Righthaven Dismisses Lawsuit After Judge Slams Its Business Model

from the smart-judge dept

It's looking like more and more judges are recognizing that the new found love of copyright trolls, to use the US judicial system as a shotgun to force people to pay settlement fees, is not a proper use of the courts. The company has been losing some important rulings, and has had to drop other lawsuits. Over in Colorado, where Righthaven has been filing a bunch of lawsuits for the Denver Post, Judge John Kane has made it clear that he's not impressed by Righthaven's business model and sees no reason to use the court to help it:
"[W]hether or not this case settles is not my primary concern. Although Plaintiff's business model relies in large part upon reaching settlement agreements with a minimal investment of time and effort, the purpose of the courts is to provide a forum for the orderly, just, and timely resolution of controversies and disputes. Plaintiff’s wishes to the contrary, the courts are not merely tools for encouraging and exacting settlements from Defendants cowed by the potential costs of litigation and liability."
This was in rejecting Righthaven's request for an extension for filing its latest motion in a case, which is a really standard thing that judges almost always grant. But here, the judge said no. That alone is a pretty big slam against Righthaven.

Righthaven then quickly dismissed the lawsuit, which had been filed against "a mentally and physically disabled" 20-year old. Amusingly, in the dismissal notice, Righthaven lashes out at the defendant for using the lawsuit to attack it and its business model, and says that's why it has decided to drop the lawsuit. Uh, yeah, right.

That sort of petulant tone probably isn't going to help Righthaven or its client, the Denver Post, considering that the judge here, Judge Kane, is the judge for all of Righthaven's Colorado cases. Either way it's nice to see more and more courts pushing back on these kinds of lawsuits. I'm curious to hear the responses of those in our comments who thought these lawsuits were all perfectly legit when they were being filed.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
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    Squirrel Brains (profile), Apr 12th, 2011 @ 7:39am

    I am continually amazed at Righthaven's attempts to portray themselves as the victim. This notice of voluntary dismissal could be paraphrased like this:

    "We wanted to extort a few dollars from the defendant and the defendant played along. It is unfair that the defendant then turned around and tried to use the court to pursue justice in this case, catching us with our pants down. Everyone else reading this, don't think we will be so thin-skinned or incompetent in the next case."

     

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  2.  
    identicon
    Michael, Apr 12th, 2011 @ 7:39am

    Great statement

    "In short, Defendant and his counsel wish to prolong these proceedings so that they can continue to use this case as a means for unjustly attacking Righthaven and its copyright enforcement efforts."

    So basically, they are complaining that the defendant is using the legal system as leverage to bully them into doing something they would normally not agree to do.


    ...something about a pot and a kettle...

     

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  3.  
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    Capitalist Lion Tamer (profile), Apr 12th, 2011 @ 7:41am

    Performance rights agencies must be kicking themselves

    They've taken on charities, animal shelters, the Girl Scouts and hundreds of small businesses, but it never occurred to them to shakedown a "mentally and physically disabled person."

     

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  4.  
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    fogbugzd (profile), Apr 12th, 2011 @ 7:42am

    >>"the courts are not merely tools for encouraging and exacting settlements from Defendants cowed by the potential costs of litigation and liability."

    That quote should be part of every defense motion filed in these types of cases. It is nice to see it put so concisely. We have seen people post here in TD that is is perfectly fine to send pre-settlement letters as soon as the John Doe cases are filed, but that leads to exactly the type of abuse this judge has highlighted.

     

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  5.  
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    coldbrew, Apr 12th, 2011 @ 8:24am

    Fucking Lawyers

    Kill them all.

     

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  6.  
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    Jay (profile), Apr 12th, 2011 @ 8:26am

    Re: Fucking Lawyers

    Nah, let them live.

    They create their own hell by foolish lawsuits like this.

     

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  7.  
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    Jay (profile), Apr 12th, 2011 @ 8:27am

    Re: Performance rights agencies must be kicking themselves

    Does the dead count?

     

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  8.  
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    FUDbuster (profile), Apr 12th, 2011 @ 8:32am

    I'm curious to hear the responses of those in our comments who thought these lawsuits were all perfectly legit when they were being filed.

    How was this lawsuit against Hill not legitimate?

     

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  9.  
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    Jay (profile), Apr 12th, 2011 @ 8:36am

    Re:

    His health was detiorating because of the lawsuit. All for copying a few lines of text, I believe on a website. Fair use should have defended him, not have Righthaven try to hang him out to dry for copying.

