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According to Wired, fledgling Las Vegas-based Righthaven has begun buying out the copyrights to newspaper content for the sole purpose of suing blogs and websites that re-post those articles without permission.

We believe it’s the best solution out there,” Steve Gibson, Righthaven CEO says. “Media companies’ assets are very much their copyrights. These companies need to understand and appreciate that those assets have value more than merely the present advertising revenues.”

Gibson’s vision is to monetize news content on the backend, by scouring the internet for infringing copies of his client’s articles, then suing and relying on the harsh penalties in the Copyright Act — up to $150,000 for a single infringement — to compel quick settlements.

Since Righthaven’s formation in March, the company has filed at least 80 federal lawsuits against website operators and individual bloggers who’ve re-posted articles from the Las Vegas Review-Journal, his first client.

But each of the Righthaven suits charge one, or a handful, of infringements. Defendants might be less willing to settle a lawsuit stemming from their posting of a single news article, despite the Copyright Act’s whopping damages. “You’d have to go after a lot of people for a relatively small amount of money,” says Jonathan Band, a Washington, D.C. copyright lawyer. “That is a riskier proposition.”

Photo by ilco.

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Originally posted by Rich Whittle on July 26, 2010 in Ideas.

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