Righthaven hits journalist with infringement lawsuit

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The writer of a story about Las Vegas copyright enforcement company Righthaven LLC is now being sued by Righthaven.

Righthaven, which sues over Las Vegas Review-Journal and Denver Post material posted online without authorization, filed suit Friday in Denver against Eriq Gardner, author of a December story on the Ars Technica website.

The story was about a Righthaven lawsuit against Matt Drudge over a Denver Post TSA pat-down photo.

In Friday’s lawsuit, Righthaven complained not about Gardner’s story, but that he had infringed on Righthaven's copyright by including with the Ars Technica report the pat-down image as it appeared on the Drudge Report.

Righthaven says the image on the Drudge Report infringed on its copyright -- and that its copyright was infringed again when the Drudge Report's display of the image was reproduced on the Ars Technica site.

The lawsuit against Drudge was earlier settled under undisclosed terms.

A message for comment for Gardner was left through the Ars Technica website.

The Ars Technica report credited the image from the Drudge Report like this: "The photo in question as it appeared on Drudge Report."

Ars Technica is part of Conde Nast Digital, a division of Advance Magazine Publishers Inc.

Ars Technica itself was not sued, potentially because it has posted a notice on its website for receipt of copyright complaints in compliance with the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. Such notices protect website owners from lawsuits over posts by third parties, typically message-board posters.

The image post Righthaven sued over on Friday appears to be part of a news report as opposed to a message-board post.

The image Righthaven sued Gardner over remained available Monday on the Ars Technica website.

Righthaven, as usual, seeks $150,000 in damages against Gardner.

Righthaven usually seeks forfeiture of website domain names in its lawsuits – but not in this case as Ars Technica is not being sued.

"Mr. Gardner reproduced an unauthorized copy of the photograph entitled: 'TSA Agent performs enhanced pat-downs' … on the Internet domain found at arstechnica.com," Righthaven charged in the lawsuit.

"Mr. Gardner did not seek permission, in any manner, to reproduce, display, or otherwise exploit the work. Mr. Gardner was not granted permission, in any manner, to reproduce, display, or otherwise exploit the work," the suit alleges.