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Judge Reveals Secret Righthaven Copyright Contract 130

Posted by timothy
from the limited-separability-corporation dept.
Hugh Pickens writes "Judge Roger Hunt has unsealed the confidential agreement between Righthaven and the Las Vegas Review-Journal that has allowed Righthaven to sue over more than 250 charities, impoverished hobby bloggers, reporters, and the newspaper's own sources, for $150,000 each in damages and forfeiture of the sites' domain names, and the contents of the agreement could end up being ruinous for Righthaven's campaign of copyright lawsuits. The problem is that Stephens Media, the company that owns the Las Vegas Review-Journal, didn't actually assign any of the rights related to copyright to Righthaven except the right to sue — and that has been found in Silvers vs. Sony Pictures to be illegal under case law. In other words, none of the important things that come with a copyright — such as the right to make copies of a work, or distribute it, or make 'derivative works' — were handed off to Righthaven. Only the right to sue was given, and that makes the copyright transfer bogus, argue lawyers for the Democratic Underground, which is being sued for one of its website users posting the first four paragraphs of a 34 paragraph story."
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Judge Reveals Secret Righthaven Copyright Contract

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  • If the summary is true, could all the aggravated parties become part of the same suit, or parts of a class action suit or something?

    What I'm asking is: what are the required steps now to undo Righthaven's damages?

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by clang_jangle (975789)

      If the summary is true...

      Oh, come on. TFS bases its conclusions on the concept of "illegal under case law" ("there a legal precedent against it, therefore it's 'illegal'"). what do you think? :)

    • how do you prove the contract is the same in all cases?
    • by gr8_phk (621180) on Sunday April 17, 2011 @09:59AM (#35847436)
      I thought the first thing one should do in a copyright case (as defendant) is have the plaintiff prove that they have the right to sue. That can not be given to them in a sealed document. If defendant can't see that document, there should be no case since that is the basis for the case. IANAL, but this seem pretty straight forward to me. It also makes sense that assigning the right to sue isn't enough, because that company has nothing to lose should you infringe - they haven't been harmed.
      • It also makes sense that assigning the right to sue isn't enough, because that company has nothing to lose should you infringe - they haven't been harmed.

        The workaround is to sell Righthaven a bundle of A. the exclusive right to sublicense a given set of articles to a given set of sites during a period of a few years, and B. the right to sue the same sites. That way, Righthaven is harmed by infringement of copyright in those articles.

        • While that sounds like it could work, judges don't like it when you try to work around the law and Righthaven may have to prove actual harm and not theoretical harm. If Righthaven never actually sublicenses any work then even if they can prove infringement, they can't prove actual harm for damages. In cases where plaintiffs have to prove harm, the harm must be tangible and certain enough to calculate damages.

          If someone totals my van, I can get damages for the value of the van. I also sue for the loss of

          • Righthaven may have to prove actual harm and not theoretical harm.

            Not if copyright in the work is registered. Copyright law provides a minimum $750 in statutory damages. Is Disney damaged if I, say, make and sell copies of the film Song of the South, which Disney has steadfastly refused to distribute on VHS in the United States or on DVD, Blu-ray, or paid download anywhere in the world?

            • Is Disney damaged if I, say, make and sell copies of the film Song of the South, which Disney has steadfastly refused to distribute on VHS in the United States or on DVD, Blu-ray, or paid download anywhere in the world?

              Your Disney example is not analogous to the situation you posited. Righthaven is not the owner it is merely a sublicensee. If Disney assigned ownership of rights (which is the whole point of this article), then they have standing to sue and get statutory damages. Even then they must first prove infringement. In the cases Righthaven have sued, it's not clear that there was infringement because the defendants could claim fair use. Their usage of the copyrighted material was minor (selected sections no

            • by AK Marc (707885)
              If there was provably no harm, then you can't sue. Even if there are statutory damages. How can that be? Because first you have to win the suit before damages are awarded. To sue, you must have had some loss. If you can prove, as the defendant, that the plaintiff could have incurred no loss, then the case will not be won by the plaintiff, even if the plaintiff would have collected at least $750 had they won. The ability to be awarded statutory damages if you win doesn't prove damage was done.

