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Update: S&L Has Settled With Righthaven

As we announced last week, we were sued by Righthaven for an alleged copyright infringement of a Las Vegas Review-Journal article. We noted at the time that we were uncertain as to what course of action we would take in response.

In view of our economic circumstances, as well as other factors, we have subsequently decided that the better part of valor would be to settle with Righthaven. And a settlement agreement with them has been executed.

Because of the confidentiality requirements of that agreement we cannot discuss the details of the settlement. But we can say that your generous donations helped to cover more than a third of our costs. For which we are eternally grateful.

Nevertheless, if anyone would like a refund for their contributions to the cause for whatever reason, they will be quickly and cheerfully refunded. Please email us (at stevegilbert@sweetness-light dot com) or use our contact form.

As we also previously noted, this site operates at a loss, so any further donations will always be deeply appreciated. Please see the PayPal donate button in the right hand sidebar under ‘S&L Stuff.’

Or, if you don’t want to use a credit card or PayPal, you can send a check to:

Steven Gilbert
Post Office Box 230365
New York, NY 10023

Once again, we wish to thank everyone in our extended S&L family for your wonderfully generous support, both financial and moral, during this trying time.

This article was posted by Steve Gilbert on Saturday, September 11th, 2010. Comments are currently closed.

37 Responses to “Update: S&L Has Settled With Righthaven”

  1. proreason

    A settlement was the only rational course of action.

    It’s blackmail, but the alternative for a small operator would be a high probability of bankruptcy. You lost a battle after a sneak attack but survived to continue the war against liberty. On a much smaller scale, it’s another 9/11.

    God willing, an organization with deeper pockets will take down these thugs with prejudice in the near future.

    Nobody will request a refund.

    • jackal40

      Proreason – I feel I will be in the minority, BUT I am discussing with my spouse whether we will request a refund or not (I am inclined to, she is not convinced).

      The crux of the matter is this was a case of legal extortion, with that said – settling is (in my humble opinion) going to accomplish nothing but further encouraging these vultures (Righthaven).

      Imagine if the British had offered the colonies (US) a settlement and we had accepted – kind of defeats the argument of principle. As Edmund Burke so eloquently puts it, “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.” I believe that there are certain battles that must be fought, even when you know at the start that you will loose. Inspired by John Adams words as the last sentence of the Declaration of Independence, “with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor.” I have fought and lost many battles over the years – but I am resolved to continue fighting!

      These words are a battle cry against oppression, something I used to believe S&L stood for – now, I’m not so sure. Seems that the voice of the people has been diminished by this decision. My spouse feels that I will not win popularity over these comments – if Liberty and Justice were a popularity contest, we have already lost. Instead I do and say what I feel are right with the Freedom of this Nation and it’s People in mind. “Damn the torpedoes! Four bells. Captain Drayton, go ahead! Jouett, full speed!” [David Farragut August 5, 1864]

    • proreason

      Do what you want.

      Did you know that Steve’s alternative was a $150,000 summary judgement or potentially hundreds of hours of legal fees at $200+ per hour with no assurance of a favorable judgement?

      Incredible as it sounds, the blackmailers have a good legal case. It happens.

      Steve has told us more than once that he loses money on this website. He seems like an honest man to me. It’s hard to imagine that he can make money with a few dozen people a day clicking on Wrinkle Cream advertisements at a couple of pennies per click.

      Google beat them, you know. Google’s current market capitalization is $151B.

      Over a hundred small operators have made the same maddening decision that Steve made.

      I’m all for principles.

      But let’s say that that you were a general faced with a choice. You could fight an enemy, on his ground, when he has an army 10 times your own, and you only have ammunition that could last for 15 minutes. Would you stand on your principles and send your troops in, or run away to fight another day?

      Also, I’m not sure the American Revolution is a much of a data point for deciding whether to pay a blackmailer a couple of grand or 150 grand. But that’s just me.

    • Steve

      “Google beat them, you know. Google’s current market capitalization is $151B.”

      Actually, Google has never had any legal interaction with Righthaven, at least as far as I know.

