Why Is Righthaven Demanding The Domain Names Of Sites It Sues?

from the it-makes-no-sense dept

In covering all of the Righthaven lawsuits, we've noted that the company sues everyone for $75,000 and, bizarrely, that it also demands they hand over their domain name. To date, no one has actually done that. Every settlement that's been revealed has been for $5,000 or less, and hasn't included anything about a domain name. But, some are pointing out just how ridiculous it is to demand the domain name transfer on a copyright claim. As lawyer Evan Brown notes at that link:
This is a copyright lawsuit, not one for trademark infringement or cybersquatting. Nothing in the Copyright Act provides the transfer of a domain name as a remedy. Such an order would be tantamount to handing the whole website over to Righthaven just because there may have been a couple of infringing items.

The Copyright Act does provide for the impounding and disposition of infringing articles (See 17 USC 503). So it's plausible that a court would award the deletion of the actual alleged infringing articles. Or if it wanted to be weirdly and anachronistically quaint about it, could order that the infringing files on the server be removed and somehow destroyed in a way additional to just being deleted. In any event, there's no basis for a court to order the transfer of a domain name as a result of copyright infringement.
Of course, the real reason probably has more to do with the typical lawyer's concept of "scare them into settling," and adding a demand for the domain is just a part of that, hoping that the recipients of the lawsuits will be more willing to roll over and settle if they think their entire website is at risk.
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Filed Under: copyright, domain names
Companies: righthaven


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  1. identicon
    darryl, 10 Sep 2010 @ 4:30pm

    Simple reason why, IMO.

    Ofcourse, they or the state has the right to demand any and all assets acquired from the proceeds of crime.

    You think if the police raid a drug lab, they let the crims keep the equipment just not the chemicals, or do you think they let them keep the hourse and land purchased from the money they make ? No..

    Are these file sharing sites that are not whinning about their domain names, consider that is exactly what they were doing to the creators of the files they distribute.

    Ie, they were profiting illegally off the IP off someone else, but what their own IP protected by the same laws they are breaking !!..

    As for the amount, one side goes one way, the other goes the other, and if they are lucky they meet somewhere in the middle, and settle. If not they let the court decide.

    And if those demands are allready on the lawsuits, then the courts have allready approved, and signed those lawsuits, agreeing that they are warranted, and at that value.

    Thats why most settle, they know they are fighting a losing battle otherwise. If they let the courts decide.

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