Newspaper admits that copyright trolling was a bad idea

The new chief executive of MediaNews Group has admitted that it was a really “a dumb idea” for the nation’s second-largest newspaper chain to sign up with copyright troll Righthaven.

John Paton has taken over as the chap in charge of publishing the Denver Post and 50 other newspapers from Dean Singleton. Singleton thought it was a neat idea to hire a law firm called Righthaven to hound bloggers through the courts for mentioning his company’s news articles,

Paton told Ars Technica that particular arrangement will be over at the end of the month. He said that the issues about copyright were real. But the concept that you could hire someone on a success fee to sue people who may or may not have infringed copyright as a way of protecting yourself was daft.

Paton said that he though it was a dumb idea from the start.

The claims are Las Vegas-based Righthaven was founded more than a year ago to raise cash through copyright infringement lawsuits. It might have worked if the law had not got in the way.

So far Righthaven has not prevailed in court on any of the infringement lawsuits filed over MediaNews’ content. However, it has managed to collect cash from 24 out of court settlements which were made because people paid up thanks to the threat of court action.

Paton said if he was MediaNews’ chief a year ago, he likely never would have signed on with Righthaven.

Sara Glines, a MediaNews vice president, said those cases are likely to remain active as Judge Kane weighs whether Righthaven has standing to sue over the Denver Post copyrights.

Righthaven has not filed a new case in two months so it looks like once this current batch is processed it will be the end of this troll.