Copyright Trolls

Maybe you’ve heard of patent trolls – companies who own a patent or two, but don’t actually manufacture or sell any products. When they see that another company has become independently successful, they pounce, alleging patent infringement and millions of dollars in damages. The famous case of NTP v Research in Motion is the classic example.

Well, now we’re looking down the barrel of copyright trolls: advances in technology and litigation have combined to create ideal conditions for the modern copyright troll. In the US, copyright holding company Righthaven LLC, acquired copyrights to newspaper content originally published by the Las Vegas Review-Journal, a Nevada newspaper.  Sophisticated software can search the internet for instances that might qualify as copyright infringement. Righthaven has since filed over 100 copyright infringement lawsuits in the US.

The approach seems to be gaining traction: a Las Vegas federal judge recently ruled that Righthaven had standing to sue for copyright infringement even though the company didn’t own the copyright at the time the alleged infringement occurred.

In Canadian news, proposed Copyright Reform legislation (Bill C-32) is headed back to committee, as Parliament resumes for the fall.  If the progress of legislation is not halted (again) by an election, then the committee deliberations promise to be contentious as each party jockeys for position on the politics of copyright.

Calgary -10 MT

1 comment

1 Comment so far

  1. Richard Stobbe September 30th, 2010 8:42 am

    The EFF has now decided to counter-sue Righthaven:

Leave a reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.