Righthaven Facing Class Action Lawsuit Over Its Sham Copyright Transfer And Lawsuits

from the keep-digging dept

Things keep looking worse and worse for Righthaven. After documents were unsealed that show that the transfer of copyrights from the Las Vegas Journal-Review (and its parent company, Stephens Media) to Righthaven were almost certainly a sham transfer, designed solely to pass along "the right to sue" (which is not a separately transferable right under copyright law), it seemed like Righthaven might finally have to suck it up and realize that its business model might be a disaster. Instead, it's chosen to fight on, even as other courts have publicly raised concerns about the legitimacy of Righthaven's efforts. And while the company has hired a "star" attorney with lots of case experience supporting extreme maximalist copyright positions, Righthaven is facing even more challenges. Buzzfeed.com, one of the sites sued by Righthaven, has now filed a class action counterclaim against Righthaven based on these documents. The idea is to bring together various Righthaven defendants, as a class, and have them all sue Righthaven for its faulty lawsuits. The class action effort claims not only did Buzzfeed not infringe, but that the whole legal effort by Righthaven is an "abuse of process," especially in light of the newly-exposed legal documents. I'm not sure if this kind of class action has much of a chance, really, but it's interesting to watch Righthaven getting beat up repeatedly lately. That's what happens when you try to use a legal loophole as the basis for an entire business model.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 18 May 2011 @ 2:57pm

    I'm not sure if this class action has legit substantive claims or is proper procedurally, but if it works it's a smart attempt to reverse the numbers game that gives rightshaven an advantage in its suits.

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

  • icon
    Jon B. (profile), 18 May 2011 @ 2:59pm

    I *still* can't read a Righthaven post without thinking of Ravenholm.

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

  • icon
    Joseph K (profile), 18 May 2011 @ 3:12pm

    Winklevoss + Righthave

    I don't see why Righthaven doesn't hire the Winklevii. It seems like a marriage made in heaven: unwarranted sense of entitlement, excessively litigious nature, abhorrence of productive activity, never say die attitude.

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

    • identicon
      Pixelation, 18 May 2011 @ 9:41pm

      Re: Winklevoss + Righthave

      Winklevii and Cendalii. They really should start working together with the entertainment industry.

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

  • identicon
    Paul Keating, 19 May 2011 @ 7:12am


    I think that the idea is brilliant. I have often commented that soliciting a "settlement" based on such conduct might also violate RICO and constitute wire-fraud since the US mails were used along with the Internet.

    I would think that discovery would be very interesting:

    1st question would be for a disclosure of every single "settlement" obtained so that those people could also be joined as members of the class.

    The 2nd would be for all communications between the various law firms that have been engaged in similar actions - I am sure that would show a pattern of planning.

    The 3rd would be for a copy of all documents related to communications with the "licensors" - which would show the extent of the sham because it is a fairly good guess that they did not want to assign the actual "rights" under the copyright act and wanted to limit any assignment to the right to collect.

    Next step would be to file a complaint with the bar association that granted the license to the Righthaven attorneys.

    I can only hope this pans out.

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

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