Just Sue the Bastards

Everyone knows the newspaper industry is in financial trouble. Low readership has put many newspapers out of business and the big guys like the New York Times and Washington Post are dying to change business models and turn a profit. Should we go all digital? Should we charge for digital copies like The Times Online has started (which has actually killed their online presence)?

But why change business models when you can just sue your way back into the black? In a new strategy, borrowed heavily from the music and movie industry, Steve Gibson of Righthaven has been buying copyrights to news chains and suing bloggers for “stealing” content. According to Gibson,

“We believe it’s the best solution out there,” Gibson says. “Media companies’ assets are very much their copyrights. These companies need to understand and appreciate that those assets have value more than merely the present advertising revenues.”

Now I know that the libertarian discussion of intellectual property rages on still today, but if there is one thing we can agree upon it is that posting stories on your blog from newspapers should not fall under copyright law.

This new strategy not only will bankrupt innocent people but it will also stifle free speech. Gibson is current taking action against the conspiracy site Abovetopsecret.com, a user generated site, for hosting an article posted by a user. Websites like the Drudge Report, Raw Story, and others that almost exclusively link to other news sites could be threatened as well.

Gibson currently has filed over 80 lawsuits for his clients and is working on more.   I wonder what this means for YALiberty.org?

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