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Criminal Justice Blog Battles Copyright Troll

PRESS RELEASE
November 1, 2010
Bogus Copyright Claim Used to Threaten Information Resource for 'No Body' Murder Cases

Las Vegas - A criminal justice blog that provides resources for difficult-to-prosecute murder cases is fighting bogus infringement claims from copyright troll Righthaven LLC and asked a Las Vegas judge Friday to dismiss Righthaven's baseless attempt to seize his domain name.

"Righthaven's efforts to restrict what information is available to help police, prosecutors, and grieving families catch murderers is not only unlawful and an affront to the First Amendment, it's just shameful," said Thomas DiBiase, the former prosecutor and web publisher who was wrongly targeted in this case.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), Colleen Bal and Bart Volkmer from the law firm of Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati, and attorney Chad Bowers are representing DiBiase, an attorney who consults with law enforcement across the country on "no body" cases -- where the victim is missing and presumed dead, but no body has been found. DiBiase runs a website at www.nobodycases.com to gather information on these complex investigations in order to help other prosecutors as well as family and friends of "no body" murder victims.

Righthaven has brought over 150 lawsuits in Nevada federal court claiming copyright infringement, even though it does not create, produce or distribute any content. Instead, Righthaven creates lawsuits by scouring the Internet for content from Las Vegas Review-Journal stories posted on blogs and online forums, acquiring the copyright to those particular stories from Stephens Media LLC (the Review-Journal's publisher), and then suing the posters for infringement. DiBiase was sued by Righthaven for copyright infringement of a Review-Journal news story about a "no body" case, with Righthaven demanding control of the No Body Murder Cases website as well as $75,000 in damages. In court documents filed today, EFF argues that DiBiase's use of the Review-Journal piece was a fair use of the material and protected under the law.

"The No Body Murder Case site is a non-commercial, informational forum aimed squarely at the public interest: seeing justice done in terrible crimes," said EFF Senior Staff Attorney Kurt Opsahl. "Righthaven's misguided legal campaign works against free and open discussion on the Internet and could wrongly hobble important online information archives like the one Mr. DiBiase has created."

"Righthaven is throwing around baseless threats in an attempt to seize an important resource and try to extract a windfall profit," said EFF Senior Staff Attorney Corynne McSherry. "We're asking the judge to put a stop to this heavy-handed copyright troll and let Mr. DiBiase get back to his important work."

For the full answer and counterclaim:
https://www.eff.org/files/filenode/righthaven_v_dib/DiBiase-Answer-Counterclaim.pdf

For the motion to dismiss:
https://www.eff.org/files/filenode/righthaven_v_dib/DiBiase-MotionDismiss.pdf

For more on this case:
https://www.eff.org/cases/righthaven-v-dibiase

Contacts:

Kurt Opsahl
Senior Staff Attorney
Electronic Frontier Foundation
kurt@eff.org

Corynne McSherry
Senior Staff Attorney
Electronic Frontier Foundation
corynne@eff.org

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