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. icon
    average_joe (profile), 10 Sep 2010 @ 2:36pm

    I'm surprised you were comfortable quoting Evan Brown. He is, after all, an IP attorney. In your little world that makes him necessarily an abuser of a system for profit, and one to be hated.

    That having been said, it's obvious why Righthaven throws in the demand for the domain name. You're right on the money with your analysis, IMO.

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