Righthaven files, settles more copyright lawsuits

Las Vegas newspaper copyright enforcement company Righthaven LLC sued five more website operators Tuesday, alleging infringements of Las Vegas Review-Journal material.

Despite national media coverage of the Righthaven lawsuits filed since March, which now total at least 151, Tuesday’s lawsuits indicate there are still plenty of bloggers and webmasters around North America who haven’t received word that posting Review-Journal material online without authorization could result in a lawsuit.

Righthaven is a company that detects online infringements of Review-Journal material, obtains copyrights to that material from the Review-Journal’s owner, Stephens Media LLC, and then typically sues the alleged infringers without warning.

An affiliate of Stephens Media’s parent company has invested in Righthaven, which the Review-Journal says is a technology company working to protect Review-Journal copyrights. Some defense attorneys and critics, however, call Righthaven a frivolous lawsuit and settlement shakedown operation.

As in all its recent lawsuits filed in U.S. District Court for Nevada, Righthaven demands damages of $150,000 apiece and forfeiture of the website domain names from these new defendants:

• Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers Building Association and Walt Schmidt, associated with the Ohio-based union’s ble-t.org website.

• The Second Amendment Foundation in Bellevue, Wash., and an official there, Keeva Segal, who are associated with the publication Women & Guns and the website womenshooters.com.

• Garry Newman, associated with the website facepunch.com.

• Scott Arpajian, associated with the website idisappoint.com

• James Matthews and Las Vegas-based Muscle Cars of America, associated with the website musclecarsofamerica.com

Matthews’ website is accused of displaying an Aug. 27 Review-Journal story about the Shelby American Speed Shop in Las Vegas. Court records indicate the Review-Journal received credit for the post on the Muscle Cars website in the form of a tagline.

“The defendants did not seek permission, in any manner, to reproduce, display, or otherwise exploit the work (story),” Righthaven’s lawsuit against Matthews alleges. “The defendants were not granted permission, in any manner, to reproduce, display, or otherwise exploit the work.”

Efforts to reach the new defendants for comment were not immediately successful.

Separately, Righthaven reached at least two more confidential settlements with earlier defendants. These bring to at least 51 the number of settled Righthaven cases.

The latest settlements were reached with:

• Andre McCollough

• Grant N. Grand and Florida Oil Spill Law