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"Righthaven looks like they're toast. Ha ha ha ha. Ha ha ha ha."

- Michael Nystrom, in an email dated 6/17/2011 to my friend and former colleague Dan in Taiwan.

We worked together in Taiwan for a short period. I was only there for two years myself - from Summer 2003 - Summer 2005 before I moved to Boston. And we only worked together for maybe a year - sandwiched in that period. But he was among the kind and friendly people I met in Taiwan. And also the only American I had regular contact with.

Big and tall - red hair. Funny like the Onion funny. Offbeat. Off the primary beat that just drums through American culture. Values time over money. And oddly, he was also -- not only from Seattle -- but had lived in my very neighborhood in Seattle. That was so odd that it almost felt like a fated situation. Like he was sent to me - not so much to watch over me as to stabilize me, by keeping in company with me. I was pretty nervous and strung out on anxiety. The whole standard thing that half the country is on drugs to mask.

I had a small fleet of guardian angels in Taiwan - people so nice to me who had no business being as nice to me as they were. Jason, Vivien, Dan, Amy, Welkin, and of course Dr. Wang. And that really saved me, because I was in trouble. I was bumping along the bottom of a low point there. I got plucked out of it in Seattle and got flung halfway around the world.

But I boarded the slingshot willingly.

- - - -

So over the years I've kept in touch with Dan. We have a single email thread going back almost exactly two years, containing 46 total posts. And that is a direct quote from one of the emails in that thread, dated almost exactly two years ago.

I'll tell you - that was a trip - getting sued. Gutwrenchingly stressful. I knew about the suit, but Righthaven never did serve me. But every night I came home for the first month and a half, I was looking for the process server to come jumping out of the bushes at me. I would case my own house before I went home. My strategy was avoidance and delay. Those are generally tactics that don't work in your favor when dealing with a problem, but in this case, it worked!

It was a real life case of that scene out of Jurassic Park, when the dinosaur is about to eat them, and then at the last second another dinosaur comes out of nowhere and eats that one. The EFF, representing the Democratic Underground, was the dinosaur that took out the Righthaven dinosaur that was about to eat me.

I knew the EFF was looking for an aggrieved party. I was hoping that they would pick the Daily Paul. My avoidance and delay was not all blind - I knew these movements were going on, and they might work in my favor. But the EFF was out to prove something, and the DU case was a better test case with which to draw clear lines.

But I'll tell you, in the end, it was a great experience, because ultimately, it was a growth experience. (Does growth always have to be painful?) I met the lawyer who represented me. I met another dedicated webmaster, in a completely other field. It's how I met Jefferson, who somehow got my number and called me up on the phone.

Added bonus, I got to watch Righthaven implode, which was spectacular. They were so bad. Idiotically bad. So bad they had me (and everyone else) guessing - why are they doing this? Do they have a secret strategy?

Somewhere there was a miscommunication. Righthaven was acting on behalf of the LVRJ. There was some political connection between the CEOs. Strange stuff. They tried getting a few other papers on board, and they started to! It was pretty terrifying how they were trying to criminalize standard, common behavior of the internet.

The Daily Paul was sued because someone posted a little over half of an article, with a link to some LVRJ.com story. LVRJ / Righthaven claimed that it was their "property." I don't even remember the figure they were asking. But they were asking for the domain. They basically showed up with a confiscation order for the Daily Paul.

Thankfully our legal system rejected the order. That is thanks in large part to the EFF.

The for-profits have a lot of firepower. It is nice to have the firepower of a top-notch non-profit (which is to say a profit for the general public) on our side.

- - - - -

Anyway, I'm rambling.

Righthaven was so incompetent that I still wonder what it was all about. Was that just a choreographed news event as well? It was like when the Russians landed on Gilligan's Island, and they were thinking that Gilligan was the mastermind in charge, because no one could be that stupid. That's what Righthaven is like. There had to be some deeper mission for all that noise and activity.

If it was all just a hare-brained scheme to make money -- man, that was dumb.

At any rate, I stand by my quote of June 17, 2011 to Dan:

Righthaven looks like they're toast. Ha ha ha ha. Ha ha ha ha.

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Looks like you could have actually MADE some money!

"As it turns out, Righthaven didn’t own the copyrights it was filing suit over. Instead, Stephens Media (LVRJ) granted Righthaven permission to sue over the newspaper chain’s content in exchange for a 50 percent cut of all the settlements and jury awards: the agreement did not grant Righthaven license to use the content in any other way. The Electronic Frontier Foundation called the arrangement a “sham,” and judges hearing Righthaven cases began to take notice.

Righthaven initially was winning and settling dozens of cases as defendants paid a few thousand dollars each to make the cases go away. But Righthaven has never prevailed in a case that was defended in court.

The U.S. Copyright Act allows damages of up to $150,000 per infringement, but also grants legal fees and costs to the “prevailing party.” More fee awards against Righthaven are expected."


This page is kinda fun to read now that it's all over.

Glad you wiped the last bit of sweat off your brow over this one, Michael.

If Tyranny and Oppression come to this land, it will be in the guise of fighting a foreign enemy.
James Madison

Great, Michael. More actual proof that, if you stand up for...

yourself, you can win, even in this unjust world.