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Righthaven Loses

CmdrTaco posted more than 3 years ago | from the if-only-this-was-the-end dept.

The Courts 79

A month ago we noted that the legal system had put Righthaven on hold, but now redwolfe7707 noted that "A federal judge in Nevada says a Las Vegas law firm targeting unauthorized content on the Internet cannot sue others over a news company's copyrights. The Las Vegas Sun reported Tuesday the dismissal of a lawsuit by copyright enforcer Righthaven LLC against the website Democratic Underground. U.S. District Court Chief Judge Roger Hunt says copyright plaintiffs must control the rights to material in order to sue for copyright infringement."

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My favorite line. (5, Interesting)

SniperJoe (1984152) | more than 3 years ago | (#36451920)

My favorite line from the judge's ruling?

"IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that Righthaven show cause, in writing, no later than two (2) weeks from the date of this order, why it should not be sanctioned. "

Kudos to the Judge on this one.

Re:My favorite line. (3, Informative)

SirGeek (120712) | more than 3 years ago | (#36451980)

Where is THAT text found ? That doesn't appear to be anywhere on the submission or the original story.

Re:My favorite line. (4, Informative)

Trepidity (597) | more than 3 years ago | (#36452148)

It doesn't appear to be included in the rather poor article Slashdot chose to link, but the much better Ars piece [arstechnica.com] links the actual ruling [pdf] [wired.com] , which includes that sentence on the last page.

Re:My favorite line. (4, Informative)

SniperJoe (1984152) | more than 3 years ago | (#36452152)

If you would kindly go to the PDF that I just posted of the actual judge's order (through the EFF's website) and scroll to IV. Order to Show Cause (page 15 of 16), it'll be there.

Re:My favorite line. (1)

Winckle (870180) | more than 3 years ago | (#36452252)

If you would kindly

I'm on to you Atlas!

Re:My favorite line. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36453416)

But my wife and family need your help! If you would kindly drain your bank account, send me the funds and go get lost...

DU has counter-sued (1)

TrogL (709814) | more than 3 years ago | (#36452022)

....through its lawyers for legal costs.

Re:My favorite line. (5, Informative)

SniperJoe (1984152) | more than 3 years ago | (#36452092)

By the way, Wired had a bit more information on the ruling also:

http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2011/06/copyright-troll-sanctions/ [wired.com]

A link to the PDF of the judge's order can be found on the EFF's website as well:

http://www.eff.org/cases/righthaven-v-democratic-underground [eff.org]

Re:My favorite line. (1)

SETIGuy (33768) | more than 3 years ago | (#36457978)

Unfortunately, since Righthaven is a front company, if sanctioned it will just declare bankruptcy and disappear. It's Stephens Media, who set up the front company, that needs to be sanctioned.

Yay! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36451924)

This news makes me so happy! Take that, you bullies at Righthaven!!!

Re:Yay! (1)

MickyTheIdiot (1032226) | more than 3 years ago | (#36452004)

With such common sense apparent it makes me wonder what the catch is...

Re:Yay! (2)

JonahsDad (1332091) | more than 3 years ago | (#36452326)

The catch is that Righthaven and Stevens Media have now amended their contract. So expect new lawsuits, possibly against some existing defendants.

Re:Yay! (4, Informative)

CarsonChittom (2025388) | more than 3 years ago | (#36452910)

IANAL. There may be new lawsuits, but if I understand the legal principle involved, I don't think lawsuits against existing defendants will stand. See where Judge Hunt says [eff.org] on pp. 7–8:

