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Righthaven vs. Michael Nystrom / Daily Paul DISMISSED by Federal Judge

by Michael Nystrom | March 16, 2011

Last Tuesday U.S. District Judge James C. Mahan ordered the dismissal of Righthaven's lawsuit against me and the Daily Paul. As you may recall, copyright troll and legal terrorist Righthaven sued me on August 31st of last year, demanding $75,000 and forfeiture of this domain name to them. I first learned of the action from Steve Green of the Las Vegas Sun, Las Vegas's good newspaper. Righthaven itself is a partnership between seedy Vegas lawyer Steve Gibson and Vegas's evil newspaper, the Las Vegas Review Journal. They have combined forces to shakedown unsuspecting bloggers in a last gasp attempt to secure revenue for the dying newspaper industry, using a suspect "business model" that goes like this:

Step 1: Righthaven uses its "proprietary technology" (probably Google) to look for potentially infringing LVRJ content that has been reproduced on third party blogs or websites. In my case it was less than half of an article by a faux libertarian LVRJ columnist that was uploaded to the Daily Paul by a member of the DP community.

Step 2: Righthaven puffs itself up like the paper tiger that it is, filing a lawsuit against the site owner for a ridiculous sum, and forfeiture of the domain name. I was lawsuit victim #112. To date Righthaven has sued 250 bloggers and site owners, and have expanded operations to include images, while inexplicably upping their demands to $150,000. While there is no provision in the Copyright Act that would hand over control of a website domain to the plaintiff, Righthaven asks for it anyway because that's how they roll. The bully Righthaven has sued many hobbyists -- bloggers with few site visitors, even fewer resources and a likely ignorace of the law.

Step 3: Righthaven roughs up the defendant, like the bully that it is: "Pay up or else! Or else you're going to lose the lawsuit and owe us $150,000! We're going to get your website!" Of course, nothing could be further from the truth if any of the cases were actually litigated in a court of law. But who can afford to fight these days? The cost to defend oneself in a jury trial in Federal court with a proper defense lawyer starts at around $10,000 and stretches all the way to infinity. Copyright law - especially in regards to the internet - is murky territory because it is so new. Any judgment for a defendant is bound to be appealed by Righthaven, all the way to the Supreme Court. Their entire "business model" depends on it.

Step 4: Righthaven goes for the shakedown, like the thug that it is.

Righthaven understands very well the economics of the situation -- it is the foundation of their 'business model,' after all -- so after roughing up the poor webmaster and scaring the daylights out of him, they play "nice." "We'll get out of your hair, chump, if you just pay us. No court fight, just pay. You can keep your website, and we'll go away, nice."

In their very first case against NORML, Righthaven settled for just $2,185 after being out-dueled by First Amendment superstar Marc Randazza. (Randazza beat Glenn Beck in a 2009 case, a fact that immediately endeard him to my heart).

All settlements since NORML have been confidential, but Brian Hill, the autistic hobbyist blogger sued by Righthaven for $150,000, revealed that they're looking to collect $6,000 from him. Dana Eiser, the Tea Party blogger, revealed that Righthaven is getting bolder still, now asking for $15,000 in go-away money. This for reprinting an "Open Letter" (!!!) to the Tea Party from the Denver Post (Righthaven's newest partner). Eiser argues that by definition "an open letter [is] not copyrightable."

- - -

When I learned that Righthaven was after me last summer, I talked to multiple attorneys, and each advised me that it was in my best interest to settle. Sharon Angle was sued and settled. Matt Drudge was sued and settled. The Free Republic was sued and settled. Even Alex Jones - Alex Jones of all people - was sued and settled!

This is the simple economic calculation that Righthaven was counting on. I did not want to settle. I was determined not to pay Righthaven a cent, and I didn't.

But a funny thing happened on my way to the courtroom. Like a deus ex machina, just a few days after the suit against me was filed, the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) jumped into the fray, and began looking for an ideal case to defend. I contacted the EFF with my details, and hoped and prayed that my case would fit their criteria. It was close, but ultimately the EFF chose to defend the Democratic Underground (DU) in a case that was similar to mine, but even easier to win.

