on the internet based on the news of the day. Newspapers claim that excerpting their content keeps people from going to the original source but you could say the same thing about discussing news at the water-cooler because if you tell a friend about a news report that could keep them from looking up the source themselves. both are logical fallacies but Righthaven and their newspapers have made that claim many times.

    Newspapers would like to think that people should pay for their content and it is true they should be paid for their work but direct payment of customers for content has never been the business model of newspapers. A subscription to your local paper generally amounts to the cost of the paper and ink and paying the delivery boy. It has always been through advertising and classified ads that have supported newspapers. Not payment for the actual content.

    What papers are proposing is a change in their tried and true business model and the implications are disastrous. If it is the content itself that is being sold then they are basically selling what is not theirs to begin with which are cold hard facts. Facts have never been something someone "owns". They have never been considered property or something that can be bought or sold. Facts can only be discovered. The implications of this would be for newspapers to claim what is not theirs to begin with and meter it out on their terms. This does not bode well for an informed citizenry which depends on open access to information to make informed decisions.

  2. Precisely.

    I think several of the attys have demonstrated Righthaven does not even contemplate the fair use of work, though fair use is a central element of the federal copyright law Righthaven uses as the basis of their lawsuit mill.

    What is gratifying is that, as atty Kincannon has point out, Righthaven targets cover the political spectrum.

    What unites us is our regard for the liberty interest of the First Amendment.


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