Slashdot is powered by your submissions, so send in your scoop

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
The Courts

Righthaven Loses Again 119

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the nuke-them-from-orbit dept.
Hugh Pickens writes "Righthaven, the Las Vegas copyright troll, won't be collecting any damages from a man it once branded as a copyright infringer but instead must pay the man's legal fees of $34,045. US District Judge Philip Pro awarded the fees in the case of Kentucky message board poster Wayne Hoehn, finding that Righthaven didn't have standing to sue him due to the Review-Journal maintaining control of the column [and that] Hoehn was protected by the fair use doctrine. This is the second attorney's fee award against Righthaven. These are likely just the tip of the iceberg, with prevailing defendant Thomas DiBiase asking for $199,250 while the Democratic Underground will likely seek a fee award of many hundreds of thousands of dollars after Righthaven was dismissed from that suit for lack of standing. The bottom line for Righthaven is that so far it has not won a single lawsuit of 275 filed since 2010."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Righthaven Loses Again

Comments Filter:
  • 0 for 275? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by WrongSizeGlass (838941) on Tuesday August 16, 2011 @01:22PM (#37109766)

    The bottom line for Righthaven is that so far it has not won a single lawsuit of 275 filed since 2010.

    But how many smaller blogs, websites, etc have settled because they couldn't afford it if they fought back and didn't win?

    • That's why we need more companies like Google. Companies that are willing to take patent trolls and other bad companies to court for the common good. Google is probably the only company that fights against patents, copyright and other evil things for the greater good.
      • Re:0 for 275? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Microlith (54737) on Tuesday August 16, 2011 @01:34PM (#37109916)

        No, we don't need companies battling things out in court. We need to change the laws so that routes for scams like this are eliminated wholesale.

        • Re:0 for 275? (Score:5, Insightful)

          by stms (1132653) on Tuesday August 16, 2011 @01:39PM (#37109968)

          There's that and there's that fact that we need to make it so winning in a courtroom isn't just about how much money you can spend on lawyers.

          • by bragr (1612015) *
            What do you propose? That the government pay for lawyers in everyone's trip and fall law suits? Clearly making it easier to get good lawyers will put end to all the frivolous law suits.
            • by Anonymous Coward

              Get rid of law. You're welcome. I'll be at lunch.

              • by Tarlus (1000874) on Tuesday August 16, 2011 @02:33PM (#37110646)

                Your lunch won't be there. It's already stolen.

              • If by that you mean get rid of copyright and patent law, you are absolutely right. The negatives of those two sets of laws far far outweigh the benefits (even ignoring all the stupid lawsuits over them).

                Copyright and patent laws will need to go the way of the dinosaur eventually if human civilization is to continue to advance. The sooner we do it, the better.

              • If by that you mean get rid of copyright and patent law, you are absolutely right. The negatives of those two sets of laws far far outweigh the benefits (even ignoring all the stupid lawsuits over them).

                Copyright and patent laws will need to go the way of the dinosaur eventually if human civilization is to continue to advance. The sooner we do it, the better.

                • Then you need to figure out a *viable* method of reimbursing the people who produce the work.

                  An author writes a book and it's legal to simply copy and distribute it? No more books.

                  An inventor creates a new internal printer sensor and some other company can simply use it without payment? No more new sensors.
            • by stms (1132653)

              Yeah Government paying for all lawyers would be a possible solution. You could also potentially throw out many of those "trip an fall" lawsuits before a lawyer ever gets involved.

            • by stms (1132653)

              Another solution to occurs to me. If a Lawsuit is thrown out as frivolous you're fined your legal fees.

            • by Zemran (3101)

              How about introducing some professional responsibility? If a lawyer charges for advice then he is professionally responsible for that advice. In other words he is jointly responsible for 'bad' advice and if the court feels that this is just a scam the lawyers can be made to help pay for their bad advice in that the person that was sued according to that bad professional advice deserves restitution. He has lost a lot more than just the cost of his defence fees. His time and distress etc. Lawyers sufferi

        • That would be a good step, but even if we do change the laws, there are still thousands of stupid patents and copyrights out there already, which will still cause billions in complete waste.

          Maybe set up a public review board. If apple wants to sue Samsung over making a rectangular computing device with a button, they need to have the patent reviewed, and anyone who wants to submit arguments against it, say google, can. If the patent or copyright doesn't pass review, no lawsuit. If it does, that cannot
          • by shentino (1139071)

            I'll do you one better.

            Hold examiners accountable for the quality of their work.

            Make it so the USPTO stops rubber stamping patent applications.