Notwithstanding the actual transaction that occurred, Righthaven argues that the amendment it executed with Stephens Media on May 9, 2011, the day that they filed their response to the supplemental memorandum validates or fixes any possible errors in the original S[trategic] A[lliance] A[greement] that would prevent Righthaven from having standing in this matter. (Dkt. #102, Gibson Decl. Ex. 3, Clarification and Amendment to SAA.) However, this amendment cannot create standing because “‘[t]he existence of federal jurisdiction ordinarily depends on the facts as they exist when the complaint is filed.’” Lujan v. Defenders of Wildlife, 504 U.S. 555, 571 n.4 (1992) (quoting Newman-Green, Inc. v. Alfonzo-Larrain, 490 U.S. 826, 830 (1989)) (emphasis in Lujan). Although a court may allow parties to amend defective allegations of jurisdiction, it may not allow the parties to amend the facts themselves. Newman-Green, 490 U.S. at 830. As an example, a party who misstates his domicile may amend to correctly state it. This is an amendment of the allegation. However, that party is not permitted to subsequently move in order to change his domicile and amend accordingly. This would be an amendment of the jurisdictional facts, which is not allowed. See id. Here, Righthaven and Stephens Media attempt to impermissibly amend the facts to manufacture standing. Therefore, the Court shall not consider the amended language of the SAA, but the actual transaction that took place as of the time the complaint was filed.

Re:Yay! (0)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 3 years ago | (#36455080)

So the FSF can no longer enforce the GPL, unless they own the content? Those Can of worms sometimes can have two openings.

Re:Yay! (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36455416)

So the FSF can no longer enforce the GPL, unless they own the content?

The FSF has never claimed to be able to enforce the GPL except where they own copyrights. What made you think otherwise?

MOD PARENT UP (1)

SETIGuy (33768) | more than 3 years ago | (#36457932)

Because the parent is right. I will not speculate as to the motives of the grandparent.

nothing changed, really (1)

Lead Butthead (321013) | more than 3 years ago | (#36452010)

as long as the laws in the book remain the way they are, many more will spring up to replace them. you want this stopped? write your congress critter (hand written letter usually gets better result.)

Re:nothing changed, really (3, Insightful)

SmlFreshwaterBuffalo (608664) | more than 3 years ago | (#36453854)

(hand written letter usually gets better result.)

Clearly, you've never seen my handwriting.

This is confusing, a little (-1)

sandytaru (1158959) | more than 3 years ago | (#36452016)

So a company can't hire a third party law firm to blanket sue? Based on the previous slashdot story and TFA, that's the gist of what this is saying. A copyright holder can't have a generic contract with a litigation firm; they must hire them under contract to sue on their behalf in a specific case.

Re:This is confusing, a little (1)

TrogL (709814) | more than 3 years ago | (#36452050)

Righthaven claimed to hold the copyrights, not the original publisher.

Re:This is confusing, a little (5, Informative)

Dragonslicer (991472) | more than 3 years ago | (#36452340)

Of course a company can hire a law firm to work on a lawsuit against anyone the company wants. When they do, though, the company's name, not the law firm's name, is attached to the case as the plaintiff. In this case, though, Righthaven is listed as the plaintiff, which means that they aren't the firm hired to work on the case, but that they are claiming to be the party that has been harmed.

Re:This is confusing, a little (4, Interesting)

starfishsystems (834319) | more than 3 years ago | (#36452584)

Reminds me of the old tale about the woodcutter and the layabout. The woodcutter is just doing his job, out there splitting logs for the village, working along quietly. Along comes the layabout, who sits down, makes himself comfortable, drinks a couple of beer, all the time making grunting and puffing noises in time to the work.

At the end of the day, the woodcutter goes to collect his wages from the village clerk. The layabout tags along. Then, just as the bag of coins is brought out, he pipes up, "Hey, I'm entitled to half of that, because I did half the work. I made all the sounds."

The clerk says, "Right then, let's be fair. I'll count it out." And he carefully counts it into two piles.

The coins make a satisfying clinking sound as each pile grows. The layabout rubs his hands in anticipation. Then the clerk gathers the two piles together and gives the lot to the woodcutter, who cheerfully departs.

"Hey, what about my share?", says the layabout.

The clerk replies, "You've just been paid in full. You made only the sound of work, and so you have received only the sound of payment."

Re:This is confusing, a little (1)

kalirion (728907) | more than 3 years ago | (#36453368)

I'm familiar with a similar story, though it's about Nasreddin Hodja [pitt.edu] .

Wonder which came first.

Re:This is confusing, a little (1)

lysdexia (897) | more than 3 years ago | (#36453994)

What?! You mean Todd Rundgren didn't make all that stuff up?

