Righthaven, King Of Suing Without Notification, Whines To Judge About Motions Filed Against It Without Enough Notification
from the cry-me-a-freaking-river dept
Righthaven doesn’t do irony well. While there are lots of points of criticism on which to ding Righthaven, one of the biggest (and first) criticisms of the company’s strategy was its failure to issue takedowns or any notification to the hosting provider when it came across works it believed were infringing. While not necessarily required, it certainly has become standard in copyright situations to issue a DMCA takedown and/or a cease & desist letter when it comes to infringement, and then only follow through with a lawsuit if that doesn’t stop the alleged infringement. But, of course, Righthaven’s business strategy was all about getting people to pay up — not about getting infringing content offline. Such prior notice would go against that strategy. So, Righthaven was very much a “sue first” company. As far as I know, it never notified any of the hundreds of sites it sued, prior to the lawsuits.
So there’s a fair bit of irony in seeing Righthaven’s latest skirmish, going on in Colorado, where all of Righthaven’s cases are under review, as the judge covering the case was profoundly unimpressed by Righthaven’s attempt to abuse the judicial system as a part of a business model.
In one of the cases, the guy that Righthaven had sued, Leland Wolf and his lawyers from the Randazza Group, had filed a motion for preliminary injunction against Righthaven. Rather than respond on the merits, Righthaven threw a hissy fit, arguing that filing such a motion without first discussing it with Righthaven was a violation of a minor local rule. Yes, you read that right. The company, whose entire business model is based on suing people without any notice whatsoever, got all upset over an opposing party filing a motion without fully discussing it. You can see the motion below, along with the back and forth between the lawyers for Randazza and Righthaven. At times, the email exchanges are pretty amusing. Righthaven lawyer Shawn Mangano, for example, complains about Randazza sending him an email at 7:30 pm, and demanding a response by the following afternoon, saying that such late night notice is unfair. To that, the lawyers respond:
First, you claimed in your lengthy September 8, 2011 email that we have not made a sufficient effort to meet and confer with you about this motion. Yet, you responded to Mr. DeVoy’s e-mail within approximately 75 minutes of its transmission. Later that night, shortly before 3:00 am, you filed an application for a stay of execution of the judgment in Righthave LLC v. Hoehn…. The application was lengthy and thoroughly researched, and was likely in the works long before it was filed. I believe your accusation of us trying to sandbag you with a long-planned motion is a bit ironic when, just 6 hours later, you did what your e-mail accused us of attempting.
Additionally, reviewing numerous cm/ecf filings that I have received in cases where I am counsel of record, or those that Mr. DeVoy have forwarded to me for review, they are consistently filed after 10pm, and often after midnight. I have personally participated in calls with you near midnight. By all appearances, your practice is clearly nocturnal. In fact, if we were attempting to sandbag you, it would seem tactically prudent to do so by providing information to you at 9:00 AM.
The letter goes on to detail a history of Righthaven actions in which it had surprised Randazza and its clients with filings. In fact, it notes: “The fact is, we have never given courtesy in a Righthaven case, and not then been stunned with some act, which makes us regret doing so.”
It appears that the judge was not impressed by Righthaven’s tantrum in this case either, and almost immediately issued an order that the hearing “will proceed as scheduled.”
Keep digging, Righthaven.