Righthaven Dismisses Lawsuit Against Reporter; Still Seems Confused About The Whole Thing

from the well,-there-you-go dept

A few hours ago, we wrote about Righthaven’s painfully stupid lawsuit against Eriq Gardner claiming copyright infringement for an article he wrote about a previous Righthaven lawsuit, that included an image from Righthaven’s own legal filing. After widespread mocking, it appears that Righthaven has realized it totally and completely screwed this one up, though it seemed to take a little while. This morning, reporter Joe Mullin called Righthaven CEO Steve Gibson, and he insisted this was going to be “litigated before the court,” and seemed to suggest that Righthaven was confident it was right here.

Clearly, others in the Righthaven office talked some sense in to Gibson because sometime after that (but apparently still in the morning), Righthaven filed for a voluntary dismissal of the lawsuit, with prejudice (meaning it can’t file again). Of course, Righthaven even screwed that up, with its initial filing claiming it was to be done without prejudice in one point and with it in another. Eventually it got it right.

As for Righthaven’s explanation, contrary to the claims of its CEO, the two Righthaven lawyers who Nate Anderson at Ars Technica spoke to, Steven Ganim and Shawn Mangano, appear to give a totally different story. They claim that they realized it was a mistake as soon as they heard about it, and claimed this was just a “clerical mistake,” and they never meant to sue a reporter writing about their cases. That is, frankly, completely unbelievable. They filed a federal lawsuit against an individual, including an exhibit which clearly showed the entire original article from Gardner. Either they didn’t read their own exhibits, didn’t understand what they were doing, or knew full well that they were suing someone who was reporting on their own case. I can’t see how any of those options makes Righthaven look particularly credible.

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Comments on “Righthaven Dismisses Lawsuit Against Reporter; Still Seems Confused About The Whole Thing”

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42 Comments
Ken (profile) says:

This isn’t credible. Infact it has been done before. They are suing the Toronto Star for having the TSA image. Problem is Toronto Star is an AP affiliate and the AP distributed this photo to several newspapers so more than likely the Toronto Star had permission

They are also suing MIXX.com for a thumbnail as well as DailyKix.com also for a thumbnail even though Thumbnails have already been ruled fair use by the 9th circuit court of appeals. What is noteworthy too is that MIXX.com is one of the 322 social bookmarking sites that the Denver Post offeres in sharing their content including the TSA image.

It is also interesting that both MIXX.com and DailyKix do not hold the images on their servers but merely have code that queries the sources server to send the image to the users browser. The image never exists on their servers an the same 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruling states that simply having code that directs information is not a copyright violation. If it was the entire Internet would be illegal.

What is interesting is that both Mixx.com and DailyKix are being sued for linking and having a thumbnail for a site called deadseriousnews.com who still has the image on their site and has not been sued by Righthaven. Infact many of the people who are being sued got the image from that site. Righthaven knows about deadseriousnews because the site is mentioned in several different Righthaven exhibits. This suggests that deadseriousnews.com is being used by Righthavan as a honeypot to attract people that would not normally visit the Denver Post.

There have simply been too many dubious claims by Righthaven to give them any credibility. News Media Group the parent company of The Denver Post is risking even more embarrassment and worse by their association with Righthaven. It would be in their best interest to dump them for good.

Ken (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Any reasonable law firm would suspend all new legal activity and investigate how something like this could have happened, but not Righthaven. They won’t miss a beat because most likely they don’t have to investigate what happened because they already know.

All Righthaven cases now need to be investigated. There are probably scores of cases that are just as bad as the one they were forced to close (only because they got caught)

Righthaven said they closed the case because they found out he was a journalist? however they knew enough about him and the website to know the site had a DMCA registration. They would only had to look at their exhibit to know he was a reporter but then again had they looked at their own exhibit they would have discovered it was from their own court document from the Drudge suit.

This may have been an attempt on Rightahven’s part to silence a journalist that has been critical of Righthaven. If that is the case this would constitute criminal activity in the highest order. This case screams for a federal investigation.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

This may have been an attempt on Rightahven’s part to silence a journalist that has been critical of Righthaven. If that is the case this would constitute criminal activity in the highest order. This case screams for a federal investigation.

All due respect (which is none), but you sound like a freaking idiot. It’s not criminal to sue someone who copies your work. No investigation will ever happen. You live in a crazy, angry dreamworld.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

The journalist did not copy anyone’s work. He used a court document that is public property. Filing a lawsuit for malicious reasons and using false evidence is a reason to investigate.

Just because something appears as an exhibit in a court document doesn’t mean that work loses its copyright. There are no malicious reasons and there will be no investigation. You sound like a crazy fool.

