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Government and Media

Righthaven: A Blitzkrieg War on Internet Speech

What do you call a thousand lawyers chained together at the bottom of the ocean? A good start.

But let’s begin with just three lawyers:
Barack Obama, Michelle Obama and Steve Gibson.

All three worked for Chicago Law firm Sidley Austin LLP, where Gibson and Michelle Obama specialized in “intellectual property” law for the firm. You know….. copyright law and such.

Now, in a totally coincidental move, Steve Gibson, via his Righthaven firm, has launched a salvo of legal suits demanding a payoff of $75,000 from internet websites, for alleged copyright law infringements incurred when the sites posted extracts from major media news articles.

The tactic is designed to severely damage internet free speech; and to bolster the declining fortunes of major media –while also raking in the RICO dollars for Mr. Gibson. When I say ‘RICO,’ I mean: as in racket.

The clever part that only a lawyer could have thought up, is that Gibson’s firm first identifies news articles which have been widely reprinted in part or in full on internet sites. Gibson then buys the copyright for these news articles from a major media client. Finally, as new owner of the copyright for these articles, Gibson launches lawsuits against bloggers and websites.

The firm does not first issue any “cease and desist” notice warning bloggers that they are infringing copyright. No, step one is straight to court –for maximum intimidation and a sure shakedown.

Gibson’s opening tranche of 107 lawsuits to date, features articles first published by the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

Now it gets chilling:

The Review-Journal