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Righthaven Loses 79

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the if-only-this-was-the-end dept.
A month ago we noted that the legal system had put Righthaven on hold, but now redwolfe7707 noted that "A federal judge in Nevada says a Las Vegas law firm targeting unauthorized content on the Internet cannot sue others over a news company's copyrights. The Las Vegas Sun reported Tuesday the dismissal of a lawsuit by copyright enforcer Righthaven LLC against the website Democratic Underground. U.S. District Court Chief Judge Roger Hunt says copyright plaintiffs must control the rights to material in order to sue for copyright infringement."
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Righthaven Loses

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  • by Thagg (9904) <thadbeier@gmail.com> on Wednesday June 15, 2011 @12:31PM (#36452042) Journal

    I am sure that the newspapers will just grant full copyright to RightHaven, for a right to share in the spoils of the lawsuits. This might have been RightHaven's plan all along...

  • by tepples (727027) <{tepples} {at} {gmail.com}> on Wednesday June 15, 2011 @12:44PM (#36452248) Homepage Journal

    I am sure that the newspapers will just grant full copyright to RightHaven, for a right to share in the spoils of the lawsuits.

    Or another variation: sell Righthaven the exclusive right to sublicense articles to other web sites. This would make Righthaven more like a copyright clearance agency such as BMI or iCopyright.

  • by anyGould (1295481) on Wednesday June 15, 2011 @12:53PM (#36452372)

    So a company can't hire a third party law firm to blanket sue? Based on the previous slashdot story and TFA, that's the gist of what this is saying. A copyright holder can't have a generic contract with a litigation firm; they must hire them under contract to sue on their behalf in a specific case.

    As I understand it, the ruling is that you can't split off the "right to sue" from the actual copyright - either you have the rights to the property (and can thus sue to defend those rights), or you don't.

  • Sadly.. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by EvilStein (414640) <spam AT pbp DOT net> on Wednesday June 15, 2011 @02:37PM (#36453538) Homepage

    I wonder if this case would have gotten as much press if Righthaven didn't rile up Democrats & bloggers by suing Democratic Underground. They had sued several other bloggers before this, but the DU lawsuit is what really riled people up and got this in the news.

    They also went after emtcity.com, a forum run by a retired EMT. He has limited resources and this has been financially (and emotionally) draining. All because ONE forum user posted a few paragraphs from an article and linked to the article.

    Righthaven is the worst kind of troll. And I hope the Las Vegas Review Journal staff are utterly disgusted with themselves.

  • by DRJlaw (946416) on Wednesday June 15, 2011 @02:55PM (#36453726)

    I am sure that the newspapers will just grant full copyright to RightHaven, for a right to share in the spoils of the lawsuits.

    Or another variation: sell Righthaven the exclusive right to sublicense articles to other web sites. This would make Righthaven more like a copyright clearance agency such as BMI or iCopyright.

    There's a reason why Righthaven is attempting to avoid doing that. That makes the copyright an asset that can be reached by defendants who are awarded sanctions. When Righthaven receives a settlement, you can reasonably assume that the money is not sitting in a bank in Righthaven's name. Instead, it is disbursed to offset "expenses," "salaries," payments by the LLC to its members, etc. One of the significant reasons for forming an LLC for a venture is to limit liability -- with rare and expensive-to-litigate exceptions, losses would be limited to the present value of the members' investment in the LLC.

    If Righthaven is subject to significant sanctions, for example, in this case, the members could decide to pay the sanctions to keep the entity afloat, or declare the entity insolvent. In the latter case, the defendent is merely an unsecured creditor who had better hope that the bankruptcy trusteee chooses to be agressive in pursuing recourse from the LLC members.

    If Righthaven owns the copyright, suddenly there is the specter of a defendant gaining control of the copyright, including the right to sue for infringement. All related litigation against other defendants could be rendered moot, and the defendent holding the copyright could potentially have a field day. A ticked off defendant holding a right to create and distribute derivative works is not an appetizing prospect.

  • by SmlFreshwaterBuffalo (608664) on Wednesday June 15, 2011 @03:04PM (#36453854)

    (hand written letter usually gets better result.)

    Clearly, you've never seen my handwriting.

  • Re:Yay! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 15, 2011 @05:17PM (#36455416)

    So the FSF can no longer enforce the GPL, unless they own the content?

    The FSF has never claimed to be able to enforce the GPL except where they own copyrights. What made you think otherwise?

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