Saturday, July 31, 2010

Copy Fight; Reason, 7/27/10

Greg Beato, Reason; Copy Fight: A new front opens in the battle over online copyright infringement:

"Since 2003, Clayton Cramer, an author and historian who has written numerous books on the right to keep and bear arms and the evolution of America’s gun culture, has edited a website that is currently called The Armed Citizen. With the help of another contributor, David Burnett, Cramer uses the site as a repository for newspaper articles that document instances where firearms owners use their weapons in self-defense. Over the years, the pair had posted excerpts and complete text of approximately 4,700 articles, and in doing so, they created a unique and useful archive for researchers, activists, and people who simply enjoy feel-good tales of homeowners protecting themselves and their property from intruders and assailants by any means necessary.

In all that time, they say, they’d never received a single request from a copyright owner to remove an article. Last week, however, Cramer and Burnett were caught off-guard by a figure who aims to establish himself as the new sheriff in the lawless wilds of cyberspace. He was packing a .36 caliber copyright infringement lawsuit and he didn’t bother with a warning shot. Instead, Cramer and Burnett only learned they were being sued after a reporter from the Las Vegas Sun contacted them about the case.

The man who brought the suit against The Armed Citizen is named Steve Gibson. He’s the founder of a company called Righthaven. Righthaven’s business model involves acquiring the copyrights for specific articles originally published by the Las Vegas Review-Journal, then filing lawsuits against website owners who have posted those articles without permission. In March, it filed its first lawsuit against a New Jersey company called MoneyReign."

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