Standing up for Decency

There’s an old saying that you should never pick a fight with someone who buys ink by the barrel. The modern day equivalent of that should be never pick a fight with someone who has a Google Pagerank greater than 4.

All my uses of the sue happy newspaper Las Vegas Review-Journal have been squarely and certainly within the realm of fair use, but because I do not wish to support the kind of shakedown they are doing of bloggers, I have removed all links on this blog to those sewer rats. I will be the first to admit that some blogs go over the fair use line, but I am a strong believer in trying to come up with a fair and equitable resolution before fighting with lawyers begins, and before taxpayer dollars are wasted filing lawsuits. The fact that there was apparently no cease and desist letter sent, no apparent attempt to make a reasonable settlement on the fairly minimal damage likely inflicted, and the fact that this is being done in federal court, tells me they are hoping to goad people into an unreasonable settlement beyond any actual damage inflicted on them. This is dirty, even if there is a legitimate copyright claim involved.

So let me first point out some of my handy work, for the pages I’ve transformed, in the hopes of raising awareness of the Las Vegas Review-Journals reprehensible tactics, starting with my favorite:

So rather than having links back helping out the web presence of their crappy paper, they will always be associated with being the grimy sewer rats they are as far as this blog is concerned. I have always been conscientious about giving fair credit, and only posting as much of the story as I need to in order to comment or criticize. I absolutely support newspapers pursuing copyright violators in good faith, with an aim to recover fair costs in proportion to the harm. But I would expect decent human beings to try to resolve the situation without resorting first to life ruining lawsuits. The Las Vegas Review-Journal is engaging in bully tactics, plain and simple, regardless of whether the law is on their side or not.

17 thoughts on “Standing up for Decency”

  1. I was surprised to find discussions of “Fair Use” such as this that make it clear that there is no clear standard:

    There are no hard-and-fast rules, only general rules and varying court decisions. That’s because the judges and lawmakers who created the fair use exception did not want to limit the definition of fair use. They wanted it–like free speech–to have an expansive meaning that could be open to interpretation.

    It isn’t a fixed number of words, or a percentage. Even worse, I read that the Review-Journal has actually filed suits against websites that did not lift a single word–only linked to their articles. They won’t win in court–but does it matter? They intimidate someone into settling, and that’s all that matters.

  2. What’s worse is what they’ve done to Mr. Cramer and his blog…he’s being forced to shut down both Armed Citizen and his relatively-unrelated personal blog because of this kind of extortionate behavior.

    The bottom-feeding scumbag shysters who agree to file these kinds of lawsuits should be tarred, feathered, and ridden out of town on a rail (metaphorically speaking, of course). In reality, permanent disbarment should be the minimum penalty for filing these kinds of bogus suits.

    And as far as the judges who allow these suits to proceed…

  3. I would go to court and defend it. If they start getting hit for attorney’s fees for their shenanigans, their behavior will stop very quickly. It’s only by settling that you encourage them.

  4. The legitimate complaint was taking too much–but the Review-Journal is complaining about even a link–at least, in some suits. “Nice little business you got here. Be a shame if something happened to it.”

  5. If they don’t want links, they can have it that way. That’s fine with me. I see no need to send traffic and advertising revenue to sewer rats like those people.

  6. I went back to make sure I didn’t have any links to them on my blog after your post. Fortunately, I didn’t.

    It just sucks what they are doing to Clayton who has been one of the more erudite voices in the gun blog community.

    If he rethinks his decision to close down his blog, I will gladly donate to a legal defense fund.

  7. We’ll be defending this suit, but the harsh reality is that you only need one of these keeping you at night to make you pack it in.

    If I made several hundred a month from blogging, it might make some sense to spend some of that on liability insurance, and keep going. But advertising revenue and contributions on my personal blog seldom exceed $30 a month. The Armed Citizen is seldom even that profitable, and remember that neither blog matters to any gun rights activist with enough money to matter. The harsh reality is that big money is almost entirely on the side of crony capitalists like Obama.

  8. I wish the Las Vegas Review Journal had the guts to try this crap with one of the larger law bloggers like Instapundit, Althouse, Volokh Conspiracy, or our own Dave Hardy.

    I think they would have been handed their head in a basket.

  9. I’m glad to see Snowflakes in Hell and Classical Values raise the flag on this. The better known blogs that could actually provoke some real action don’t seem to care.

  10. You’ll be happy to know I already got lawsuit information for Google searches for “Las Vegas Review-Journal Sewer Rat” on page one :)

    Now the real goal will be to get enough links that the lawsuit is among the first thing people find when searching on their brand.

  11. I’m guessing you meant you were conscientious, not contentious…

  12. Sebastian, good idea. I hope at the very least that the word gets out and all gun bloggers follow suit.

  13. How’s the Nevada Anti-SLAPP law? One of the few good things about CA is that if some idiot tried this in a manner that would grant CA jurisdiction, the resulting SLAPP suit would be th elegal equivalent of a Chuck Norris roundhouse kick.

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