by Mike Masnick

Filed Under:
copyright, domain names, servers


Righthaven Demands Servers Of Website Sued, Even After Court Rejects Demands For Domain

from the are-you-joking? dept

Righthaven has faced a big series of setbacks in a bunch of its cases lately, and yet it seems to continue to push forward, whistling along as if nothing bad has happened. You may recall that a court has laughed off its attempt to be given the domain name of one of the sites it sued. The court pointed out that there is no such remedy for copyright violations. No matter for the lawyers at Righthaven, however. Just days later it filed a new lawsuit that doesn't just demand forfeiture of the domain name, but also the website's hardware and software:
Order the surrender to Righthaven of all hardware, software, electronic media and domains, including the Domain used to store, disseminate and display the unauthorized versions of any and all copyrighted works as provided for under 17 U.S.C. § 505(b) and/or as authorized by Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 64
The EFF nicely debunks both the "laws" cited by Righthaven here, including pointing out that section 505 doesn't even have a section (b) and is about attorney's fees:
Not only has the domain name claim been specifically and completely rejected by that very court, but Righthaven's new citations do nothing to help its claim. As an initial matter, Section 505 does not have a subsection (b), and concerns attorneys' fees, not the surrender of domains and hardware. While Righthaven probably meant to cite to some other section and was simply sloppy in the drafting, no section of the Copyright Act will help them. Indeed, Righthaven has already "concede[d] that such relief is not authorized under the Copyright Act."

Nor is the citation to Rule 64 going to help Righthaven. This is the same argument it raised in Righthaven v. DiBiase, and which the court flatly rejected. Indeed, the argument was silly to begin with, since Rule 64 concerns state law remedies and copyright is a federal law.
All of this kind of makes you wonder what's going on at Righthaven...

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  • icon
    umccullough (profile), 25 Apr 2011 @ 2:24pm

    Consistency check?

    Maybe Righthaven is really just some benchmarking tool that someone has employed to make sure our Justice System is actually working...

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

  • identicon
    That Anonymous Coward, 25 Apr 2011 @ 2:25pm

    Maybe they want to start their own hosting company so they can sue themselves faster.

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

    • icon
      Josh in CharlotteNC (profile), 25 Apr 2011 @ 2:34pm


      Oooo. Figured it out. There is a reason.

      They need server space and domains. This will allow them to actually put the content they "own" out there on the Internet so they can show the judges that they're not just a sham lawsuit mill.

      Since they're lawyers, the only way they know how to acquire things is to sue someone else for them.

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

  • icon
    Designerfx (profile), 25 Apr 2011 @ 2:27pm


    isn't that basically the definition of a SLAPP lawsuit?

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

  • icon
    Josh in CharlotteNC (profile), 25 Apr 2011 @ 2:30pm

    Hosting provider?

    Most small sites don't actually own any hardware, and are paying a hosting provider for it.

    How can they sue for something the defendant most likely doesn't even own?

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

    • icon
      umccullough (profile), 25 Apr 2011 @ 2:34pm

      Re: Hosting provider?

      "The court awards plaintiff a Godaddy past-due virtual-hosting bill which they must pay immediately as receipt of property from defendant."

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

  • icon
    fogbugzd (profile), 25 Apr 2011 @ 2:38pm

    At what point do the attorneys involved receive some type of sanctions?

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

  • identicon
    Difster, 25 Apr 2011 @ 2:38pm

    The sheer idiocy of it

    Here is another way to look at what Righthaven is doing.

    I work at home and I have a contract with some company. I breach that contract but because I work from home, the company that is suing me wants me to change my last name and take away my house.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Poster, 25 Apr 2011 @ 2:44pm

    This is like a damn trainwreck, only this one is actually fun to watch.

    Seriously, schadenfreude of this magnitude is like sex - Righthaven going out of business is just the climax we're building towards.

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

  • icon
    weneedhelp (profile), 25 Apr 2011 @ 2:48pm

    Righthaven reminds me of a little punk I used to know that no matter how many times you beat him down, jumped right back up and would start taunting you again. Dumb as a rock, but you had to admire his tenacity.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 25 Apr 2011 @ 2:59pm

    Its about time that the bar associations of the various states step up and start sanctioning or disbarring attorney's for truly frivilous lawsuits.
    The Courts also have the ability to assign costs to the attorney who signed off on the brief. These fines are levied against the attorney, and not the defendant.
    The federal courts just reinstated mandatory penalties for frivilous actions. It should now start implementing them.
    Sadly however, it takes an attorney to ask for any of these sanctions, and no attorney wants to, for fear that he may be targeted next. I believe it is a Rule 11(b) filed against an attorney who files a frivilous Rule 11(b)motion.

