Three Cheers For The DUmmies

Ah, Democratic Underground. The greatest collection of lunatics, conspiracy nuts, frothing loons, blithering idiots, and hyperpartisan morons one can find outside of an insane asylum. They’d be dangerous if it was possible to take them seriously. I couldn’t imagine any time when I’d sincerely root for them in any situation.

But it’s happened, because the DUmmies are involved in a legal fight with some of the few scumbags in the world who I think are worse than they are — because they’re capable of (and are) causing far more harm than the DUmmies ever could.

The vultures and bottom-feeders and scumbags of Righthaven have a business model that I can only describe as reprehensible. They buy up copyright rights from publishers, then sue those who use that material — even those who do so in full compliance with the provisions of copyright law. Their standard gambit is to file suit immediately, skipping the initial “hey, take that stuff down” stage, and sue for $150,000 and the rights to the defendant’s website domain. They usually settle for less money and the domain.

Well, they went after the DUmmies after one of their inmates posted four paragraphs of a Righthaven-owned 34-paragraph story, and the DUmmies fought back. They fought back so well, that Righthaven dropped the suit.

At least, they tried to. The DUmmies’ lawyers — who, apparently, are not dummies themselves — fought the dismissal. They didn’t just want the suit to go away, they wanted Righthaven to admit that the suit never had any merit, and to pay the DUmmies’ legal bills — which were substantial.

Part of Righthaven’s defense is that DU didn’t minimize their legal expenses, but ran them up in a very strenuous defense — including not just letting the matter drop when Righthaven offered to drop the charges.

In most cases like this, I’d be asking if there was a way for both parties to lose, as both of them are despicable, loathsome, vile scumbags. But in this case, principle trumps my desire to see both parties get smacked around. The DUmmies are seriously fighting the good fight here (albeit only because they had to, in self-defense), and we need to cheer them on as they might take down the far more dangerous vermin at Righthaven.

I dunno if I’d go so far as to recommend contributing to their legal fund, but it certainly would behoove all of us to keep an eye on things, and — just this once — think kind thoughts about the DUmmies.

Thoughts on Japan From a Katrina Survivor
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"a despicable, immoral, and inhuman act"
  • jim m

    I’ve already blacklisted all of Righthaven’s media clients and even should RightHaven desist in their activities those media sites will remain blacklisted. Not that it’s that big of a loss to me, I am unlikely to go to those places anyway, but the principle remains.

  • Paul

    >and — just this once — think kind thoughts about the DUmmies.

    Oh crap… do I have to?

  • James H

    If cheering for DU is a stretch, perhaps you could transfer your plaudits to the Electronic Frontier Foundation, which is providing DU its legal help and has taken a lot of good pro-Web stands over the years.

  • Roy

    The enemy of your enemies is your friend, right

  • Gladius

    I think I’ll just watch from the peanut gallery.

  • Gmac

    Go team stupid!

    Personally I think watching Righthaven get taken down by DU redefines schadenfreude, but hey, I’m not complaining.

    Go team stupid!

  • Son Of The Godfather

    A fine time to point to another fine site:

    The last one PJ posted is priceless.

  • Rich Fader

    If I’m their attorneys, DU’s, I mean, well, first, I try to stop laughing. And second, I say, “No, really, just shut it down and pay us before you embarrass yourselves any further.”

  • Jim Addison

    It’s a serious matter, though. Righthaven doesn’t just “usually settle” – it’s their whole business model to target small people without a lot of money and intimidate them into paying a few thousand to avoid paying more in legal fees. Few of their suits have any merit – they sue even when the posting in question is clearly within the Fair Use guidelines. It’s a shakedown operation.

    Here’s an almost current list of their clients, who no one should EVER quote, link, or read:

  • …. The greatest collection of lunatics, conspiracy nuts, frothing loons, blithering idiots, and hyperpartisan morons one can find outside of an insane asylum ….

    Geez! J!

    For a minute or two there, I thought you were talking about We, Your Loyal Readers!


  • Faith+1

    It’s like a war between two evil empires….you don’t care who wins you just hope for lots of casualties.

  • Steven Gibson, Righthaven’s CEO has a personal webspace If there is a doubt that webspace is actually his, visit registration page at and pay attention to the e-mail on file.