Los Angeles – Buzzfeed, a website that combines a technology platform for detecting viral content with an editorial selection process to provide a snapshot of “the viral web in real time”, filed a class action counterclaim against Righthaven, LLC in an ongoing copyright infringement lawsuit. In the class action suit, Buzzfeed is seeking to represent defendants who have been sued by Righthaven in the state of Colorado.
Righthaven is an entity that has acquired rights to infringed upon copyrights in order to file lawsuits seeking monetary payments – otherwise referred to as a copyright troll. Buzzfeed claims that Righthaven has failed to issue the defendants take down notices prior to suing, threatened to seize the defendants’ domain names when it was not provided for under the federal Copyright Act, falsely claimed to own the copyrights at issue, and failed to use fair business practices before suing. The claim seeks a judicial decision to determine that Righthaven’s copyright infringement lawsuits are unfair and deceptive under Colorado law, an injunction permanently enjoining Righthaven from continuing the alleged unfair and deceptive trade practices, monetary damages to the plaintiffs as well as their attorneys’ fees.
“As a result of Righthaven’s unlawful actions, class plaintiffs and members of the proposed class were forced either to fight needless litigation or to pay Righthaven a settlement fee, which they would not have had to pay, had Righthaven engaged in legitimate business practices,” as stated in the counterclaim. Buzzfeed’s counterclaim is at least the eighth filed against Righthaven, in which it already lost two Nevada cases on fair use rulings.
The counterclaim comes in response to Righthaven’s March 30, 2011 copyright infringement claim against Buzzfeed over the use of a Denver Post TSA pat down photo. Buzzfeed insists that it and other websites used the photo legally because they were granted a license by the Denver Post to use the photo through “links and features encouraging the sharing of the work.”
No comment was available from Righthaven on the counterclaim.