    Signing Pleadings, Motions, and Other Papers; Representations to the Court; Sanctions
    (a) Signature.
    Every pleading, written motion, and other paper must be signed by at least one attorney of record in the attorney's name or by a party personally if the party is unrepresented. The paper must state the signer's address, e-mail address, and telephone number. Unless a rule or statute specifically states otherwise, a pleading need not be verified or accompanied by an affidavit. The court must strike an unsigned paper unless the omission is promptly corrected after being called to the attorney's or party's attention.

    (b) Representations to the Court.
    By presenting to the court a pleading, written motion, or other paper whether by signing, filing, submitting, or later advocating it an attorney or unrepresented party certifies that to the best of the person's knowledge, information, and belief, formed after an inquiry reasonable under the circumstances:

    (1) it is not being presented for any improper purpose, such as to harass, cause unnecessary delay, or needlessly increase the cost of litigation;

    (2) the claims, defenses, and other legal contentions are warranted by existing law or by a nonfrivolous argument for extending, modifying, or reversing existing law or for establishing new law;

    (3) the factual contentions have evidentiary support or, if specifically so identified, will likely have evidentiary support after a reasonable opportunity for further investigation or discovery; and

    (4) the denials of factual contentions are warranted on the evidence or, if specifically so identified, are reasonably based on belief or a lack of information.

    (c) Sanctions.
    (1) In General.

    If, after notice and a reasonable opportunity to respond, the court determines that Rule 11(b) has been violated, the court may impose an appropriate sanction on any attorney, law firm, or party that violated the rule or is responsible for the violation. Absent exceptional circumstances, a law firm must be held jointly responsible for a violation committed by its partner, associate, or employee.

    (2) Motion for Sanctions.

    A motion for sanctions must be made separately from any other motion and must describe the specific conduct that allegedly violates Rule 11(b). The motion must be served under Rule 5, but it must not be filed or be presented to the court if the challenged paper, claim, defense, contention, or denial is withdrawn or appropriately corrected within 21 days after service or within another time the court sets. If warranted, the court may award to the prevailing party the reasonable expenses, including attorney's fees, incurred for the motion.

    (3) On the Court's Initiative.

    On its own, the court may order an attorney, law firm, or party to show cause why conduct specifically described in the order has not violated Rule 11(b).

    (4) Nature of a Sanction.

    A sanction imposed under this rule must be limited to what suffices to deter repetition of the conduct or comparable conduct by others similarly situated. The sanction may include nonmonetary directives; an order to pay a penalty into court; or, if imposed on motion and warranted for effective deterrence, an order directing payment to the movant of part or all of the reasonable attorney's fees and other expenses directly resulting from the violation.

    (5) Limitations on Monetary Sanctions.

    The court must not impose a monetary sanction:

    (A) against a represented party for violating Rule 11(b)(2); or

    (B) on its own, unless it issued the show-cause order under Rule 11(c)(3) before voluntary dismissal or settlement of the claims made by or against the party that is, or whose attorneys are, to be sanctioned.

    (6) Requirements for an Order.

    An order imposing a sanction must describe the sanctioned conduct and explain the basis for the sanction.

    (d) Inapplicability to Discovery.
    This rule does not apply to disclosures and discovery requests, responses, objections, and motions under Rules 26 through 37.

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

  • icon
    ScytheNoire (profile), 25 Apr 2011 @ 3:00pm

    Rule 64?

    What does any of that have to do with Rule 64? Rule 64 states that if it exists, Tony Stark was able to build it in a cave, with a box of scraps. Oh, wait, Tony Stark built those servers?

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

  • icon
    codeslave (profile), 25 Apr 2011 @ 3:50pm

    Who are Righthaven's lawyers?

    Has anyone looked into who Righthaven's lawyers are and their backgrounds? Such as, are they sloppy with details because they are so aggressive, or are they just sloppy? Maybe their specialty is in some other area of law and they are in way over their heads when it comes to federal or copyright law?

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 25 Apr 2011 @ 5:15pm

    Don't certain pieces of software prohibit license transference in the clickthrough? How would the court handle that?

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

  • identicon
    googly_eyes, 25 Apr 2011 @ 5:17pm

    Righthaven thinks itself the savior of copyrights

    There was an interview with the president of Righthaven on On the Media last night. the president's tone and spin made me want to scream at my radio.

    The transcript should be available here later today or tomorrow:

    Sadly the interviewer let him get off very easy and didn't ask any of the questions I wish he would have.

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

  • icon
    NotMyRealName (profile), 25 Apr 2011 @ 6:22pm

    Only slightly OT:
    I still think if a relatively intelligent layman has to break out a dictionary to understand a law, it should be rewritten.

    sequestration;" -excerpt from rule 64

    -please excuse my ignorance if these are common words to other relatively intelligent laymen.

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

  • identicon
    DogBreath, 26 Apr 2011 @ 12:22pm

    What Righthaven needs in court ...

    All of this kind of makes you wonder what's going on at Righthaven...

    They need all the help they can get:

    I bet these would be just as effective as the lawyers they have now, and cheaper too.

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

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