     

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  10.  
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    FUDbuster (profile), Apr 12th, 2011 @ 8:43am

    Worth a read is Hill's brief. It's quite well done: http://www.scribd.com/doc/52561361/Brian-Hill%E2%80%99s-Brief-In-Support-of-Motion-to-Dismiss

    It is strange that on the one hand, Hill was claiming to be in serious settlement talks with Righthaven, but on the other hand, Hill opposed their motion for more time to respond to his motion. Usually parties that are in settlement talks do not oppose such motions. It's a gesture of good faith.

    Regardless, despite Righthaven's silly warnings to other defendants at the end of their notice, this case does show that they'll back down if the stakes get too high.

     

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  11.  
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    FUDbuster (profile), Apr 12th, 2011 @ 8:45am

    Re: Re:

    The circumstances of his health are most unfortunate, and it's a good thing that Righthaven backed down. Still, I don't see how the complaint wasn't legitimate to begin with. It was just vanilla infringement.

     

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  12.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 12th, 2011 @ 8:47am

    That's just too good. Righthaven waits till it finds something on the net it can pursuit and only then does it go off to buy the copyright that allows it to go after a victim.

    That Righthaven chooses to drop the case says a lot when that's it's method of gaining money. It's finally stepped over the line and had it's fingers slapped.

    Guess it will have to move to some other area to continue this method of bilking people out of money since it's crapped in it's local food bowl.

    Sarcasm on: Ain't life a bitch! sarcasm off.

     

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  13.  
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    coldbrew, Apr 12th, 2011 @ 8:48am

    Re: Re: Re:

    I want to rip your heart out and eat it in front of you. You are a dishonest piece of shit, and you should die a horrible death. I hope someone treats you as poorly as you claim to want to treat others, you fuck head.

     

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  14.  
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    FUDbuster (profile), Apr 12th, 2011 @ 8:53am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    May I suggest anger management classes?

     

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  15.  
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    Squirrel Brains (profile), Apr 12th, 2011 @ 8:59am

    Re:

    I think good faith flew out the window in these cases a long time ago.

     

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  16.  
    identicon
    Nicedoggy, Apr 12th, 2011 @ 9:15am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Are you a judge in the case?

    I didn't hear your judgment in there, did anybody?

    For all we know what he did was vanilla fair use.

     

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  17.  
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    coldbrew, Apr 12th, 2011 @ 9:20am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Sure, but only if I may suggest killing yourself.

     

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  18.  
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    FUDbuster (profile), Apr 12th, 2011 @ 9:31am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    You're right. I should have said vanilla copying, not infringement. It might not have been infringement. You're absolutely right. But it certainly was copying, which is what makes the lawsuit legitimate.

     

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  19.  
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    Josh in CharlotteNC (profile), Apr 12th, 2011 @ 9:31am

    Re:

    Regardless, despite Righthaven's silly warnings to other defendants at the end of their notice, this case does show that they'll back down if the stakes get too high.

    Because their entire business model will collapse when the precedents are handed down, and Righthaven wishes to prolong the time they can extort money from people.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  20.  
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    FUDbuster (profile), Apr 12th, 2011 @ 9:36am

    Re: Re:

    Maybe. I think the bad press and the cost to litigate were what made them throw in the towel. Hill had the hungry press and a hungry pro bono attorney on his side. I don't blame Righthaven for walking away.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  21.  
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    FUDbuster (profile), Apr 12th, 2011 @ 9:38am

    Re: Re:

    Maybe so.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  22.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 12th, 2011 @ 9:53am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Not a lawyer, however I read through most of Hill's motion yesterday, and it revealed the dates of Hill's alleged infringement (according to Righthaven) don't match up to when Righthaven obtained the copyright - Hill's site was disabled due to excessive bandwidth usage by the webhost day/s before Righthaven obtained the rights, so, in a nutshell, the suit wasn't legit from the outset.

    That's how I understood it, anyway.

     

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  23.  
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    FUDbuster (profile), Apr 12th, 2011 @ 9:55am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    That's certainly a great sounding defense. Very plausible.

     

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  24.  
    identicon
    peter, Apr 12th, 2011 @ 9:56am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Or just laying off the red Bull and Coffee mixers.

     

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  25.  
    identicon
    coldbrew, Apr 12th, 2011 @ 10:27am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    so, average joe is now known as fudbuster? good to know.

