Friday, May 20, 2011

How Tragic (For Righthaven)

A federal judge in Colorado has put all the Righthaven suits there on hold.  From Ars Technica:

A federal judge has put every Righthaven copyright infringement lawsuit in the state of Colorado on hold.

Righthaven, the Las Vegas company that brings infringement lawsuits on behalf of newspapers like the Las Vegas Review-Journal and the Denver Post, has sued 57 people (including an Ars Technica writer) in Colorado over a Post photo of an airport security patdown. Its tactics have been hugely controversial, since it sends no warning before filing suit, demands that it be given control over the infringing site's domain name, and threatens people with massive statutory damages unless they settle for a few thousand dollars. And Righthaven might not even control the copyrights over which it is suing.
Shocking.  A federal judge who is actually asking questions--not just letting the Righthaven gorilla get what is wants by intimidation.

And over at Vegas Inc., my hero Steven Green reports on the continuing scrap involving an autistic blogger that Righthaven sued:

Hill’s attorneys fired back Thursday, accusing Righthaven of extensive wrongdoing in its dealings with Hill.

In seeking their demand for fees, an amount they have not specified, the attorneys charged Righthaven "provided false or misleading statements under oath to mitigate accrued liability for its actions" as it tried to profit by using "the courts as a mechanism to file retail-scale infringement actions, threatening hundreds of overwhelmed and ill-equipped defendants, such as Mr. Hill, with lengthy and expensive litigation" involving "serial nuisance copyright suits."
And that describes Righthaven's exactly--relying on intimidation and the enormous power that attorneys with deep pockets have to overwhelm people who cannot afford to spend tens of thousands of dollars over disputes that should have been handled with a cease and desist letter first--and maybe a polite request for a few hundred dollars.

1 comment:

Rich Rostrom said...

Hip hip hooray!

The truly disgraceful thing about the Righthaven business is that the legal profession seems utterly indifferent to this flagrant abuse of its role.

Police officers and physicians will often protect colleagues who have misbehaved. But they wouldn't tolerate anything this egregious.

(There's a situation in Chicago right now. Two cops are accused of taking a drunken woman to her home and then raping her there. The other cops are skeptical of the rape charge. But there is no doubt that while on duty, these guys picked up the woman, drove to her home - outside their assigned patrol area - and had sex with her. The unanimous judgment was that they are complete fools and at the very least should be fired and lose any vested pension rights.)