              The poin
              • Disney could claim that it was harmed because infringing copies of Song of the South compete in the market with lawfully made copies of its newer works [wikipedia.org].
                • by AK Marc (707885)
                  Righthaven did not have copyright authorization to print and distribute the works. Thus, even if somehow technically violating a copyright of Righthaven, Righthaven did not and could not have suffered a loss. Statutory or actual damages will never be considered if they can't win the suit. And you have to have had some loss.

                  Copyright tried statutory damages because it was so hard to determine losses. However, at this point it isn't working as intended. It would be a better scheme to return to actual da
                  • by tepples (727027)

                    Righthaven did not have copyright authorization to print and distribute the works.

                    As I've been saying in several other comments, Righthaven could easily fix this in the next revision of its contract. The new version of the contract would explicitly give Righthaven the exclusive right to display the Journal's stories on sites X, Y, and Z.

                    • by AK Marc (707885)
                      Which has no bearing on the case in question. And would have worked much better if they hadn't already sued without cause. When it comes up after the contract you mentioned, it's quite possible that showing that they didn't ever profit from the copyrights they were assigned would be sufficient to demonstrate they didn't incur any loss. So just a contract change wouldn't be enough. They'd have to actually make something from it now (before, they only would to have needed to show they were intending to ma
        • by jbengt (874751)
          The issue (or one of the issues) seems to be that the copyright is only assigned to Righthaven after the infringement takes place, and the letter of the law does not allow a party to sue for damages unless they had a a copyright interest at the time of the infringement. Also, though the agreement assigns the "copyright", the wording appears to have the LV Journal retain all actual substantial rights except for suing, and gives no actual right to copy, make derivative works, or distribute to Righthaven - th
          • the letter of the law does not allow a party to sue for damages unless they had a a copyright interest at the time of the infringement.

            Then Righthaven could revise its future standard form contracts to make it look like a license clearinghouse. The Journal could make this exclusive license to Righthaven, and Righthaven could send a PGP-signed takedown request the same day. Then it would sue a week later on the basis that the infringing copy was available on the web for that one week.

            Another complicating factor may be that the agreement allows the LV Review Journal to have the copyright reassigned back to them after a time period

            I was under the impression that time-limited exclusive licenses were standard practice elsewhere in the entertainment industry.

            and, just about any time they (reasonably) please during that time period

            So you claim the deal is invalid

            • by jbengt (874751)

              Then Righthaven could revise its future standard form contracts to make it look like a license clearinghouse. The Journal could make this exclusive license to Righthaven, and Righthaven could send a PGP-signed takedown request the same day. Then it would sue a week later on the basis that the infringing copy was available on the web for that one week.

              Yes, they probably could change the way they contract for this business to avoid the particular problem, but I doubt they could do it the way you are suggesti

          • No no no. A copyright owner may assign the right to sue for past infringement if the assignor also assigns the exclusive right that was infringed. The problem with righthaven and the plaintiff in the silvers case is that the assignee/plaintiff was not assigned one of the exclusive rights.
            • by jonbryce (703250)

              The question is, if you had licenced the material in question properly, would Righthaven have got any money out of it? The answer is no, so Righthaven has no capacity to sue.

      • Sealed means that the document is not released to the public. All court documents are ordinarily released to the public, as a matter of public policy. But secrets that you don't want revealed can be placed under seal, in which case they are either kept out of the public record completely, or redacted.

        Both sides (plaintiff and defendant) and the judge in any suit ordinarily see the sealed documents. They're just not allowed to talk publically about what's in them, and the public doesn't get to see them.
  • by mfarah (231411) <miguel AT farah DOT cl> on Sunday April 17, 2011 @08:33AM (#35846974) Homepage

    "Angered at Righthaven’s behavior, a Las Vegas federal judge unsealed the company’s heretofore confidential agreement [...]"

