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The Courts Your Rights Online

Auction of Copyright Troll Righthaven's Website Underway 63

Tootech sends this quote from Vegas Inc: "The online auction of the website domain name got underway Monday, with bidders having until Jan. 6 to submit offers. A judge has authorized a receiver to auction the intellectual property of Las Vegas-based Righthaven LLC, the newspaper copyright infringement lawsuit filer. The auction is aimed at raising money to cover part of Righthaven's $63,720 debt to a man who defeated Righthaven in court. The man, Wayne Hoehn, and his attorneys defeated Righthaven when a judge threw out Righthaven's lawsuit against him over Hoehn's unauthorized post on a sports betting website message board of a Las Vegas Review-Journal column by columnist and former publisher Sherman Frederick. Hoehn was a defendant in one of Righthaven's 275 lawsuits filed since March 2010."
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Auction of Copyright Troll Righthaven's Website Underway

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  • What? (Score:3, Informative)

    by toastar ( 573882 ) on Wednesday December 28, 2011 @06:22AM (#38513232)
    Why on earth would anyone want to help pay down those ass-holes debt?
    • Re:What? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Fluffeh ( 1273756 ) on Wednesday December 28, 2011 @06:33AM (#38513286)

      Because they might have an idea that uses a domain called RightHaven? Perhaps a RPG game, perhaps a software application for big business. Who cares - as long as the company is getting gutted to pay for the money it has to cover.

      Having said that, I am personally much more interested in finding out whether once the IP within that shell of a shell company runs out and the money is still missing, whether Big Media will be covering the shortfall as they were clearly setting the operation up as a source of income. Surely they will be held liable for the shortfall? Can I get this as a late Christmas present from the US justice system?

      • Re:shell of a shell (Score:5, Interesting)

        by TaoPhoenix ( 980487 ) <> on Wednesday December 28, 2011 @08:40AM (#38513752) Journal

        You know what, you're right. This ended "way too fast". Look at SCO - someone(s) funded that zombie forever. Here they're doing the opposite strategy. "Ha Ha, if we win, be strike gold, if we lose, oops, we had no assets."

        I'd like this to be bought by someone with a BIG pocket and use it to go after when the media companies themselves decide wholesale infringement is just dandy.

        Really, they crumbled for just 60K+ ? Really? Tell me which species of fish that is smelling here. Red Herring?

      • Re:What? (Score:4, Insightful)

        by hairyfeet ( 841228 ) <> on Wednesday December 28, 2011 @08:56AM (#38513816) Journal
        Conservative political blog would be perfect for that, hell that was what i thought it was the first time i heard it. my question is what is keeping them from just starting a new company and trolling all over again? After all if they have incorporated they can just walk away, let the shell burn and start another. we all know this was Stephens media's little proxy so what is gonna keep Stephens from just doing it again? keep some lawyers on retainer and you have the perfect SLAPP weapon, just keep trolling and if you make money fine, if you don't you'll still scare many people from using anything that has ever been on a Stephens website for fear of being dragged into court. After all if they win its not like they're gonna get squat and I bet the poor guy that won never even covers his court costs.
    • Re:What? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by thegarbz ( 1787294 ) on Wednesday December 28, 2011 @06:54AM (#38513340)

      This is like any other auction. They have something you may want, and by auctioning it you see if you can get it for the price people are willing to pay. Quite often in cases of bankruptcy or debt recovery the item being auctioned off can be tremendously undervalued.

      Recently we went to the auction of a glass manufacturer. Most people were there looking for glassing equipment to boost their own businesses. Things like forming and cutting machines were being bided up quite high. But then they came to old stock. Seems like there weren't too many people interested in it so we picked up 50 sheets of hardened pool fencing glass for $50. They normally cost $160 per sheet. Bargain, we now have a new fence.

      This isn't about the company. It's about you, your ideas, and what you could do with the assets of the company. If you have a use for the name "RightHaven" then now is THE time to buy the domain. Chances are if you wanted it and approached the company for it they may have said flat out no, or asked for some extortionate price. Now that they must sell you could potentially get it for a bargain since the name no longer has any value to the company.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      They seized the domain as an asset. The same thing would be done if the defendants were a brick and mortar - goods would be seized and auctioned in much the same way.

