Some of you may already be aware that on April 1st, I was served with papers to inform me that I and my blog are being sued for alleged copyright infringement because of an image on my blog that I thought was public domain.
Righthaven is a legal group which apparently purchases the rights to news content and images for the explicit purpose of filing lawsuits, banking on the fact that their targets (mostly bloggers and non-profits) can’t afford to hire a lawyer to defend themselves, and using the threat of litigation to extract settlements from their victims. Though my contact info is readily available on my blog, Righthaven never bothered to issue a warning or a cease and desist letter, and I wasn’t even aware that I was being sued until a reporter from the Las Vegas Sun, Steve Green, contacted me for comment. He has been covering the story of for a year, and told me that his contacting them for comment is usually the first indication that any of Righthaven’s victims have that they are even being targeted. He included my comments in a recent story.
I Googled Righthaven and thousands of hits came up. They’ve got quite a track record:
I cannot discuss the details of the case, except to say that I have manged to hired a lawyer through a Pre-Paid Legal Service our family subscribed to some time ago (my husband’s industry is highly litigious), and intend to fight these extortionists. Thankfully, it appears that the courts are on to their game.
In his statement refusing a time extension request from Righthaven, Judge John L Kane of the Federal Court of the District of Colorado issued this stinging rebuke:
“the courts are not merely tools for encouraging and exacting settlements from Defendants cowed by the potential costs of litigation and liability.”
Recent developments also suggest that Righthaven’s entire operation may be unraveling:
In the meantime, I still have to defend myself against these trolls, so please pray for wisdom, justice and protection for my family. It’s so sad that our legal system has been so corrupted that it can be abused and exploited by such disgusting opportunists.
UPDATE: The Las Vegas Sun mentions my blog in their latest report on Righthaven.
UPDATE: The New York Times has picked up the story and quotes me in the second half.