As in my case, the DU's site owner did not upload the content, the deed was done by a user; a link back to the original was provided; and only a portion of the article was copied, not the entire piece. In my case, that portion amounted to just under half of the article, but in DU, it was just a few sentences. (Full details here)

After having prepared my legal defense with Dan Booth of Booth Sweet LLC in Cambridge, who came highly recommend from both the EFF and Marc Randazza, I waited for the first shots to be fired. In order for the action to commence, Righthaven had to physically serve me with the lawsuit.

Service never came.

I belive this is because 1) Righthaven is sloppy (they forgot to renew their own business license at the beginning of the year, so busy were they suing bloggers), and, importantly, 2) the EFF absolutely bludgeoned Righthaven in its answer and counterclaim on behalf of the Democratic Underground. The EFF pulled out all the stops, while at the same time roping the LVRJ and its publisher, Stephens Media, into the countersuit! (Read in full here. I never knew reading legal briefs could be so much fun!) Righhaven is currently crying like a baby over this, begging desperately to be let out of their own suit, like the cowards that they are.

As a direct result of this bludgeoning, in November 2010, Righthaven announced it would stop suing over partial news excerpts (like the one that got me sued). By early December, I still had not been served, nor had I heard anything from Righthaven. At the end of December, their 120 day window to serve me expired. The court clerk filed an intention to dismiss on January 26th, 2011, effectively giving Righthaven one last chance to either sh*t or get off the pot, neither of which they did. The order to dismiss finally came last Tuesday, March 7, 2011, soon after which, I had a celebratory beer with my attorney Dan Booth.

Legal observers will note that the suit was dismissed without prejudice, meaning that Righthaven could, theoretically, refile the suit against me within a three year statute of limitations. But at the moment, they seem to have their hands full. Very full. The terms of the copyright assignments between Righthaven and Stephens Media - which to this day remain a mystery - are being seriously questioned by the EFF. This very well may spell the end of Righthaven and their frivolous suits. One can only hope.

At any rate, this ends a long, grueling ordeal for me, and another chapter in the history of the Daily Paul. At the very least, I am pleased to say that Righthaven lost money, not me. Additionally, it was another period of learning and growth during which I made some very meaningful personal connections.

My heartfelt thanks to Steve Green of the Las Vegas Sun, Marc Randazza, Dan Booth, and Colleen Lynn, the owner of RighthavenVictims.blogspot.com, which is an excellent resource for victims, as well as those who wish not to become victims! If you own a blog, I urge you to check out the section: How to Avoid a Lawsuit

Original suit | exhibit | intention to dismiss | dismissal.

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SUE THEM....Everything is

SUE THEM....Everything is commerce these days...hit them where it hurts.


They may take our lives, but they can't take our freedom. (Spoken in a Scottish accent, on a horse, in front of an army)

"You are not what you think you are, but what you think............. you are".
-Earl Nightingale

Two Big Thumbs Up!

I couldn't be any more pleased for you and the DP Community! Thanks for fighting for us!

congratulations, my next beer

congratulations, my next beer will be for your triumph[from 9000miles away...] cheers!

I'm glad for you Michael

A great end to a tough journey!

Fear knocked on my door and Faith answered!

Super news, Michael

Congratulations on being able to breathe easier. No wonder they couldn't serve you- didn't they know you are just a computer (Paulbot) and not a real person? ;)

Wooot!! Terrific!!

Much better than the news on Libya.

Integrity means having to say things that people don't want to hear & especially to say things that the regime doesnt want to hear -RonPaul

Very good news!

And the best use of "s#!t or get off the pot", I have seen in a long long time. Very well done on all marks. A+++

robot999's picture

Thank You..

for fighting the good fight Michael! You are not only our DP hero (DP is my home page), but are an example for all of us to follow.

"Government is the entertainment division of the military-industrial complex". - Frank Zappa

Your kung fu is strong, Michael.

This is great news!



good nights sleep

for you finally..glad to hear the news

Good news is hard to come by ....this is GREAT NEWS

In chorus with my DP family...thanx for taking the 'hit' for us. Victory is sweet!


I can imagine this has been an ordeal, but so happy for you that this sorted in a honorable way. And the hat off for your unwillingness to compromise and 'take a deal'. I was extremely surprised to hear that Alex Jones had settled. maybe he is a wimp after all...?
Back to business and DP focus. 2012 is closing in and stupid disturbances like the unmentionable lawyer leeches shall not allow to divert the attention.


