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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

References:
Original suit | exhibit | intention to dismiss | dismissal.



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I am really relieved for you . . .

Mr. Nystrom.

it's hard to be awake; it's easier to dream--

CONGRATS!!!

I love this website and do not know what i would do without it so a major CONGRATS from us up in Canada!!!

Phew!

It would've been a knockout drag-down legal rumble but I'm glad the situation is resolved. Now everyone's full energy can be directed where it belongs: Ron Paul 2012! Bring it!

Trevor Lyman's picture

Congratulations Michael and

Congratulations Michael and to everyone! This was an attack on the blogosphere and I'm glad to see they are paying a price. I hope they lose everything they have- they deserve to.

What do you call 100,000 lawyers

at the bottom of the sea...???

Yep.

LIBERTY OR DEATH!!!

We must be vigilant and OBEY the guidelines on DP

never stop watching what you do and what the enemy does -- this is my message to everyone.

Pay attention to all you do on this website.

LL on Twitter: http://twitter.com/LibertyPoet
sometimes LL can suck & sometimes LL rocks!
http://www.dailypaul.com/203008/south-carolina-battle-of-cow...
Love won! Deliverance from Tyranny is on the way! Col. 2:13-15

o.0

cheers

.

Congratulations! A 2 cent

Congratulations! A 2 cent stamp to yah! I'll be heading to the fridge at exactly 5:00 PM (CDST) to tip a cold one in celebration!

There is no Left or Right -- there is only freedom or tyranny. Everything else is an illusion, an obfuscation to keep you confused and silent as the world burns around you." - Philip Brennan

"Invest only in things that you can stand in front of and pr

Michael Nystrom's picture

Thanks!

Wish I could be there to tip one with you.

He's the man.

Next time I'm in

Next time I'm in Taxachusettes, I'll have to stop by and have a beer with you.

There is no Left or Right -- there is only freedom or tyranny. Everything else is an illusion, an obfuscation to keep you confused and silent as the world burns around you." - Philip Brennan

"Invest only in things that you can stand in front of and pr

counter sue indeed

good work fighting off the vampires sir michael. if you have a donation feature to help recoup costs for that, id gladly contribute a few bucks. if those costs were high, i say counter sue and teach those legalese bullies a nice lesson for dressing up in their scariest vampire costumes.

I say you counter sue, we can

I say you counter sue, we can raise the money for you Michael. Let's stick it to these guys.

...

We have to prove serious monetary damage.

"OH NO! He has a SON?" Neoconservatives and Liberals EVERYWHERE!

Rand Paul 2016

Great news!

Tweeted
http://twitter.com/#!/sharpsteve/status/48115233444741120
@sharpsteve Steve
Righthaven vs. Michael Nystrom / Daily Paul DISMISSED by Federal Judge http://tinyurl.com/4jnryw2

Exercise Your Rights. If You Don't Use Them, You Will Lose Them.
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Frig'n lawyers!

Is it any wonder why they dominate the political spectrum and things are so screwed up?

If men are good, you don't need government; if men are evil or ambivalent, you don't dare have one.

Congratulations!

You ARE a hero in my book.

-m.

-Michael
(I thought I was wrong once, but I was mistaken)

♪♪ Come a ti yi yippy, come a tee yi yay ♪♪ - The Chisholm Trail

[ With great fanfare & virtuosity.. Crank up Victrola! ]

"The Chisholm Trail" sung by Tex Ritter

♪♪Come a ti yi yippy, come a tee yi yay, ti yi yippy yi yay♪♪

Come along, boys, and listen to my tale
Tell you of my troubles on the old Chisholm Trail
Come a ti yi yippy, come a tee yi yay, ti yi yippy yi yay

On a ten-dollar horse and a forty dollar saddle
I'm a going to punch in Texas cattle
Come a ti yi yippy, come a tee yi yay, ti yi yippy yi yay

I'm up in the morning before daylight
Before I sleep the moon shines bright
Come a ti yi yippy, come a tee yi yay, ti yi yippy yi yay.
...

With my seat in the saddle and my hand on the horn
I'm the best cowpuncher that ever was born
Come a ti yi yippy, come a tee yi yay, ti yi yippy yi yay

No chaps, no slicker, and it's pourin' down rain
I swear I'll never night herd again
Come a ti yi yippy, come a tee yi yay, ti yi yippy yi yay
...
Come a ti yi yippy, come a tee yi yay, ti yi yippy yi yay

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

Where Alex Jones gave up, Daily Paul prevailed!

"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!"

What a statement for Daily Paul and Michael Nystrom!

Awesome!

Alex should bring Michael on, and Drudge post this up high

This deserves a huge Liberty Flag salute!

Find out just what any people will quietly submit to and you have the exact measure of the injustice and wrong which will be imposed on them. - Frederick Douglass

SteveMT's picture

It is good to read some good news.

Thanks for making my day.

Congratulations, Michael.

I'd say they really messed with the wrong guy.

I'm so happy for you!

You'd Almost Think Righthaven was an Agency of Federal Govt!

Due to the sleazy way they operate. They may not literally break down your door, but mental and financial terrorism is just as bad.

never min. i just saw the

never min. i just saw the dismissal without prejudice. he could sue again, but that is unlikely.. congrat..

If you disagree with me on anything you are not a real libertarian...

Excellent!

Long live DP. Thank you for having such a wonderful source of information and discussion.

Without DailyPaul I'd still be in the dark on many subjects.

Commerce with all nations, alliance with none, should be our motto. - T. Jefferson rЭVO˩ution

"Everyone wants to live at the expense of the state. They forget that the state wants to live at the expense of everyone.” - BASTIAT

Was it dismissed on the

Was it dismissed on the merits or due to lack of service?

If you disagree with me on anything you are not a real libertarian...

Michael Nystrom's picture

Lack of service

Never got to trial.

He's the man.

Good job Nystrom

Michael, congrats on the lawsuit. I've been worried about the future of Dailypaul since you mentioned this last year. Glad to see it worked out. For us to loose an asset such as you and this website would have been disastrous.

Gracias a Dios!

:0)

Thomas Jefferson: “Indeed, I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just, that His justice cannot sleep forever."

Viva La Revolucion!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FmaTNf4YhEs

Congratulations

Michael when you start dealing with the court system it's always a crap shoot. Good thing your not in New Jersey.

9/11 was an inside job .....time to get some answers..RP 2012