Using Fair Use to Stop a Copyright Troll from Threatening Hyperlinkers

June 16, 2012

Righthaven, a recently created company, has filed hundreds of copyright infringement claims against blogs and other small Web sites for posting content from copyrighted news articles online. These claims—filed without any cease and desist letters to warn potential infringers—demand not only high monetary damages, but also forfeiture of the infringers’ domain names. Focusing on the claims against Web sites that are under attack for posting content accompanied by a hyperlink, this Recent Development looks at copyright law and issues involved in hyperlinking to copyrighted content. Specifically, it argues that a Web site that reposts an entire copyrighted article accompanied by a hyperlink to the original article’s posting can make a successful fair use defense. The adoption of this defense by the courts would permit blogs and other Web sites to continue reposting newsworthy articles without fear of litigation.