Blogger Beware

My friend Richard Howe Jr. posted an interesting observation on his blog that should act as a warning/wake-up call to all bloggers regardless of their political views.

The New York Times yesterday reported that a company from Nevada, Righthaven LLC, has entered into an arrangement with Media News Group (the owner of the Lowell Sun and many other newspapers) whereby Righthaven scours the internet for people using copyrighted articles and photographs from Media News Group papers and, when they find such an instance, they get an assignment of certain rights from Media News Group and then immediately file suit against the blogger. A suit against a 20 year old young man with a severe disability who lives with his mother in North Carolina who had used a photo that had originally appeared in the Denver Post (a Media News Group paper) brought this practice into the national spotlight.

I’m not surprised by this episode; I’m just surprised it didn’t occur sooner. I don’t know if Righthaven’s tactics will survive judicial scrutiny if put to the test but it will have a chilling effect on blogging. If anything, this situation underscores the importance of blogs/bloggers developing original content for themselves & the audience they cultivate. What say you, O denizens of Red Mass Group?

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