Democratic Underground

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Democratic Underground
Alexa rank11,936 (2846 in US) (As of 29 November 2015)[1]
LaunchedJanuary 20, 2001; 17 years ago (2001-01-20)[2]

Democratic Underground is an online community for U.S. Democrats. Its membership is restricted by policy to those who are supportive of the Democratic Party and Democratic candidates for political office.[3]


Discussions from posters at DU have drawn criticism. One example of this was the dialog about the 2004 tsunami disaster, in which a few posts explored the possibility of "earthquake weapons". The posts were reported by The New York Times[4] and Fox News.[5] The administrators also sent a letter to the Times, which was printed.[6]

The site also saw criticism when, in 2003, a poster explained why he or she wished to see continued bloodshed in Iraq.[7]

The site was also criticized by the online Oregon newspaper for a thread about a video posted by the newspaper in which a former Israeli soldier described what the newspaper called "the war crimes committed against the Palestinians back in 1948." Because some DU posters criticized the piece, the newspaper wrote that DU had "decided to take a stand for apartheid", although it described another post in the thread (one critical of Israel) as "absolutely correct".[8]

Copyright infringement lawsuit[edit]

In 2010, Democratic Underground was sued for alleged copyright infringement in a member's posting of a few paragraphs from an article in the Las Vegas Review-Journal. The suit was brought by Righthaven, an entity that finds Review-Journal quotations online, buys the copyright for that story from the newspaper, and retroactively sues for copyright infringement.[9] In response to the lawsuit, DU asserted that the quoted excerpt (five sentences of a 54-sentence article) was fair use, and counterclaimed against Righthaven for fraud, barratry, and champerty.[10] DU is being represented in the case pro bono by the Electronic Frontier Foundation, attorneys from the firm of Winston & Strawn, and Las Vegas attorney Chad Bowers.[10] After Righthaven lost a similar suit against Realty One Group over 8 of 30 sentences quoted from a news article, Righthaven asked the judge in the case against Democratic Underground to dismiss Righthaven's claim against DU.[11]

In June 14, 2011, Judge Roger L. Hunt ruled that Righthaven be dismissed from the case because Righthaven had never owned the copyright of the article and gave Righthaven two weeks to explain in writing why it should not be sanctioned.[12]


  1. ^ " Site Info". Alexa Internet.
  2. ^ " WHOIS, DNS, & Domain Info - DomainTools". WHOIS. Retrieved 2016-08-14.
  3. ^ "Terms of Service". DU. Retrieved 2012-10-08.
  4. ^ Schwartz, John (2005-01-03). "Myths Run Wild in Blog Tsunami Debate". The New York Times. pp. A10. Retrieved 2007-05-02.
  5. ^ Hume, Brit (2005-01-04). "Disaster's Cause?". Fox News. Retrieved 2007-05-02.
  6. ^ Allen, David (2005-01-10). "To the Editor". The New York Times. Retrieved 2011-08-24.
  7. ^ Taranto, James (2003-11-05). "Dems Gone Wild--III". Opinion Journal. Archived from the original on May 26, 2008.
  8. ^ King, Tim (Jan 5, 2012). "'Democratic Underground' Attacks Salem-News Writers Opposed to Racism". Salem News. Retrieved 2012-01-05.
  9. ^ Green, Steve (August 11, 2010). "Righthaven sues Democratic Underground website over R-J posting". Las Vegas Sun. Las Vegas, Nevada. Retrieved 2010-10-08.
  10. ^ a b Green, Steve (September 28, 2010). "R-J owner faces counterclaim in copyright lawsuit campaign". Las Vegas Sun. Las Vegas, Nevada. Retrieved 2010-10-08.
  11. ^ Kravets, David (18 Nov 2010). "Righthaven Says It Will Stop Suing Over News Excerpts"., Threat Level.
  12. ^ EFF Press Releases > June, 2011 > Righthaven Copyright Troll Lawsuit Dismissed as Sham. Retrieved 2011 June 16.

External links[edit]