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Crime The Courts The Almighty Buck Your Rights Online

Copyright Troll Complains of Defendant's Legal Fees 138

Hugh Pickens writes "Copyright enforcement company Righthaven, accused of coercing defendants into settling with threats of damages of $150,000 and forfeiture of the defendants' website domain names, is complaining that one of its litigation foes is needlessly running up legal costs that Righthaven may end up having to pay. In one of its more extensively-litigated cases, Righthaven sued the Democratic Underground last year after a message-board poster re-posted the first four paragraphs of a 34-paragraph Review-Journal story. After suffering a fair-use setback in another case involving a partial story post, Righthaven tried to drop its suit against the Democratic Underground, which would have resulted in a finding of 'no infringement.' But the Democratic Underground is pressing for Righthaven to pay its attorney's fees and says new evidence had surfaced that would bolster their case. 'Defendants agree that this case should be over — indeed, it should never have started. But it should not end until Righthaven is called to account for the cost of the defense it provoked,' say attorneys for the EFF. 'To allow Righthaven to avoid compensating those who have no choice but to defend would be unjust and unsupportable.' In related news, Righthaven has filed five more lawsuits, bringing their total since March 2010 to 246 lawsuits."
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Copyright Troll Complains of Defendant's Legal Fees

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  • by Sonny Yatsen ( 603655 ) * on Friday March 11, 2011 @09:54AM (#35452144) Journal

    I know a lot of people wind up settling with Righthaven, but I fervently wish more people are taking it straight to Righthaven like the EFF and the Democratic Underground and set up an adverse precedent so every single time they bring another stupid case, they get smacked back down.

  • by Sonny Yatsen ( 603655 ) * on Friday March 11, 2011 @09:55AM (#35452152) Journal

    It's kind of rich that Righthaven is complaining that the defendant isn't acting in good faith considering the conduct of Righthaven in pulling these completely BS lawsuits.

  • by erroneus ( 253617 ) on Friday March 11, 2011 @10:06AM (#35452228) Homepage

    Troll's trolling backfires into a cost against their operations.

    It is a difficult balance to determine who is a "troll" and who is simply defending their IP as needed. And any laws against trolls will invariably harm legitimate rights holders. The system isn't broken as much as it is taken advantage of.

    Still, if there were a way to hang trolls like these out to dry while leaving legitimate rights holders unaffected, then such action is long overdue.

  • by Alex Belits ( 437 ) * on Friday March 11, 2011 @10:06AM (#35452232) Homepage

    Why malicious litigation, especially using a company specifically created for purpose of malicious litigation, does not result in company property being confiscated, and people involved being sent to prison? Oh, and shut up about it being a civil lawsuit, the chain of lawsuits is itself a crime in this situation (and demonstrably committed right in front of judges, so it's not like there is any shortage of evidence).

  • by Livius ( 318358 ) on Friday March 11, 2011 @10:07AM (#35452236)

    "[N]eedlessly running up legal costs" certainly does happen, and is certainly an abuse of the system, but demanding legal costs for defending against a bad-faith frivolous lawsuit is not an example, and courts (in civilized jurisdictions) are required to award them. Proving bad faith might be tricky, but that too does happen sometimes. I wish Democratic Underground luck

    Righthaven sounds like a bully bemoaing the 'injustice' of a victim that finally fought back.

  • by Drakkenmensch ( 1255800 ) on Friday March 11, 2011 @10:07AM (#35452246)
    Avoid an unfavorable precedent is too easy to do. If the lawsuit instigator was forced to see their lawsuit through even when it doesn't look like a sure win for them, you'd see a lot LESS frivolous lawsuits.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 11, 2011 @10:16AM (#35452312)

    And winning defendants should be rewarded restitution. I just don't see how anything else could be logical. Under no circumstances should a winning defendant ever pay a dime. Any other policy is just asking for abuse.

  • by Jason Levine ( 196982 ) on Friday March 11, 2011 @10:33AM (#35452440) Homepage

    The problem is (and has been for a while now) that, if you are sued, it takes a lot of time and money to defend yourself. Best case scenario: You win, get paid attorney fees and are only out the time that you spent in your defense. Worst case: You lose and have to pay the full, bankrupting-for-life fine plus your attorney's fees. Middle-of-the-road case: You win, but don't get attorney's fees paid and thus are out time and money.

    Now you have all those possibilities going through your head when you're offered a $3,000 settlement. $3K and it all goes away. Sure, it's a lot of money, but you'd spend more in legal fees (with only a small chance at getting it back). Whether you were guilty or innocent, there would be a great temptation to just pay the settlement fee and make it all go away. Of course, this is what Righthaven (and the RIAA) are hoping for. They don't want to actually fight court cases (where they might lose and have precedents set against them). They just want to milk some easy money from copyright infringement allegations.

In seeking the unattainable, simplicity only gets in the way. -- Epigrams in Programming, ACM SIGPLAN Sept. 1982