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Company that owned Las Vegas newspaper copyrights appeals

A nonprofit organization that won dismissal of a copyright lawsuit against a company known primarily for filing no-notice litigation against website and blog owners is asking a federal judge to dismiss the company's appeal as well. The nonprofit is arguing that the company, Righthaven LLC, was not damaged by its use of the copyrighted material and that it is protected by the fair use exception.

Righthaven is currently non-operational, but it operated by purchasing copyrights to material in the Las Vegas Review-Journal and an out-of-state newspaper, such as news articles, editorials and photographs. When people copied or quoted portions of the material online through websites or social media like blogs, Facebook or Twitter, Righthaven would file copyright litigation against them. In all, Righthaven sued 275 people and entities over alleged copyright violations.

Defendants and critics said that Righthaven was operating as a "shakedown operation" by filing nuisance suits that pressured defendants to settle. The litigation mostly collapsed earlier this year when the court ruled that Righthaven lacked standing to sue because the copyrights to the newspaper material were not properly transferred to the company.

Among the dismissed lawsuits was one filed against the Center for Intercultural Organizing, an Oregon nonprofit. In dismissing the suit, the federal court in Las Vegas ruled that Righthaven was not harmed by the nonprofit's reposting of a Review-Journal story on its website because the company did not try to do anything profitable with the story.

Righthaven appealed the dismissal, as it did with several other suits, though the company has essentially gone out of business. CIO is arguing on appeal that Righthaven no longer has standing based on the finding of improper assignment of the copyrights.

Source: VEGAS INC, "Nonprofit: Lack of copyrights thwarts Righthaven appeal," Steve Green, June 7, 2012

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