Righthaven Accused Of Avoiding Paying Legal Fees Owed

from the 30-days-to-get-away? dept

In the continuing saga of Righthaven (remember them?), the firm is trying to hold off on paying the legal fees ordered by the court in one of the many cases so far (more legal fee awards are likely on the way). The defendant, Michael Leon, and his lawyers (from the Randazza Group) have filed a motion (embedded below) that rips into Righthaven, claiming that the company is looking to avoid paying. They claim that they contacted Righthaven to arrange payment, but instead, Righthaven asked the court for a 30 day stay to avoid having to pay the $3,815 it owes.

Leon's lawyers are not pleased (and, well, that's understandable -- that's their money at stake). They're claiming that the motion to stay by Righthaven is really an attempt to avoid payment, and to use the 30 days to shift assets away to avoid having to pay, including potentially getting rid of the copyrights, which Righthaven probably doesn't hold in the first place.
If any court ever were to find that Righthaven owned the copyrights it claimed to own, an unlikely proposition in itself, then the full copyright rights would be subject to seizure in satisfaction of a judgment by a judgment creditor. More likely than not, the “rights” obtained by Righthaven are worth less than paper upon which the agreements transferring them are printed. Nonetheless, worth a million dollars or nothing at all, such a right is intangible property and, as such, may be seized to satisfy the Firm’s judgment, with its value to be determined at auction. To ensure such property is present to even be seized, though, injunctive relief is necessary. Furthermore, the relief sought is not extreme – all that is sought is an order that Righthaven may not disgorge its assets.

A stay of 30 days will enable Righthaven to liquidate money, intangible property rights in its domain name and trademarks, and its claimed copyright rights – again, to the extent Righthaven owns them at all. Depending on which version of the Strategic Alliance Agreement between Righthaven and Stephens Media LLC one looks at, Stephens Media LLC has either the immediate right to reversion, or the right to reversion with 30 day’s notice and a nominal payment. See Hoehn, Case No. 2:11-cv-00050 (Doc. # 28). Even if Righthaven does truly own the copyrights it obtained from Stephens Media LLC – an unlikely proposition based on recent precedent – it may still use the 30 day stay to resell the copyright – potentially even to Stephens Media LLC itself.
It then goes on to claim that Righthaven has a history of being somewhat shady, noting its corporate structure, as well as statements from its CEO Steve Gibson that the motion claims were either "facially incorrect" or "found to be legally unsupported." Based on that, it notes the fear that Righthaven will try to get out of paying:
In light of these circumstances, and Righthaven’s refusal to put anything regarding its alleged plans to satisfy the Firm’s judgment in writing..., the Firm has neither basis, nor reason, to trust Righthaven, and this court should join its honorable brethren in its strong skepticism of this champertous scheme.... To boot, Righthaven’s only known source of income, copyright infringement litigation, has screeched to a halt in the face of judicial scrutiny; in fact, no new lawsuits have been filed at all since May 2011.... Therefore, it stands to reason that Righthaven has no new revenue on its horizon – especially since its dozens of cases in the District of Colorado have been stayed
It goes on to rake Righthaven over the coals for its efforts to avoid paying legal fees and then concludes with this little gem:
Furthermore, if Righthaven’s CEO can provide a statement, under penalty of perjury, that it cannot scrounge up $381.50 in less than 24 hours, then the undersigned will gladly find someone willing to loan this amount to Righthaven for that purpose, and pledges to do so within 60 minutes of being presented with this sworn declaration.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
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    gorehound (profile), Jul 13th, 2011 @ 6:09am

    Rights haven are nothing but SCUM

    We all here know this company is nothing but a bunch of scumbags trolling around looking for any way they can milk their wallets.They will sue where they never had a right to.They abuse the legal system.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2.  
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    Donnicton, Jul 13th, 2011 @ 6:36am

    Aww, the Randazza group didn't get their money yet? I guess that just means they'll have to send one or two extra P2P extortion letters out this month to make up for it.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 13th, 2011 @ 6:38am

    Again: Actual thievery, unlike the so called "stealing" that happens every time someone downloads a song.

    I wonder what would happen if we added the damages caused (i.e., fees owed, money actually stolen, royalties owed, "creative" accounting, etc.) by clueless copyright lawyers, corrupt execs and dumb copyright defending organisations. How would that compare with the supposed billions in loses the copylovers like to throw around?

     

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  4.  
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    Beta (profile), Jul 13th, 2011 @ 6:53am

    I do not think it means what you think it means

    "...the relief sought is not extreme – all that is sought is an order that Righthaven may not disgorge its assets."