    Not that I'm complaining, but... what did Righthaven do to anger the judge? Were their lawyers being dicks? Was the contract itself what angered the judge? Truly, I'd like to know.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      what did Righthaven do to anger the judge? Were their lawyers being dicks? Was the contract itself what angered the judge? Truly, I'd like to know.

      Well, let's see now. Perhaps he...

      RTFA!

    • by Gaygirlie (1657131) <{gaygirlie} {at} {hotmail.com}> on Sunday April 17, 2011 @08:50AM (#35847082) Homepage

      "Angered at Righthaven’s behavior, a Las Vegas federal judge unsealed the company’s heretofore confidential agreement [...]"

      Not that I'm complaining, but... what did Righthaven do to anger the judge? Were their lawyers being dicks? Was the contract itself what angered the judge? Truly, I'd like to know.

      The whole point of trying to run a business with the sole purpose of making income by suing people is probably quite angering to judges. After all, courts are not meant to be used for business, they're meant for solving actual real problems.

      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by Haedrian (1676506)

        After all, courts are not meant to be used for business, they're meant for solving actual real problems.

        You're not from around these parts are you?

      • by arth1 (260657) on Sunday April 17, 2011 @09:35AM (#35847324) Homepage Journal

        The whole point of trying to run a business with the sole purpose of making income by suing people is probably quite angering to judges. After all, courts are not meant to be used for business

        Indeed, judges wants judges and lawyers to have monopoly on making money on lawsuits.

        I have no problems with barring others from using the judicial system as a source of good income, but I do have an issue with how the golden business of lawyers makes a farce out of the blindness of the law by selling out to the highest bidder.
        How about... The sides in a court case are allowed to pitch in as much money as they want, but half of it will go to your opponent, to allow him to buy exactly as good legal advice as you do.

        • Indeed, judges wants judges and lawyers to have monopoly on making money on lawsuits.

          Judges and lawyers can make plenty of money off legitimate lawsuits. They did it long before you could sue someone just because you were too stupid to not put a boiling hot cup of coffee between your legs while driving.

          • by jbengt (874751)

            Just because you were too stupid to not put a boiling hot cup of coffee between your legs while driving.

            That is a gross oversimplification of the case.

            Importantly, the fact that the driver bears some of the responsibility does not absolve McDonalds from their share of the liability.

            McDonalds knew that they were selling coffee too hot to drink, they knew (or reasonably should have known) that it was hot enough to give third degree burns in less than a second, and they had over 700 previous complaints of burn

        • by DarkVader (121278)

          How about... The sides in a court case are allowed to pitch in as much money as they want, but half of it will go to your opponent, to allow him to buy exactly as good legal advice as you do.

          I think you may have just hit upon a solution to the whole issue of tort reform.

          It's absolutely brilliant. All parties to a dispute would be going in with exactly equal footing for legal representation, no matter how much either side was willing or able to spend on legal fees. It could result in an opening of access t

          • by stevelinton (4044)

            I've thought about this idea before. It's a nice idea, but big corporations would just employ in-house advisers and lawyers and claim that they were spending nothing on advice for the case, just doing the equivalent of representing themselves.

            • by DarkVader (121278)

              Done right, you could give them a serious disincentive to have an in-house legal department.

              "Oh, you're using your in-house counsel? No problem. We'll just take the annual budget of that department, and you can give that much to the other side." - Judge GoodGuy

              Never gonna happen with Congress bought and paid for by the corporations, though.

              • by stevelinton (4044)

                Cute, but still impractical. "What department" Mr X is just a former lawyer who now works for us as a copyright administrator. He's in the Country & Western department"

                • by gbjbaanb (229885)

                  just take his salary and bonuses and expenses and stock options and health insurance and company car and suchlike and say that's what they're spending as a minimum. Best add up all the lawyer's salaries unless they can prove they have no input whatsoever on the case.

