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Friday, December 03, 2010

Vegas Law Firm Buys Rights to Govt Communications

It's a twist that could be the turning point in the U.S. government's battle against WikiLeaks. The shady organization run by Aussie Julian Assange -- who is in hiding to avoid arrest under a Swedish miscegenation charge -- must now face copyright complaints in a Nevada court.

Well-known copyright troll Righthaven has bought the copyrights to the material published last week by Wikileaks, and has filed several complaints against Wikileaks in U.S. District Court in Las Vegas.

Each complaint claims harm to Righthaven's right to profit from the now-copyrighted material and demands a default judgment of $150,000, surrender of the WikiLeaks domain name, and payment of attorneys' feed.

Although in previous cases, Righthaven has settled out of court for a few thousand dollars -- with defendants recognizing that it would be even more expensive to prove the charges as spurious -- CEO Steve Gibson promises this case will be different.

"This is about more than defending our property rights and receiving just compensation for the use of our creative work. In this case, it's about defending our freedom," Gibson said.

"Publicizing the workings of our sovereign government so that anyone and everyone can read it is a direct attack on our democracy," Gibson added. "We will not entertain any offer of settlement and look forward to demanding justice in court."

State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley defended the decision to sell its communications to Righthaven.

"Theft of our diplomats' work will not be tolerated as anything less than the anarchic threat to our sovereign rights that it is," Crowley said. "These cables belong to the U.S. government, not to Wikileaks or any other so-called media outlet."

"They are proprietary communications, and they are now copyrighted to protect the free American people from having to see them," he added.

Wikileaks, currently found on the web at,, and, did not reply to calls to explain themselves.

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