    Is "disgorge" really a legal or financial term? Isn't that what they want Righthaven to do?

     

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  5.  
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    Brian Schroth (profile), Jul 13th, 2011 @ 7:00am

    I see two values mentioned: $3,815 and $318.50.

    Which is it?

     

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  6.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 13th, 2011 @ 7:02am

    is it $3,815 or $318.50?

     

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  7.  
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    The eejit (profile), Jul 13th, 2011 @ 7:04am

    Re: I do not think it means what you think it means

    Technically, it's "disburse", but in this case, "disgorge" is accurate. The fucking about by Righthaven is sickening.

     

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  8.  
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    FUDbuster (profile), Jul 13th, 2011 @ 7:06am

    I strongly suspect there will be many more judgments against Righthaven, and not just for attorney's fees for defending questionable copyright suits. I mean intentional torts, with Righthaven as the defendant. Not only will that wipe out whatever funds Righthaven may have (and I'm guessing they're all too ready to say they have $0 on paper), but they'll obviously go after those who employed Righthaven, MediaNews Group and Stephens Media. I suspect too that those employers will be writing some really big checks by the time this is all over.

    I have to admit, watching Righthaven supernova is kind of fun.

     

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  9.  
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    FUDbuster (profile), Jul 13th, 2011 @ 7:08am

    Re:

    It was $381.50, which is 10% of $3815.00. I haven't read the filing yet (it won't load for me above), but I suspect the 10% figure is significant somehow.

     

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  10.  
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    FUDbuster (profile), Jul 13th, 2011 @ 7:12am

    By the way, the other defendant in the Leon case was NOT awarded attorney's fees: http://ia600208.us.archive.org/5/items/gov.uscourts.nvd.76455/gov.uscourts.nvd.76455.55.0.pdf

    Thi s case is sort of an anomaly since there was a problem with serving the defendant properly. I don't read too much into the grant of fees to one defendant and the denial of fees to the other.

    I'm waiting for a defendant to be awarded fees when there aren't any such problems. That will be much more noteworthy.

     

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  11.  
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    FUDbuster (profile), Jul 13th, 2011 @ 7:15am

    Re: I do not think it means what you think it means

    Is "disgorge" really a legal or financial term? Isn't that what they want Righthaven to do?

    It is a legal term. I've not seen it used in other contexts.

    From Black's:

    disgorgement, n. (15c) The act of giving up something (such as profits illegally obtained) on demand or by legal compulsion. — disgorge, vb.

     

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  12.  
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    FUDbuster (profile), Jul 13th, 2011 @ 7:17am

    Re:

    Haha! They certainly know how to send people letters demanding money. ;)

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13.  
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    CommonSense (profile), Jul 13th, 2011 @ 7:36am

    Re: Re:

    "Furthermore, the posting of a bond for a mere $3,815.00 should prove little challenge to even the most financially insolvent party, as a typical bond costs 10% of the bonded amount. "

    From the embedded document. I'm not completely sure how it works, but that's why they were looking for the $381.50.

     

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  14.  
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    The eejit (profile), Jul 13th, 2011 @ 7:50am

    Re:

    That's fair, although it HAS been a massive farce from start to finish.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15.  
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    Rich Fiscus (profile), Jul 13th, 2011 @ 8:17am

    Looks like I called this one right

    This just brings me back to the question I asked a week ago. Who will end up holding the bag when the corporation is dissolved? I believe it should include the content owners, Steve Gibson, and any lawyer who knowingly participated in Righthaven's extortion scheme. I fear it will be no one, or at best just Gibson.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  16.  
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    FUDbuster (profile), Jul 13th, 2011 @ 8:45am

    Re: Re: Re:

    thanks.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  17.  
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    FUDbuster (profile), Jul 13th, 2011 @ 8:46am

    Re: Looks like I called this one right

    Who's left holding the bag will be part of the show. I think that's Act V.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  18.  
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    Rich Fiscus (profile), Jul 13th, 2011 @ 9:09am

    Re: Re: Looks like I called this one right

    No doubt you're right. Unfortunately, the show is a circus and guess who's paying to put it on in our courts? So I guess I've just answered my own question. The American people will be left holding the bag as usual.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  19.  
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    Rich Fiscus (profile), Jul 13th, 2011 @ 9:21am

    Re: Re: Looks like I called this one right

    Or maybe it would be more accurate to say Righthaven's victims and their lawyers will be left holding the bag. The rest of us are just left cleaning up elephant crap.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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