White supremacist David Duke has agreed to settle a copyright infringement lawsuit filed against him by Las Vegas company Righthaven LLC.
Duke and his nonprofit Louisiana-based group, the European-American Unity and Rights Organization (EURO), were sued by Righthaven on Feb. 4 in U.S. District Court in Denver.
Righthaven sues website operators and message-board posters — typically without warning or takedown requests — over alleged infringements involving copyrights it obtains from the Las Vegas Review-Journal and the Denver Post.
Righthaven alleged in the Duke lawsuit that a Denver Post TSA pat-down photo was posted on Duke’s website, whitecivilrights.com, without authorization.
Duke hasn’t responded to requests for comment about the lawsuit and neither he nor EURO ever filed a response in court to the lawsuit.
Righthaven filed a motion to dismiss the lawsuit Friday, saying the case had been settled by written agreement. The terms weren’t disclosed.
While Righthaven typically sues for $150,000 and forfeiture of defendants’ website domain names, it’s been known to settle for under five figures and allows settling defendants to keep their websites.
While some Righthaven defendants are fighting back in court, many have found it less expensive to settle than to put up thousands of dollars for legal fees to fight the Las Vegas company on fair use or other grounds.
It wasn’t clear from the lawsuit or court exhibits who posted the photo at issue on Duke’s website. The photo accompanied a column by James Buchanan complaining about the “highly intrusive” enhanced TSA screening and pat-down procedures.
The exhibit shows the Denver Post was not credited as the source of the photo on Duke’s website.
Separately, Righthaven filed three more lawsuits in federal court in Denver this week over the TSA pat-down photo.
The latest to be sued and accused of copyright infringement are:
• BuzzFeed Inc., Jonah Peretti and Gavon Laessig, allegedly associated with the site buzzfeed.com.
• Iconix Brand Group Inc., Roc Apparel Group LLC dba Rocawear and Monique Balcarran (roc4life.com).
• Leland Wolf and It Makes Sense Blog (itmakessenseblog.com).
Messages for comment were left with BuzzFeed and Rocawear. Wolf could not be located for comment.
These bring to at least 264 the number of lawsuits Righthaven has filed since it launched its litigation campaign in March 2010. Sixty of those suits are over the TSA pat-down photo, which was distributed to media outlets by The Associated Press and went viral on the Internet.