Wow. :-)

Re:This is confusing, a little (0)

DNS-and-BIND (461968) | more than 3 years ago | (#36454332)

Disgusting pro-capitalist propaganda. In my narrative of the story, the "layabout" is black and has been denied a job by the racist city clerk.

Re:This is confusing, a little (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36456378)

Disgusting pro-capitalist propaganda. In my narrative of the story, the "layabout" is black and has been denied a job by the racist city clerk.

Jesus Harold Christ in a fucking roller coaster! Don't you right-wingers ever shut the fuck up?! You are the very definition of a fanatic, one "who won't change his mind and won't change the subject." Not everything has to be about your stupid fucking ideologies.

You see, there is a difference between the above story and things like affirmative action which apparently has escaped your addled "brain." It goes like this:
Above story: person does not work.
Affirmative action (or similar program): help black people and other minorities have *jobs* so that they can actually work and make their own money

Do you see the difference? Probably not. You are proof positive that close relatives shouldn't breed. Please, go fuck yourself with an electric hand blender until blood pours out your ass.

Re:This is confusing, a little (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36457594)

Who was talking about affirmative action? You're projecting your own fears onto someone else's words. Besides, reinterpreting the narrative is a common tactic these days, maybe you haven't heard?

Re:This is confusing, a little (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36457762)

Don't you right-wingers ever shut the fuck up?!

You must be new here . . .

Re:This is confusing, a little (3, Insightful)

anyGould (1295481) | more than 3 years ago | (#36452372)

So a company can't hire a third party law firm to blanket sue? Based on the previous slashdot story and TFA, that's the gist of what this is saying. A copyright holder can't have a generic contract with a litigation firm; they must hire them under contract to sue on their behalf in a specific case.

As I understand it, the ruling is that you can't split off the "right to sue" from the actual copyright - either you have the rights to the property (and can thus sue to defend those rights), or you don't.

Re:This is confusing, a little (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36455702)

If the Righthaven firm did not have standing because they were not the harmed party, then how can the RIAA or MPAA sue on behalf of the record labels and/or artists who's music is distributed in violation of copyright law?

Re:This is confusing, a little (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36455974)

RIAA and MPAA are the names used in the media to shield the companies from bad publicity. when the lawsuits are filed the actual company names are on them.

Re:This is confusing, a little (2)

Attila Dimedici (1036002) | more than 3 years ago | (#36452402)

You misunderstand this case. The actual publishers did not want their names associated with the law suit, so they set up a dummy company (Righthaven) to sue for them. This was not a case of a law firm bringing a case on behalf of the copyright holders. This was Righthaven bringing suit on behalf of themselves. If this had been what you understood it to be, the case would have been Las Vegas Review Journal vs. John Doe (or whatever the name of the defendant was) rather than Righthaven vs John Doe.

Re:This is confusing, a little (1)

Nom du Keyboard (633989) | more than 3 years ago | (#36454246)

You misunderstand this case. The actual publishers did not want their names associated with the law suit, so they set up a dummy company (Righthaven) to sue for them. This was not a case of a law firm bringing a case on behalf of the copyright holders. This was Righthaven bringing suit on behalf of themselves. If this had been what you understood it to be, the case would have been Las Vegas Review Journal vs. John Doe (or whatever the name of the defendant was) rather than Righthaven vs John Doe.

I'm guessing that this was done in an attempt to shield the actual Plaintiff from any liability if this all went wrong and damages were assessed against the Plaintiff of record in the suit.

Re:This is confusing, a little (1)

amicusNYCL (1538833) | more than 3 years ago | (#36452544)

The judge cites the Copyright Act in saying that in order for someone to sue, they must be the holder of at least one of the exclusive rights under the Act. The agreement between Righthaven and Stephens Media only (and explicitly) transferred the bare right to sue and profit from the recovery, which is not one of the exclusive rights under the Act. Stephens Media retained all exclusive rights to the works. Therefore, Righthaven does not have standing to sue because it is not the holder of any exclusive right.

