troll.jpgLos Angeles – Matt Drudge, owner of the Drudge Report, has reportedly reached an out-of-court settlement with Righthaven LLC.  Righthaven is a copyright holding company founded in 2010, which acquires newspaper content and photos from its partner newspapers after learning that the content has been used without permission by online sites.  Righthaven then sues the site owners for copyright infringement.

The complaint against Drudge was initially filed on December 8th in U.S. District Court for Nevada, claiming that the Drudge Report had used a TSA pat-down photo from the Denver Post without authorization.  Righthaven went on to file copyright infringement complaints against 33 other website operators over unauthorized use of the same photo.

Details about the Drudge settlement have not been released but it is certain that Drudge will keep his domain name which supposedly was at issue.  Righthaven’s usual method for enforcing copyrights is to demand forfeiture of the domain names and then eventually accept monetary settlements in exchange for allowing the defendants to retain the domain name.  Critics of Righthaven’s legal strategy often call this “copyright trolling” and say that the demand for domain forfeiture is simply a scare tactic to pressure the defendants to settle the case.  Righthaven responds to the criticism by claiming that its demands are reasonable and that justice is being served.

Drudge has not commented on the settlement.