We settled with Righthaven because while we believe that a trial would have given a tiny judgment (if any) against us, the costs of proceeding to trial would have been tens of thousands of dollars — with no certainty that we would ever be able to recover those legal costs. We would have needed to come up with that enormous amount of money before going to trial. The enormous costs of going to trial in a civil suit effectively mean that if you aren't a multimillionaire, you can't afford justice.I may have some more to say on this in the future. I'm considering writing an article about the serious holes (and there are many) in our civil litigation system that this experience has revealed to me. I'm not sure where I could get it published, but it is probably worth a try.
We believe that the draconian penalties of DMCA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act) were intended primarily to punish file sharing of entertainment, which has enormous economic value (unlike old news articles). To use the enormous penalties of DMCA with respect to a few newspaper articles archived for a scholarly, public purpose, arguably within fair use, does not appear to be what Congress intended. The common — and industry standard — courtesy of contacting us would have caused immediate removal of the article in question. Even a request for reasonable damages — such as the $750 at the bottom of the statutory damages scale — would have (been) paid without argument. We believe that this approach would have worked with nearly all of the defendants that Righthaven sued.
First, I need to relax my frustrations. Now, how do I get some of Steve Gibson's hair or fingernail clippings for the voodoo doll?