Bloggers Beware: The Consequences of Posting Content from the Denver Post

March 2011

As a U.S. judge sided with authors and publishers in striking down Google's dreams of creating a grand online library, David Kerr was defending a much less ambitious case of copyright. Brandishing such words as "potentially champertous" and "barratrous," Kerr is representing a mildly autistic blogger who posted a Denver Post photograph without permission (Westword). Kerr has motioned to dismiss a suit alleging copyright infringement, which was filed by Righthaven LLC, a Nevada-based company that appears to be acting in the interests of media companies like Media News Group, which owns the Post.

The story of the autistic blogger, Brian D. Hill of North Carolina, has become a PR nightmare for Righthaven (Las Vegas Sun). Kerr alleges Righthaven uses intimidating tactics, which Hill's mother says have impacted the well-being of her son: "As a result of the stress of the current pending lawsuit, my son's health has steadily declined, placing him at risk of a serious, perhaps life-threatening medical event."