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Judge: Righthaven Lacks Standing to Sue; Sanctions Threatened; Democratic Underground Case Dismissed; Countersuit Continues!

Woot! Great news and some sweet justice on the Righthaven front! As you know, the Daily Paul was sued last year by the copyright troll and legal terrorist Righthaven on behalf of the Las Vegas Review Journal. (This is why we don't link to LVRJ.com anymore.) The case was ultimately dismissed because Righthaven never got around to serving me.

We all knew that there was something wrong with Righthaven from the beginning, and a federal judge has finally agreed. Righthaven lacks standing to sue. In essence, Righthaven was attempting to argue, "You stole my car!" when in fact, they didn't own the car to begin with.

Here's the full story from the ever excellent Steve Green of the Las Vegas Sun (Las Vegas's good newspaper) and Vegas Inc. Green was the one who alerted me the day the lawsuit was filed against me, giving me valuable time to prepare my defense:

A federal judge in Las Vegas today issued a potentially devastating ruling against copyright enforcer Righthaven LLC, finding it doesn't have standing to sue over Las Vegas Review-Journal stories, that it has misled the court and threatening to impose sanctions against Righthaven.

Because he found Righthaven doesn't have standing to sue, Chief U.S. District Judge for Nevada Roger Hunt dismissed Righthaven's copyright infringement lawsuit against the Democratic Underground.

But he's allowing the Democratic Underground to continue its counterclaim against Stephens Media LLC, owner of the Review-Journal. That could be expensive for Stephens Media as the Democratic Underground attorneys from the Electronic Frontier Foundation are asking to be awarded attorney's fees.

Continue at Vegas Inc.

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Michael Nystrom's picture

Bloggers mulling legal action against Righthaven

Via Wired:

http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2011/06/righthaven-legal-ac...

“This is a situation that I have to admit I’ve never before confronted in my career, where a party so clearly did not have standing to bring a case, yet it had settled with so many people,” Marc Randazza, a Miami attorney who represented about a dozen litigants who settled, said in a telephone interview.

Said politely RH are a bunch of sleaze buckets

Suing without prior notification of grievances (as with the DP), asking for transfer of ownership of the internet domains, and for setting up a big fat syndicated business based on the premise this all constitutes a reliable revenue stream... Sleaze buckets.

Michael Nystrom's picture

Very polite

That is a very polite way of putting things.

"Democratic Underground"

Whats the story with that?

Typing that into Google leads to some liberal forum.

On the bottom of the page there is a dislcaimer in which they call themselves, Democratic Underground, LLC.

Im confused by this. Is it common knowledge that you run a liberal site as well?

I thought you ran this out of your kitchen? Can someone help me out here? Have people been gifting you cash for both sites?

Correct me if Im off-base here.

There's always RPF's.

Michael Nystrom's picture

Democratic Underground

Is another community website that was sued by Righthaven.

The EFF stepped in to defend them, because the defense was such a slam dunk.

The DU & DP cases were very similar. In both cases:

1) The 'infringing' content was from the LVRJ.com
2) It was uploaded by a user, not the site owner
3) It was only part of the article
4) A link was posted back to the original LVRJ article.

The difference was that in the case of the Daily Paul, the user copied about half the article. In the case of the DU, it was only a few sentences - something like 10% of the article.

The EFF was looking for a good test case to hammer Righthaven on. I was in contact with them, but the DU case was an easier win so they went with that instead. In addition to defending the suit, the EFF / DU also filed a counter suit against Righthaven & Stephens media.

Righthaven's original suit against the DU was dismissed, but the counterclaim lives on.

Hope that clears things up.

Ahhh, got it.

That had me wondering what was going on...

Never can be sure.

I Apologize for the mix-up. It had my mind wandering into Alex Jones territory. Delete my post if you like as to not cause anyone else to go off the deep end. Or leave it for clarity so that noone else makes an ass out of themselves, LOL.

Keep up the good work.

Michael Nystrom's picture

That's ok - I wouldn't delete it

If you had that question, I'm certain others have the same question.

