The Man Who Sued The Internet
What do you call a thousand lawyers chained
together at the bottom of the ocean?
A good start.
But let's begin with just three lawyers:
Barak Obama, Michelle Obama and Steve Gibson.
All three worked for Chicago Law firm Sidley Austin LLP, where both
Gibson and Michelle Obama specialized in "intellectual property" law
for the firm. You know..... copyright law and such.
Now, in a totally coincidental move, Steve Gibson, via his Righthaven
firm, has launched a salvo of legal suits demanding a payoff of $75,000
from internet websites, for alleged copyright law infringements incurred
when the sites posted extracts from major media news articles.
The tactic is designed to severely damage internet free speech; and to
bolster the declining fortunes of major media --while also raking in the
RICO dollars for Mr. Gibson. When I say 'RICO,' I mean: as in racket.
The clever part that only a lawyer could have thought up, is that Gibson's
firm first identifies news articles which have been widely reprinted in part
or in full on internet sites. Gibson then buys the copyright for these news
articles from a major media client. Finally, as new owner of the copyright
for these articles, Gibson launches lawsuits against bloggers and websites.
The firm does not first issue any "cease and desist" notice warning bloggers
that they are infringing copyright. No, step one is straight to court --for
Gibson's opening tranche of 107 lawsuits to date, features
articles first published by the Las Vegas Review-Journal.
Now it gets chilling:
So if Gibson gets away with this first nibble at internet websites, heThe Review-Journal’s publisher, Stephens Media in Las Vegas,
runs over 70 other newspapers in nine states, and Gibson says
he already has an agreement to expand his practice to cover
those properties. (Stephens Media declined comment, and
referred inquiries to Gibson.)
Newspaper Chain’s New Business Plan: Copyright Suits
from Wired, by David Kravets - July 22, 2010
can scale up to target many more websites based on articles from
70 further Stephens Media online newspapers. Theoretically this might
inflate the number of websites targeted by suits to around 7,000.
Doubtless other corporate media conglomerates are waiting in the
wings to contract with Gibson. All this could rival in scope the infamous
RIAA music copyright issue, with likely tens of thousands of lawsuits
coming down the legal pipe and striking websites of whom most would
lack the financial resources to fight.
Already, the websites targeted in the first wave are settling the lawsuits,
with reported payments to Gibson's firm averaging around $2,500. It's
a well chosen settlement amount by Gibson. Small enough to encourage
websites to settle -large enough to act as a intimidating threat.
If all this goes to plan, many bloggers and website owners will not be
exercising their free speech online. They will be too busy scrambling
to trawl back through their archives and delete major media articles
which might make them a target. If they don't simply decommission
their blogs and websites entirely, that is.
The music industry challenge to downloader's was innocuous in it's effect,
by comparison to this gambit. The difference is that many of the news
articles on blogs and sites are about political issues as blogger's debate
the content of online political news topics. So this is likely to deeply
affect the kind of open debate we have taken for granted.
This is a war on free speech. A political war, led by a member of the
Chicago legal mob who has close connections to the Obama's.
If you think it's only about money and not about politics you need to factor
that the second ever Gibson's lawsuit was against the National Organization
for the Reform of Marijuana Laws. You might know them better by the
The fourth Gibson target was Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in
Washington, Inc.. Other political targets of this internet witch hunt include:
Progressive Leadership Alliance of Nevada
Independent Political Report
Americans For Democratic Action
Americans For Immigration Reform
American Political Action Committee
Americans for Legal Immigration PAC
Americans Against Food Taxes
Michael A. Nystrom of DailyPaul.com
These are the opening salvos in a war on internet free speech.
One effective defensive measure by the internet blogging community
would be to blacklist media outlets who join as clients with Gibson and his
Righthaven firm. Another would be to ensure reputational damage to
corporate media which participate. Another would be so-called 'Google
Bombing' to associate such media outlets with derogatory search terms
like "hates internet free speech."
Whatever it takes, must be done --and quickly. This is a blitzkrieg war,
and before you know it before you know it this devious plot will have
deeply damaged the cause of free speech online.
By the way, you can republish some, any or all of this article.
I won't be suing you.
http://fintandunne.blogspot.com/2010/09 ... ernet.html
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