Righthaven LLC is a company that buys the rights to newspaper articles and sues bloggers and website owners who quoted these articles for copyright infringement. Righthaven also demands the domain names be surrendered too. This concerns me both as an Internet lawyer and as an online entrepreneur.
The lawsuits are not an afterthought. It is Righthaven’s business model. The company’s purpose for existence is to find entrepreneurs like you and sue for alleged copyright violations.
In an instant, the choice is to (1) give up your website and pay thousands to settle a copyright infringement lawsuit filed in a federal district court in Las Vegas or (2) spend even more years of your life defending against the lawsuit hoping that you “win” in the end.
Like a giant sea monster attacking a ship with its tentacles, the law is being used/misused as a weapon to control and destroy Internet businesses.
Here are two more examples.
* Because of lawsuits and government investigations, Craigslist just took down an entire section of listings posted by users (not Craigslist itself).
* The Texas Attorney General is investigating Google right now for the “offense” of not ranking competitors high in search results.
At least the sea monster is fictional. These legal tentacles are very real and a danger to website owners because there are profits to be made and political power to be acquired by targeting online businesses and hurting them.
With the help of your Internet lawyer, put the right intellectual property and legal protections in place to reduce your risk. Let some other website owner get caught by the tentacles.
To your online success!
-Mike the Internet lawyer