            • by mbkennel (97636)

              That would work. If the company could also convince the court that all of these in-house advisers and lawyers really were working from $0. And any judge with some knowledge of the real world (and isn't corrupt) would know that is an extraordinary claim requiring extraordinary evidence.

              "Yes sir, I am so pro-smoking that I will devote my time just to fight those evil do-gooders, just like me great great great granpappy on his plantation!"

              • by stevelinton (4044)

                But then do you have to pay them half the cost of your time to defend yourself?

                • by gmhowell (26755)

                  But then do you have to pay them half the cost of your time to defend yourself?

                  No, but it can be used to offset the amount that the corporation must pay you.

              • by AK Marc (707885)

                If the company could also convince the court that all of these in-house advisers and lawyers really were working from $0.

                That's a great claim in court. The next step would be to subpoena their IRS records, and if it shows any income from the corporation in question, then all the lawyers and CxOs get thrown in jail for 5 years for contempt. OF course, they could pay the fine. Since they were proven to lie about who did what and who was paid what, they give up gross income for the corporation for one month (the average of the highest 12 month period in the last 10 years). I'd be interested in seeing if corporations pay up 8

            • by sjames (1099)

              And then they will be nailed up on purgery or contempt. Those lawyers aren't there because they like the snack machine, they're being paid. Meanwhile, they're not drawing their significant salaries because their suits go so well with the plants in the lobby.

          • by MarkvW (1037596)

            Wait! So if my neighbor pours toxic sludge all over my backyard, I have to fund his legal defense? Good luck with that one!

      • by UnknowingFool (672806) on Sunday April 17, 2011 @11:55AM (#35848148)

        The whole point of trying to run a business with the sole purpose of making income by suing people is probably quite angering to judges. After all, courts are not meant to be used for business, they're meant for solving actual real problems.

        No, what has angered judges in the Righthaven cases has been the conduct of Righthaven. Specifically in the Colorado case, the Judge did not like the Righthaven method of suing first then asking questions later. Righthaven sued all the defendants without notifying them of possible copyright material or giving them a chance to remove the material. That did not sit well with the judge. Righthaven apparently angered the judge by then asking for more time which he denied explaining: " . . . the courts are not merely tools for encouraging and exacting settlements from Defendants cowed by the potential costs of litigation and liability." In other words, courts are to resolve legal disputes when no settlement can be reached by the parties. By suing first Righthaven was abusing the court system. It's the conduct of Righthaven not the intent.

        • by Tharsman (1364603)
          Courts should force the sueing party to pay all legal expense in the case the case is lost, they decide to withdraw the lawsuit or a settlement is reached.
          • by Intron (870560)

            Would you ever sue a large company if that were the law? It would be too great a risk.

        • [The Judge said] " . . . the courts are not merely tools for encouraging and exacting settlements from Defendants cowed by the potential costs of litigation and liability."

          Looks like someone was cranky because he didn't get his RIAA care package that month...

      • by Intron (870560)

        "Angered at Righthaven’s behavior, a Las Vegas federal judge unsealed the company’s heretofore confidential agreement [...]"

        Not that I'm complaining, but... what did Righthaven do to anger the judge? Were their lawyers being dicks? Was the contract itself what angered the judge? Truly, I'd like to know.

        The whole point of trying to run a business with the sole purpose of making income by suing people is probably quite angering to judges. After all, courts are not meant to be used for business, they're meant for solving actual real problems.

        At least not when the judge isn't getting a cut.
        http://www.pbs.org/wnet/tavissmiley/voices/2011/02/post-24.html [pbs.org]

      • by rtb61 (674572)

        More importantly if you are going to do that, then your damages claim must be realistic. In this case in can be readily calculated as it was a free to access story published online with the only revenue being actual add revenue earned as a result of people viewing that particular page. The damages claim would then have to calculated upon what more add revenue would have been earned for that free to access page had the defendant web site not published a portion of that story.

