Denver Post Sued Over Righthaven Connection

from the things-keep-looking-worse dept

This has not been a good week for Righthaven. Having lost the big lawsuit that almost certainly will knock out most of its other existing lawsuits (definitely in Nevada, though Colorado is still an open question), we now get the news that a Tea Party group targeted by Righthaven over Denver Post content isn't just countersuing Righthaven, but The Denver Post as well. A similar situation was what caused so much trouble for Righthaven in its Nevada suits. The Democratic Underground didn't just fight back against Righthaven, but dragged the newspaper, Stephens Media, back into the lawsuit as well. That resulted in the unmasking of the agreement between Stephens and Righthaven, showing that the copyright assignment was a sham -- and that Stephens Media was still very much a part of the lawsuit. Now that the same thing is happening in Denver, the same sort of agreement may come to light. Not that it seems like many other newspapers are rushing to sign up to work with Righthaven these days, but if they had any more doubt, the fact that people might sue them directly might seal the deal. In the meantime, we've finally found something that the Tea Party and Democratic Party supporters agree on: Righthaven and copyright trolling are a bad thing.


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    Rich Fiscus (profile), Jun 15th, 2011 @ 3:11pm

    Reading through that article it occurs to me that what the Stephens family is doing is practically money laundering. Or perhaps Liability Laundering would be more appropriate. Stephens gets to keep any revenue while all the liability stays with Righthaven.

    Is it any surprise people hate lawyers so much?

     

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      John (profile), Jun 15th, 2011 @ 5:53pm

      Re: Hate Lawyers?

      This Righthaven isn't a law firm; it's a company. I don't know if lawyers thought it up, but this is less about lawyers and more about greedy companies. (Sometimes the two intersect, but they do not equal the same thing.)

       

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        Scote, Jun 15th, 2011 @ 9:51pm

        Re: Re: Hate Lawyers?

        No, Righthaven is very much about lawyers. It is essentially a law firm run by attorney Steven Gibson trying to disguise itself as a media company through a sham transfer of copyright. You really should read the linked article. Righthaven seems to be guilty of the criminal charge barratry for trafficking in lawsuits in SC.

        If Stephens Media had just hired Steven Gibson as a lawyer rather than setting up its sham copyright transfer then Stephens Media would have standing to sue. But instead, Gibson and Stephens Media seem to have decided that they'd use Righthaven to try to insulate Stephens Media from visible culpability and from financial liability through two layers of LLCs.

         

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        Rich Fiscus (profile), Jun 16th, 2011 @ 8:31am

        How is it not about lawyers?

        This is about nothing but corporate lawyering. First they create a legal fiction that Righthaven is buying copyrights so they can shield the actual players from liability for improper lawsuits. Then they code webpages with embedded evidence gathering code. Then they make a deal to outsource the actual legal process so they can increase the damages to cover expenses.

        The whole thing reeks of "look what you can get away with by twisting the law." Who do you think worked this whole scheme out? The janitor?

         

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    Alan, Jun 15th, 2011 @ 3:23pm

    "Ha-ha", Nelson Muntz

     

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    Stephan Kinsella (profile), Jun 15th, 2011 @ 4:25pm

    Not a victory

    The problem is copyright law. Not "trolls" or "abuses." All this will do is teach future "trolls" how to do the right copyright assignment, then we are back to square minus one.

     

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      Rich Fiscus (profile), Jun 16th, 2011 @ 9:22am

      Re: Not a victory

      Why can't it be about both? As much as I have a problem with copyright law, lots of people use it to sue without going through this sort of legal maneuvering to outsource their liabilities. They are 2 separate issues and both are problems.

       

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    Scooter, Jun 15th, 2011 @ 4:28pm

    Stephens Media brown out

    I have direct managerial control of my organization's media buys with our local paper, which is owned by Stephens. I intend to start reducing our media buys and placements in that paper because of this.

    I suggest if you have a similar level of control and Stephens owns your paper, you start pulling back as well.

    The only thing these creeps respond to is money, and the loss of it. Hit them where it hurts. They are stupid and arrogant. Show them the error of their ways.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 15th, 2011 @ 5:28pm

    The Denver Post is owned by MediaNews Group, a company that owns a slew of newspapers around the US, including the San Jose Mercury News. Clearly, the parent company is much bigger than Stephens Media, so perhaps it had the good sense to negotiate a significantly differrent agreement than was the case between Righthaven and Stephens Media.

    I guess only time (and discovery as the suit proceeds) will tell.

     

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    lrobbo (profile), Jun 12th, 2012 @ 10:21am

    Exactly, it can be about both.

     

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