            At present reexaminations stand a VERY good chance of narrowing or invalidating the patents in question.

            Which means that most of the patents are complete buckets of shit in the first place.

            Which means that the examiners at the USPTO aren't doing their fucking jobs like they're supposed to.

            I'd say that any patent getting overturned on reexamination or trial bites the

        • Time for you to buy a senator or two.

          All you have to do is raise enough money.
          Time to start a collection.

          Hopefully the media won't find out.

          • by kryliss (72493)

            Time for you to buy a senator or two.

            All you have to do is raise enough money.
            Time to start a collection.

            Hopefully the media won't find out.

            If the media finds out. Buy them too.

            • by shentino (1139071)

              Media is already owned by the establishment that is hell bent on keeping things the way they are.

        • No, we don't need companies battling things out in court. We need to change the laws so that routes for scams like this are eliminated wholesale.

          OK, so what's your solution, armchair philosopher?

          • by MrL0G1C (867445)

            No, we don't need companies battling things out in court. We need to change the laws so that routes for scams like this are eliminated wholesale.

            OK, so what's your solution, armchair philosopher?

            1) His solution is to change the law.
            2) He's not philosophising
            3) What do you expect - people sky-dive whilst philosophising?

            • Change the law to what?

              Saying the law needs changing is no different, and just as effective, as saying "Something needs to be done."

              Useless drivel, unless the person saying such things has an actual solution.

        • LOL. It doesn't matter how you change the laws. Companies with deep pockets can always file baseless lawsuits if they want. These defendants were dismissed for lack of standing against them, which is a pretty basic prerequisite for any lawsuit. The lawsuits were easily baseless under current law but they were filed and abused anyway.

      • by sjames (1099)

        I wonder if legal settlements should come with a legally mandated double your money back clause. If the plaintiff's case goes to court with somebody else and they get shot down either based on law or based on facts specific to the plaintiff (such as they don't actually own those rights), they have to make everyone they extorted whole.

        • by Synerg1y (2169962)

          You can appeal?

          • Once you've signed a settlement, what's there to appeal? That's the issue. Yes, those that go all the way to court against crooked bastards like Righthaven certainly have no lack of remedies when the bastards' case is thrown out, but for the little guy who basically was terrorized into settling, there's no remedy. This is a rather unique form of extortion, where the extortionist may ultimately have to pay legal fees, but he won't see jail time for setting up a protection racket.

            • Yes, those that go all the way to court against crooked bastards like Righthaven certainly have no lack of remedies when the bastards' case is thrown out, but for the little guy who basically was terrorized into settling, there's no remedy.

              If Righthaven claimed that you infringed on their copyright, and you paid to avoid being sued, and it turns out that Righthaven never had any copyrights, then I think this falls straight under fraud. So I'd say the step to take is going straight to the police. And see what happens.

            • by Dishevel (1105119)

              IANAL.
              So correct me if I am way off base here but ...
              Could you not get away with some kind of "agreement was signed under duress" argument?
              The duress being of course your inability to afford the lawyers fees to fight in court.

              I mean since they really are depending on those huge legal costs to make you want to just settle and get it out of the way it could be a form of duress.

            • Well if you settled you might be able to sue claiming fraud. Multiple judges have ruled that Righthaven did not have the right to sue; therefore they misrepresented themselves and any settlement should be voided.
      • That's why we need more companies like Google. Companies that are willing to take patent trolls and other bad companies to court as long as it suits their business interests.. Google is one of many companies that fights against patents, copyright and other evil things for the good of their company..

        There. Fixed that for you.

        • by oakgrove (845019)
          You just got trolled. You do realize this right? The guy is anti-google and he just threw out bait for more anti-Google rhetoric. You are a stooge.
      • Google is probably the only company that fights against patents, copyright and other evil things for the greater good.

        Except that Google fights against none of those things?

      • Just to add, please explain how this [slashdot.org] was Google fighting against either patents or copyrights. Because as far as I can tell, the only way they could order such a cease and desist is through leveraging their COPYRIGHTS to their proprietary software.

    • But how many smaller blogs, websites, etc have settled because they couldn't afford it if they fought back and didn't win?

      They get to be sacrificial lambs in that wonderful world of litigation. Perhaps if the civil justice system had an automatic remedy system for those that settled when bigger guns tromped on a complainant with an invalid case, it might go some distance not only to righting such wrongs but in making those thinking of using the legal system in such a fashion think twice. But no, this is a system designed by lawyers for lawyers, and the odds of these crooks even being disbarred are pretty low.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        I think what the original poster meant to say 'how many smaller blogs will be suing in small claims courts across the country to get their money back'.

