In reading the latest Righthaven article, R-J is being accused of using entrapment and ambush tactics because it encourages people to disseminate its articles through its share icons. The claim is there is an “implied license” when R-J encourages the sharing of its newspaper articles.
Further, a Righthaven judge stated the argument has merits.
As I have frequently said, I am not normally a fan of conspiracy theories. However, when there is an abundance of evidence that images on multiple websites are being labeled “FREE wallpapers”, a strong argument can be made that there is a scheme by the photographers to intentionally trick or trip up users to using the images and later nailing them with a copyright infringement claim.
I do not believe that Hawaiian Art Network actually tells or encourages their photographers to do this but I do think they do turn a blind eye to it. If I were to argue on the defense, I would point out to HAN they have a responsibility to at least investigate this when brought to their attention and that they hinge their case on a technicality. The “spirit” of free wallpapers is supposedly to share their work and actually use it on their computers. But when that same image is placed on a website, that is where the “gotcha” comes from.
I believe it puts HAN on very dangerous ground relying on such a technicality. The Righthaven lawsuits have shown that judges have a low tolerance for such underhanded tactics and they clearly have voiced this in several rulings.