Content protection -- Night of the unthinking commentator


Editor’s Note:  The blog item below by Sherman Frederick has been corrected.  Quotation marks were removed in the original blog item due to a copy editor’s error.  The quotes are from the website gametimeip.com by Patrick Anderson, who provided the links shown below to Frederick.  Frederick used quote marks in his submitted copy.


As pointed out in previous posts, the unthinking blogger and those who condone stealing content mischaracterize reality when it comes to newspaper attempts to control its own content. They're like a bunch of kids camping out in the backyard, sticking a flashlight under their chin and telling each other scary stories. Nothing wrong with that if you're 8 years old, but when you seriously attempt to comment on this important and developing topic, such campfire "analysis" simply won't do.

Here are three articles that attempt to give the topic a thinking review. I highly recommend them to those who really want to participate in a serious discussion on the issue.

Article 1, which in part points out: "Media reports also suggest this could signal the beginning of the end for Righthaven’s business model.  (PaidContent.org’s headline reads “Righthaven’s Secret Contract Revealed: Will Its Strategy Collapse?“; Ars Technica says “Righthaven reeling: secret doc could doom a copyright troll“).  As you might guess, I look at things just a little bit differently.  First of all, the harm to the merits of Righthaven’s case based on this document alone is entirely overblown.  But more importantly, I think these recent events might only embolden and encourage similar business models."

Article 2 -- "Righthaven is new, different and aggressive, so it is naturally feared by its opponents.  As a wise fictional character once said, fear leads to anger, anger leads to hate… Unfortunately, all of this focus on the sideshow has prevented any real substantive advancement on the real issues, which include Stephens Media’s rights to control use of its content."

Article 3 -- "Enter Dale Cendali. When she moved to Kirkland & Ellis in 2009, AboveTheLaw described her as a "superstar" and "Bad-Ass Litigatrix."  She won a lawsuit for JK Rowling, which shut down the Harry Potter Lexicon publication.  She also helped the Associated Press obtain a settlement with Shepard Fairey over the rights to the Obama-Hope poster. Along the way, she’s supposedly tangled with, and defeated the legal team from Stanford University’s Fair Use Project."

"I still don’t know how it will end for Righthaven, but for now, it looks like they’re here to stay and they intend to win the battles they’ve started.  Meanwhile, word about Righthaven’s business, and the publications they’re associated with continues to spread.  Author Radley Balko, who took down a post linking to the Las Vegas Review-Journal, suggests that the newspapers doing business with Righthaven will render themselves “completely irrelevant in the information age.” I don’t know if he’s wrong or right, but I agree with Balko’s approach.  Every author, blogger and publisher can decide for him or herself whether copying something is worth the price."