It was an educational conversation.
His answer was that he would "have to take a look at it," but when I asked for his email to send him some links, he declined to provide it and told me: "I don't have time to review every case I receive a call about. I'm not going to do a spot evaluation. I can't do due diligence on alleged infringments and then give you an impromptu response to those alleged infringements."
Huh. I'd think they'd be really worried about this one. I mean, they've gone and sued very, very small websites with tiny, valueless audiences. Here we've got a case of the site of the Republican candidate for U.S. Senate, which undoubtedly receives thousands of page views every day. It's an extremely high-profile case and the potential damages are probably among the highest Righthaven could seek. It would also generate national news, which is great for Righthaven, no?
Gibson also said he doesn't "talk about infringing matters that we don't pursue," which means they're using discretion after all. And I can totally see Sherm Frederick, never a paragon of consistency or logic, instructing him to lay off Angle to avoid generating embarrassing headlines for the candidate. Would Sherm do the same for Harry Reid? Duh. Of course not.
"There are probably millions if not billions of infringements we won't be able to address," Gibson told me. "It doesn't weaken our position at all. ... Two wrongs don't make a right. Two infringers doesn't make an innocent infringer."
Gibson continued to trumpet the fact that his firm hasn't been ideologically driven. But that's precisely why this is the perfect test case, isn't it?
"You've seen Righthaven make claims against left-wing sites, right-wing sites. Rightaven has even been tied to the Obama Administration. [Some on the Web] believe because I'm from Chicago, because of the background I have and the fact that we went after some right-leaning sites, somehow I'm doing this at the behest of Barack Obama. We're going to displease a lot of people because we do not discriminate on politics or what have you."
Fascinating. I tried to get him to explain, then, how he decides who to sue and who not to sue. He kept talking about how that's proprietary and that he may soon have competitors in this space. But he did say this:
After the interview was over, by the by, he asked me out to lunch so he can earn me as a client. In fact, he asked me in the beginning of the interview, too. In the beginning I redirected us to what I wanted to discuss, and at the end I tried to explain how inappropriate that question was given that I'm covering this situation and his company as a journalist.
He didn't understand.