For the second consecutive day, Las Vegas copyright lawsuit filer Righthaven LLC on Friday was hit with unfavorable court rulings.
First, U.S. District Judge Larry Hicks in Reno dismissed two more Righthaven lawsuits based on his finding Thursday that the company lacked standing to sue.
The latest suits to be thrown out were against Southern California real estate professional Jeffrey Nelson and against Southern California adult material publisher Hush-Hush Entertainment Inc. and codefendants PN Media Inc. and Andrew Stoddard.
Both of the suits had been extensively litigated — meaning Righthaven and the defendants’ attorneys will have to eat their legal costs unless the defendants ask the court for recovery of those costs.
Even then, Righthaven claims to be out of cash, and creditors are already lining up to seize its assets, so it’s unknown if any defendant will be able to collect legal fees from Righthaven.
Separately, U.S. Magistrate Judge Peggy Leen in Las Vegas on Friday ordered Righthaven to show cause by March 16 why it should not be sanctioned and held in contempt of court.
Leen granted a motion submitted by attorneys for Righthaven lawsuit defendant Thomas DiBiase, who prevailed against Righthaven in one of its lawsuits.
His attorneys said Righthaven should be found in contempt and sanctioned for failing to turn over financial information, as ordered by Leen, so the attorneys could determine if Righthaven has the ability to pay $119,488 in legal fees owed by Righthaven.
Leen, in Friday’s order, didn’t comment on assertions by DiBiase attorneys at the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) that Righthaven CEO and Las Vegas attorney Steven Gibson should personally be held responsible for the sanctions.
The EFF is a digital rights group that has successfully participated in some of the key lawsuits in which Righthaven was found to not have standing to sue.
Since March 2010, Righthaven has filed 275 no-warning lawsuits alleging copyright infringement against individuals and entities that posted material online from the Las Vegas Review-Journal and the Denver Post without authorization.
Eight judges in Nevada, Colorado and South Carolina have now ruled Righthaven lacked standing to sue because, despite its claims of ownership, the newspapers maintained control of the material Righthaven was suing over.
In four more cases, defendants were found to be protected by the concept of fair use in using material from the R-J without permission.