Righthaven Desperately Wants Out Of Lawsuit It Filed, As It Fears Having To Pay EFF's Legal Fees

from the let-us-out... dept

Both Paul Levy and Eric Goldman point us to the latest in the Righthaven saga. As you may recall, the EFF took on a couple Righthaven Defendants, including Democratic Underground, a site that was sued after someone posted just five sentences from an article. The EFF hit back with more than just some defenses, but with countersuits. Things were looking bad for Righthaven due to the specific details of the case and the likelihood of this being "fair use" compared to a similar case -- so Righthaven decided it wanted out. Only problem? Since EFF now has countersuits filed, Righthaven can't just drop the cases unilaterally, so now it's filed a motion begging the judge to let it drop the case that it filed in the first place.

The EFF, of course, is almost certainly pushing for legal fees to be paid by Righthaven, so a big part of the filing is about why the case should be dismissed as a total win for Democratic Underground in every way... except in that Righthaven doesn't want to pay legal fees. That, of course, would cut into its profits. Either way, for a company filing so many questionable lawsuits, it's pretty amusing to see some of its language choices, including the idea that it's doing this for the sake of "promoting judicial economy." Uh, yeah, right. You can see the entire filing after the jump, but it has all the appearances of a bunch of lawyers on the run, trying to get away from having to pay for a questionable lawsuit they filed.


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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 18th, 2010 @ 3:47am

    Glancing briefly at that document has given me insight into how lawyers earn their fees. It must've taken considerable effort to stretch "Uh, can't we just call the whole thing off?" into 26 pages of legalese and weasel words.

     

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    btrussell (profile), Nov 18th, 2010 @ 4:12am

    More proof it really is just extortion.



    "...quite clearly surpasses threshold for copyright infringement...reasonable minds may differ..."

    Not so clear then is it? Except in your unreasonable mind.

     

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      Any Mouse, Nov 18th, 2010 @ 5:04am

      Re:

      I think my favorite line was '(2) Righthaven's copyright action does not remotely approach the threshold for frivolity'.

       

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        Dark Helmet (profile), Nov 18th, 2010 @ 6:48am

        Re: Re:

        "I think my favorite line was '(2) Righthaven's copyright action does not remotely approach the threshold for frivolity'."

        Might be true, actually, depending on which side they're "not remotely" approaching this frivolity. For instance, I think this lawsuit is so far and beyond frivolous, that we'll have to make up a new word for it.

        My suggestion? Asshatoclownimous. Asshatoclownimous does NOT apprach frivolity. It's WAY worse....

         

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        Anonymous Coward, Nov 18th, 2010 @ 7:57am

        Re: Re:

        Well.... *cough*.... you can't approach something if you're remote, can you? I mean, you could be said to be heading in the direction of, but approaching infers being quite close to, and remotely means.... well, I think you get the weasel worded point. So Righthaven does indeed not remotely approach... um, well... ANYTHING at all actually!

         

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    Ima Fish (profile), Nov 18th, 2010 @ 4:16am

    Live by the suit, die by the suit.

     

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    abc gum, Nov 18th, 2010 @ 4:58am

    music industry

    This sounds very similar to other filings, quickly dropped when it was apparent there was no case.
    music industry

     

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    Anonymous Howard, Nov 18th, 2010 @ 6:19am

    no brainer here- DONATE TO EFF

     

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    Pixelation, Nov 18th, 2010 @ 6:24am

    Looks like Righthaven stepped in it this time. Let's hope they can't scrape it off.

     

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    Hulser (profile), Nov 18th, 2010 @ 6:53am

    You can't fold and take back your share of the pot

    If you're filing the kind of case where, if you lose, you'd be on the hook for legal fees, you should be strictly prohibited from dropping the case unless you pay all of the outstanding legal fees of the defendent. Maybe there's some practical or legal reason why this wouldn't work, but it seems to just make sense. If you're playing a hand of poker, you can't just fold and ask for you share of the pot back. Try that some time and see what happens. It's a simple matter of common sense fairness.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 18th, 2010 @ 7:00am

    Hmmm, if a consumer files a lawsuit against a large corporation, do they have to pay legal fees if they lose?

     

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    Jason, Nov 18th, 2010 @ 7:54am

    Desperate? Nah...lame, yeah...where I think they fail

    Is it desperate that they want to avoid paying fees? Nah, that's part of the process, and really they'd have an arguable case if it weren't for the counterclaim.

    They try to bury in the structure of their argument, but one of their claims is very telling: "legal prejudice does not arise from a defendant's 'missed opportunity for a ruling on the merits.'"

    That would be true, except for the counterclaim for a declaratory judgement. I would think the court might find that a counterclaimant would be prejudiced by missing such an opportunity, they would almost have to.

    The fact that Righthaven wants to tap-out on all similar future claims, well that's awfully generous given the precedent with the other defendant in this case and the basic idea that this is what the law intends anyway, but that promise alone, even with the "with prejudice" nature of the dismissal offered here, does not protect Democratic Underground's future interests the way a declaratory judgment would. If they hadn't filed a counterclaim on the matter, well then, maybe 'P/CD' has a point.

    However that doesn't make this any more or less lame than, "Ow,ow, ow, OKAY! I'll tap out if you promise..."

     

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    Joseph K (profile), Nov 18th, 2010 @ 8:47am

    Why not loser pays

    Why don't litigants who bring forth stupid lawsuits have to pay? This should be the norm in all lawsuits. It's pretty much the norm in all other countries with well run judicial systems. This is why no other country besides the US has overall problems with excessive litigation, because if you file a legal action, you risk paying a substantial penalty if a judge rules against you.

     

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    DogBreath, Nov 18th, 2010 @ 9:31am

    If I were the judge in this case...

    I would officially reply to Righthaven with this one-sentence response:

    "What is sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander."

    I'm certain Righthaven would think they are getting a free goose dinner, and they would be right... but soon learn they are the goose.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 18th, 2010 @ 9:43am

    Couldn't this document be evidence in itself that they accept fair use in many of their other cases? End of page 2/beginning of page three is basically admitting that it's in everyone's best interest to call this off. For all future cases, can't attorneys simply cite this request by Righthaven as an admission of faulty filing?

     

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      J, Nov 18th, 2010 @ 11:52am

      Re:

      If you read on, you find that they stated that they prolly won't ever file a suit again in a case that isn't an all-or-most copy.

       

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    kfreed, Mar 4th, 2011 @ 10:15pm

    Righthaven isn't about copyright protection

    ...It's profit-churning - a simple scam by people who think they've got the money cards stacked in their favor. These weasels know well enough that their frivilous lawsuits qualify as fair use (which is more than legal). They're targeting individuals who they figure can't afford to defend themselves in court. Its called extortion. There's a far cry between "intellectual property theft" and "quoting a source" - particularly when that source invites online sharing with RSS feeds and other "share" buttons. I applaud the countersuits and the courage of those who are helping these individuals fight back. Thanks EFF for stepping in.

     

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    kfreed, Mar 4th, 2011 @ 10:19pm

    Spell Check - correction to previous comment

    That's to read "frivolous"

     

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