On July 21st, The Armed Citizen received an indirect and informal notice of a lawsuit against this website and its owners, David Burnett and Clayton Cramer.
The suit, reportedly filed in US District Court on July 20th, alleges that The Armed Citizen and its owners "willfully copied" and infringed on original source content from the Las Vegas Review-Journal.
According to news reports, Righthaven LLC has filed lawsuits against no less than 80 other political websites and individual blogs for "infringement."
Righthaven has offered no prior contact, cease-and-desist warnings or any attempt at good-faith resolution whatsoever.
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Other defendants include FreeRepublic.com, the Safe and Secure Internet Gambling Initiative, the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws and the Democrat National Committee of Nevada.
The "offending" entries reprinted on The Armed Citizen consist of six stories originating from the Las Vegas Review-Journal. There are several mitigating factors to consider:
- The Armed Citizen has posted nearly 4,700 such stories from a plethora of sources.
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- Some of the stories were short enough to qualify under the Fair Use Rule, even disregarding that the goal of this website is academic, informational and in the public interest, not commercial.
- The stories – which were also properly cited and attributed – are still publicly available on the Las Vegas Review-Journal's website.
- Some of these stories were posted on the website as far back as six years ago.
To the best of our knowledge, statutory damages can only be awarded if the plaintiff owns copyright on the articles in question. Righthaven sought and received a copyright on at least one of the articles in question on July 6...several months after the alleged offense. Clearly, this group is interested in money, not resolution.
The Armed Citizen has been excerpting articles from newspaper, TV station, and radio station websites for a number of years without a single complaint or infringement notice. If any copyright holders decided that The Armed Citizen had exceeded fair use, they only needed to send us an email. (Indeed, on the YouTube channel for The Armed Citizen, multiple news outlets have acknowledged copyright, yet chosen to let the content stay active for mutual benefit.)
Instead, in an apparent eagerness to intimidate small websites, Righthaven has chosen to pursue legal action.
Until this matter can be resolved, and a thorough review of Armed Citizen content can be made, all updates and archives at The Armed Citizen are hereby suspended.
At this time, the future of The Armed Citizen is uncertain, and possibly in jeopardy, thanks to Righthaven LLC and the Las VegasReview-Journal.
We recognize that our readers will be shocked and disappointed. If you wish to help, please contact the Review-Journal and their advertisers to express your dismay at this unprecedented harshness. Your voice may be the only thing left that can save this website. (The Armed Citizen encourages such contact only on the condition that you say nothing that would reflect poorly on the website or its readership.)
Las Vegas Review-Journal
1111 W. Bonanza Road
P.O. Box 70
Las Vegas, NV 89125
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Newspaper office number:
Click here to read a copy of the lawsuit (as forwarded by a reporter...The Armed Citizen has received no official notice of pending litigation.)
You can donate to The Armed Citizen legal fund at TheArmedCitizen.com. To e-mail David and Clayton, write to [email protected]