Free speech group fights lawsuits vs. news sharers

[AP] A San Francisco group that defends online free speech is taking on a Las Vegas company it says is shaking down news-sharing Internet users through more than 140 copyright infringement lawsuits filed this year.The Electronic Frontier Foundation’s counterclaim represents the first significant challenge to Righthaven LLC’s unprecedented campaign to police the sharing of news content on blogs, political sites and personal Web pages.At stake is what constitutes fair use — when and how it is appropriate to share content in an age where newsmakers increasingly encourage readers to share stories on Facebook, Twitter, Digg and other social networking sites.The EFF argues that the lawsuits limit free speech and bully defendants into costly settlements by threatening $150,000 in damages and the transfer of domain names.

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