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The Courts Your Rights Online

RightHaven Lawyer Says Browser Ate His Homework 91

Posted by timothy
from the wanna-see-you-in-chambers dept.
J053 writes "Wired Magazine reports that Righthaven attorney Shawn Mangano's excuse for being a day late with his explanation as to why the litigation factory made 'dishonest statements to the court' was that his web browser upgraded and he could no longer attach PDF files to his submissions. Yeah, right ..."
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RightHaven Lawyer Says Browser Ate His Homework

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 01, 2011 @06:43PM (#36638594)

    My legal advisers have informed me that this post does not constitute trolling.

    • Modded Troll. How can I mod a mod Funny? Metamoderation should have a way of doing that.

  • ... but my browser ate my post!.

    Seriously, it couldn't happen to a nicer guy - but it does point out the problem with browsers that, at startup, make you wait while they ping their mothership to check for updates when all you want to do is surf for 5 minutes.

    • by MightyMartian (840721) on Friday July 01, 2011 @06:49PM (#36638624) Journal

      That is presuming if it happened at all. I'm getting this funny feeling Righthaven is some low-brow shysters who conned some dumb-ass newspaper types out of their money. The whole thing is unbelievably badly constructed, it's just got to be a fraud.

      • by tomhudson (43916) < ... <nosduh.arabrab>> on Friday July 01, 2011 @07:01PM (#36638682) Journal

        Righthaven was suing for copyright, when they weren't the owners of the copyrighted material. You can't "hive off" the right to sue to a 3rd party like Righthaven. Righthaven lacked standing, and should have known they lacked standing (after all, if you're a bunch of lawyers suing over copyrights, you should at least know copyright law, right?)

        The way each suit should have proceeded was that the rights-holders hire Righthaven to sue on their behalf; this makes things harder for Righthaven in court, since then they rights-holder has to be involved at every step - something that drives up the cost of each suit. Righthaven wanted to do this stuff in bulk, un its own name, without crossing each T and dotting each I, and it doesn't work that way.

        Then there was the sloppy casework ...

        The judge was not amused at what looks like a fraud upon the court, and has been kicking Righthaven in the nads ever since.

        • by EdIII (1114411)

          Yeah... gee willickers Batman....

          If only your logic applied to Deeds of Trust and proving that you have the mortgage note maybe then hundreds of thousands of people would not have had their homes stolen from them.

          Same issue. Mortgage companies literally come into the courts with bulk requests and as long as the Deed of Trust was attached the judges were rubber stamping them according to the law. You could not even argue legal standing without filing an additional lawsuit naming the mortgage company as the

        • by Maestro4k (707634) on Saturday July 02, 2011 @12:37PM (#36642338) Journal

          Righthaven wanted to do this stuff in bulk, un its own name, without crossing each T and dotting each I, and it doesn't work that way.

          No, the newspaper group/company was involved in this highly and the real plan was that they wanted to have their cake and eat it too. They wanted to sue and try to get money the way Righthaven's been doing, but... they wanted to avoid any financial liability to themselves in the process. So they provided seed money to setup Righthaven, and then setup an agreement where they only gave Righthaven the right to sue for their copyrights. The newspaper company kept ownership of the copyrights, and if Righthaven's scheme failed, then the newspaper company couldn't be hit with sanctions and/or lawsuits because Righthaven did the suing, not them, honest!

          But it's not working out that way for them. Righthaven seems to be run by lawyers who got their bar license from a Cracker Jack box who have committed numerous and serious mistakes. Failing to reveal that the newspaper company had a pecuniary interest in the lawsuits is getting them into major, major trouble, as is not actually owning the copyrights. And at least one person that Righthaven targeted has filed a counter-suit against both Righthaven AND the newspaper company. Personally I hope the counter-suit gets to go forward and that more of those targeted join in and go after the newspaper company too. This whole thing appears to have been their brainchild, not Righthaven's founder, and they were deliberately trying to game the courts.

          • by tomhudson (43916)

            and then setup an agreement where they only gave Righthaven the right to sue for their copyrights. The newspaper company kept ownership of the copyrights

            ... which is what I said ... and that the judge is cheesed off because Righthaven, not owning the copyrights, doesn't have standing to sue.

      • by Dhalka226 (559740)

        Honestly, I believe it (or something like it) happened.

        They may be bad lawyers. They may be ambitious, ambivalent to the harm they cause others, out only for themselves and their pocketbooks.

