by Max Brantley
The Stephens Media-backed effort to gin a handsome profit by suing bloggers who reprinted portions of news articles in Stephens-owned and other newspapers (including Democrat-Gazette publisher Walter Hussman's properties) will be narrowing its field of targets as a result of unfavorable court rulings. The effort has produced 150 lawsuits and a number of fat settlements, even from non-revenue blogs that posted only excerpts from articles, particularly those from the Las Vegas paper owned by financier Warren Stephens and family. Reports Wired:
But the company reached a snag when the Realty One Group fought back, winning a summary dismissal weeks ago. A Nevada judge agreed with the real estate firm’s argument that eight of 30 sentences from a Review Journal story about the real estate market qualified as fair use of the material.
With that precedent set, Righthaven no longer plans to sue websites for posting brief excerpts of newspaper articles, the company told a different federal judge in a separate case this week. “Righthaven does not anticipate filing any future lawsuits founded upon infringements of less than 75 percent of a copyrighted work, (.pdf) regardless of the outcome of the instant litigation,” Righthaven wrote the court.