        Now if web site value is based

    • by ciaran.mchale (1018214) on Sunday April 17, 2011 @08:51AM (#35847090) Homepage

      "Angered at Righthaven’s behavior, a Las Vegas federal judge unsealed the company’s heretofore confidential agreement [...]"

      Not that I'm complaining, but... what did Righthaven do to anger the judge? Were their lawyers being dicks? Was the contract itself what angered the judge? Truly, I'd like to know.

      You can find the answer to your question in the final two paragraphs of the first link in the /. summary. I'd like to quote those two paragraphs for your convenience. But then, according to the thrust of the article, I might be sued for copyright infringement.

    • I know that you're a very busy man, and don't have time to RTFA. Just for you:

      “There is an old adage in the law that, if the facts are on your side, you pound on the facts. If the law is on your side, you pound on the law. If neither the facts nor the law is on your side, you pound on the table. It appears there is a lot of table pounding going on here.”

    • "Angered at Righthaven’s behavior, a Las Vegas federal judge unsealed the company’s heretofore confidential agreement [...]"

      Not that I'm complaining, but... what did Righthaven do to anger the judge? Were their lawyers being dicks? Was the contract itself what angered the judge? Truly, I'd like to know.

      Righthaven responded to the Judge's request for documents by faxing Goatse to him.

  • If... (Score:2, Offtopic)

    by WillyWanker (1502057)
    If the Review-Journal was something more than a mouthpiece for the GOP maybe they'd be able to actually sell papers and wouldn't need to resort to illegal lawsuits to stay afloat. I lived in Vegas for 2 years and this rag wasn't even good enough to line the litter box.

    Hey Yosemite Sherm, maybe if you made even the slightest attempt at being neutral in your NEWS SECTIONS people might actually want to read your swill of a paper.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    "allowed Righthaven to sue over more than 250 charities, impoverished hobby bloggers, reporters, and the newspaper's own sources"

    I'm sure there's no bias here, they must have been careful to only sue the impoverished hobby bloggers instead of the ones who are making their mortgage payments.

    • I'm sure there's no bias here, they must have been careful to only sue the impoverished hobby bloggers instead of the ones who are making their mortgage payments.

      Many of the people sued by Righthaven are/were actually Area 51 bloggers posting various sections of long-outdated articles of the Las Vegas Review-Journal covering events and happenings at the Nevada Test Site and the Groom Lake facility itself.

      I suspect the vast majority of them haven't made dime.

    • by shumacher (199043)
      Is anyone making their mortgage payments in Las Vegas?
    • by gbjbaanb (229885)

      They sued Arstechnica over an image they used, Ars will tell you [arstechnica.com] of the legalities Righthaven got wrong.

  • Does this undo any precedents already set in this case that assumes that they did have full rights to the copyright, or do they still stand for any future cases like this?

  • If this is accurate and such a partial assignment is invalid, does this leave Righthaven open to lawsuits for fraudulent representation by those who were threatened?
  • pounding sand (Score:5, Interesting)

    by bzipitidoo (647217) <bzipitidoo@yahoo.com> on Sunday April 17, 2011 @09:28AM (#35847274) Journal

    Sounds like Righthaven is very, very wrong. So wrong that they might have to pay the defendents' legal costs. From my limited understanding of the legal system, only exceptionally unwarranted cases, cases with no legitimate basis that were only brought to scare, harrass, and damage other parties, are subject to such sanctions. Except they don't have the assets to pay those costs. Strikes me as a sneaky way to shield the real prosecutors from such an outcome. Set up a shell company to do the dirty work and to fold like a house of cards if it backfires. But it looks like that's not going to work. The judge is not going to be fooled by this cute corporate trickery to evade responsiblity, and will rope the real prosecutors into the cases.

    If the outcome is that the newspapers have to pay for the damage their sock puppet corporation caused, will that be enough to deter others from ever again trying such a heinous scheme? I doubt it. For instance, MS wasn't punished for the mess SCO made. These newspapers will conclude that Righthaven wasn't circumspect enough, and may well try again with another organization that is less obviously their sock puppet, same as SCO was a real separate party that began with no MS affiliation or support.