        In fact, that's why I believe it happened. This judge is pissed, and at some point self preservation has to kick in. Why antagonize him further? When a judge is considering beating you all about the courtroom with his gavel, I don't see how anybody with a functioning brain puts that off. They may be bad, unscru

      • Righthaven was a corporation formed by one or more newspaper companies in order to sue for copyright infringement without directly tying their names to the lawsuits. This strategy failed because the newspaper companies id not actually transfer the copyrights to Righthaven. This was some newspaper owners trying to be copyright trolls without getting the bad publicity that goes with tat.
    • by Wyatt Earp (1029)

      What browsers do that?

      I use Safari, Firefox 4 and 5, and Chrome on Mac OS and Chrome on Win 7, none of them make me wait while they ping their mothership to check for updates.

      • by tomhudson (43916)
        Both firefox and opera do it under linux, firefox does it under windows (haven't checked the others).
        • That's ridiculous. I know for a fact that I've opened Firefox on computers with no active internet connection, so whether or not it attempts to "ping the mothership" it certainly doesn't make you wait around while it does it. Or if it does, it happens so fast that nobody would notice the delay, which would invalidate your point anyway.

          • by tomhudson (43916)
            Your "I know for a fact" just makes you out to be a dumbass. First, I never said it does it every time. Second, there's no reason to try if it doesn't see a connection to the net. Third, you probably don't have a bunch of extensions running, or you would have gotten warnings.

            Don't even bother trying ... you need to preserve those remaining brain cells.

            • No, my "I know for a fact" meant that I don't feel like exiting Firefox and disconnecting from the net to try it out, but I'm sure I've done it in the past. And frankly you just came across as a jerk. What the hell?

              First - fine, it doesn't do it every time? In that case, I'm not exiting Firefox and disconnecting from the net to try it out repeatedly. But I'm still sure I've never noticed it.

              Second - the way you typically check for a connection to the net is by attempting to ping the mothership. Six one way,

      • by 1u3hr (530656)

        none of them make me wait while they ping their mothership to check for updates.

        Maybe they don't MAKE you, but they pop up the suggestion to upgrade and make doing so the default and imply not doing so is dangerous..

      • by sconeu (64226)

        IE9 fucks up Outlook Web Access.

        I'm guessing that's what happened.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    I hope that he purchased a license from Adobe for the right to publish PDF files!

    • I hope that he purchased a license from Adobe for the right to publish PDF files!

      Since PDF, also called ISO 32000-1:2008 [wikipedia.org], is an Open Standard, and has been for many years, why would he need to purchase a license???

      - Jesper

      • For the same reason you need a license for things covered under fair use perhaps?

                  -Charlie

        • Perhaps not. It is an open standard, you can use it as a user all you want. I haven't used Adobe's software to view PDF files in years. That company's offering is horribly bloated and virus susceptible.
      • Since PDF, also called ISO 32000-1:2008 [wikipedia.org], is an Open Standard, and has been for many years, why would he need to purchase a license???

        Aren't the MPEG-4 specs also published as a standard by ISO? Granted, that's patents, not copyrights, but lawyers still like to use the confusing blanket term "intellectual property" for both.

  • The interface changed, he's "not a tech person" and couldn't figure it out for a day.

    I'm willing to believe it's the truth, that he's an idiot, but it's not a valid excuse for anything.

    • I'm willing to believe it's the truth, that he's an idiot, but it's not a valid excuse for anything.

      Heh. "I know what a bunch of computer industry terms mean, I'm not an idiot!"

      • And the info has been on my ISDN-Harddrive for the longest time, just my SCSI-Modem didn't want to transit it properly!

  • Its your fault. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by hedgemage (934558) on Friday July 01, 2011 @06:55PM (#36638650)
    I'm getting my MBA and many of my profs do everything digitally from accepting research papers, to sending out syllabi to arranging meetings via e-mail.
    One thing that I have learned, especially when giving a presentation is that if anything goes wrong, its your fault.

    Powerpoint doesn't work? Its your fault. Didn't embed that YouTube video correctly? Its your fault. Your laptop can't talk to the projector? Its your fault. The Projector doesn't work? Its your fault.
    If you aren't professional enough to have your research paper backed up on a thumbdrive, a second laptop for your group presentation, or even /gasp!/ a paper copy, ITS YOUR OWN DAMN FAULT.

    Welcome to being a professional in the 21st century, where using technology is necessary, but knowing what to do when it fails is smart.
    • Re:Its your fault. (Score:4, Informative)

      by Registered Coward v2 (447531) on Friday July 01, 2011 @07:07PM (#36638710)

      Powerpoint doesn't work? Its your fault. Didn't embed that YouTube video correctly? Its your fault. Your laptop can't talk to the projector? Its your fault. The Projector doesn't work? Its your fault. If you aren't professional enough to have your research paper backed up on a thumbdrive, a second laptop for your group presentation, or even /gasp!/ a paper copy, ITS YOUR OWN DAMN FAULT. Welcome to being a professional in the 21st century, where using technology is necessary, but knowing what to do when it fails is smart.

      in the 20th century, you had to k ow how to change the build in an overhead, brought transparencies (your "slide deck") as a backup to PowerPoint in case the laptop or projector died (and had someone flip through the slides as you went so they were current if you needed them) and brought hardcopy.

