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Citing a Clerical Mistake, Righthaven Drops Copyright Claim Against Journalist Covering Its Suit

Posted Mar 31, 2011 5:30 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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A journalist covering a lawsuit by copyright enforcement company Righthaven briefly became a defendant himself when he published a Denver Post photo taken from court records.

Righthaven quickly dropped the lawsuit against freelance reporter Eriq Gardner, citing a “clerical mistake,” Ars Technica's Law & Disorder blog reports. Righthaven buys rights to news content and sues alleged infringers.

Gardner was targeted for his December coverage of Righthaven’s lawsuit claiming the Drudge Report improperly used a Denver Post photo of TSA agents, according to Ars Technica and the Las Vegas Sun. Gardner reproduced the photo for his Ars Technica story, taking it from Righthaven’s own court filing.

Righthaven lawyer Shawn Mangano told Ars Technica that Righthaven has sued 25 to 30 defendants over the TSA photo, and there was "an internal error" or a "clerical mistake" of some kind that led to the Gardner lawsuit.

Gardner is a freelancer who occasionally writes for the ABA Journal and provides legal coverage of the entertainment industry at the Hollywood, Esq. blog. In a tweet, he wrote, “I'd buy an 'I survived Righthaven’ T-shirt' but won't for trademark reasons.”

In an e-mail, Gardner told the ABA Journal, “Needless to say, I'm pleased they came to their senses so quickly.”

Additional coverage:

PaidContent.org: “Righthaven Sues Reporter For His Article About—A Righthaven Lawsuit”

Updated on March 31 to include Gardner's comment.

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