Ken says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

A court exhibit is public information that can be used for any purpose. Copyrighted material is on every court filing that deals with copyrights as evidence? Are you suggesting that the public has no right to public documents that deal with copyrights?

Righthaven was forced to withdraw the case because of it so whatever you believe is not supported by the law or common sense.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

They are also suing MIXX.com for a thumbnail as well as DailyKix.com also for a thumbnail even though Thumbnails have already been ruled fair use by the 9th circuit court of appeals.

You’re a pretty confused guy. Thumbnails in general are not fair use. It depends on the circumstances.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

Mixx.com and DailyKix.com was using the thumbnails the same way discribed in the 9th circuit court precedent.

This president and other rulings is why Facebook can offer thumbnails as the default when you post a news article on Facebook. In fact you have to specifically check the option for “no thumbnail”

Read the 9th Circuit Court decisions:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kelly_v._Arriba_Soft_Corporation

This is exactly how both Mixx and DailyKix use the thumbnails.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

This president and other rulings…

Which “president” is that? Obama? 😉

Read the 9th Circuit Court decisions: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kelly_v._Arriba_Soft_Corporation
This is exactly how both Mixx and DailyKix use the thumbnails.

I don’t need to read it. I can recite the facts and the holding in that case from memory. Mixx and DailyKix are not search engines. Their use is not the same.

Ken says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

They facilitate people’s ability to find information just like a search engine. Infact Mixx is actually one of the Social Bookmarking sites that Denver Post uses to invite people to share. If you take Denver Post on their offer you get a thumbnail on Mixx. Deadseriousnews.com also invites people to share on Mixx. When people shared the Deadseriosnews.com story with the TSA image on Mixx it also produced a thumbnail. That is what got them sued (but not Deadserious news). DailyKix uses the Mixx API to mirror what is sent to Mixx, which is what got them sued. (but not Deadseriousnews).

It is interesting how so many people being sued are connected with deadseriousnews but Righthaven has not sued them which suggests Righthaven is using deadseriousnews as a honeypot to entrap people that normally would not come in contact with the Denver Post.

Deadseriousnews.com has no attribution and leads the reader to believe the photo was taken in San Fransisco. The site completely separates the photo from the original source.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Calls for a Federal Investigation.

Don’t argue with him. He’s an ip-maximalist bot:

State facts and he’ll say you don’t understand them or ignore them completely.
Provide sources and he’ll either say the methodology was flawed, you you didn’t really read them, or ignore them.
Use logic and he’ll tell you you didn’t read his posts, are arguing a straw man, or are just generally a simpleton.

Then he’ll complain how mean everyone is and how narrow-minded they are.

Lather, rinse, repeat.

Notice the hypocritical use of ad hominem, flawed logic, and lack of evidence. But he won’t ever acknowledge it.

Ken (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Calls for a Federal Investigation.

Ok I thought I was dealing with a split personality. The Anonymous Coward who is the Righthaven apologist is absolutely an IP maximalists. I have read into this movement and it is truly scary and anti-Constitution. They claim that intellectual property trumps all other rights and is working to abolish any concept of fair use and impose strict control over all information including the Internet.

We as Americans believe in intellectual property but it has never been as absolute as real property. It does not trump other rights. Infact it is one of the few rights that the Constitution itself mandates a time limit even though that has been circumvented. For now.

An abuse of the system by Righthaven and other IP Max groups will actually end up causing an outcry for overreaching and the pendulum will swing the other way again towards freer access to information. Which is the antithesis of IP maximalists.

http://www.twnside.org.sg/title2/intellectual_property/development.research/SusanSellfinalversion.pdf

This is a peer reviewed scholarly writing on this subject. It is no conspiracy theory.

Ken says:

Re: Re: Re:5 Calls for a Federal Investigation.

Not even real property is absolute. There are even fair uses to real estate such as easements. I can walk on the side that technically runs right through your property. I can go to your door and ring the bell as long as their is not a no trespassing sign.

You do not have complete control of your property. There are city ordinances that you have to follow. You may pay property taxes. The state can take your property in certain situations. No property is absolute, and intellectual property even less.

Narcissus (profile) says:

I’m all for allowing people to go to court whenever they want about whatever they want but isn’t it time we somehow limited lawyer stupidity/greed?

Just an idea: If somebody files a lawsuit and is laughed out of court (or Anti-Slapped), the lawyer involved shouldn’t be allowed to send a bill for the work unless he told the client this was a stupid idea and let him sign a waiver to that effect. Something like: “I discussed this with my legal counsil and against his express legal advice I still want to press this case. Signed Mr. M. Oron”

It seems that now there is no incentive for lawyers to discourage customers from pressing dubious lawsuits. Not sure this is the best solution but I feel that (in some cases) we need to force lawyers to give proper legal advice or suffer from their own incompetence.

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