This is not the same thing as someone hiring a law firm to sue on their behalf. Stephens Media was not a party to the lawsuit, only Righthaven and Democratic Underground were parties, and Righthaven did not have the standing to sue. If I wanted to sue someone for copyright infringement I would hire a lawyer and I would be the plaintiff, not the lawyer. In this case, Righthaven is the plaintiff, not Stephens Media (the rights holder).

Re:This is confusing, a little (1)

Coren22 (1625475) | more than 3 years ago | (#36455670)

Out of curiosity, does this apply to the RIAA and MPAA as well? Or have those orgs not been the plaintiff and instead had Sony or whoever sue?

Re:This is confusing, a little (1)

Kalriath (849904) | more than 3 years ago | (#36456244)

The RIAA and MPAA are associations of record labels / movie producers. In the lawsuits, the member label / producer does the suing as is legally required.

Re:This is confusing, a little (1)

Lunix Nutcase (1092239) | more than 3 years ago | (#36452620)

So a company can't hire a third party law firm to blanket sue?

Not when that company is acting as the plaintiff but has no standing to bring the lawsuit. In this case, Righthaven had no standing to sue as they did not hold the copyrights to the works they were suing over. This is basically a DUH decision. It would be outrageous for the judge to have decided otherwise.

Based on the previous slashdot story and TFA, that's the gist of what this is saying. A copyright holder can't have a generic contract with a litigation firm; they must hire them under contract to sue on their behalf in a specific case.

Yes, they can not act as a plaintiff in lawsuits that they have no standing to bring. What exactly do you find so hard to understand about this?

Re:This is confusing, a little (1)

Cajun Hell (725246) | more than 3 years ago | (#36452638)

So a company can't hire a third party law firm to blanket sue?

If I understand this case correctly (and maybe I don't), they still can, but the copyright holder still needs to be the plaintiff, with the company they hire being their representation. It sounds like what happened here, is that Righthaven themselves were the plaintiffs.

For example, say your ISP's DHCP server gives you the same address that was used a few weeks earlier by someone who died, but whose daughter had set up a wireless router, and someone else was using that router to bittorrent a Disney movie. You're a suspected Disney copyright infringer. But instead of getting a summons where Disney (represented by Righthaven) is suing you, you get a letter saying Righthaven is suing you.

Assuming that's how the Righthaven attacks worked, it's fun to speculate about why Righthaven built a business like this. One of the things we learned from all the RIAA actions was that they were frought with mistakes, often suing people who clearly didn't infringe the copyrights. Maybe Righthaven's gimmick is to tell copyright holders that by not being the actual plaintiffs, they can go after suspected copyright infringers without the copyright holder taking big liability risks, since mass-infringement lawsuits are so randomly scattershot and error-prone, and open up the plaintiffs to countersuits, sanctions, etc. Since many of the people being sued probably didn't actually infringe, all it takes is one of them with the resources to fight back, then it could be costly for the plaintiff. Does Disney want to pay for that? Fuck no. Enter Righthaven, offering to take the risk in exchange for higher fees.

Re:This is confusing, a little (0)

Stewie241 (1035724) | more than 3 years ago | (#36452900)

That's not my understanding of what happened. From the finding document:

Making this failure more egregious, not only did Righthaven fail to identify
Stephens Media as an interested party in this suit, the Court believes that Righthaven failed to
disclose Stephens Media as an interested party in any of its approximately 200 cases filed in this
District

So the issue is not that Righthaven doesn't own the copyright as much as they failed to acknowledge the fact that they were not the copyright holders. It would be more like paying a third party law firm to file a lawsuit without them mentioning you paid them to do so.

Re:This is confusing, a little (1)

Lunix Nutcase (1092239) | more than 3 years ago | (#36453060)

Well them not owning the copyrights is actually a big part of the issue. To have standing to sue for copyright infringement you have to *drum roll* own the copyrights. Righthaven was basically a front company who was only given the "right to sue" but not the actual copyrights and was being used as a way to funnel winnings back to Stephens Media.

Re:This is confusing, a little (1)

idontgno (624372) | more than 3 years ago | (#36453892)

How's this for a "Slashdot not-a-car" analogy:

Me: "Get off my lawn!"

