By now, you may be familiar with Righthaven, the legal group that’s suing bloggers who cut and paste lengthy or full versions of their clients’ newspaper stories. If not, click here, follow the links, and you should get quickly up to speed. They really do seem determined to live out the old Saturday Night Live “Green & Fazio” sketch where Phil Hartman’s sleazy trial lawyer character promises that he can help you “achieve financial independence through litigation.”
Last month, Steve Friess of AOL’s Politics Daily noted that Righthaven’s rapaciousness caught up to the Nevada Senate race involving Sharron Angle, and her little known radical fringe opponent whom we believe goes by the chatroom handle of Hairy Reed, or something like that:
When I blogged last month that the Las Vegas Review-Journal “must” sue Republican Senate candidate Sharron Angle for posting two of its stories on her campaign website without permission, it was unthinkable that they’d actually do so.
And then, of course, it did, adding Angle to the list of more than 100 defendants in an unusual and aggressive campaign to enforce its copyrights across the Web — and in the bargain creating for itself some very sticky and potentially unprecedented journalistic quandaries.
Like, for instance, must Nevada’s largest paper now include a passage in every news story it does on Angle’s race against Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid acknowledging that its owners have sued her?
Yesterday, they did just that. (To minimize the risk of being sued ourselves, the link goes to Fox News, not the Las Vegas Review-Journal):
Nevada’s largest newspaper has endorsed Republican Sharron Angle’s bid for U.S. Senate against Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.The endorsement Sunday from the Las Vegas Review-Journal, an influential newspaper that has pounded on Reid and praised Angle, was not unexpected.
In its endorsement, the newspaper deemed the election a clear choice between Angle, who supports limited government, and what it described as Washington’s big spending and partisan bickering.
So a newspaper can first sue a politician and then endorse her? Bugsy Siegel would be so proud of what’s become of his town.