San Francisco – Digital civil liberties group the Electronic
Frontier Foundation (EFF) has filed a lawsuit against Righthaven, a firm hired
by publishers to seek out copyright infringers, alleging the firm is abusing
Righthaven has so far sued 145 websites on behalf of Stephens
Media, publisher of the Las Vegas Review-Journal, over their republishing
excerpts or full Review-Journal articles.
In its lawsuit, the EFF calls
Righthaven a copyright troll, seeking "windfall recoveries of statutory
damages and to exact nuisance settlements."
The EFF is representing
Democratic Underground, which Righthaven sued after a user posted a
four-paragraph excerpt of a 34-paragraph Review-Journal article, along with a
link to the original story.
"Despite what Righthaven claims, it’s hard to
interpret these lawsuits as anything else besides a way to bully Internet users
into paying unnecessary settlements," said EFF senior staff attorney Kurt
"At the same time, Righthaven is trying to discourage the practice
of quoting and linking that is both essential to the interconnected Internet
and helps drive significant traffic to newspapers online."