    • Re:What? (Score:5, Informative)

      by hairyfish ( 1653411 ) on Wednesday December 28, 2011 @07:04AM (#38513394)
      It may differ in your local territory, but here when you go into receivership, it is no longer your debt. You lose everything to the receiver who then attempts to salvage some money for the debtors of the company. Mr Hoehn is owed $63 grand. He might be lucky to see 20% of that, so any money raised is his (and any other debtors, not RightHaven's.
      • by rtb61 ( 674572 )

        This is stage 1 of debt recovery, stage 2 is go after the directors. Whilst another court battle is required, as the directors are lawyers, they are screwed when they try to argue they carried out due diligence in their court room failure. They very well might have the personal assets to cover the debts plus the additional court costs of pursue those assets and demonstrating their lack of due diligence in pursuing those court cases.

    • You are paying their creditors, which would include people who have legal judgements against them. When someone goes insolvent, their creditors get fucked. However they can usually recover some of what they lost when assets are auctioned off.

      As an example when MPC went under, the university I work at was a "creditor" of sorts. We had systems with outstanding warranties on them and those have value. So we got a letter from the bankruptcy court letting us know what all was going on. We didn't expect to get an

      • by MarkvW ( 1037596 )

        You make a good point, but there is a good chance that Righthaven's creditors also include the media outlets that financed and employed Righthaven.

    • Why on earth would anyone want to help pay down those ass-holes debt?

      The man who is owed $63,000 can bid up to $63,000 without it costing him anything, and then put on the website whatever he likes.

      • It doesn't quite work like that. He would actually have to pay the $63K, at which point the receivers would pay him - but if receivership is anything like over here, the highest priority creditor is the receiver itself - meaning he may lose that $63K completely.

  • The community would rather fund open source projects. We all know only large media companies (other copyright trolls) will place bids.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Social networking site for fascists.

    Store that only sells implements for 'righties'.

    A blog for pedants.

  • by Neil_Brown ( 1568845 ) on Wednesday December 28, 2011 @06:31AM (#38513266) Homepage
    the more that needs to be sold to pay the debt.
  • by Gordonjcp ( 186804 ) on Wednesday December 28, 2011 @06:31AM (#38513268) Homepage

    ... but why would you want to buy Really, what possible value could it have?

  • Auctioning this hate magnet of a domain is an interesting idea. The question is: could you ever launder the image of the domain sufficiently to make it worth the price of purchase? ***sigh*** I guess there is probably a PR company or two out there that specialises in that kind of work.
  • by cbope ( 130292 ) on Wednesday December 28, 2011 @09:25AM (#38513988)

    I find it insightful to see a "company" like this who was going after MILLIONS in so-called damages, is suddenly struggling to pay a paltry $64k debt. And all I can say is... BWAHAHAHAHA! There *can* be justice in this world.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 28, 2011 @09:55AM (#38514184)

      I find it insightful to see a "company" like this who was going after MILLIONS in so-called damages, is suddenly struggling to pay a paltry $64k debt. And all I can say is... BWAHAHAHAHA! There *can* be justice in this world.

      You are wrong, this is actually a case of _injustice_, brought to you by the corporate system and the inherent liability asymmetry that it creates. Think about it, Mr. Hoenh is owed $64k, most of which would be for his legal costs - costs that he rightfully deserves to recover since his time was wasted by this frivolous lawsuit. Instead, Mr. Hoenh in all likelihood will have to suffer an injustice because righthaven inc./corp./whatever will be unable to satisfy this debt and the person pulling the strings behind Righthaven will not be personally liable unless Mr. Hoenh goes to court again to pierce the corporate veil, thus incurring even more legal costs. IMO, Hoenh's court award will turn out to be an empty judgement and much cold comfort to him.

  • But I want it to include a date with Danica Patrick.

  • 10c Zimbabwean.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    I'd love to see the Pirate Bay nab this one and have it redirect to their site. Ideally, they get it for less than $100....

  • I can't help but notice that the scummy law firm gets dismembered, but the scummy newspaper that contracted with them and started this mess gets off scott free. When is someone going to find a way to hold LVRJ responsible for their copyright-trolling-by-proxy?
  • by robogun ( 466062 ) on Wednesday December 28, 2011 @02:17PM (#38517280)

    Those of you in Vegas know you have two newspapers, the RJ and the Sun.

    The Denver Post cancelled their contract with Righthaven while the RJ rewrote their contract with Righthaven such that it now has ownership and can sue as proxy.

    If I were you I would not support the scum at the RJ - or their advertisers - who support this type of chilling effect on free speech.

The intelligence of any discussion diminishes with the square of the number of participants. -- Adam Walinsky