Those Who Settled With Righthaven Consider Taking Action; Righthaven Threatens Them With More Suits

from the digging-deeper dept

With a Nevada court realizing that Righthaven likely never had standing to sue in the hundreds of lawsuits it filed for copyright infringement, the 100 or so sites, people, and companies who already settled rather than fight are considering what action to take, and whether or not it makes sense to try to get their money back. Most settlement info wasn’t made public, but stories reported settlements in the $5,000 range. For some larger companies it might not even be worth the legal fees. Of course, Righthaven’s response to reporter David Kravets from Wired asking about the possibility of settlers asking for their money back? Why, it’s to threaten to sue them again:

?As of today, there should be no question whether Righthaven has standing,? Gibson said.

Gibson noted that rights holders have three years to file a lawsuit from the time the infringement occurs ? meaning the bloggers who settled might be sued again if their settlements or lawsuits are vacated.

?The statute of limitations,? he said, ?is three years for copyright infringement.?

Classy guy.

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Companies: righthaven

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Comments on “Those Who Settled With Righthaven Consider Taking Action; Righthaven Threatens Them With More Suits”

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Mr. Smarta** says:

Why not?

I’m shocked that Righthaven isn’t suing the judge for having the audacity to rule against them. If they follow their typical legal methodology, they’ll end up suing the judge, the courts, the administration, and even sue the US Supreme Court.

After all, if you’re going to dig yourself a hole, you might as well dig one all the way to China.

PrometheeFeu (profile) says:

As much as I don’t like this, I can see it making some amount of sense. If Righthaven doesn’t have standing, this does not mean that someone else does not. In fact, the real copyright holders most definitely have standing. So it could very well be that those people could sue Righthaven only to be hit by the real copyright holders. (Unless there is some sort of rule basically punishing the copyright holder for trying to sell its right to sue) On the other hand, if that is the case, the settlements only bind Righthaven and those who settled. That means the original copyright holder can sue whether the settlements are vacated or not. Unless of course, Righthaven’s plan is to properly acquire the copyright and not just the right to sue.

sumquy (profile) says:

i can’t find it now, but i know i have read here on techdirt another situation very similar to this. if i remember right, a company sued a bunch of other companies for patent violations; most settled, but one didn’t, and won against the troll. the ones who had settled tried to sue and get their money back, but a judge essentially told them they were sol.

anyone know the link?

Rikuo (profile) says:


Completely off topic here but its been bugging me lately.
“Settling is NOT and admission of guilt. period”. See after NOT? it should be “Not an admission”, why is there a d? I actually highly doubt the commenter typed it, its something I see a lot in comments on web pages. Another example is when I constantly see “defiantly” when in the context of the sentence used, it’s clear it should be “definitely”.

Anonymous Coward says:


i typed it and it was indeed a typo. I know that you use an if the next word starts with a vowel instead of using “a,” for example. I also know that the context that you use “an” and “and” are different. And is used to combine two subjects in a sentence or it is used as part of a sequence. For example, bannana, pear, and apple.

Brian says:

A couple of questions

With Righthaven having botched the job so badly wouldn’t it be a bit more difficult to be ‘re-sued’ by say Stephen’s Media;
1. In a legitimate case doesn’t the plaintiff have to issue a cease and desist notice to the possible infringer? The infringer then either complies or tells the troll to pound sand and it moves forward. In these instances wouldn’t the cease and desist order have been complied with albeit forcibly but technically complied with, hence they are no longer infringing and Stephen’s Media can go off an die somewhere.
2. Is it worth the risk of ‘re-suing’ after you and your troll cohorts have just been dragged through the mud and justifiably so? How likely is a judge to side with you when you have set the precedence?

CSMcDonald (profile) says:

A bit more context to the quote regarding Righthaven's standing to sue

From the article – puts the lawyer’s assertion that no question should remain in better context:

“Righthaven and Stephens Media have altered their licensing arrangement in a bid to obtain legal standing, Gibson said. The agreement has always granted each side a 50 percent stake in settlements and verdicts.

The altered arrangement, however, has not been tested in court. Hunt, however, labeled the licensing changes ?cosmetic,? but declined to rule if the new agreement gives Righthaven the right to sue.:

Ken (profile) says:

Nevada State Bar looking into Righthaven

Righthaven and Steve Gibson are in complete denial over the predicament they are in. Sanctions may be the easy part. The Nevada State Bar has now taken notice and if they are sanctioned they will have to take action. The Nevada Atty General may also take notice.

Gibson is in a world of heart. He is so arrogant that he thinks he can talk his way out of anything but given his lousy track record in the courts I think disbarment and even criminal charges are looking more likely.

Scote (profile) says:

Righthaven can't retroactively remediate standing

True. Double jeopardy is only an issue for criminal cases.

However, I don’t think that Righthaven can remedy its lack of standing. I don’t think the right to sue is transferable for past copyright offenses. The way the scheme worked was that Righthaven would look for posts that used Stephens Media copyrighted material, then Righthaven (via agreement with Stephens Media) would claim to have copyright to that material and sue without notice. But even under that scheme Righthaven had to claim copyright over the material *while it was still posted*, which is why Stephens Media never sent takedown notices, so that Righthaven could claim Righthaven’s rights were violated. But since Righthaven never recieved a valid transfer and because the material is taken down, if Stephens and Righthaven amend their agreement it can only apply to **future** suits. The change in the agreement can’t be used to retroactively remediate their past suits. The lack of standing still, for lack of a better term, stands. The statute of limitations is irrelevant since Righthaven never had standing to sue.

Stephens Media, on the other hand, is still free to hire a law firm in the normal way and sue for copyright infringement. But for some really weird reason they seem utterly averse to doing business in the rational, legal way.


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