Say That Again

by Mike Masnick

Filed Under:
copyright, steve gibson


Righthaven CEO Explains Losses: 'We've Blazed Some Trails; There Are Differences Of Opinion'

from the well-that's-one-way-of-looking-at-it dept

With Righthaven being told to pay attorneys fees yet again, we were curious if Righthaven CEO Steve Gibson would stand behind his earlier claims that judges mostly supported Righthaven, but were just providing "guidance" to less careful competitors. While he isn't going that far, in an interview with Joe Mullin at PaidContent, Gibson continues to pretend that Righthaven hasn't been beaten up nearly as badly as it has.

First, Gibson claims, as Righthaven has been arguing in court lately, that if a court rules (as they have been) that Righthaven didn't have the copyrights in question when it sued, then it's "just" a "jurisdiction issue" and, therefore, the court cannot then rule on the further merits of the case and should not award attorneys' fees. That's a rather interesting way to avoid acknowledging what appears to be a form of fraud. It seems pretty damn clear from multiple rulings that the courts do not consider this merely a "jurisdiction" issue, but rather an attempt to deceive the court system and use it to force people and organizations to pay up. Either way, Righthaven seems to be gearing up for an appeals court challenge on this issue.

Amusingly, because of this "it's just a jurisdiction issue" stance, Gibson pretends that he can completely ignore the fact that the judge ruled against Righthaven on the fair use issue here, calling that part of the ruling "academic."

Later, as Mullin further challenges Gibson, he tries to suggest that people don't like them because they've "blazed some trails":
There’s no question, we’ve blazed some trails here. We initially drafted the assignment documentation based on the Silvers case. We understand there are some differences of opinion as to whether that provides us with standing, and we’ve been responsive to the courts.
Actually, Righthaven's "responsiveness" to the courts is demonstrated in a history of filing responses past due and complaining about being too busy to actually get things in on time. The company has been a complete joke, and it seems that the judges saw that a long time ago.

Where Gibson gets really funny, however, is in the following exchange. The first part is Mullin's question, followed by Gibson's answer:
You’ve been calling some defendants copyright thieves, and suggesting they are members of an “infringement community.” But in this case, Wayne Hoehn’s lawyers filed a motion saying that Righthaven is a “bully” that attacked his free speech rights, and saying it should be ordered to pay his $34,000 in legal costs—and the court agreed.

I don’t think Judge Pro was engaged in that kind of unprofessional name calling. Look, the blogosphere and the infringement community obviously is very, very vocal. That doesn’t make them right. They’re a lot more heavily populated than the people who create content. We have continuously attempted to stay above name calling, to take the issues to the courts on an unemotional basis. We believe that ultimately our case will be successful.

Has it been challenging? Has it been difficult? There’s no question. As to the perception that we’re a bully… I guess you could engage in this kind of name-calling. The real question is, is it right for people to take other people’s content? People don’t know the bases on which we’ve settled a good number of our cases. They don’t know how lenient we’ve been. So, they run with name-calling.

This is a political discussion that could potentially merit Congressional treatment, in terms of making the copyright laws where we want them to be. But in terms of where the laws are [now], Righthaven is addressing a serious copyright issue that is plaguing the creative community.
First of all, I love the fact that he completely ignores the point of Mullin's question that his firm regularly, falsely, calls defendants "thieves," and then complains that anyone calling Righthaven a bully is engaged in "unprofessional name calling." Pot, kettle.

Then there's the lovely line about "the blogosphere and the infringement community." And how it's "a lot more heavily populated than the people who create content." Oh that makes me laugh. Let's see, the most vocal critics of Righthaven have been almost entirely content creators. The hundreds of people sued by Righthaven under questionable claims over copyrights the company didn't own? Almost all content creators. Righthaven? Has never created a single piece of content.

And then I love that bit about how "lenient" they've been. When the mob comes knocking and offers to let you keep your kneecaps in exchange for "just $5,000" is that lenient? Some of us don't think so.

Finally, while I always worry about Congress passing more ridiculously bad copyright legislation, I've seen no indication whatsoever that Congress has any interest whatsoever in making copyright laws the way Righthaven wants them to be. But, if Righthaven is planning to go on a lobbying blitz, well, that will be fun to watch.

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  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 17 Aug 2011 @ 7:46am

    People don't know

    "People don’t know the bases on which we’ve settled a good number of our cases."

    Gee, could that be because you imposed ND agreements on them?

    "They’re a lot more heavily populated than the people who create content."

    That argument would hold a lot more water if it were the content creators who were actually suing, you know.

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