Court Slams Righthaven (Again); Refuses To Let It Back Into Democratic Underground Case

from the another-day,-another-loss dept

Righthaven seems to be collecting legal losses like they were going out of style. I wonder if there's ever been a company that has been slapped around so many times by so many judges. No matter how often Righthaven boss Steve Gibson pretends that the courts mostly agree with him and are just "giving guidance" to others, the reality of the matter is that the company hasn't just been losing, it's been getting regularly scolded by angry judges who appear to have no patience for the company's legal strategy.

The latest involves one of the key cases here: the Democratic Underground case. This is the case where the Strategic Agreement between Righthaven and Stephens Media finally came to light, showing that the copyright transfer was a sham. That resulted in the judge dismissing Righthaven from the case. The case kept going, however, because the Democratic Underground had filed a countersuit against Stephens Media to get it into the case. Of course, part of the reason why Stephens helped set up Righthaven in the first place was to avoid having to be involved in these lawsuits. So, ever the dutiful spin-off, Righthaven keeps trying to reinsert itself into the case.

However, yet again, the judge in the case, Richard Hunt, has clearly rejected Righthaven's attempt here (pdf). Hunt says that key reason for not allowing Righthaven back in was because of the timing of everything, noting that even if it's now offering a (twice) "amended" agreement to make its case, it's too late to change things in this case:
Righthaven argues that the application to intervene is timely because it brought the motion soon after being dismissed from the case and rectifying the problems with the SAA by creating the Amended and Restated SAA. The Court disagrees. Righthaven filed this case more than ten months prior to its application to intervene. It is true that Righthaven could not have sought to intervene until it was dismissed, but this is because of the method in which Righthaven chose to pursue this litigation. Righthavenís application is untimely because ten months have passed since filing, intervention would prejudice Democratic Underground as multiple of their discovery motions were dismissed as moot when Democratic Underground was dismissed, and the reason for delay was of Righthavenís own making. See, e.g., Cal. Dept. of Toxic Substances Control v. Commercial Realty Projects, Inc., 309 F.3d 1113, 1119 (9th Cir. 2009) (laying out factors to consider in timeliness analysis). In fact, the reason Righthaven now seeks to intervene is to circumvent the Courtís June 14 Order by creating standing and rights after the fact. This is improper and does not make the application timely.
And that's not all:
The Court is dubious as to whether Righthaven can essentially create standing in the middle of a case so as to either prosecute the case independently or intervene. Further, the Court questions whether Righthaven can even have a legitimate interest under any agreement (no matter the rights purportedly transferred) because Stephens Media and Righthavenís arrangement seems very much like a contingency fee arrangement with an entity unauthorized to practice law.
In other words, the court is listening to the amicus brief filed by Todd Kincannon, which we've discussed before. Kincannon has been the lead voice is arguing that Righthaven is engaged in unauthorized practice of law, so it's interesting to see a judge suggest that he agrees.

At what point do the folks at Righthaven finally realize it's time to give up?


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    Pixelation, Aug 25th, 2011 @ 2:55pm

    Don't give up...

    "At what point do the folks at Righthaven finally realize it's time to give up?"

    Oh please, don't give up! I'm loving the entertainment.

     

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

  2.  
    icon
    Jollygreengiant (profile), Aug 25th, 2011 @ 3:07pm

    Re: Don't give up...

    I know - You almost want to give them some money so they can keep up with this charade. Maybe that's their business plan after all, and we'll soon be handing over the cash in return for all this high-end entertainment they give us :)

     

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

  3.  
    icon
    Pitabred (profile), Aug 25th, 2011 @ 3:23pm

    Re: Don't give up...

    I'm betting they'll realize as soon as they start getting slapped with penalties for frivolous lawsuits, and perhaps contempt of court. They haven't shown a whole lot of good judgement so far, so one can hope...

    Who am I kidding. They won't stop until they're forced to.

     

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

  4.  
    identicon
    Scote, Aug 25th, 2011 @ 3:27pm

    Zombie trolls don't give up.

    I've you have followed the case of SCO, which falsely sued end users of the free, open source Linux computer operating system for copyright infringement, you'll know that some trolls are just like zombies--no matter how soundly they are smacked down by court rulings they just keep getting up and filing more suits and more appeals, all in hopes that if they roll the dice enough times they'll hit pay dirt on one lucky throw. That is what Righthaven appears to be doing. It is like a gambler, in debt, who keeps doubling down in hopes of a big pay off that will make everything right. It is fitting that Righthaven, and the RJ, are based out of Las Vegas...

     

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

  5.  
    identicon
    Jeff Brown, Aug 25th, 2011 @ 3:43pm

    Democratic Underground is a bad actor but the judge is doing the right thing

    Make no mistake democratic underground routinely copies full articles, strips attribution and does a bunch of really bad things but in this case the judge is doing the right thing because righthaven's behavior is worse.

    Be good to be done with both of them....

     

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

  6.  
    icon
    Jeffrey Nonken (profile), Aug 25th, 2011 @ 4:00pm

    At what point does persistence become dogged stupidity?

    "At what point do the folks at Righthaven finally realize it's time to give up?"

    Two days after the heat death of the universe, about 4:30 in the afternoon.

     

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

  7.  
    icon
    JohnnyRotten (profile), Aug 25th, 2011 @ 4:45pm

    Eastern?

     

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

  8.  
    identicon
    slick8086, Aug 25th, 2011 @ 5:07pm

    "At what point do the folks at Righthaven finally realize it's time to give up?"

    Hopefully not before they are brought up on criminal charges.

     

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

  9.  
    icon
    AG Wright (profile), Aug 25th, 2011 @ 5:12pm

    When do they give up?

    They will give up when the appeals court rules in favor of the Democratic Underground and the LVRJ finally has to pay.

     

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

  10.  
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    Tor (profile), Aug 26th, 2011 @ 12:24am

    Minor typo

    There's a typo in this sentence: "Kincannon has been the lead voice *is* arguing"

     

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

  11.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 26th, 2011 @ 2:33am

    Extortion?

    So, IANAL, but... if the court decides to roll with Kincannon's amicus curiae brief, that would seem to imply that Righthaven is not only without standing, but actually engaged in activities specifically prohibited by statute. Wouldn't that, in turn, open up Righthaven to extortion charges?

     

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

  12.  
    icon
    DannyB (profile), Aug 26th, 2011 @ 5:57am

    Re: At what point does persistence become dogged stupidity?

    I think RightHaven will give up much sooner than that.

    Probably in about one quarter of a galactic turn.

     

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

  13.  
    icon
    DannyB (profile), Aug 26th, 2011 @ 5:58am

    I hope all of these court losses . . .

    . . . go on the lawyers' resume and follow them forever.

     

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


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