    If I ever visit DC again, I will make sure to find you, and see if you can says these things to someones' face. I think you are a coward, and there's no way you could say this shit to my face.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  26. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
     
    identicon
    coldbrew, Apr 12th, 2011 @ 10:32am

    Re: Re: Re:

    I'm going to video me kicking the living shit out of you and send it to Masnick. Unmerciful. Can't wait :-)

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  27.  
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    FUDbuster (profile), Apr 12th, 2011 @ 10:44am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Somebody needs a time out. And psychotherapy.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  28.  
    identicon
    MrWilson, Apr 12th, 2011 @ 10:46am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Which is what's wrong with copyright law.

    Fair use should be a defense before a lawsuit, not after. Having a lawsuit filed against you is already a punishment before possibly being found liable for anything. Lawyers are expensive and there is no right to an attorney for a civil suit. It's exactly why these cases are extortion. Lack of money should not be the cause for a lack of justice. If the system is so complicated that a poor man who cannot hire a lawyer cannot also defend himself easily, the system is corrupted and broken.

    But beyond all this, these lawsuits are not ethical, regardless of how legal they may be perceived to be.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  29.  
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    Atkray (profile), Apr 12th, 2011 @ 11:13am

    writing it down so I have the copyright

    Coming soon to a theater near you!

    AJ v Coldbrew

    Staring Mel Gibson as AJ the freshly minted lawyer.

    An epic tale of good against evil.

    You'll pay for your seat but you won't need it as this film will have you on your feet cheering throughout.

    This film has not been rated.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  30.  
    identicon
    Nastybutler77, Apr 12th, 2011 @ 11:29am

    Re:

    How was this lawsuit against Hill not legitimate?

    As the defendant's attorney stated, the fact that no cease and desist or any other attempt to get the allegedly infringing material removed from the defendant's site prior to the lawsuit being filed shows that the plaintif wasn't concerned with anything other than using these lawsuits to shake down people for money. That's why all these lawsuits are not ligitimate.

     

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  31.  
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    Josh in CharlotteNC (profile), Apr 12th, 2011 @ 11:30am

    Re: Re: Re:

    I don't blame Righthaven for walking away.

    So you're saying that its okay for Righthaven to file completely baseless lawsuits to extort money from innocent people, and then give up only when it looks bad in the press?

     

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  32.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 12th, 2011 @ 12:06pm

    That's some quality trolling FUDBuster!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  33.  
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    Capitalist Lion Tamer (profile), Apr 12th, 2011 @ 1:09pm

    Re: Re: Performance rights agencies must be kicking themselves

    Well, I suppose so. Death would be the ultimate physical and mental handicap...

     

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  34.  
    identicon
    Roland, Apr 12th, 2011 @ 1:47pm

    sloppy reporting

    I've said it before on this site: plaintiffs DO NOT dismiss lawsuits. Only a judge can do that. Apparently the plaintiff REQUESTED dismisal and the judge agreed. Under what terms? A simple dismisal means the plaintiff can re-file the suit later. Dismissal 'with prejudice' means he can't. So which is it? C'mon, get it right!

     

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  35.  
    identicon
    Ron, Apr 12th, 2011 @ 2:52pm

    Re: sloppy reporting

    Who gives a shit??? Sloppy trolling!!!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  36.  
    identicon
    abc gum, Apr 12th, 2011 @ 5:36pm

    Re: sloppy reporting

    Why do you think this site provides you with "reporting"?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  37.  
    identicon
    darryl, Apr 12th, 2011 @ 9:42pm

    Drop but not dismiss

    yes Rolnd I was going to say the same thing, only the Judge and Dismiss a case, not the plaintif or the defendant.

    So the headline is designed to be inflamatory and untrue.

    Just was we have come to expact from Mike, its not 'sloppy' reporting, it's not reporting at all.

    Just ignorant tripe.

     

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  38.  
    identicon
    Ron, Apr 13th, 2011 @ 5:48am

    Re: Drop but not dismiss

    Mike must really hit the nail on the head if you douche bags keep coming here and try to discredit him all the time. Get a life, go read some idiot lawyers blog! Keep up the good work Mike!!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  39.  
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    Joe (profile), Apr 13th, 2011 @ 6:46am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    We'll wait on you. Hope it goes well.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  40.  
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    Joe (profile), Apr 13th, 2011 @ 6:47am

    Re: Re:

    I don't think it ever showed up in the first place.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  41.  
    icon
    Joe (profile), Apr 13th, 2011 @ 6:49am

    Re: Re: Drop but not dismiss

    Naw, let em stay. The do provide comic relief. ;)

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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