Righthaven LLC is the Las Vegas Review-Journal’s copyright enforcement partner that since March has sued at least 176 website operators and bloggers throughout North American in U.S. District Court for Nevada, accusing them of posting without authorization all or parts of Review-Journal stories, columns, editorials and illustrations.
Righthaven finds infringements and then obtains from Review-Journal owner Stephens Media LLC copyrights to the stories at issue, including the rights to sue for prior infringements. A Stephens Media affiliate has invested in Righthaven.
The lawsuit campaign has attracted national attention since the suits are usually filed with no warning, a departure from the usual practice in the newspaper industry of asking or demanding that infringing material be removed and/or be replaced with links before lawsuits are filed.
Critics call Righthaven a frivolous lawsuit shakedown settlement operation, since many of its suits are quickly settled for amounts that are less than what it would cost defendants to fight Righthaven in court. Stephens Media, however, has insisted the lawsuits are necessary to protect its copyrights.