Righthaven, King Of Suing Without Notification, Whines To Judge About Motions Filed Against It Without Enough Notification

from the cry-me-a-freaking-river dept

Righthaven doesn't do irony well. While there are lots of points of criticism on which to ding Righthaven, one of the biggest (and first) criticisms of the company's strategy was its failure to issue takedowns or any notification to the hosting provider when it came across works it believed were infringing. While not necessarily required, it certainly has become standard in copyright situations to issue a DMCA takedown and/or a cease & desist letter when it comes to infringement, and then only follow through with a lawsuit if that doesn't stop the alleged infringement. But, of course, Righthaven's business strategy was all about getting people to pay up -- not about getting infringing content offline. Such prior notice would go against that strategy. So, Righthaven was very much a "sue first" company. As far as I know, it never notified any of the hundreds of sites it sued, prior to the lawsuits.

So there's a fair bit of irony in seeing Righthaven's latest skirmish, going on in Colorado, where all of Righthaven's cases are under review, as the judge covering the case was profoundly unimpressed by Righthaven's attempt to abuse the judicial system as a part of a business model.

In one of the cases, the guy that Righthaven had sued, Leland Wolf and his lawyers from the Randazza Group, had filed a motion for preliminary injunction against Righthaven. Rather than respond on the merits, Righthaven threw a hissy fit, arguing that filing such a motion without first discussing it with Righthaven was a violation of a minor local rule. Yes, you read that right. The company, whose entire business model is based on suing people without any notice whatsoever, got all upset over an opposing party filing a motion without fully discussing it. You can see the motion below, along with the back and forth between the lawyers for Randazza and Righthaven. At times, the email exchanges are pretty amusing. Righthaven lawyer Shawn Mangano, for example, complains about Randazza sending him an email at 7:30 pm, and demanding a response by the following afternoon, saying that such late night notice is unfair. To that, the lawyers respond:
First, you claimed in your lengthy September 8, 2011 email that we have not made a sufficient effort to meet and confer with you about this motion. Yet, you responded to Mr. DeVoy's e-mail within approximately 75 minutes of its transmission. Later that night, shortly before 3:00 am, you filed an application for a stay of execution of the judgment in Righthave LLC v. Hoehn.... The application was lengthy and thoroughly researched, and was likely in the works long before it was filed. I believe your accusation of us trying to sandbag you with a long-planned motion is a bit ironic when, just 6 hours later, you did what your e-mail accused us of attempting.

Additionally, reviewing numerous cm/ecf filings that I have received in cases where I am counsel of record, or those that Mr. DeVoy have forwarded to me for review, they are consistently filed after 10pm, and often after midnight. I have personally participated in calls with you near midnight. By all appearances, your practice is clearly nocturnal. In fact, if we were attempting to sandbag you, it would seem tactically prudent to do so by providing information to you at 9:00 AM.
The letter goes on to detail a history of Righthaven actions in which it had surprised Randazza and its clients with filings. In fact, it notes: "The fact is, we have never given courtesy in a Righthaven case, and not then been stunned with some act, which makes us regret doing so."

It appears that the judge was not impressed by Righthaven's tantrum in this case either, and almost immediately issued an order that the hearing "will proceed as scheduled."

Keep digging, Righthaven.

Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1. identicon
    Anonymous Poster, Sep 14th, 2011 @ 4:30pm

    This is so entertaining that it should be an off-Broadway production.

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

  2. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 14th, 2011 @ 4:59pm


    It should be on the road.

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

  3. identicon
    inc, Sep 14th, 2011 @ 5:01pm

    My favorite sentence here. "By all appearances, your practice is clearly nocturnal."

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

  4. icon
    Jay (profile), Sep 14th, 2011 @ 5:18pm

    Re: Re:

    They could meet up with the TSA in a train station for added hilarity.

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

  5. icon
    Jeffrey Nonken (profile), Sep 14th, 2011 @ 5:26pm

    You referenced the Rule of Holes!

    "...When you find yourself at the bottom of one, stop digging."

    Except that we hope Righthaven hasn't figured that one out. I can't wait to see what happens when they hit bedrock? Or an inconvenient aquifer.

    Or better yet, a gas pocket. Could be quite spectacular.

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

  6. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 14th, 2011 @ 6:02pm

    Re: Re:

    It should be copyright.

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

  7. identicon
    NullOp, Sep 14th, 2011 @ 6:29pm


    What goes around, comes around!

    It's simple. ANY company whose business model is simply suing other companies based on supposed copyright infringement should be, by court order, dissolved. These companies bring nothing to the table, waste valuable court resources and are just plain loathsome.

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

  8. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 15th, 2011 @ 12:53am

    Re: You referenced the Rule of Holes!

    Righthaven's already way past the bottom of their hole.
    If you look at the original injunction that started all the ongoing argument about rule 7.1A, the defendant's lawyers are trying to get Righthaven to post a bond to cover the defendant's legal fees when Righthaven gets spanked again. So, not only does the defense think the outcome in the case is "somewhat inevitable", but they're worried that the awards against Righthaven in their pending cases actually amount to more than Righthaven's total value.
    The real irony here, of course, is that if Righthaven actually owned any of the copyrights they're suing over, they might even have enough assets to cover the awards against them. But given that they don't have any real assets, that they're losing every legal case that makes it to judgement, and that they've actually pissed off their judge so much that he's denying their motions to dismiss...Randazza's concerns are looking pretty valid to me.

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

  9. identicon
    Wayne, Sep 15th, 2011 @ 5:57am

    I wonder how Sherman is going to spin this into a Righthaven is going to win everything article?

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

  10. icon
    DannyB (profile), Sep 15th, 2011 @ 6:11am

    If you're going to ding Righthaven . . .

    While there are lots of points of criticism on which to ding Righthaven. . .

    If you're going to ding Righthaven . . .

    . . . do it with a sledge hammer.

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

  11. icon
    DannyB (profile), Sep 15th, 2011 @ 6:14am

    Re: Life

    You left out that they contribute nothing to the economy. They create nothing (eg, no wealth is created) and as you point out they waste wealth (eg, peoples' and courts' time and money) that could have been used productively.

    A company that creates content that it owns copyright over is at least creating something. A company that merely sues over copyrights is just a leech.

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

  12. icon
    Josh in CharlotteNC (profile), Sep 15th, 2011 @ 7:34am


    Of course they are. Blood-sucking vampire lawyers can't go out in the sun.

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

  13. icon
    LarryPike (profile), Sep 16th, 2011 @ 7:10am

    Righthaven IS Creating Content!

    This would make a great movie plot! I can see Jim Carey as the star. Too bad the title "Dumb And Dumber" is already taken.

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

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