Righthaven, Stephens alliance questioned

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Posted: Monday, May 16, 2011 12:21 pm

Attorneys representing the Electronic Frontier Foundation are fighting claims by copyright enforcement firm Righthaven that it has the legal rights to sue individuals or companies alleged to have republished information originally created by its client, Stephens Media.

Wired magazine last week reported that the EFF wants a U.S. District Judge to award it attorneys' fees and other damages in a copyright infringement suit Righthaven brought against a Nevada blog, the Democratic Underground. Righthaven sued the site after a user posted a portion of an article originally published by the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

The EFF, in its claim, said Righthaven may not own the rights to Stephens' material, making its suit invalid.

Wired said Righthaven CEO Steve Gibson told the court that Stephens had indeed awarded "all rights, titles and interests" to the publisher's materials.

"Following such an assignment, the parties intended to permit Stephens Media to continue to display or otherwise use the assigned content through the grant of a license from Righthaven," Gibson wrote.

Wired said the court has yet to schedule a hearing date to review the latest information, but that EFF must file a written response to the court by May 20.

Righthaven has filed more than 200 copyright infringement lawsuits against websites. Most of the suits involve material from the Review-Journal; the law firm began representing MediaNews Group late last year.

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