      Some are arguing that Google’s victory in a case where they were sued over storing of cached articles could have a bearing on Righthaven’s cases:

      Could The Legality Of Google’s Cache Kill Righthaven’s Copyright Claims? | Techdirt
      http://www.techdirt.com/articl.....0678.shtml

    • confucius

      “Walk in the path defined by rule, and accommodate yourself to the enemy until you can fight a decisive battle.”

      “No ruler should put troops into the field merely to gratify his own spleen; no general should fight a battle simply out of pique.”

      -The Art of War by Sun Tzu

  2. I’m disappointed in your decision to capitulate to these Righthaven parasites, but then again, it’s not my wallet they’re threatening.

    I can only hope that S & L – along with many other digital targets – can avoid future ‘fair use’ landmines on the field of free speech.

    God bless you, sir, and good luck!

  3. Liberals Demise

    What’s to keep them from tapping you again and again.
    I hope you got something in writing that keeps you from being their patsy on a string.
    Freedom ain’t Free……….it can be bargained.

    • Steve

      “What’s to keep them from tapping you again and again.”

      I have blocked all of their current holdings from my various browsers and they are blacklisted on S&L.

      I would advise anyone with an internet site to do the same.

    • Liberals Demise

      OUTSTANDING!!

      Moola on the way.
      Keep up the great service you provide!

    • Once you have paid Danegeld, you will never be rid of the Dane.

      There is *nothing* to keep them from glomming onto any other quoted article you use, and filing suit based on that. And now that they know you surrender when threatened, and have been weakened by losing the previous suit, they have even more incentive to go after you.

  4. jobeth

    First, I want to say how this sickens me. NOT that you settled with them…but that you HAD to settle with these vultures.

    Something is very wrong when honest…VERY careful publishers of ACCURATE information can be shaken down like this.

    This is a very sinister evil that seems to be allowed somehow. To know there are sleazy AMERICAN lawyers around who make a living this way is what is so sickening. Nothing but mobsters. Scum.

    I’m sure they deliberately choose those websites that are likely to be run on a thread or at a loss and push them up against the wall.

    These creeps are scum of the earth.

    Steve, just knowing your work and your values, I can fully expect this has been a heartbreaking time for you to have to ‘give in’ to these vermin.

    Just know we deeply appreciate your sacrifices for truth and American values. You’ve Sir have taken a gut shot for us.

    Having said this…I must apologize for forgetting my pledge to you for a donation…I inexcusably got caught up in my own life…while you were fighting a real fight for us. So, today, I followed up on my pledge. I sent the donation…I only wish we could have sent much much more. We owe it to you for all you do for us.

    No where else can we more expect , to get the full truth…the documented full truth.

    Thank you Steve.

  5. BigOil

    I understand the financial calculation that forces businesses to settle nuisance lawsuits – the company I work for is under constant assault. Since lawyers also know most companies can not bear the cost of protracted legal battles, they understand they have a license to extort money. My principled side would love to see bottom feeders like Righthaven buried.

    I find it curious the Las Vegas Review-Journal opted to attempt to make a little money in the short run by unleashing Righthaven. With Sites all over the internet blocking links to their material, their traffic and subsequent ad revenue will drop over the long term. I hope they take a big financial hit.

  6. U NO HOO

    Steve, I trust your judgement, and, it is over. Good.

  7. Curmudgeon

    I concur with jobeth. And I’ve been convicted through this about whether I ought to be doing more to support this site regularly. My pittance will be arriving monthly, Steve.

  8. Melly

    Well, they won a battle but not the war.
    Glad that annoying wolfish, greedy monkey is off your back.
    Righthaven…………their bad karma cup runeths over.

    • tranquil.night

      Damn right Melly.
      They’ll get theirs.
      They may need to watch out for flaming turd bags at their office steps or something.
      One never knows what free-speech radicals might be out there.

      Steve you have exceptional dignity.

    • jobeth

      Melly & TN

      You are right in saying they have bad karma and they will get theirs.