I'm very happy to hear this Michael.

Justice was served and this judge realized the frivolity of the suit.

Hopefully you can sleep much better after this and get back to spending your energies on your passions like the DailyPaul.

God Bless you for the great job you do here. My favorite site period.

In celebration, a donation will be forthcoming!

"We have allowed our nation to be over-taxed, over-regulated, and overrun by bureaucrats. The founders would be ashamed of us for what we are putting up with."
-Ron Paul


Warms the heart

it does reading justice like this.

Now i want to see such justice against big pharma and some other of the bigger nasties and I will throw a party with free booze!

The Abuse of Greatness is when it disjoins remorse from power. - Shakespeare

Congratulations Michael

Everybody knows that you and your crew have worked diligently to avoid copyright infringement.

keep up the good work - this is an incredible site

Debbie's picture

This is such great news!! This totally made my day.

Congratulations Michael, for sticking to your guns and prevailing!


Billions for defense, not one cent for tribute!

Congratulations on living that principle when it's your own butt on the line and winning with it.

And thank you for standing up for the rights of all of us.

= = = =
"Obama’s Economists: ‘Stimulus’ Has Cost $278,000 per Job."

That means: For each job "created or saved" about five were destroyed.

You should now file a claim

You should now file a claim against Righthaven. By doing this, you put the heat back on them. You are entitled to at least;
i. Emotional Distress;
ii. Psychological Damage;
iii. Humiliation;
iv. Legal fees;

Nothing against attorneys necessarily, but they TOO OFTEN want to settle, this is because they see through dollars and cents, and in a case that isnt going to get them a new car, they would rather settle. Scum companies like righthaven THRIVE on this fact, as well as many lawyers that file erroneous claims as part of their business.

You should file suit to the maximum extent possible. A few friends of mine that are successful in the litigation realm always say "Start at 5 million", if you start any lower, they wont take you seriously.

good luck, and congrats...and thanks for fighting.

Mining Patent Claim Has Potential.

Times being what they are, consider mining Gold & Silver might be more profitable & better exercise.

File a claim down at the land office. Then you are off to hard digging & defending against claim jumpers. With the experience gained so far, maybe it might be best to mine where the high value veins are.

Disclaimer: Mark Twain (1835-1910-To be continued) is unlicensed. His river pilot's license went delinquent in 1862. Caution advised. Daily Paul

RIGHT ON!!! and thanks for the awesome overview

Good. I'm glad they ran back to their little hole. Thanks for taking the emotional roller coaster ride for this Michael. And thanks for writing that all out. I'm bookmarking it and keeping it handy for my lawyer should we ever need it.

Thank you for all you do.

Great News Michael!

Wow Michael, I am so happy to hear that!

Glad your Ordeal Is Over

Glad you got Righthaven out of the way. Desperate newspaper people! If they had worthwhile news like DP, they wouldn't have to stoop to such sleaziness!

We dont die

we multiply Michael,congratulations on your victory!!!!

Those who expect to reap the blessings of freedom must. like men, undergo the fatigue of supporting it.-Thomas Paine

The R3volution requires action, not observation!!!!

fireant's picture

I love it!

Expose the slimeballs for all to see.

Undo what Wilson did

Great news and one for freedom...

Eternal Vigilance in action.

You stood up for all of us here on THE DAILY PAUL, and so much more.

Congratulations and Thank You for all you do for the r3VOLution...because of your brave action, it does continue...

Drudge AND Alex Jones both bowed to those cowardly husks of humanity? Wow...and I thought Alex was the "T-Rex"...lol

RON2012PAUL...The r3VOLution continues...
"I always win"
+GOLD and SILVER are money+

Numbers Games Work Both Ways

Why persue you, when so many more are out there willing to roll over?

It's always important to stand up, not only for oneself, but for others.


What do you think? http://consequeries.com/

We are proud of you!

They don't know who there messing with when it comes to us DPer's. I am very proud of you Michael. That's why I love being apart of this from the beginning.

CFL is really gearing up in SC. We are awaiting for RP to call it for 2012 and we go to NC. Run Paul Run.

Again, Thanks for being there for us Michael!

The American Dream............
you have to be asleep to believe it!