    • You will, of course, remember that SCO was much more independent than the turkeys in this article. In fact, SCO was a going concern in it's heyday, started downhill slowly, reached the edge of a cliff, and plummeted to the depths where the real slime lives. MS may have contributed to SCO, but that wasn't until SCO had already squandered many fortunes in pursuit of their version of the Holy Grail.

    • The judge is not going to be fooled by this cute corporate trickery to evade responsiblity, and will rope the real prosecutors into the cases.

      Do you think any real individuals will be held to account in the end? I doubt it - corporations were designed to make this kind of skullduggerous behavior acceptable.

    • by jonbryce (703250)

      If the newspaper sued on their own account, they would probably win most of these cases, certainly in the ones where people have copied the entire article without attribution, the defendant is very clearly in the wrong.

    • by wvmarle (1070040)

      My guess is that Righthaven was set up not just to protect the news papers that supply it with material to sue about from this kind of backfire. It's a nice extra.

      It's more like an RIAA-type construction, where the company is a vehicle to absorb and distract public anger. After all when there are copyright suits regarding music sharing, it's the RIAA that takes the brunt of the anger. Even here on Slashdot. While in that case it's generally not even the RIAA themselves suing, instead their members, the rec

  • Interesting (Score:1, Interesting)

    by mysidia (191772)

    Only the right to sue was given, and that makes the copyright transfer bogus, argue lawyers for the Democratic Underground, which is being sued for one of its website users posting the first four paragraphs of a 34 paragraph story."

    So they are suggesting that under Federal copyright law, the 'right to sue for claims of infringement due to X' cannot be assigned without also assigning an infringed right ?

    I wonder what this says about associations such as the **AA which sue people for infringement of the

    • by pjt33 (739471)

      The RIAA, at least, doesn't sue: it's the individual records companies who do that.

    • As pjt33 pointed out, all of the lawsuits related to online filesharing have been filed by the actual recording companies / movie studios (which do hold copyright), not the by the RIAA / MPAA. Considering how slashdot reports the cases it is an easy mistake to make.

      But you do have a good point. What about ASCAP and BMI who do regularly sue bars and other venues that play music without paying royalties? They do not require copyright assignment.

      • by pavon (30274)

        The Business Software Alliance is another that regularly threatens and sues people on behalf of their members, and who does not require copyright reassignment.

      • But you do have a good point. What about ASCAP and BMI who do regularly sue bars and other venues that play music without paying royalties? They do not require copyright assignment.

        Because they are not concerned with copyright infringement. A public performance of a song is *not* copyright infringement.

        Under copyright law, you do not have to negotiate an agreement for royalties in order to use a work in a "public performance". Instead, the law specifies a "statutory royalty" that is due whenever a work is used in a public performance, with the rate of this royalty being set by the government (the Copyright Royalty Board). You may, if you wish, try to negotiate with them for a contr

        • by Kirijini (214824)

          Under copyright law, you do not have to negotiate an agreement for royalties in order to use a work in a "public performance". Instead, the law specifies a "statutory royalty" that is due whenever a work is used in a public performance, with the rate of this royalty being set by the government (the Copyright Royalty Board).

          This is inaccurate.* Public performance of a musical work is an exclusive right awarded to the owners of the musical work's copyright. ASCAP and BMI are collective rights organizations, to whom the musical work copyright owners assign licenses. ASCAP and BMI get royalties from bars and any other place where music is performed (radio, tv, concert halls, restaurants, etc.) and then distribute that money to the owners of the musical works copyright.

          What you're describing is the digital performance right, wh

      • by jbengt (874751)

        What about ASCAP and BMI who do regularly sue bars and other venues that play music without paying royalties? They do not require copyright assignment.

        Are you sure that ASCAP and BMI are actually the named [filmmusicmag.com] plaintiffs in those cases?