      I can’t tell you how many times in my own life when I’ve run up against evil people doing bad things to good people…including myself…that although it looks as if they win…in the end itheir behavior ALWAYS comes back to bite them in their own Arse.

      It’s just a matter of waiting. They always get caught up in their own web. I’ve seen it over and over again.

      As a perfect example…one has to look no further than Obalmy and his minnions. He’s been running rampage over America for nearly two years now…and has hurt a lot of people. But to borrow that wonderful quote from the one and only Rev. Wright. His chickens are coming home to roost…as we speak. In the end Obalmy will lose big.

      So the same thing will happen to this outfit. Its bound to come.

  9. CGardner

    Steve, the settlement sounds fine. My worry was that you’d have to close the site, which would be a great loss to so many.

  10. hushpuppy

    I’m glad the way it worked out, but irritated by the shakedown.

    There’s a program on tv that features 4 or 5 multimillionaires who sit in a chair and listen to contestant’s ideas on how to make money. In Canada it’s called the Dragon’s Den. I caught a couple of shows when I was visiting some friends in Toronto about a year or so ago.

    One person’s idea of making money was going after people whose names or company’s name were similar, or who were skating copyright laws. (That’s why what happened here seemed to ring a bell with me)..

    Anyway – one of the millionaire’s who went in on this was Kevin O’Leary, and you can see his face here:

    http://www.cbc.ca/dragonsden/thedragons.html

    I remember being outraged at what amounted to a shakedown – cyber-bullying. I have to wonder if any one of O’Leary’s legal teams were behind your attack. Considering he has umpteen companies all over the globe, it wouldn’t surprise me in the least – he’s a shark who can’t seem to get enough money to satisfy whatever hole is in his psyche.

    You should have seen the contestant who pitched the idea to begin with: his dress, mannerism and body language was unsavory.

  11. Liberals Make Great Speedbumps

    Steve,

    You did what you had to do, it was the only sensible thing to do. There are some truly disgusting examples of humanity running around and Righthaven is smack dab in the middle of the pack.

  12. Mr Michael

    I can imagine all the emotions you are going through. I donated to your cause when you announced the suit… and not only do I refuse to ask for my donation back, I’m just about to send you more. It’s less a donation, more a statement… but it’ll buy you enough coffee to last the whole meeting. :)

    ~Mr. Michael

  13. wardmama4

    I respectfully disagree with the decision, I can’t say it very well but I know someone who said it best:

    -‘Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.’- Benjamin Franklin

    You have now enabled Righthaven to go after someone else, to know that all they have to do is threaten and once America puts one foot upon this slippery slope – We are all doomed.

    I am saddened and disappointed by this turn of events. We have no income but sent a pittance in the desire to fight the good fight. As I said, I am saddened by this decision.

    God Help America
    A Proud American Infidel

    • Steve

      “You have now enabled Righthaven to go after someone else, to know that all they have to do is threaten and once America puts one foot upon this slippery slope – We are all doomed.”

      According to lawyers who are handling many of the defendants, the earliest any of the Righthaven cases (some of which were filed as early as last March) would go to trial is more than a year and a half from now.

      By that reckoning my case may not have proceeded to trial for more than two years from now. And no one has any idea how long any of these cases could drag out before there is a final ruling.

      So I don’t quite see how I have “enabled Righthaven to go after someone else.” They will do that regardless of my actions at this point.

      “We have no income but sent a pittance in the desire to fight the good fight.”

      I have voided your undeposited check, and I will return it by mail to you today.

  14. Live to fight another day.

    Instant Karma will get them ,

    Someday,One of the slugs will decide they can make more writing a book about their ‘con’
    Steve You have done a great job of exposing them and we have been educated too
    Let it Be….
    Vengeance is best served cold….

  15. Oracle

    Rat Bastards. I will stand by my donation and donate to your great site as money permits. I wouldn;t hit a dog in the ass with Righthaven. Keep up the good work.

  16. Conservatus

    So let me get this straight.

    You have worked on this site every day for more than five years without a single day off. You have posted more than 10,000 articles, many of them revealing information we can’t get anywhere else. (Including original research that gets ripped off without any credit by people like Drudge, Fox News and WND.) You lose money on the site.