Thanks for giving me the opportunity to explain it.

BTW, Alex Jones was also sued by Righthaven, and after blustering about how he was going to stand up to them, ended up settling.

Now bloggers are talking about a class action countersuit:

http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2011/06/righthaven-legal-ac...

Standing

It makes no sense to me that Right Haven could have standing in any case. It is as though someone buys a used car knowing it has a dented fender, then sues a third party for having dented it. Where is the harm to the buyer? He knew the fender was dented when he bought the car. But that apparently is not how the law works. The judge's ruling says that Right Haven lacks standing because it never bought the car. I mean, the news article.

Ĵīɣȩ Ɖåđşŏń

"Fully half the quotations found on the internet are either mis-attributed, or outright fabrications." - Abraham Lincoln

Michael Nystrom's picture

Standing

If they had 'exclusive rights' to the content, there is precedent that they would have standing.

Going back to the analogy of the car, the owner of the car has a right for it to be 'dent free.' If the original owner didn't do anything about the person who dented the car, the entity that acquires the car also acquires the right to a 'dent free' car, and therefore can go after whoever dented it.

At least that is how things have been adjudicated so far in this realm, as far as my understanding goes.

In this case, Righthaven is in big trouble because 1) They never bought the car, and 2) They lied about it. They told the Court that they did.

In truth, they never had any exclusive rights over the content they were suing over. They didn't have the right to republish it, to sell it, to licence it - nothing. They had no way to monetize the content other than to sue, and recover damages, and those damages had to be split with Stephens media 50/50.

The courth has given them 2 weeks to explain themselves.

I foresee a class action countersuit in Righthaven's future. However, considering it is an LLC, it can just declare bankruptcy and say, "No harm, no foul, no money, sorry," and try to walk away. HOWEVER - If the LLC knowingly committed fraud, then we (meaning those of us in the class action) can go after the personal assets of the officers / controllers of the LLC, which in this case would be Steve Gibson and Stephens Media.

Payback is a b!tch. Things are going to get more interesting as time goes by.

Oh, man, are those guys evil.

It's good to see the good guys win one once in awhile.

Haaa!! Justice!!

Haaa!! Justice!!

ytc's picture

Thanks for the great news, Michael!

Feels as good as cleaning out all the grimy over-sized garbage from the past year at the dump :-)

Right on!

Sweet justice indeed,It is about time a judge ruled in the proper direction.

If I disappear from a discussion please forgive me. My 24-7 business requires me to split mid-sentence to serve them. I am not ducking out, I will be back later to catch up.

That's good news Michael,

and must be some weight lifted off your shoulders.

Ron Paul is My President

Bump of support.

I am so glad justice prevailed.

"Hence, naturally enough, my symbol for Hell is something like the bureaucracy of a police state or the office of a thoroughly nasty business concern." ~~C.S. Lewis
Love won! Deliverance from Tyranny is on the way! Col. 2:13-15

bump for Liberty

Long Live Daily Paul
Heart & Home of the rEVOLution!

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

Michael Nystrom's picture

Tea Party Group Sues Righthaven / Denver Post

The tide has turned on Righthaven:

http://www.vegasinc.com/news/2011/jun/13/tea-party-group-sue...

Thanks for the bump Tom!

any political agenda to lawsuits?

I just started reading the article about the tea party group suing, and the possibility hit my brain that there may be a political agenda behind the lawsuits? Sort of along the lines of silencing or shutting down opponents?

Do you have any idea the political leanings of the blogs that have been sued? Not that I'm paranoid or anything. :-)

Michael Nystrom's picture

Across the board

Drudge;
Alex Jones;
Daily Paul;
A cat blogger;
Democratic Underground...

275 victims. Really it is a proof of concept for a 'business model.'

Looks like they failed this time, but they'll keep at it, I think. Or copyright law will be changed.

The outcome of all of this is hard to foresee.

Big smile on my face

I also retwitted your twitt of this post & the cool thing is that my website has a live twitter feed so the word will be getting out there about this.

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