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A .357 magnum revolver is displayed at G. A. T. Guns in Dundee, Illinois on June 28, 2010. The Supreme Court held Monday that Americans have the right to own a gun for self-defense anywhere they live, striking down Chicago's nearly 30-year-old handgun ban but leaving the door open for other gun-control legislation.   UPI/Brian Kersey Photo via Newscom

A popular blog that has kept citizens abreast of how Americans successfully defend themselves from crime by being armed has been suspended while its organizers deal with a copyright-infringement claim from a newspaper, the blog itself has announced.

David Burnett said in a statement his Armed Citizen site is closed for now, and its future will depend on what happens in the case.

The site was targeted in a federal court lawsuit filed by Righthaven LLC, which apparently is working on behalf of the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

The lawsuit is one of dozens the plaintiffs have brought to court.

At issue for the Armed Citizen are six stories originating from the Las Vegas Review-Journal that had been cited on the website over the years.

“The Armed Citizen has been excerpting articles from newspaper, TV station and radio-station websites for a number of years without a single complaint or infringement notice,” Burnett wrote in a website statement. “If any copyright holders decided that The Armed Citizen had exceeded fair use, they only needed to send us an e-mail.

“Until this matter can be resolved, and a thorough review of Armed Citizen content can be made, all updates and archives at The Armed Citizen are hereby suspended,” he wrote. “At this time, the future of The Armed Citizen is uncertain, and possibly in jeopardy, thanks to Righthaven LLC and the Las Vegas Review-Journal.”

In an e-mail to WND, Burnett said the website had received no notice of any problem before the lawsuit was filed. The website said some of the stories were “short enough to qualify under the Fair Use Rule,” while all of them were “properly cited and attributed.”

According to a report from the Reporters Committee for the Freedom of the Press, the case against The Armed Citizen is one of dozens of similar cases.

Righthaven chief Steve Gibson told the organization he believes there are “oceans of infringement out there.”

The revenue from online ads is becoming more and more important for news organizations, which largely have seen declining hard-copy circulation in recent years and months.

A report at Wired.com, described the trend as a new “business plan: copyright suits.”

The media site said the strategy is to “monetize news content on the backend, by scouring the Internet for infringing copies … then suing and relying on the harsh penalties in the Copyright Act … to compel quick settlements.”

A review of the issue, however, by another media site, Media Matters, suggested the Review-Journal could be generating problems for itself.

The analysis said if the paper sues some users of its copy, but not others, such as a “conservative candidate for office,” it could be interpreted as making an in-kind contribution to one group.


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