    Yet you have readers who are disappointed that you don’t go into debt and risk losing everything you own to fight a pack of rabid lawyers?

    Un-real.

    • Steve

      Thanks, Conservatus. But it’s perfectly understandable that some people might be disappointed by my decision.

      Nevertheless, the support from everyone has been wonderful.

  17. Mae

    Thanks, Steve. Appreciate all you do to keep us informed and ready for another day’s fight. Many with uber-deep pockets settle lawsuits just to be rid of the stress. I know of many who had legitimate cause to file a lawsuit and did not, also to be rid of the stress of lawyers, legal fees and court, and the possibility of losing in the end anyway. Obviously, life is unpredictable. Ridding ourselves of nonsense, nuisances and numb-nuts is the best way to go. Keep up your spirits, Steve; we love you.

  18. Your service is invaluable. Though I cannot fault those who would have wished a battle against Righthaven, I understand your reasoning to not do so.

    David was lucky there was a gopher hole for Goliath to trip on. Size DOES matter. I take this as a lesson to be especially careful about my own use of clips and snippets with my own blogging.

    I will contribute again when able.

    • jobeth

      “I take this as a lesson to be especially careful about my own use of clips and snippets with my own blogging.”

      Jason…you bring up an important point for all of us.

      Steve..without going into the confidential details of your own case can you help me understand what in general is Righthaven’s main complaint and stance. I’ve read bits and pieces on other sites and think I understand most of it but I still have to say I still don’t have a good handle on what they are complaining about.

      I have always been under the assumption that if you give proper credit and/or links to the original source you were within the law. Unless you include the entire text of something (like a full book) that is published for profit…and then I understand with proper credit you can publish short excerpts from it.

      As generally published news and current events of the day…I would think that would be especially ok to quote with proper credit.

      I know I must be missing something here. I hope you or someone else…possibly Ultra-C, can help me better understand the full scope of this.

      I have always been careful of citing sources of quoted material and have also been victimized by someone copying and pasting my original material off my own web page and putting her own name on it. (I was able to get the web site’s host to remove her copied material because the host knew it was my own. Wouldn’t have minded if she had sourced it to me and my URL. )

      But so I don’t violate copyright laws….where is the line that is being disputed here.

      I may need help in understanding the fine details…but I can recognized a shake down when I see it. And Righthaven is doing just that.

  19. Ultra-C

    This makes me sick. I’m a plaintiff’s attorney, and I can see how this shakedown works. It won’t work forever, because sooner or later someone will back them down (which is fairly easy to do, IF you can afford a half-way decent defense attorney). I’m not disappointed in S&L, though; faced with a comparable risk, I no doubt would have folded too.

    Please consider my small donation as an expression of support for you, and of regret that there are those in my profession whose only concern is not what’s right or wrong, but how much money they can make in shakedown scams like these. Not all lawyers are morally bankrupt money grubbers, the ones that are can cause an awful lot of damage.

  20. Very interesting read here:
    http://www.niemanlab.org/2010/.....practices/

    Scroll down to” fair use” ( though the entire article is worth a read. ) to get a snap shot of what S&L truly is..

    • jobeth

      Jason, Just wanted to say thanks for this link and info.

      I’ve taken a few moments to scan the site and find it has a lot of the info I’m looking for to explain my questions posed in my last post on this thread.

      Tonight I will have the time to really read and digest this. Its a new world we live in.

  21. jobeth

    Thanks to those of you who provided the web links for my edification..

    I also found this one through going from link to link looking for information.

    This is a really good one that seems to be following the entire episode.

    http://www.techdirt.com/blog.p.....n=techdirt

    There is even a mention of little tidbit of a demand as well, demanding the turn over of the “defendant’s” domain name! There seems to be no end to this scum bag’s ill behavior.

    The more I read, the more I realize that Steve did the right thing. There are/will be those with deep enough pockets to pin this vermin up against the wall. My hope is that the court awards damages and the return of every one’s money (I know…fat chance, a settlement is a settlement…but I do like to dream)




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