The Electronic Frontier Foundation is joining the fight against Righthaven, a company that has been widely criticized for suing a string of news sites that use content belonging to its clients, including, notably, the Las Vegas Review-Journal. The EFF is now defending Democratic Underground, a political site which Righthaven sued last month for using a five-sentence excerpt of a Review-Journal article without permission. The Las Vegas Sun, which has closely been following Righthaven’s moves, says it’s the first time that Righthaven has been hit with a counterclaim.
The EFF states in a federal court filing — included in full below — that Democratic Underground did not infringe on Righthaven’s copyright, saying that its use of the excerpt fell under fair use, noting that it consisted of less than ten percent of the news article. The EFF also says that Righthaven never tried to get Democratic Underground to remove the content prior to filing the lawsuit.
So far, Righthaven has filed more than 130 lawsuits, according to the EFF. It’s not clear what newspapers have contracted with Righthaven other than the Review-Journal, which, in hiring Righthaven last June declared that it wanted to “stop people from stealing our stuff.” The Sun reported in late August that the company had also added the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette as a client.
Curious about Righthaven’s business model, we reached out to the company last month, but they never responded. We tried again today and will update if we hear back.