Kids: "It's not your lawn!"

Me: "Yeah, but I bought the right to yell at you from the old guy in the house!"

Federal District Court: "No, you didn't. You have no standing to yell at anyone. The old guy in the house can either sell you the yard or come outside and do his own yelling. And by the way, explain to me why I shouldn't punish you for lying about your purported 'right to yell'?"

Me: <Gulp!>

Re:This is confusing, a little (2)

Kushana (206115) | more than 3 years ago | (#36453122)

This is one of the things that the judge found, but not the only thing.

The Righthaven suit failed because they are not the copyright holders, non-holders can't sue, and their attempts to arrange otherwise failed.

They are at risk of being sanctioned because they failed to disclose the arrangement between themselves and the copyright holders.

Re:This is confusing, a little (1)

UnknowingFool (672806) | more than 3 years ago | (#36453558)

Righthaven is not a law firm. It is a company whose purpose is to sue. Under the copyright laws, the legal or beneficial owner of a copyright is entitled to sue. That's why in the P2P cases, it is not the MPAA vs John Doe, it is always one of the record companies: Capitol v Foster, Atlantic v Andersen, etc. In order to sue, Righthaven should have been assigned the copyrights in order to sue: "the Copyright Act does not permit copyright holders to choose third parties to bring suits on their behalf"

Unfortunately, the way to proceed is clear (1, Insightful)

Thagg (9904) | more than 3 years ago | (#36452042)

I am sure that the newspapers will just grant full copyright to RightHaven, for a right to share in the spoils of the lawsuits. This might have been RightHaven's plan all along...

Compare to BMI or iCopyright (4, Insightful)

tepples (727027) | more than 3 years ago | (#36452248)

I am sure that the newspapers will just grant full copyright to RightHaven, for a right to share in the spoils of the lawsuits.

Or another variation: sell Righthaven the exclusive right to sublicense articles to other web sites. This would make Righthaven more like a copyright clearance agency such as BMI or iCopyright.

Re:Compare to BMI or iCopyright (1)

UnknowingFool (672806) | more than 3 years ago | (#36453648)

That would allow Righthaven to be in the lawsuit as a party; however, Stephen Media would have to a party as well if I understand it correctly.

Re:Compare to BMI or iCopyright (3, Insightful)

DRJlaw (946416) | more than 3 years ago | (#36453726)

I am sure that the newspapers will just grant full copyright to RightHaven, for a right to share in the spoils of the lawsuits.

Or another variation: sell Righthaven the exclusive right to sublicense articles to other web sites. This would make Righthaven more like a copyright clearance agency such as BMI or iCopyright.

There's a reason why Righthaven is attempting to avoid doing that. That makes the copyright an asset that can be reached by defendants who are awarded sanctions. When Righthaven receives a settlement, you can reasonably assume that the money is not sitting in a bank in Righthaven's name. Instead, it is disbursed to offset "expenses," "salaries," payments by the LLC to its members, etc. One of the significant reasons for forming an LLC for a venture is to limit liability -- with rare and expensive-to-litigate exceptions, losses would be limited to the present value of the members' investment in the LLC.

If Righthaven is subject to significant sanctions, for example, in this case, the members could decide to pay the sanctions to keep the entity afloat, or declare the entity insolvent. In the latter case, the defendent is merely an unsecured creditor who had better hope that the bankruptcy trusteee chooses to be agressive in pursuing recourse from the LLC members.

If Righthaven owns the copyright, suddenly there is the specter of a defendant gaining control of the copyright, including the right to sue for infringement. All related litigation against other defendants could be rendered moot, and the defendent holding the copyright could potentially have a field day. A ticked off defendant holding a right to create and distribute derivative works is not an appetizing prospect.

Re:Unfortunately, the way to proceed is clear (2)

mr1911 (1942298) | more than 3 years ago | (#36452288)

I am sure that the newspapers will just grant full copyright to RightHaven, for a right to share in the spoils of the lawsuits.

