Righthaven Dismisses Lawsuit After Judge Slams Its Business Model

from the smart-judge dept

It’s looking like more and more judges are recognizing that the new found love of copyright trolls, to use the US judicial system as a shotgun to force people to pay settlement fees, is not a proper use of the courts. The company has been losing some important rulings, and has had to drop other lawsuits. Over in Colorado, where Righthaven has been filing a bunch of lawsuits for the Denver Post, Judge John Kane has made it clear that he’s not impressed by Righthaven’s business model and sees no reason to use the court to help it:

“[W]hether or not this case settles is not my primary concern. Although Plaintiff’s business model relies in large part upon reaching settlement agreements with a minimal investment of time and effort, the purpose of the courts is to provide a forum for the orderly, just, and timely resolution of controversies and disputes. Plaintiff?s wishes to the contrary, the courts are not merely tools for encouraging and exacting settlements from Defendants cowed by the potential costs of litigation and liability.”

This was in rejecting Righthaven’s request for an extension for filing its latest motion in a case, which is a really standard thing that judges almost always grant. But here, the judge said no. That alone is a pretty big slam against Righthaven.

Righthaven then quickly dismissed the lawsuit, which had been filed against “a mentally and physically disabled” 20-year old. Amusingly, in the dismissal notice, Righthaven lashes out at the defendant for using the lawsuit to attack it and its business model, and says that’s why it has decided to drop the lawsuit. Uh, yeah, right.

That sort of petulant tone probably isn’t going to help Righthaven or its client, the Denver Post, considering that the judge here, Judge Kane, is the judge for all of Righthaven’s Colorado cases. Either way it’s nice to see more and more courts pushing back on these kinds of lawsuits. I’m curious to hear the responses of those in our comments who thought these lawsuits were all perfectly legit when they were being filed.

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Companies: righthaven

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Comments on “Righthaven Dismisses Lawsuit After Judge Slams Its Business Model”

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41 Comments
Squirrel Brains (profile) says:

I am continually amazed at Righthaven’s attempts to portray themselves as the victim. This notice of voluntary dismissal could be paraphrased like this:

“We wanted to extort a few dollars from the defendant and the defendant played along. It is unfair that the defendant then turned around and tried to use the court to pursue justice in this case, catching us with our pants down. Everyone else reading this, don’t think we will be so thin-skinned or incompetent in the next case.”

Michael (profile) says:

Great statement

“In short, Defendant and his counsel wish to prolong these proceedings so that they can continue to use this case as a means for unjustly attacking Righthaven and its copyright enforcement efforts.”

So basically, they are complaining that the defendant is using the legal system as leverage to bully them into doing something they would normally not agree to do.

…something about a pot and a kettle…

fogbugzd (profile) says:

>>”the courts are not merely tools for encouraging and exacting settlements from Defendants cowed by the potential costs of litigation and liability.”

That quote should be part of every defense motion filed in these types of cases. It is nice to see it put so concisely. We have seen people post here in TD that is is perfectly fine to send pre-settlement letters as soon as the John Doe cases are filed, but that leads to exactly the type of abuse this judge has highlighted.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

Not a lawyer, however I read through most of Hill’s motion yesterday, and it revealed the dates of Hill’s alleged infringement (according to Righthaven) don’t match up to when Righthaven obtained the copyright – Hill’s site was disabled due to excessive bandwidth usage by the webhost day/s before Righthaven obtained the rights, so, in a nutshell, the suit wasn’t legit from the outset.

That’s how I understood it, anyway.

MrWilson says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

Which is what’s wrong with copyright law.

Fair use should be a defense before a lawsuit, not after. Having a lawsuit filed against you is already a punishment before possibly being found liable for anything. Lawyers are expensive and there is no right to an attorney for a civil suit. It’s exactly why these cases are extortion. Lack of money should not be the cause for a lack of justice. If the system is so complicated that a poor man who cannot hire a lawyer cannot also defend himself easily, the system is corrupted and broken.

But beyond all this, these lawsuits are not ethical, regardless of how legal they may be perceived to be.

Nastybutler77 says:

Re: Re:

How was this lawsuit against Hill not legitimate?

As the defendant’s attorney stated, the fact that no cease and desist or any other attempt to get the allegedly infringing material removed from the defendant’s site prior to the lawsuit being filed shows that the plaintif wasn’t concerned with anything other than using these lawsuits to shake down people for money. That’s why all these lawsuits are not ligitimate.

FUDbuster (profile) says:

Worth a read is Hill’s brief. It’s quite well done: http://www.scribd.com/doc/52561361/Brian-Hill%E2%80%99s-Brief-In-Support-of-Motion-to-Dismiss

It is strange that on the one hand, Hill was claiming to be in serious settlement talks with Righthaven, but on the other hand, Hill opposed their motion for more time to respond to his motion. Usually parties that are in settlement talks do not oppose such motions. It’s a gesture of good faith.

Regardless, despite Righthaven’s silly warnings to other defendants at the end of their notice, this case does show that they’ll back down if the stakes get too high.

Josh in CharlotteNC (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Regardless, despite Righthaven’s silly warnings to other defendants at the end of their notice, this case does show that they’ll back down if the stakes get too high.

Because their entire business model will collapse when the precedents are handed down, and Righthaven wishes to prolong the time they can extort money from people.

Anonymous Coward says:

That’s just too good. Righthaven waits till it finds something on the net it can pursuit and only then does it go off to buy the copyright that allows it to go after a victim.

That Righthaven chooses to drop the case says a lot when that’s it’s method of gaining money. It’s finally stepped over the line and had it’s fingers slapped.

Guess it will have to move to some other area to continue this method of bilking people out of money since it’s crapped in it’s local food bowl.

Sarcasm on: Ain’t life a bitch! sarcasm off.

Roland says:

sloppy reporting

I’ve said it before on this site: plaintiffs DO NOT dismiss lawsuits. Only a judge can do that. Apparently the plaintiff REQUESTED dismisal and the judge agreed. Under what terms? A simple dismisal means the plaintiff can re-file the suit later. Dismissal ‘with prejudice’ means he can’t. So which is it? C’mon, get it right!

darryl says:

Drop but not dismiss

yes Rolnd I was going to say the same thing, only the Judge and Dismiss a case, not the plaintif or the defendant.

So the headline is designed to be inflamatory and untrue.

Just was we have come to expact from Mike, its not ‘sloppy’ reporting, it’s not reporting at all.

Just ignorant tripe.

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