Righthaven LLC -- a bottom feeding legal outfit -- has teamed up with the Las Vegas Review-Journal and Denver Post to sue mom and pop websites, advocacy and public interest groups and forum board operators for copyright infringement. The strategy of Righthaven is to sue thousands of these website owners, who are primarily unfunded and will be forced to settle out of court.
Righthaven lawsuitsTo date Righthaven has been ordered to pay $323,138 in legal fees and sanctions.Righthaven lawsuits

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Judge Dismisses All Colorado Righthaven Lawsuits; Orders Righthaven to Pay Legal Fees

Judge: Righthaven Lacked Standing, Abused Copyright Act
Righthaven LLC of Las Vegas lacked standing to file copyright infringement lawsuits in Colorado under its lawsuit contract with the Denver Post and abused the Copyright Act in doing so, a federal judge ruled Tuesday.
Senior U.S. District Judge John L. Kane in Denver granted summary judgment for Righthaven lawsuit defendant Leland Wolf and the It Makes Sense Blog against Righthaven.
See: VEGAS INC article in full
See: U.S. District Judge John Kane's ruling in full

The article notes that 23 Colorado cases had closed prior to Judge Kane's ruling. It is likely that Righthaven lacked standing to bring those lawsuits as well, several of which included settlements with big names, such as white supremacist David Duke and website operator Matt Drudge.

Part of Judge Kane's Order:

Righthaven’s only interest in the Work is “the right to proceeds in association with a Recovery.” The Copyright Assignment Agreement defines “Recovery” as “any and all sums . . . arising from an Infringement Action.” Thus, when read together, the Assignment and the Copyright Assignment Agreement reveal that MediaNews Group has assigned to Righthaven the bare right to sue for infringement – no more, no less. Although the assignment of the bare right to sue is permissible, it is ineffectual. Standing alone, “[t]he right to sue for an accrued claim for infringement is not an exclusive right under § 106.” Silvers, 402 F.3d at 884. Furthermore, neither the Assignment nor the Copyright Assignment Agreement provide Righthaven any beneficial interest in the dissemination of the Work. Accordingly, Righthaven is neither a “legal owner” or a “beneficial owner” for purposes of § 501(b), and it lacks standing to institute an action for copyright infringement.
CONCLUSION
It is apparent from the terms of the Assignment and the Copyright Assignment Agreement that Righthaven lacks standing to institute an action for copyright infringement. Because the jurisdictional issues raised in the Motion to Dismiss are intertwined with the merits of the case, I convert Mr. Wolf’s Rule 12(b)(1) motion to a Rule 56 motion and GRANT him SUMMARY JUDGMENT. Furthermore, in light of the need to discourage the abuse of the statutory remedies for copyright infringement, I exercise my discretion under Section 505 of the Copyright Act and ORDER that Righthaven shall reimburse Mr. Wolf’s full costs in defending this action, including reasonable attorney fees.

Defendant Leland Wolf is represented by Randazza Legal Group. (Huge kudos to both!)

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Copyright Lawsuit Mill Continues to Miss Deadlines; Updates on Several Cases

Missed Deadline Potentially Costly for Righthaven
Righthaven LLC watched thousands of dollars in legal work potentially go down the drain Friday when a Las Vegas judge refused to revive one of its copyright lawsuits — a suit dismissed because Righthaven was tardy by one day with a legal filing.
Righthaven has filed 275 infringement lawsuits since March 2010, but lately has been dormant while it waits for judges to rule on whether it has the right to sue under a revised lawsuit contract with the owner of the Las Vegas Review-Journal.
See: VEGAS INC article in full

Cases discussed include Garry Newman of facepunch.com, Richard Rawlings of the United States Marijuana Party, Greg Stocks and his Law Med Blog, Ryan Burrage, and veteran Wayne Hoehn.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Maryland Defendant Continues to Push Back; Righthaven Fails To Oppose Motion To Dimiss

Righthaven Fails To Oppose Our Motion To Dimiss
Righthaven LLC had 14 days in which to file a response to our Motion to Dismiss with Prejudice for Failure to Serve the Complaint, Willful Deceit, and Failure to Comply with a Judicial Order, filed in Nevada Federal District Court on September 6th. They have failed to do so…and we did not think they would risk filing one since the only reason to would be to oppose our motion on the basis that our allegations of their multitude of lies before the court was false. In other words they would have to lie again to the court. They may finally have recognized that, even for them, there is a limit to their arrogance blinding them to their stupidity.
See: Blog post in full
See: Defendant's Motion to Dismiss with Prejudice

