One of the newspaper publishers who signed on with Righthaven is pulling out of its deal with the copyright troll when its original one-year agreement expires at the end of the month. The new chief of the Denver-based MediaNews Group, John Paton, has gone on record with Wired.com as calling it “a dumb idea from the start,” and said that if he had been in charge of the company a year ago it would never have entered into the agreement.
“The issues about copyright are real,” Paton told Wired.com in a telephone interview. “But the idea that you would hire someone on an—essentially—success fee to run around and sue people at will who may or may not have infringed as a way of protecting yourself… does not reflect how news is created and disseminated in the modern world.”
Current pending cases based on MediaNews papers’ content will remain active, because Righthaven has control over the cases that have been filed. But the company will not pursue any further litigation. Of course, at the moment Righthaven itself is not filing any further suits until it finds out whether it has any chance of succeeding with the ones it’s already got underway.
Good to see some of Righthaven’s clients are coming to their senses. Depending on the outcome of the other suits, it may not be necessary for any others to change their minds; if the judges continue smacking Righthaven down, it will send a pretty clear message to others who would seek to use the courts as a profit machine.