A federal judge has put every Righthaven copyright infringement lawsuit in the state of Colorado on hold.Shocking. A federal judge who is actually asking questions--not just letting the Righthaven gorilla get what is wants by intimidation.
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.
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.