Judge In South Carolina Poised To Dismiss Righthaven Suit There As Well

from the down-goes-another-one dept

Ah, the hits just keep on coming for Righthaven. Having already had judges in Nevada and Colorado dismiss Righthaven cases for lack of standing, the one remaining state where Righthaven had tried its questionable legal tactics was South Carolina, which had prompted a somewhat epic countersuit. Not surprisingly, it’s looking like it’s a trifecta of losses for Righthaven, as magistrate judge Jacquelyn Austin has made it clear that she’s not buying whatever it is that Righthaven is selling. She’s given the company until October 28th to explain why the case shouldn’t be dismissed for lack of standing.

Defendant contests Plaintiff?s ownership of the disputed copyright and argues the case should be dismissed for lack of standing. Plaintiff?s ownership of its assigned copyrights has been contested in Nevada and Colorado. Judges in Nevada have dismissed complaints for lack of standing and issued orders to show cause why these cases should not be dismissed for lack of standing. The copyright assignments in the Nevada cases are governed by a Strategic Alliance Agreement between Righthaven LLC and Stephens Media LLC which appears to be very similar to the Copyright Alliance Agreement (the ?CAA?), including its Schedule 1 ? Terms and Conditions, between Plaintiff and MediaNews Group, Inc. (?MediaNews?) that Defendant asserts governs the copyright assignment at issue in this case.* Moreover, the CAA appears to support Defendant?s claim that Plaintiff does not have standing to sue for copyright infringement. Specifically, the CAA appears to qualify any copyright assignments it governs such that Plaintiff is left only with a bare right to sue and does not own any exclusive rights in the copyright, as would be required for Plaintiff to have standing to allege an infringement claim on those copyrights. See Silvers v. Sony Pictures Entm?t, Inc., 402 F.3d 881 (9th Cir. 2005) (holding that an assignee who held an accrued claim for copyright infringement, but who had no legal or beneficial interest in the underlying copyright itself, could not institute a cause of action for infringement); Eden Toys, Inc. v. Florelee Undergarment Co., 697 F.2d 27 (2d Cir. 1982) (holding that one who owns no exclusive right in a copyright may not sue for infringement; only the owner of an exclusive right under a copyright may bring suit).

Although Plaintiff argues substantive analysis of the assignment must await discovery, the Court believes this issue should be addressed because it goes to Plaintiff?s standing to bring a copyright infringement claim at all. Thus, in the interest of judicial economy, the Court issues this Order to Show Cause why the case should not be dismissed for Plaintiff?s lack of ownership of any exclusive rights in the copyright and, therefore, lack of standing to sue.

I’m assuming that this is really just more guidance to Righthaven competitors from a judge who recognizes Righthaven’s “genuine” legal arguments, right Steve?

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Companies: righthaven

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Comments on “Judge In South Carolina Poised To Dismiss Righthaven Suit There As Well”

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

The Internet is a series of tubes that lead to the wild wild west of the high seas. and on the Intertubes everyone has an intellectual property address and that intellectual property address needs to be protected from piracy on the high seas and so more laws are needed for that protection. But pirate court here keeps allowing this wild wild west piracy and that’s not right.

Anonymous Coward says:

Piracy AC? What’s piracy? Righthaven as pirates, not quiet. I’d use a lot of other terms to describe them (non at all complimentary) but not pirates.. Oh you mean people who have pirated some movie that Righthaven are claiming copyright over.. What copyright? The judges are saying the have no right to sue.. If the copyright holder wishes to sue then thats something different.. Righthaven though are just legal scum who are about to be wiped out of existence.. Pirates don’t come into it..

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

I dunno. How many of the Righthaven defendants are actually “not liable” under current copyright law doctrine? Sure, the current doctrine sucks in lots of ways, but Congress leads the way on changing that–not the courts. If you don’t like it, talk to your representatives. Quit whining in the courts. I’m certainly in the minority, but I think Righthaven got a raw deal at the district court level. The courts were working backwards. Judge Kane was really reaching there with no Silvers to use as a crutch. Yikes.

Some Other AC (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

Congress makes/passes the laws. Done by voting for Bills in both Houses and then submitted to the current President. The Supreme Court and its lower District and Appellate Courts have the power to define the law through cases and judgments. Sometimes they get it right, and sometimes they don’t. This is all part of the checks/balances of our Government.
To speak to this particular case, Stephens Media is the Copyright owner. This gives them the “rights” granted by current copyright law. They “assigned” the right to litigate over to Righthaven, LLC. They did not hire/contract Righthaven as their legal representation. This has been made painfully clear to Righthaven and Stephens Media. From the linked articles and this blog, most, if not all, defendants had/have very strong Fair Use claims for their use of the copyrighted media in question.
This leads us to 2 conclusions. First, Righthaven has absolutely no standing in this case. If a suit was to have been brought, it should be Stephens Media filing the suit.
Second, as for the actual copyright issue itself, Fair Use is an allowed privilege and each of these cases would have had a considerable argument for such.

WysiWyg (profile) says:

Actual guidance.

You could argue that this could be construed as actual guidance, the lesson being “don’t dick around with the license”.

The problem I’m seeing is that someone else could learn from their mistake and start all over again.

I would have preferred if we got us some rulings on the actual merits of the case, not just the whole “license”-fiasco.

(Wow, not one word spelled wrong (according to my computer)!)

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