Denver Post parent MediaNews Group puts Mike Rosen column at center of copyright suit
Last month, we noted that Denver Post and MediaNews Group execs weren't eager to discuss a copyright-infringement warning published by the paper. At the time, we asked these three questions: "So... what prompted the Post to rattle this saber? Are lawsuits imminent? And against who?" We now have some answers, thanks to a lawsuit filed last week in South Carolina over a Mike Rosen column.
According to the Las Vegas Sun, Righthaven LLC, described as a "Las Vegas-based newspaper copyright enforcement company" that's filed 179 lawsuits in Nevada since March, is targeting South Carolina blogger Dana Eiser for posting "a 'literary work' for which Righthaven owns the copyright" to her website, LowCountry912.
The work in question? Rosen's "A Letter to the Tea Partyers," published on September 23.
Why would Righthaven own the copyright to something from the Post? The answer has to do with the firm's lawsuit strategy. The Sun reports that on November 19, less than a week after the appearance of the Post's letter to readers about copyright infringement, and the same day Westword noted that interview requests on the subject had been met with figurative silence, Righthaven "applied to the U.S. Copyright Office for rights to the Denver Post column, citing a transfer agreement from MediaNews," headed by Post publisher Dean Singleton.
This methodology matches the one used in previous suits, the Sun points out, with Righthaven "obtaining copyrights weeks or months after stories, editorials, columns and illustrations are published -- then suing the alleged infringers on a retroactive basis."
Why go after a blogger in South Carolina rather than one in Colorado -- like, for instance, ColoradoPols.com, a political website that received a letter from a Post-employed attorney about using too much copyrighted work several months ago? Perhaps because doing so avoids picking another fight in its own backyard even as it sends a warning to local sites that they face expensive legal entanglements if they are too grabby with Post copy.
Here's the letter sent to ColoradoPols.com:
More from our Media archive: "Denver Post online circulation figures better than print, but hookup with The Onion is no joke."
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you’ll never miss Westword's biggest stories.
- Why It Took 5 Years to Put Alleged Killer Javier Aguirre in a Colorado Jail
Sat., Oct. 10, 7:00pm
Sat., Oct. 10, 7:05pm
Sun., Oct. 11, 12:00pm
University of Denver Pioneers Volleyball vs. University of Nebraska-Omaha Mavericks Women's VolleyballSun., Oct. 11, 2:00pm
- You Know You're NOT From Colorado When: Reader's Picks
- Oakland Raiders Suck Memes, 2015 Edition