A newspaper giving away their asset in order for someone to enforce the asset doesn't leave it an asset of the newspaper, does it? So, why would the newspaper do that? Would you sign over the title to your home when you hire a firm to install and monitor a security system?

This might have been RightHaven's plan all along...

I have a plan for everyone in the world to send me $100. The fact such plan exists does not mean anyone will be dumb enough to do it...

Re:Unfortunately, the way to proceed is clear (2)

Lunix Nutcase (1092239) | more than 3 years ago | (#36453378)

The thing is that Righthaven is owned by Stephens Media so they wouldn't really be giving up anything. Righthaven is basically a front company for Stepehens Media to sue people and funnel money back to themselves without having been themselves named as the plaintiff. One of the issues, amongst many, that the judge had was the fact that Righthaven didn't disclose the fact that they were acting as a plaintiff in place of Stephens Media who did not want to be named in the suit.

Re:Unfortunately, the way to proceed is clear (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36453582)

Basically the Judge is objecting to the use of a front company. It gives an unfair advantage to Righthaven. There are no assets to gain from a counter suit. No blow back is possible against Stepehens Media if Righthaven files frivolouse lawsuits. It also could confuses the issues regarding evidense and venue.

Re:Unfortunately, the way to proceed is clear (1)

mr1911 (1942298) | more than 3 years ago | (#36454338)

Well, kinda. Whatever Righthaven's ownership structure is, they are a separate entity, and the assets of the parent company do not belong to the subsidiary. So the judge's standing is completely correct that Righthaven does not own the copyright they are seeking to enforce.

Stephens Media who did not want to be named in the suit

Gotta love how that worked out for them.

Re:Unfortunately, the way to proceed is clear (1)

Lunix Nutcase (1092239) | more than 3 years ago | (#36455286)

Well, kinda. Whatever Righthaven's ownership structure is, they are a separate entity, and the assets of the parent company do not belong to the subsidiary. So the judge's standing is completely correct that Righthaven does not own the copyright they are seeking to enforce.

True, they are a separate entity. My point was only to counter the person thinking that Stephens Media was selling handing their copyrights off to someone else when Stephens Media would have just been transferring their copyrights to a shell company that they control. And yes, due to the fact that Righthaven itself is not the copyright holder they have no standing at all to sue.

Gotta love how that worked out for them.

No one excused these people of being clever.

Re:Unfortunately, the way to proceed is clear (1)

Kamiza Ikioi (893310) | more than 3 years ago | (#36452460)

If they did that, they'd effectively be selling their the copyright of all their works to each other. They won't even grant full copyright with some limitations. Their whole case is that without enforced, they can't survive. To have a conglomerate wholesale all of their rights to each other makes for an argument that a newspaper is not the sum of its copyrights.

Re:Unfortunately, the way to proceed is clear (1)

steelfood (895457) | more than 3 years ago | (#36452488)

RTFA. Or more accurately, read the Wired/Ars article (they're the same) linked to in some of the posts above, because the editors can't be bothered to do any actual editing.

Hunt noted that Righthaven and Stephens Media had agreed to share the proceeds of any damages awards or settlementsâ"but Stephens Media kept ownership of the copyright.

Re:Unfortunately, the way to proceed is clear (1)

Attila Dimedici (1036002) | more than 3 years ago | (#36452568)

There is still an additional problem for Righthaven. The current judicial interpretation of fair use says that in order for something to be a violation of fair use, it must reduce the ability of the copyright holder to make money off of the copyrighted material. Since the only way that Righthaven makes money off of copyrighted material is by suing people for violation, it is not possible to reduce their ability to make money off of it by publishing it.

My head is spinning (1)

Cajun Hell (725246) | more than 3 years ago | (#36452796)

But if that makes it Fair Use, then Righthaven won't make money off suing you, so by using the material under Fair Use, you're impacting their "sewer" business and revenue, which removes the Fair Use defense. I think Ray Liotta expressed this as "Fuck you, pay me!"

Re:My head is spinning (1)

BitZtream (692029) | more than 3 years ago | (#36452976)

The problem with your logic is that you're making the assumption that you are 'taking away from Righthaven's valid business model', but the model is not legal so it can't be used, meaning you can't take away from it.