      • by Kirijini (214824)

        What about ASCAP and BMI who do regularly sue bars and other venues that play music without paying royalties?

        ASCAP and BMI are a completely different of entity than the RIAA, or Righthaven.

        The RIAA is a trade group for record companies. It performs certain functions for the record companies that would be inefficient for them to do individually - namely, lobby congress & the US trade representative, and public education campaigns about copyright law. ASCAP and BMI are not trade associations for music publishers - that's the NMPA (National Music Publishers Association).

        Righthaven, apparently, is a shell compan

    • by jbengt (874751)
      As I understand the agreement (I only read part of it and IANAL, so caveat emptor) the copyright is assigned, but only after the infringement has occurred, meaning that Righthaven has no standing to sue. Also, the actual right to copy, make derivative works, and publish are suppopsed to be retained by the Las Vegas Journal Review, making the copyright "transfer" questionable.

      My guess on the BSA or the *AAs, is that if and when they sue on the behalf of copyright holders, the actual copyright holder's nam
  • I thought more than 250 was a lot, but over more than 250? Now that's really a lot!
    • I thought more than 250 was a lot, but over more than 250? Now that's really a lot!

      Hmm, I guess they meant screw over more than 250.

  • if the Las Vegas Review-Journal has sold the right to sue, does that mean they can't sue for copyright infringement?
    • Probably only if the right was exclusive, and even then it would depend on wording. If the actual transfer was deemed unlawful, then the right would still revert back to the holder.

    • by DarkVader (121278)

      Not if the contract is legally void. The judge might include losing the right to sue over past articles as part of a punitive judgement, though.

  • by Fnord666 (889225) on Sunday April 17, 2011 @12:35PM (#35848450) Journal
    Apparently Judge Hunt isn't the only one who is relatively fed up with them. According to an article [paidcontent.org] written by joemullin on paidcontent.org, Judge John Kane slammed RH's business model, writing:

    "[W]hether or not this case settles is not my primary concern. Although Plaintiffâ(TM)s business model relies in large part upon reaching settlement agreements with a minimal investment of time and effort, the purpose of the courts is to provide a forum for the orderly, just, and timely resolution of controversies and disputes. Plaintiff's wishes to the contrary, the courts are not merely tools for encouraging and exacting settlements from Defendants cowed by the potential costs of litigation and liability."

    Since Judge Kane is presiding over all of RH's cases in Colorado, that probably does not bode well for them either.

    • It is very refreshing to read this. Maybe all hope is not lost if the court system is finally wising up to this behavior.

  • by b4upoo (166390) on Sunday April 17, 2011 @03:57PM (#35849846)

    This is a very good reason for all contracts to be open to public inspection. Courts cost the tax payers large sums of money. If all of the suits are reversed the expense incurred by the public will be severe.
                            It is an interesting concept that a business or an individual might be able to sell the right to sue for another parties losses. For example what if a private investor were to contract with me to get all benefits from any injuries I might sustain in a traffic accident in exchange for a lump sum in hand? The possibilities seem sinister and endless.

    • This is already happening for high paid executives

      The practice of financing executive compensation using corporate-owned life insurance policies remain controversial. On the one hand, observers in the insurance industry note that "businesses enjoy tax-deferred growth of the inside buildup of the [life insurance] policy’s cash value, tax-free withdrawals and loans, and income tax-free death benefits to [corporate] beneficiaries." On the other hand, critics frowned upon the use of "janitor's insurance"

  • What has always really bothered me about these cases is that RightsHaven didn't even own the right to sue when the infringement first occurred. They only got the rights afterwards and then claimed that the infringement that never infringed them when it had initially occurred was actionable to them. How judges let them get away with this ex post facto claim is totally beyond me.
    • by wvmarle (1070040)

      It wouldn't be the first time that rights have been traded, and that after the trade the new rights holder sues for infringement that started long before the transfer of rights.

      There have been examples of just that on Slashdot before, related to the music industry. Sorry too lazy to look for references.

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