Despite setbacks, Righthaven forges ahead with new copyright lawsuits

Righthaven LLC sued six more website operators Thursday in Las Vegas, showing again its copyright enforcement campaign is active despite recent setbacks.

The latest defendants were all sued in U.S. District Court for Nevada. They are accused of copyright infringement over Las Vegas Review-Journal stories or columns allegedly posted on their websites without authorization.

They are:

• Jane Smith (subliminalselfhypnosis.com)

• Law Med Consulting LLC, Law Med Blog and Greg Stocks (lawmedconsultant.com)

• Extreme DUI and Johannes Garrido (extremedui.net)

• Gunner’s Alley LLC , Affordable Hunting Trips and Bradford Justus (affordable-hunting-trips.com)

• NewsBlaze LLC and Alan Gray (newsblaze.com)

• Computer Services One LLC and Norman Edwards (floridasteaks.com)

Messages for comment were left for the new defendants except for Edwards and his company, which couldn’t be contacted.

“The defendants did not seek permission, in any manner, to reproduce, display or otherwise exploit the work (story or column). The defendants were not granted permission, in any manner, to reproduce, display, or otherwise exploit the work,” these new lawsuits say.

In these lawsuits, Righthaven asked the federal court to award it statutory damages of $150,000 apiece.

It also asked the court to “order the surrender to Righthaven of all hardware, software, electronic media and domains, including the domain used to store, disseminate and display the unauthorized versions of any and all copyrighted work.”

These domain demands are controversial as two federal judges have found there is no basis in the U.S. Copyright Act for Righthaven to ask that the courts order third-party domain name registrars like Go Daddy to lock the domains and transfer them to Righthaven.

The judges handling Righthaven cases in Nevada have not yet ruled on Righthaven’s current strategy of seeking direct surrenders of domains — surrenders that don’t involve orders to third parties.

The new lawsuits lift to at least 271 the number of suits Righthaven has filed since March 2010 over Review-Journal and Denver Post material.

They come as Righthaven faces challenges to its Review-Journal lawsuits from the Electronic Frontier Foundation and others, who charge the suits are based on “sham” copyright assignments from Review-Journal owner Stephens Media LLC.

These charges are denied by Righthaven, which says its lawsuits are necessary to crack down on rampant online infringement of material produced by the newspaper industry.

Righthaven also faces a judge in Denver critical of its business model, which critics say involves hitting defendants with no-warning lawsuits and then coercing them to settle for a few thousand dollars or risk paying the maximum damages of $150,000.

Two Righthaven suits have been dismissed on fair use grounds, dismissals Righthaven plans to appeal.

Legal

Share

Previous Discussion:

Discussion 6 comments

Only trusted comments are displayed on this page. Untrusted comments have expired from this story.

  1. Every new lawsuit is now a potential counter-suit. People are not going to be as willing to settle as they were. Just shows how desperate Righthaven has become.

  2. One thing that should be investigated is that Righthaven's expenses far outpace any potential income and now the hiring of this expensive New York Lawyer sends up some red flags about who is financially propping up Righthaven and how much financial support is Stephens Media giving them?

  3. Chunky says:

    He's wondering if these new lawsuits where masterminded and filed by the new "superstar" lawyer from New York attempting to change the tactic or approach?

    Hopefully the newest defendants will hire some of the same lawyers that are already fighting Righthaven.

    That's what Chunky thinks!

  4. Keep in mind that no information about the nature of the alleged infringements was given in this story.

    I think we all agree that the case of lasvegasinfonewspaper.com was clearly a proper subject for RH to target. It is only the details of the relationship between RH and SM that we question along with the methods used.

    RH is going to wind up weakening copyright protection in the end, just look at the OCI ruling, that was a poor piece of judicial reasoning in my book. RH should stick to the basics and not give the bench so much reason to set new precedent.

  5. So Righthaven/Stephens Media is back clogging the courtrooms of the District of Nevada. Perhaps the judges ought to consider assigning all Righthaven matters to one judge, so that (1) there is consistency among decisions and (2) so that the other courts can be open for other business.

  6. I'm sure, like all federal district courts across the U.S., criminal cases come first. In Nevada at least, plaintiffs with real lawsuits are suffering because this outfit, Righthaven, is unnecessarily clogging the courts.