Basically, if it worked like you're saying, anyone could invent a 'business model' worded in such a way that someone else would be infringing on it, they could word it as such that it targeted specific people even.

You can't sue someone because they didn't allow you to break the law.

Re:My head is spinning (1)

Attila Dimedici (1036002) | more than 3 years ago | (#36453350)

Actually, I worded that poorly. I will try for slightly better wording. In order for the fair use test to fail, the infringer's use of the copyrighted material must reduce the ability of the copyright holder to make money off of the publishing of that material. This is not a definitive test. That is, by itself the failure to impede the copyright holder's ability to make money by publishing the material does not in and of itself make such use fair use. There are other conditions that must be met as well.
However, since Righthaven does NOT make money by publishing copyrighted material, the barrier to fair use for any material they own the copyright on is reduced (one of the conditions is met).

Re:My head is spinning (1)

UnknowingFool (672806) | more than 3 years ago | (#36453742)

Copyright infringement is not predicated on potential earnings of the copyright holder or how much the infringer made. Infringment is only predicated on permission except for fair use reasons. Fair use is not limited to non commercial applications. For example, newspapers publish reviews of books, music, movies all the time. They may show clips of the work in their paper or website. That is fair use even if the paper is commercial as it is for critiquing and reviewing a work. The paper cannot publish the whole work.

Re:Unfortunately, the way to proceed is clear (2)

amicusNYCL (1538833) | more than 3 years ago | (#36452588)

I am sure that the newspapers will just grant full copyright to RightHaven, for a right to share in the spoils of the lawsuits. This might have been RightHaven's plan all along...

Doubtful, considering that Righthaven is partly owned by members of the Stephens family. Warren Stephens is the founder of Stephens Media, the rights holder. It sounds like Righthaven was set up as an additional revenue stream for the family (and others), not as a rights holder. Stephens Media still retains the rights. It seems like they wanted to prove their case with their own works first before offering their services to others.

In other news.... DUH!!??? (1)

mrnick (108356) | more than 3 years ago | (#36452110)

ahhh DUH!

A much better writeup (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36452212)

Much more detailed than the submitter's link: techdirt's article [techdirt.com] .

Fair Use? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36452714)

Wouldn't posting a news clip on a political site in order to comment on it be considered fair use?

Captcha was "felony". Strange.

Re:Fair Use? (3, Informative)

CarsonChittom (2025388) | more than 3 years ago | (#36452816)

It would be, yes, and that is exactly what another judge found. From Judge Hunt's order [eff.org] :

Righthaven has since filed a motion for voluntary dismissal with prejudice due to an adverse fair use ruling by the Honorable Larry R. Hicks, United States District Judge for this district (Righthaven is appealing that decision)....

Righthaven's motion was denied as moot after Judge Hunt dismissed them from the case for lack of standing.

Newspaper probably WON'T give RH the rights. (2)

mmell (832646) | more than 3 years ago | (#36452848)

Here's why:

First, news-oriented websites may not like having their material blatantly stolen, but they do love being referred to, with appropriate credit. Assigning their rights to RightHaven would almost certainly have a chilling effect on their website's popularity, and that equals dollars lost, not dollars made.

Second, as part owner of the copyright, RightHaven would have a right to part of any proceeds the website might generate by authorizing a third party to use the copyrighted materials.

Third, as part owner of the copright, RightHaven would have the authority to forbid such third party use or impose their own conditions on such use.

Now, if the news agency in question were to hire RightHaven, that would give RIghtHaven the standing they need to refile the (recently dismissed) lawsuit while preserving the news agency's undisputed ownership of the copyrighted materials. However, even this could have a less than desirable effect on their readership. Once more, we're talking about dollars lost (although the news agency in question could see this issue differently).

Re:Newspaper probably WON'T give RH the rights. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36453048)

Even if the newspaper assigned/shared their copyrights moving forward?

Righthaven would still have no standing in any case it has filed to date, as the cases were initiated prior to this new agreement.