      It's always been YOUR OWN DAMN FAULT.

      As a side note, when I did a presentation in our MBA's presentation seminar (how to do a presentation) the lecturer was surprised when, after he said, "the projector build just went out - what do you do?" I turned of the overhead, opened the top, slide the bulb select lever and turned it back on and went on. I think he was disappointed that I ruined his "teaching moment" by not being a moron, though I guess moron / MBA is considered redundant on /.). I learned early on in my career to get there in time to see how the projector work, where the light and thermostat controls are so you are ready when it's showtime.

      • Powerpoint doesn't work? Its your fault. Didn't embed that YouTube video correctly? Its your fault. Your laptop can't talk to the projector? Its your fault. The Projector doesn't work? Its your fault. If you aren't professional enough to have your research paper backed up on a thumbdrive, a second laptop for your group presentation, or even /gasp!/ a paper copy, ITS YOUR OWN DAMN FAULT.

        Hmmm... sounds an awful lot like you're quoting Guy Kawasaki's [guykawasaki.com] The Art of the Start [kobobooks.com] without proper referencing ... ;-)

        - Jesper

        • Time collapse in 4:30--

          Article about trolling copyright has a respondent to a post on the article that trolls copyright. Circular halo logic complete. Implosion pending. Please step away from your computer.

    • Re: (Score:1, Interesting)

      by Billly Gates (198444)

      Doing a quick Google search it appears CM/ECF is not compatible with Firefox 4, 5, or IE 9. Neveda is in a servre financial housing crises still and the government probably is using old versions of the software too as a result.

      I wish people were not so self defensive and quick to blame, point fingers, or sue. Shit happens and maybe if we were not so harsh to judge others we would not be so self defensive. Just because some MBA professor is an a**hole does not mean everyone else should be one too. In other c

      • by jimicus (737525)

        Doing a quick Google search it appears CM/ECF is not compatible with Firefox 4, 5, or IE 9. Neveda is in a servre financial housing crises still and the government probably is using old versions of the software too as a result.

        I wish people were not so self defensive and quick to blame, point fingers, or sue. Shit happens and maybe if we were not so harsh to judge others we would not be so self defensive. Just because some MBA professor is an a**hole does not mean everyone else should be one too. In other cultures outside of North America people do not act like that and life is much less stressful.

        It's likely not some MBA professor making up the rule, certainly when I was at university it was drilled into us in no uncertain terms that university-wide policy was very clear - computer failure was NEVER an acceptable reason to ask for an extension or extenuating circumstances. You're a grown adult, you're meant to account for this sort of possibility and be able to come up with some sort of plan B.

      • OK, then replace "fault" with "responsibility" and Registered Coward v2's point still stands. When a judge has told you to do something, it's your responsibility to get it done, even if you didn't directly cause the delay. So his laptop didn't work. He couldn't use a flash drive to move the document to a desktop and send it from there? Or have his IT guy (either on-staff or their usual contractor) do it for him? Or simply call the judge or clerk, explain the situation, and beg for an extension to fix the pr

    • by drolli (522659)

      Yes. thats exactly right. Restrict the tools to the ones which work. Always have your presentations as pdf or/and bitmaps with you, if its not you own laptop. Also have them with you if you have them on you own laptop, in case it fails.

    • by DiEx-15 (959602)
      I'd mod you up if I could
  • I knew forcing everyone to upgrade from Firefox 4 to Firefox 5 was a bad idea. This lawyer is obviously an innocent victim!

    • Are you kidding? This is a benefit! Now if only we can get Windows to crash for lawyers on the next version, our planet will be saved!
      • by tomhudson (43916)

        Are you kidding? This is a benefit! Now if only we can get Windows to crash for lawyers on the next version, our planet will be saved!

        Microsoft Windows Save-the-Planet Release - "Windows ain't done until the lawyers won't run!"

        Or just have some nice hackers write up a virus that, if the current document looks like it's in a legal format and full of legalese, silently insert a bunch of tourette-isms in it on saving.

        Let the judges sort it out :-)

  • Yeah, Right. - haven?

  • Murphy's Law doesn't distinguish between good intentions and sleazy trolls. Haven't any of you ever had a hard drive crash a day before a major project was due?

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Because he certainly couldn't use Internet Explorer, Chrome or Safari to finish the job, right?