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Attorneys for Wayne Hoehn File Motion for Seizure of Righthaven's Bank Accounts

Attorneys representing Wayne Hoehn filed a motion Sunday asking the court to issue a writ of execution for Hoehn's judgment against Righthaven after the group defied the court ordered payment due date last week. The motion states, "No stay prohibiting Hoehn’s execution of his judgment is in place, nor would any such future stay have retroactive effect." It also states that the "Court is entitled to authorize the U.S. Marshalls to execute Hoehn’s judgment" through seizure of bank accounts.
Court is entitled to authorize the U.S. Marshalls to execute Hoehn’s judgment through seizure of Righthaven’s bank accounts, real and personal property, and intangible intellectual property rights for levy, lien, auction or other treatment appropriate for satisfaction of Hoehn’s judgment.
See: Motion for Writ of Execution
See: Affidavit and Request for Issuance of Writ of Execution
See: Proposed Writ of Execution for completion by the court

Former Defendant Posts on Veterans Website

By Michael Leon
In August 2011, Wayne Hoehn was awarded $34,045 in attorneys’ fees and costs in a judicial order that doomed Righthaven LLC, a fraudulent outfit operating out of Las Vegas pretending to own copyrights and then suing 100s of defendants, scaring them into settlements.
Righthaven has filed some 275 federal copyright lawsuits claiming text from the Las Vegas Review-Journal and [formerly] the Denver Post has been used without regard to copyright law by the Internet users including bloggers and message board posters.
Righthaven lost its case against Hoehn who knew that he could not live up to his oath he once gave to defend the U.S. Constitution if he gave up without a fight. Hoehn stood up for fair use and free speech – and he prevailed.
See: Related Veterans News Now article

Friday, September 16, 2011

LTN: September Has Been a 'Particularly Bad Month' for Righthaven; Group Seems 'Troubled'

Righthaven's House of Cards
September has been a particularly bad month for Righthaven. First, MediaNews Group let its contract expire with the company, leaving original investor Stephens Media as the only newspaper partner. MediaNews' new chief executive, John Paton, took a 180-degree turn from his predecessor Singleton in explaining the change, noting via Wired.com that "the idea that you would hire someone on an essentially -- success fee to run around and sue people at will who may or may not have infringed as a way of protecting yourself … does not reflect how news is created and disseminated in the modern world." Not only is he challenging the merits of the suits, he disagrees with the foundation Righthaven is built on.
See: Related Law Technology News article
See: Related EFF article (From The Ashes of Righthaven)
See: Related Wired article (It was a "Dumb Idea")

Monday, September 12, 2011

Legal Fees Pay Date Looms for Righthaven; 'Nobody is Playing a Violin' for Them Either

The date for Righthaven to pay $34,000 dollars in legal fees to defendant Wayne Hoehn is Wednesday, September 14. Thus the emergency motion by Righthaven last Friday to stay U.S. District Judge Philip Pro’s order to pay the fees. In an article published by Wired today, Hoehn's attorney Marc Randazza of Randazza Legal Group said that Righthaven should hand over the fees. "Remember, it’s not like we sued them," Randazza said. He added, "Nobody is playing a violin for these guys."

It's unknown how Rigthaven can pursue multiple appeals and pay attorney Dale Cendali, a partner at Kirkland and Ellis. According to PaidContent.org, Kirkland was one of the first firms where some New York partners "broke the $1,000-per-hour billing ceiling a few years back." Righthaven is in a needy position to be sure. Yet it is of their own making, which has cost the financial and emotional suffering of at least 500 victims if one includes codefendants in Righthaven's 276 "no warning" lawsuits.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Judge Denies Attorney's Fees to Defendant Who Inspired Many Other Victims to Fight Back

Earlier today, U.S. District Judge John Kane denied a motion by defendant Brian Hill’s attorneys that Righthaven be required to pay his legal fees. Brian Hill, who suffers from autism and other disabilities, captured the attention of the New York Times, Reporters Without Borders and many other groups and individuals for refusing to cave into Righthaven's intimidation tactics. After the ruling, Brian Hill's attorney David Kerr told VEGAS INC that he was disappointed in the ruling but that he respected it.
"I think Brian deserves to be recognized for being the first Colorado defendant to really refuse to give into Righthaven’s heavy-handed tactics and stand up and fight. I certainly do think there is a correlation between Brian’s case and the MediaNews Group’s decision not to continue their relationship with Righthaven," Kerr said.
MediaNews Group, owner of the Denver Post, disclosed this week it’s not renewing its copyright protection contract with Righthaven. The decision came after several public relations debacles, most notably about the Hill case.
See: Related VEGAS INC article
See: Judge Kane's ruling in full
See: Brian Hill's website (uswgo.com)
See: Brian Hill's Scribd collection

Righthaven LLC Issues Bankruptcy Warning; Who Could Have Foreseen?