Any lawsuit brought by Righthaven acting under the SAA as defined in the Judge's order is toast, as in burnt toast.

Re:Newspaper probably WON'T give RH the rights. (1)

NatasRevol (731260) | more than 3 years ago | (#36453164)

Apparently, you're not aware that the owners of the newspaper are also the owners of Righthaven. Which nullifies all of your points.

Re:Newspaper probably WON'T give RH the rights. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36453884)

Not really. The point is the owners were not allowed to create a front company to file lawsuits for them. In general you have the right to face your accuser in court. This was an attempt to hide who was the actual plantiff.

Re:Newspaper probably WON'T give RH the rights. (1)

Registered Coward v2 (447531) | more than 3 years ago | (#36453966)

Apparently, you're not aware that the owners of the newspaper are also the owners of Righthaven. Which nullifies all of your points.

Actually, it doesn't but does change the thrust of the argument.

A corporation may create a separate, but wholly owned, corporation for a variety of reasons. For example, a company may create a separate delivery arm to shill the corporate assists from liability in the event of a vehicle accident so that only the assets owned by the delivery company are ultimately at risk in the event of a lawsuit. They may see one aspect of the business is more desirable and create separate companies to concentrate the more valuable assets in one part. Stockholders may like that but bond holders won't since there is now higher risk they may not get paid. Transferring assets from one to another will also change the credit worthiness of each; so it may be harder to borrow money at the one that needs credit.

Re:Newspaper probably WON'T give RH the rights. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36457958)

"shill the corporate assists"? I assume you meant "shield the corporate assets". Please don't post when you're under the affluence of incahol :-)

Common sense (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36453026)

"U.S. District Court Chief Judge Roger Hunt says copyright plaintiffs must control the rights to material in order to sue for copyright infringement."

Does this really surprise anyone? It just seems like common sense.

Three cheers! (1)

HikingStick (878216) | more than 3 years ago | (#36453456)

Hip hip hooray!
Hip hip hooray!
Hip hip hooray!

Sadly.. (3, Insightful)

EvilStein (414640) | more than 3 years ago | (#36453538)

I wonder if this case would have gotten as much press if Righthaven didn't rile up Democrats & bloggers by suing Democratic Underground. They had sued several other bloggers before this, but the DU lawsuit is what really riled people up and got this in the news.

They also went after emtcity.com, a forum run by a retired EMT. He has limited resources and this has been financially (and emotionally) draining. All because ONE forum user posted a few paragraphs from an article and linked to the article.

Righthaven is the worst kind of troll. And I hope the Las Vegas Review Journal staff are utterly disgusted with themselves.

Re:Sadly.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36454136)

> And I hope the Las Vegas Review Journal staff are utterly disgusted with themselves. No, they're crying to their mommy over the phone "Every-buh-buh-body hates meeee, and I don't under-st-st-stand whyyyyy!"

What's Difference (1)

tootalltom (1097273) | more than 3 years ago | (#36453672)

Between what Righthaven is trying to do, and the blanket litigation tactics the RIAA employs?

Re:What's Difference (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36455496)

The RIAA member firms sue infringers directly; there is no attempt to transfer the (imaginary) right to sue to a shell corporation like Righthaven.

The Real Question Here... (1)

Nom du Keyboard (633989) | more than 3 years ago | (#36454352)

The real question here is, why did it take the judge so long to reach such a common sense answer? A lot of people have been twisting in the wind waiting for this definitive slap-down.

Re:The Real Question Here... (1)

gnasher719 (869701) | more than 3 years ago | (#36456988)

The real question here is, why did it take the judge so long to reach such a common sense answer? A lot of people have been twisting in the wind waiting for this definitive slap-down.

If you read the judgment, you'll find the answer: Because Righthaven lied to the court. By law, Righthaven had to disclose anyone having a financial interest in the lawsuit, and they didn't do that. It took a while for someone to find out that Righthaven was lying. Now the court knows, and the court knows that Righthaven was withholding information and acting dishonestly in 200 cases in that district alone, and is giving Righthaven 14 days time to explain why they shouldn't be sanctioned.

This might become expensive for Righthaven.

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