Another Loss For Righthaven: Court Explains That Its Demand For Domain Names Is Silly

from the bad-day-for-righthaven dept

Righthaven hasn’t been having too much luck lately. We’ve already covered how its having a bad day for a few different reasons, and here’s another one. As you may know, in nearly every lawsuit Righthaven files, it also demands that the defendant hand over his or her website, in addition to the $75,000 to $150,000 it usually asks for. This has left a bunch of folks scratching their heads, as there’s simply no precedent for saying that if you infringe on someone’s copyright, they get your domain. And, now, we have a court making that point clear. Eric Goldman points us to a ruling in Las Vegas by judge Roger Hunt (the same judge who unsealed the filing that may kill off most of Righthaven’s lawsuits…), in which he points out that asking for the domain name has no basis in law:

Righthaven’s complaint requests the Court to direct Heritage Web Design, LLC, the current registrar of DiBiase’s website domain name (www.nobodycases.com), to lock that domain and transfer control of it to Righthaven. However, “[t]he remedies for infringement ‘are only those prescribed by Congress,'” Sony Corp. Of Am. v. Universal City Studios, Inc., 464 U.S. 417, 431 (1984) (quoting Thompson v. Hubbard, 131 U.S. 123, 151 (1889)), and Congress has never expressly granted plaintiffs in copyright infringement cases the right to seize control over the defendant’s website domain. Therefore, the Court finds that Righthaven’s request for such relief fails as a matter of law and is dismissed.

One by one, the various pieces of Righthaven’s legal campaign are falling apart.

Filed Under: ,
Companies: righthaven

Rate this comment as insightful
Rate this comment as funny
You have rated this comment as insightful
You have rated this comment as funny
Flag this comment as abusive/trolling/spam
You have flagged this comment
The first word has already been claimed
The last word has already been claimed
Insightful Lightbulb icon Funny Laughing icon Abusive/trolling/spam Flag icon Insightful badge Lightbulb icon Funny badge Laughing icon Comments icon

Comments on “Another Loss For Righthaven: Court Explains That Its Demand For Domain Names Is Silly”

Subscribe: RSS Leave a comment
17 Comments
TheStupidOne says:

3 Questions

How much has this legal campaign cost?
How much have they brought in via ‘settlements’?
Will they be forced to give back their ill gotten gains?

If the answers to these questions are in Righthaven’s favor then it was an epic win for them even if they can’t use it anymore. It’s the way most scams work, abuse the system until you get caught, keep your winnings and move on.

Donnicton says:

Re: 3 Questions

That really depends on whether or not you are sanctioned as a vexatious litigator. While actually somewhat rare due to the seriousness of such an accusation, it’s something that could be applied to Righthaven.

It would essentially mean that they would be blacklisted, as any attorney dealing with them after that point in any further legal actions against someone could very highly result in a speedy disbarment.

Chosen Reject (profile) says:

Congress has never expressly granted plaintiffs in copyright infringement cases the right to seize control over the defendant’s website domain.

Wouldn’t that apply to ICE’s domain name seizures as well (at least for the allegedly copyright infringing seizures) or was that why ICE decided to label it as criminal infringement?

That Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

Actually I think trying to grab the domain was just another scare tactic to get people to pay them.

If you had spent years building a following and thought for a moment someone could just take all of that away by getting your domain, you look towards how to make it go away quickly and keep what you have.

The problem in these cases is there is not much help available unless you have a large warchest to draw upon to get a team to rip it apart. Considering many of their targets were small blogs, they just wanted to be able to show “wins” to help convince others to cave to their demands.

Anonymous Coward says:

If the request to hand over the domain was made within the cliam filed in Court, then the Court has every right to dimsiss such a request on the basis that no such remedy is available to Righthaven under law.

HOWEVER…if Righthaven demand the domain in by letter or some other demand on the Defendant, that is an issue between the parties. Parties can negotiate and request anything they like, unless it is not criminally unlawful.

Negotitations and settlements can take place on whatever terms the parties agree, and the Defendant can choose whether or not to accept the ‘offer’ (term used loosely).

FUDbuster (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Congress has never expressly granted plaintiffs in copyright infringement cases the right to seize control over the defendant’s website domain. Therefore, the Court finds that Righthaven’s request for such relief fails as a matter of law and is dismissed.

My understanding is that while the remedy is not expressly granted in the Copyright Act, it could be an equitable remedy under Section 502. I don’t think it’s accurate to say that the remedy is per se not available.

Hooter McBus (profile) says:

If the request to hand over the domain was made within the cliam filed in Court, then the Court has every right to dimsiss such a request on the basis that no such remedy is available to Righthaven under law.

HOWEVER…if Righthaven demand the domain in by letter or some other demand on the Defendant, that is an issue between the parties. Parties can negotiate and request anything they like, unless it is not criminally unlawful.

Negotitations and settlements can take place on whatever terms the parties agree, and the Defendant can choose whether or not to accept the ‘offer’ (term used loosely).

Add Your Comment

Your email address will not be published.

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here

Comment Options:

Make this the or (get credits or sign in to see balance) what's this?

What's this?

Techdirt community members with Techdirt Credits can spotlight a comment as either the "First Word" or "Last Word" on a particular comment thread. Credits can be purchased at the Techdirt Insider Shop »

Follow Techdirt

Techdirt Daily Newsletter

Techdirt Deals
Techdirt Insider Discord
The latest chatter on the Techdirt Insider Discord channel...
Loading...