Righthaven Hires 'Star' Copyright Maximalist Lawyer To Try To Dig Itself Out Of The Deep Hole It's In

from the that'll-cost-you dept

Righthaven has been coming up on the wrong end of its lawsuits again and again and again and again and again lately. So, apparently, the lawyers at Righthaven have realized they're in way over their heads and have hired a so-called "superstar" copyright litigator, Dale Cendali, who's well known for regularly defending copyright maximalism positions and publicly stating that any reduction in copyright protectionism would lead to a decline in content production:
If copyright protection were reduced, then the incentives to innovate would also be reduced, undercutting the constitutional scheme. The scale, complexity and number of original works would likely drop.
Of course, the actual research on this topic suggests otherwise. Also, it's a bit bizarre that later in the same post, she points out (incorrectly) that copyright is about reflecting "a balancing of interests." If that's the case, why does she claim that any move to reduce protection would reduce output?

Anyway, she's definitely a big name, and that may at least help Righthaven in the short-term in no longer tripping over itself every time it tries to make a legal argument, but I can't see it helping in the long-term. As Eric Goldman points out in the story above, it also mucks with Righthaven's business model:
"Their model assumes lots of quick settlements, and their profit/loss projections may not have anticipated just how many -- and how hard -- defendants would fight back in court. I wouldn't be a bit surprised if Ms. Cendali's fees in this case end up being many multiples of the maximum damages that Righthaven could possibly hope to get from Pahrump Life. That's hardly a path to riches for Righthaven,"

Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1. identicon
    Ken, May 5th, 2011 @ 6:18pm

    Hiring a big gun to clean up the mess.

    She also isn't coming cheap and seeing at most Righthaven has only ranked in about 450,000 and just hiring her probably wiped that out completely. Righthaven's business model is beyond repair and this hired gun can't make this wart hog look any prettier.

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

  2. icon
    The eejit (profile), May 5th, 2011 @ 11:04pm

    Re: Hiring a big gun to clean up the mess.

    She could try a Transfiguration spell, but then J.K. Rowling would cue her.

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

  3. icon
    The Devil's Coachman (profile), May 6th, 2011 @ 5:08am

    All copyright lawyers fellate iguanas

    That's pretty much all they can do.

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

  4. icon
    Ajax4Hire (profile), May 6th, 2011 @ 5:48am

    Definition of stupid is

    Definition of stupid is to keep repeating your past behavior in hopes of a different outcome.

    Learning, evolution, whatever you call it, the idea is pain avoidance. Driving in the rear-view mirror.

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

  5. icon
    jsl4980 (profile), May 6th, 2011 @ 7:43am

    I'm not a Righthaven defender, but if they actually do win a single case and get some high amount in damages they can be much more persuasive when they try to extort the rest of their victims. So it sounds like they're betting big on this lawyer to win them a single high paying case so they can more efficiently shake down victims in the future.

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

  6. icon
    Bill W (profile), May 6th, 2011 @ 8:11am

    Pro Bono?

    It wouldn't surprise me if she was doing this Pro Bono or, at least, cheaply. After all, Righthaven's efforts so far have put in place some pretty damaging (from her perspective) case law. Maybe she just wants to stop the bleeding?

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

  7. identicon
    bob, May 6th, 2011 @ 1:04pm

    What is a "right sized copyright"?

    As far as I can tell, the phrase "copyright maximalist" seems to apply to people who want to simply enforce copyright. If the creator tries to say "no" or "stop" to anyone, they become labeled as "maximalists."

    So what type of enforcement is right sized? If some kid wants to download information on suicide techniques and the rightholder says, "Sorry, that's not allowed."

    Come on. The Rightshaven cases are about fair use and where we draw the line. They're not about someone saying that only one person can watch a DVD at a time.

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

  8. identicon
    bob, May 6th, 2011 @ 1:08pm

    Re: Definition of stupid is

    Well, let's take a look at the case law.

    Napster --> gone.
    MP3.com --> gone.
    Limewire --> gone.
    Anyone defended by Charlie Nesson --> close to gone.
    Many defendants targeted by RIAA --> poorer.
    Legg Mason --> $20m poorer
    Google --> $100m poorer and it's not done yet.

    When the courts look at issues like this, they seem to take the side of the copyright holders most of the time. Oh, there's an occasional fair use victory, but for the most part the rightsholders win.

    So I'm guessing you're a copyright maximalist, right?

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

  9. icon
    Richy Rich (profile), May 6th, 2011 @ 5:40pm

    This group only obfuscates what's really happening with piracy. Attack the money makers (the advertisers, the payment processors and the cyber-lockers). You cut off the blood supply and you will diminish the problem. Suing the end-user is counter-productive.

    Oh, and by the way, get rid of the antiquated "safe harbor" crap. Cyber-lockers thrive by encouraging John Q. Public to upload files and "share" them to earn CASH rewards-make pirates out of the public. That's where to focus efforts.

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

  10. identicon
    Irate Pirate, May 6th, 2011 @ 9:55pm

    Re: Re: Definition of stupid is

    How many Napster, Limewire, and MP3.com replacements have we seen take their place though? Yes, there are going to be casualties, but losing the occasional battle is not the same as losing the war. The greater part of society as a whole will always do what they want, whenever they want, as often as they want, for however long they want. It doesn't matter how many laws are passed or whether a few feel it may be immoral. People will always find ways to rationalize their actions, no matter the side they're on. It all boils down to basic human nature, and no amount of wishful thinking is going to change that. In my estimation, the best the content industry can ever hope for is a stalemate, but I highly doubt this is how the copyright debate will ultimately end.

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

  11. identicon
    Irate Pirae, May 6th, 2011 @ 10:16pm

    If copyright protection were reduced, then the incentives to innovate would also be reduced, undercutting the constitutional scheme.

    Isn't monetary profit the real incentive behind innovation these days? It used to be the cessation of copyright on a given creation within a reasonable time frame, but thanks to the content industries this motivation doesn't really exist anymore. Thanks to the insanely long extensions they've managed to lobby for, copyright was rendered meaningless for all but a privileged few in society. Copyright is now used as a club instead of what it was originally intended for, and the collective whole pays the price because none of the really important innovations our culture truly needs are profitable enough. Plus we're starting to see a disturbing trend regarding what can only be described as theft of that which is public domain. Pfft, and they argue file sharers are the immoral ones.

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

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