Righthaven Says it Might Have to File for Bankruptcy
Despite its backing by the billionaire Warren Stephens family, Las Vegas copyright lawsuit filer Righthaven LLC warned today it may have to file for bankruptcy because of a series of setbacks in its litigation campaign.
The warning came in an emergency request by Righthaven to a federal judge in Las Vegas that he stay his order that Righthaven pay $34,045 in legal fees to attorneys who successfully defended Kentucky message board poster Wayne Hoehn against a Righthaven lawsuit.
See: Related VEGAS INC article

Desperation is never fun to watch, but do read the full article. It's packed with jewels including, "the software could be sold to any one of a host of infringers or other supporting organizations that would attempt to reverse engineer the software in order to devise methods for evading detection."(?) PaidContent.org also writes about this news (See: Righthaven: We Might Have To Declare Bankruptcy) and offers a delightful "plain language version" of Righthaven's emergency filing.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Blogger Ken: MediaNews Group Will Not Renew Contract with Copyright Troll Righthaven

UPDATE 09/08/11: VEGAS INC has published an important update to the MediaNews Group announcement (See: Denver Post owner not renewing Righthaven contract after PR debacles). The article discusses the numerous PR blunders that likely led MediaNews to its decision, including "headaches" caused by defendants Brian Hill, Dana Eiser, Denise Nichols and Reporters Without Borders. The now broken relationship may have legal implications for 34 open Righthaven cases.

MediaNews Group Will Not Renew Contract with Righthaven
The Denver Post is reporting that MediaNews Group, its parent company along with the Salt Lake Tribune, will not be renewing their contract with the controversial drive-by litigation group Righthaven. According to the report MediaNews Group stopped working with them "some time ago."
--snip--
MediaNews Group’s relationship with Righthaven dealt almost exclusively with one image that of the TSA agent performing a patdown that became a symbol of the "Don’t touch my junk" movement. This image had gone viral because of the national debate over the enhanced pat-downs and both MediaNews Group and Righthaven thought they had a potential goldmine. They began suing bloggers by the scores including Matt Drudge of the Drudge Report. In the beginning most settled including Drudge until Righthaven made the fatal tactical mistake of suing a mildly autistic blogger from North Carolina.
See: Related blog post in full

The news comes just after opponents appealed again to a Colorado judge to end Righthaven lawsuits over Denver Post material. See related news article: Foes seek decisive ruling against Righthaven.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Two More Cases Dismissed Due to Lack of Service; Defendant Files Motion to Dismiss

Judge Throws Out 2 More Righthaven Copyright Lawsuits
Two more Righthaven LLC newspaper copyright infringement lawsuit defendants can rest easier this holiday weekend after a judge dismissed their cases Friday.
The cases against Peter Ashton and Kathleen Peddle were dismissed by U.S. District Judge Roger Hunt in Las Vegas after Righthaven failed to show the defendants had been served in time.
The cases were dismissed without prejudice, so Righthaven can choose to sue again over the same alleged infringements. The VEGAS INC article reminds readers of the central argument Righthaven has given in response to its lack of service -- an inability to find the defendants. One of these unserved defendants, Greg Stocks, fired back with a motion to dismiss with prejudice stating that Righthaven has his current address on file, but still has not received a summons or sanctions information.

See: Defendant's Motion to Dismiss with Prejudice

Thursday, September 1, 2011

August 2011 Righthaven Victims

Lawsuit count: Aug (0), Jul (0), Jun (0), May (9)Apr (2)Mar (25), Feb (10) and Jan (34). View a list of 2010 Righthaven victims.

No new Righthaven victims were recorded for this month.

The lawsuit count does not reflect the actual number of Righthaven victims, as many codefendants are also named in these "sham" copyright assignment lawsuits and suffer the same serious consequence.