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Death Knell For Righthaven In 9th Circuit Decision 36

Posted by timothy
from the but-that's-the-wicked-copyright-troll-of-the-east dept.
An anonymous reader writes with this snippet from Ars Technica: "Righthaven, the Las Vegas operation that sought to turn newspaper article copyright lawsuits into a business model, can now slap a date on its death certificate: May 9, 2013. This morning, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ruled on the two Righthaven appeals that could have given the firm a final glimmer of hope — and the court told Righthaven to take a hike (PDF)."
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Death Knell For Righthaven In 9th Circuit Decision

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  • by girlintraining (1395911) on Thursday May 09, 2013 @05:48PM (#43679873)

    Any defense lawyer can cite them in a new lawsuit and it will be thrown out on summary judgement

    You're missing my point; Their business model doesn't require this court to approve, merely a court. And until the people behind it are hung out to dry, they can just keep reincorporating in other jurisdictions and continuing. They still have eleven more chances at the circuit court level, if you include the DC and federal circuit courts. Though it's unlikely this would be heard by the federal circuit court, it is on the same jurisdictional level, technically.

    That's the thing about our judiciary branch: It has a nearly limitless appeals process. This represents a victory in one court for one approach to the problem. So long as they can eek out profit or retain funding... they can keep this up, effectively forever.

    But ignoring that, you still have the corporate shield against personal liability to contend with. You have to put real people's asses on the line to stop this: Levying fines against corporations is pointless... you can just declare bankrupcy, and in the very next stroke, incorporate a new business with a fresh ledger and continue on your merry.

  • by swillden (191260) <shawn-ds@willden.org> on Thursday May 09, 2013 @06:15PM (#43680127) Homepage Journal

    They still have eleven more chances at the circuit court level, if you include the DC and federal circuit courts.

    This is the federal 9th circuit court of appeals, so its decisions are binding on all district courts in the 9th circuit. Yes, there are 11 more appellate courts (10 circuits, plus DC), on whose courts this decision is not binding... but it still establishes a persuasive precedent that other circuits are going to be reluctant to ignore. If they got another appellate court to disagree with the 9th, it would go to the Supreme Court for a decision. If, on the other hand, they the other court sided with the 9th, the non-binding precedent would become almost impossible to override.

    So, no, they don't have eleven more chances, nor even 10. At best they have one remaining chance, and it's a very, very long shot: go to trial in a district court in a different circuit, win that, win the appeal and then win in DC. Given that AFAIK they haven't found a single judge who didn't slap them down, I think that's vanishingly unlikely.

  • by girlintraining (1395911) on Thursday May 09, 2013 @06:48PM (#43680403)

    .. but it still establishes a persuasive precedent that other circuits are going to be reluctant to ignore.

    That's now how the case law system works. While the judges from other circuit courts may research out a case in their own jurisdiction comparatively like this, they are neither expected nor required to -- and rarely do because of high workloads. It is the job of the prosecution and defense to cite specific applicable case law. Citing the case law from another district is worth the same as citing a court in another country, in a strictly legal sense, and may even earn them a chastizing by the judge for poor form in attempting it.

    If, on the other hand, they the other court sided with the 9th, the non-binding precedent would become almost impossible to override.

    You apparently aren't aware of a major legal battle brewing in this country over gay marriage. If anything showcases our marble-cake judiciary, it would be this. California rules one way. Maryland rules another. They both appeal to the circuit courts. Three of those courts rule one way, two rule a different way, a few refuse to hear it, and others remand it back to lower courts after finding substantive problems with the original case. There is no "impossible to override"; Case law is hereditary. The highest court to rule on it takes precidence, but courts on an equal level can have conflicting and contradictory rulings and they each stand on their own within their jurisdiction if and until a higher court rules on it.

    It can be said that over a long enough timeframe, these inconsistencies are settled and case law tends towards unity, but the caveat here is over a long enough timeframe. Justice is neither swift, nor efficient, in our judiciary system. And arguments can be made to keep it that way, but it is beyond the scope of this discussion to have.

    So, no, they don't have eleven more chances, nor even 10. At best they have one remaining chance, and it's a very, very long shot: go to trial in a district court in a different circuit, win that, win the appeal and then win in DC. Given that AFAIK they haven't found a single judge who didn't slap them down, I think that's vanishingly unlikely.

    I could provide a detailed exposition on how flawed the logic is here, but having already blown away your supports, there's no point. But if I haven't made it clear enough by now that you're mistaken, consider this: How long have these copyright cases been appearing on the pages of this website? Days? Weeks? Months? Years? Decades? History suggests that the problem will not simply dry up and shove off because a dozen judges in a single court has had enough.

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