Break out the popcorn, everyone; the saga of copyright troll Righthaven just veered right into summer blockbuster territory. After signing MediaNews, the US’s second-largest newspaper publisher, for its copyright protection racket, Righthaven has just filed suit against Matt Drudge, the notably pugnacious blogger behind the Drudge Report, (Found via Techdirt.)
Drudge had the temerity to use a photo from MediaNews paper The Denver Post, as well as linking to the Las Vegas Review-Journal website. (Ars Technica’s story on the matter reprints the photo as it appeared on Drudge; perhaps they’re daring Righthaven to sue them, too.)
As with other Righthaven lawsuits, this one demands the surrender of Drudge’s domain name (as well as the domain name of an archive website that claims not to have any relationship with Drudge himself) in addition to damages, though the lawsuits seem to make the domain name demand only as a bargaining position which can be dropped in settlement talks.
This comes only a couple of weeks after Righthaven tried to back out of a case when it looked like it might have to pay legal fees (the EFF has no intention of letting them off the hook), and a judge in another case asked Righthaven to explain why the use in question was not a fair use (when the defense had not even brought the issue up!). It seems that Righthaven is a proponent of the “run even faster” school of trying to recover from a stumble.
Still, at least the company is not going at this like the RIAA: rather than threaten people who will probably cave easily and fork over a settlement in preference to costly legal fees, it’s going after one of the keenest mixers of the entire blogosphere. If he was able to stand up to a former Clinton White House aide and win, I can’t see Drudge kowtowing to a mere corporate lawsuit mill. I’m torn between admiring Righthaven’s chutzpah and wondering what its executives are thinking (if they even are thinking).
One thing’s for sure: this could be very entertaining to watch.
(Nota bene: Though it would have made for an even better story if they were the same, the blog that the AP threatened for copy-paste copyright violations back in 2008 was the Drudge Retort, a satirical counter-blog to the Drudge Report.)