      • by Anonymous Coward

        He literally may have no idea there are other browsers in the world. I've met people with multiple PhD's that didn't know that. It used to surprise me, the first couple of times, but now I just assume people aren't that knowledgeable about computers, no matter what other qualifications they have, until they prove otherwise.

      • Windows update automatically upgrades IE8 to IE9 without a user prompt these past few weeks. That is problematic as IE 9 has more in common with chrome and firefox than IE 8 so many intranet apps expect the non standard quirks of jscript and css box models. IE 9 being good is its major problem.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Only when my paper wasn't finished on time.

    • Nope. Some of us take care of our hard drives.
      • So - what, exactly, do you do to "take care of our hard drives"?

        Personally, I don't do anything. My machine is plugged into a UPS, to protect from power surges. That's it. Ext4 file system does it's own maintenance, I don't even defrag. So, how can I improve my hard drive's life expectancy?

        Hard drives do die, just like any and all other hardware devices. The only way to ensure that you don't lose data, is to BACK UP THAT DATA! And, repetitive redundancy is a good thing, when it comes to backups.

        • Believe it or not, a lot of people treat their computers pretty badly, especially laptops and especially work computers. Simply keeping the computer in a corner without ever moving it, on a USP, in a location where there are no wild temperature fluctuations etc, that's already going to make a difference to the longevity of any component, including HDs. Other factors that matter: powersaving features and head parking might be buggy or badly set up on the OS, and if the disk is kept full nearly all the time,
        • by Culture20 (968837)

          So - what, exactly, do you do to "take care of our hard drives"?

          I like to come home with my hard drive's favorite flowers every night. It's the little things that show it I still love it after all these years together.

    • Yes. And I immediately used the backup hardrive for my OS and the offsite backup for the project code. I know it's hard to be this disciplined, but it really pays.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    It's the 98% that give the other 2% a bad name.

  • Can we please just line up owner(s)/officer(s) of Stevens Media and and those of Rightshaven up against a wall and shoot them all in the head, then call it done? These people are nothing more than parasites/thugs, and should be treated as such.

  • Maybe he was using Lynx.
  • Ignorance of the technology is no excuse ...
  • No paralegal? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Scutter (18425) on Friday July 01, 2011 @09:29PM (#36639316) Journal

    Are you kidding me? Mr Big Shot lawyer is the ONLY ONE in his law firm with a computer? He doesn't have a single para working for him that knows how to work a web browser and can submit it for him? No partners who can submit (or at least lend him their computer)? I am 100% on the side of the MBA commenters in this thread. If you can't get it in on time, IT'S YOUR DAMN FAULT. FIND A WAY TO DO IT. Mail it, fax it, sneaker-net it, just get it in. "My browser ate it" is a lame-ass excuse and his censure should be doubled as a result of shoveling that plateful of crap at the court. He had two weeks to submit it and he waited until the last second before trying. His excuse is 100% pure weapons-grade bolognium.

    • In this recession many laywers have been rightsized and it is becoming quite common not to hire paralegals to save on costs. A good one costs at least $45,000 a year minimium and if you only make $90,000 a year that would cut your pay in half to the same level as the paralegal! This does not factor in increased taxes or healthcare costs which are growing unsustainable huge.

      I believe healthcare costs alone explain why millions are out of work. It is just very expensive to hire an American.

      I think he worked f

      • by Scutter (18425)

        I think he worked for many hours on the document and tried to perfect it at the last minute when he got the surprise. The CM/ECF software is the only way a court will accept the document and this guy got screwed. My hunch is he had Windows update put IE to 9 and listing to us geeks he always says yes to auto updates.

        It's NOT IE9's fault. It's HIS fault for not leaving himself adequate time to deal with technical problems.

      • In this recession many laywers have been rightsized

        When you don't have enough staff on hand to handle perfectly non-catastrophic situations, you've blown past "rightsized" into the realm of "gottengreedysized".

  • I happen to have witnessed personally that Firefox 5 cannot run the PDF Forge toolbar while 4 could. I just ran into that problem at my work for the few firefox users. So it is technically possible considering the huge coincidental timing of that.
    • by Maestro4k (707634)

      I happen to have witnessed personally that Firefox 5 cannot run the PDF Forge toolbar while 4 could. I just ran into that problem at my work for the few firefox users. So it is technically possible considering the huge coincidental timing of that.

      If he had Firefox, and was using Windows (most likely) he also had Internet Explorer to fall back on. What are the chances that both browsers would stop working with the filing system on the same day? Not looking good is it? Why didn't he try using a colleague's PC instead? Odds are getting even lower here aren't they? There's just too many ways he could have gotten around this that it's very, very hard to believe. Plus, Righthaven's not exactly got a good track record of respect for the courts, which

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