    • Wikipedia states that they received settlements on 70 suits filed in their first year (2010). I don't see any reference for that number, though, and nothing is listed for 2011.

      According to an unofficial page tracking their lawsuits, they have received an estimated $350,000 from settlements. The page appears to be out of date, and there is no way to really know what they've collected, but I'll bet it's not enough to cover the original costs of the purchased copyrights and cover legal fees for cases that th

      • ... they have received an estimated $350,000 from settlements.

        Don't they have to split that $350,000 with Stephens Media as part of their "agreement"?

    • Rather than just compensation for legal fees, abusive prosecutions like this needs to result in assessments of punitive damages on the scale of 3-10x times the compensatory damages. That would end this kind of abuse very quickly.
  • Best part (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Baloroth (2370816) on Tuesday August 16, 2011 @01:25PM (#37109808)

    Best part was that Righthaven tried claiming they shouldn't have to pay the defense's fees because they had no right to sue in the first place and therefore the court had no jurisdiction at all. I love the defense's response:

    Righthaven deserves some credit for taking this position, as it requires an amazing amount of chutzpah. Righthaven seeks a ruling holding that, as long as a plaintiff’s case is completely frivolous, then the court is deprived of the right to make the frivolously sued defendant whole, whereas a partially frivolous case might give rise to fee liability.

    Isn't this the sort of situation disbarment was designed to handle?

    • by Chris Burke (6130) on Tuesday August 16, 2011 @01:31PM (#37109892) Homepage

      Did they seriously adapt "Well if I'm such a dummy and you're talking to me then what does that make you?" to the courtroom?

    • by Spad (470073) <slashdot@spad.YEATSco.uk minus poet> on Tuesday August 16, 2011 @01:35PM (#37109934) Homepage

      Making the argument that "Well it's your stupid fault for allowing our moronic, baseless case to be brought into your court room in the first place" does seem something of a last-gasp strategy.

      • by Synerg1y (2169962)

        Righthaven isn't a real company, so it doesn't have things like corporate image to worry about, the people it's representing may. Ultimately bringing this thing to the media and exposing those responsible should take care of itself. Get out the tar and feathers? These people are committing a crime against society, not our f'ed up laws..

    • Making stupid arguments is not grounds for disbarrment. If it were, many lawyers would be out of work. Just like any job; you can do stupid things at work. That does not mean your employer can fire you unless your actions have other consequences.
      • Re:Best part (Score:5, Insightful)

        by John Bresnahan (638668) on Tuesday August 16, 2011 @01:50PM (#37110122)
        There is a point beyond which it should be grounds for disbarment.

        I suspect this goes beyond that point.

      • Just like any job; you can do stupid things at work. That does not mean your employer can fire you unless your actions have other consequences.

        On the contrary, your employer can indeed do just that.

        • Technically an employer can fire someone for any reason but unless they have cause, they are likely to get sued. Being an idiot in itself is not justification to fire someone. Poor performance is a reason. In the case of Righthaven, the client has decided to sue. The lawyer has to represent the client as best as possible; however, the client doesn't have much of a case. The lawyer has to make whatever legal arguments they can even if they are stupid.
          • by shentino (1139071)

            Suing your ex boss won't ever fly.

            1. Right to work specifically says they have every right to fire you at any time with or without cause just or otherwise.
            2. Suing your ex boss is going to get you blacklisted with future employers who will quite justifiably be gun-shy.

            All "cause" does is establish eligibility for unemployment benefits, or lack thereof.

            If you were fired because the boss didn't like your political views or your sports team loyalties, you can collect.

            • It happens all the time. Granted, most of those times it's for things like "Boss fired me because my religious and/or political beliefs differed from his" or "Boss fired me because I refused his/her sexual advances." For more mundane firings, suing isn't a very good option.

    • by WrongSizeGlass (838941) on Tuesday August 16, 2011 @01:46PM (#37110056)

      Isn't this the sort of situation disbarment was designed to handle?

      This is the type of situation that torches and pitchforks are designed to handle.

      • This is the type of situation that torches and pitchforks are designed to handle.

        The saddest part is that we're fast approaching that, down a slippery slope.

    • by PPH (736903)

      I wonder if I could use this as a DUI defense.

      "Your honor, I shouldn't be charged with driving under the influence as I do not posses a valid driver's license."

    • by Anonymous Coward

      A group of lawyers to disbar lawyer(s) over (alleged) wrong doing... Riiiight.

    • by sribe (304414)

      Isn't this the sort of situation disbarment was designed to handle?

      One wonders... While the general reaction to that in this thread is the common sense one, that doesn't matter so much. I'm pretty sure that legally, Righthaven, when they filed suit in that court, submitted to the jurisdiction of that court for at least that proceeding. And I'm sure their lawyers knew that, making their argument against the court's jurisdiction now, not only laughable at the common sense test, not only wholly morally repugnant, but completely frivolous and abusive legally. Even if disbarmen

    • That indeed takes balls.

      Disbarment? More like impersonation of a legal professional.

    • by shentino (1139071)

      If they admit they had no right to sue in the first place that establishes that the lawsuit was frivolous.

  • Now let's see if it's enforced. I doubt that any winning defendant will ever see a red cent from Righthaven, before the profits get syphoned to Bermuda and the empty shell goes bankrupt.
    • This is actually the second such settlement this particular set of lawyers has gotten out of Righthaven, and they've already gotten a cheque from the first one.

      Admittedly, the cheque was sent to the wrong address (a previous address that the group had moved out of before starting work on the case, and hadn't used in any of the documents relating to the case), but still.

  • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Tuesday August 16, 2011 @01:45PM (#37110042) Journal
    They should seriously consider changing their name to "Wronghaven"...
  • This practice should be made illegal.
  • If each defendant is awarded similar fees the total bill for Righthaven could come to 275*35k = $9,625,000. ouch!
    • The company will declare bankruptcy and the lawyers will set up shop tomorrow under another name.

    • Those aren't punitive damages - they're legal fees, and Righthaven won't be able to afford to pay all the defendants back for the legal costs they've incurred defending themselves against these sleazes.

  • A local restaurant 'round here got sued for various employment violations a while back. A friend of mine was curious and dug up some legal documents from the lawsuits. One of the things I found interesting was that the plaintiffs had made a motion to find that the owners of the incorporated restaurant were using the corporation as an alias and therefore the corporation should not afford the usual protection against going after the owners' personal assets.

    I don't know how that one flew, but if you can actu

    • It's part of the corporate veil. As long as you don't improperly mix personal and corporate acts/finances, the corporation should shield you from personal liability.

      The interesting part here is that the lawyers in charge are professionals (in the legal sense, like accountants, engineers, and doctors) and if they could be found liable for gross negligence they might be personally responsible. Every state code is different, though. Professional liability is not shielded by corporate status.

      (I am not a lawyer

    • by sribe (304414)

      I don't know how that one flew, but if you can actually do that, would it be possible to go after the actual parties who are using it as a legal shield from liability?

      I was getting ready to post something, and looking for the right post to reply to ;-) The first judgment, maybe 2 or 3, are arguable. But if there's a solidly established history of losing, then continuing the suits does become, I think, the sort of activity which is considered illicit enough to hold the owners personally liable.

  • .. the people they sued (not including Democratic Underground.. I wonder what would have happened if they didn't rile up a bunch of bloggers by suing a liberal blog) have had a LOT of stress and financial hardship.

    One of the people Righthaven sued is known to me. He's tapped out savings paying lawyers to defend against Righthaven's utter bullshit.

    I hope the people at Righthaven choke on a huge bowl of dicks. Rotten thieving motherfuckers.

  • Hugh Pickens [hughpickens.com] writes

    Steve Green writes that in a stunning reversal for Righthaven, the Las Vegas copyright troll won't be collecting any damages from a man it once branded as a copyright infringer but instead must pay the man's legal fees of $34,045 [vegasinc.com]. US District Judge Philip Pro awarded the fees in the case of Kentucky message board poster Wayne Hoehn dismissing Righthaven's suit and finding that Righthaven didn't have standing to sue him due to the Review-Journal maintaining control of the column despite Righthaven's claims of ownership and even that if Righthaven did have ownership, Hoehn was protected by the fair use doctrine in posting an entire Las Vegas Review-Journal column on a sports betting website message board. This is the second attorney's fee award against Righthaven [vegasinc.com]. Earlier, Randazza Legal Group was awarded $3,815 for representing defendant Michael Leon. But these are likely just the tip of the iceberg, with prevailing defendant Thomas DiBiase asking for $199,250 [vegasinc.com] while the Democratic Underground will likely seek a fee award of many hundreds of thousands of dollars after Righthaven was dismissed from that suit for lack of standing. The bottom line for Righthaven is that so far it has not won a single lawsuit - of 275 lawsuits filed since 2010 - on the merits."

You're already carrying the sphere!

Working...