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Auction of Copyright Troll Righthaven's Website Underway

Soulskill posted more than 2 years ago | from the waste-not-want-not dept.

The Courts 63

Tootech sends this quote from Vegas Inc: "The online auction of the righthaven.com website domain name got underway Monday, with bidders having until Jan. 6 to submit offers. A judge has authorized a receiver to auction the intellectual property of Las Vegas-based Righthaven LLC, the newspaper copyright infringement lawsuit filer. The auction is aimed at raising money to cover part of Righthaven's $63,720 debt to a man who defeated Righthaven in court. The man, Wayne Hoehn, and his attorneys defeated Righthaven when a judge threw out Righthaven's lawsuit against him over Hoehn's unauthorized post on a sports betting website message board of a Las Vegas Review-Journal column by columnist and former publisher Sherman Frederick. Hoehn was a defendant in one of Righthaven's 275 lawsuits filed since March 2010."

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What? (2, Informative)

toastar (573882) | more than 2 years ago | (#38513232)

Why on earth would anyone want to help pay down those ass-holes debt?

Re:What? (5, Insightful)

Fluffeh (1273756) | more than 2 years ago | (#38513286)

Because they might have an idea that uses a domain called RightHaven? Perhaps a RPG game, perhaps a software application for big business. Who cares - as long as the company is getting gutted to pay for the money it has to cover.

Having said that, I am personally much more interested in finding out whether once the IP within that shell of a shell company runs out and the money is still missing, whether Big Media will be covering the shortfall as they were clearly setting the operation up as a source of income. Surely they will be held liable for the shortfall? Can I get this as a late Christmas present from the US justice system?

Re:shell of a shell (5, Interesting)

TaoPhoenix (980487) | more than 2 years ago | (#38513752)

You know what, you're right. This ended "way too fast". Look at SCO - someone(s) funded that zombie forever. Here they're doing the opposite strategy. "Ha Ha, if we win, be strike gold, if we lose, oops, we had no assets."

I'd like this to be bought by someone with a BIG pocket and use it to go after when the media companies themselves decide wholesale infringement is just dandy.

Really, they crumbled for just 60K+ ? Really? Tell me which species of fish that is smelling here. Red Herring?

Re:shell of a shell (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38514032)

You know what, you're right. This ended "way too fast". Look at SCO - someone(s) funded that zombie forever. Here they're doing the opposite strategy. "Ha Ha, if we win, be strike gold, if we lose, oops, we had no assets."

They do have assets. They have an ownership stake in all those patents they tried to enforce. Remember when the judge threw out their cases saying they couldn't be given only the authority to sue, but had to actually own them?
Now they should be fair game as well.

So even if this guy doesn't see a dime, in a worst case scenario would should see a bunch of bullshit patents either fall by the wayside or, if the guy is cool about it, given to the public domain.

Re:shell of a shell (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38515444)

Righthaven had absolutely nothing to do with patents, they represented copyright holders. And their cases were thrown out because they didn't own the copyrights, so how on earth are they going to sell something they don't own?

Re:What? (3, Insightful)

hairyfeet (841228) | more than 2 years ago | (#38513816)

Conservative political blog would be perfect for that, hell that was what i thought it was the first time i heard it. my question is what is keeping them from just starting a new company and trolling all over again? After all if they have incorporated they can just walk away, let the shell burn and start another. we all know this was Stephens media's little proxy so what is gonna keep Stephens from just doing it again? keep some lawyers on retainer and you have the perfect SLAPP weapon, just keep trolling and if you make money fine, if you don't you'll still scare many people from using anything that has ever been on a Stephens website for fear of being dragged into court. After all if they win its not like they're gonna get squat and I bet the poor guy that won never even covers his court costs.

Re:What? (5, Interesting)

thegarbz (1787294) | more than 2 years ago | (#38513340)

This is like any other auction. They have something you may want, and by auctioning it you see if you can get it for the price people are willing to pay. Quite often in cases of bankruptcy or debt recovery the item being auctioned off can be tremendously undervalued.

Recently we went to the auction of a glass manufacturer. Most people were there looking for glassing equipment to boost their own businesses. Things like forming and cutting machines were being bided up quite high. But then they came to old stock. Seems like there weren't too many people interested in it so we picked up 50 sheets of hardened pool fencing glass for $50. They normally cost $160 per sheet. Bargain, we now have a new fence.

This isn't about the company. It's about you, your ideas, and what you could do with the assets of the company. If you have a use for the name "RightHaven" then now is THE time to buy the domain. Chances are if you wanted it and approached the company for it they may have said flat out no, or asked for some extortionate price. Now that they must sell you could potentially get it for a bargain since the name no longer has any value to the company.

Re:What? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38513370)

They seized the domain as an asset. The same thing would be done if the defendants were a brick and mortar - goods would be seized and auctioned in much the same way.

Re:What? (5, Informative)

hairyfish (1653411) | more than 2 years ago | (#38513394)

It may differ in your local territory, but here when you go into receivership, it is no longer your debt. You lose everything to the receiver who then attempts to salvage some money for the debtors of the company. Mr Hoehn is owed $63 grand. He might be lucky to see 20% of that, so any money raised is his (and any other debtors, not RightHaven's.

Re:What? (1)

rtb61 (674572) | more than 2 years ago | (#38523714)

This is stage 1 of debt recovery, stage 2 is go after the directors. Whilst another court battle is required, as the directors are lawyers, they are screwed when they try to argue they carried out due diligence in their court room failure. They very well might have the personal assets to cover the debts plus the additional court costs of pursue those assets and demonstrating their lack of due diligence in pursuing those court cases.

You aren't paying them (2, Insightful)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | more than 2 years ago | (#38514016)

You are paying their creditors, which would include people who have legal judgements against them. When someone goes insolvent, their creditors get fucked. However they can usually recover some of what they lost when assets are auctioned off.

As an example when MPC went under, the university I work at was a "creditor" of sorts. We had systems with outstanding warranties on them and those have value. So we got a letter from the bankruptcy court letting us know what all was going on. We didn't expect to get any money, and we didn't. Their assets weren't worth enough, all the money recovered went to higher priority creditors (there is a legal order to what gets paid off first).

So we were stuck holding the bag. Wasn't a huge deal, but we did have system failures that would have been covered by the warranty that we had to pay for ourselves.

In a more direct case take bond holders. If you hold uninsured bonds in a company and they go bankrupt, you are out the money unless their assets can raise enough to pay you back in whole or in part.

Re:You aren't paying them (1)

MarkvW (1037596) | more than 2 years ago | (#38517068)

You make a good point, but there is a good chance that Righthaven's creditors also include the media outlets that financed and employed Righthaven.

Re:What? (1)

gnasher719 (869701) | more than 2 years ago | (#38517530)

Why on earth would anyone want to help pay down those ass-holes debt?

The man who is owed $63,000 can bid up to $63,000 without it costing him anything, and then put on the website whatever he likes.

Re:What? (1)

Kalriath (849904) | more than 2 years ago | (#38551988)

It doesn't quite work like that. He would actually have to pay the $63K, at which point the receivers would pay him - but if receivership is anything like over here, the highest priority creditor is the receiver itself - meaning he may lose that $63K completely.

Community funding? (2)

ameen.ross (2498000) | more than 2 years ago | (#38513238)

The community would rather fund open source projects. We all know only large media companies (other copyright trolls) will place bids.

possible bidders (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38513264)

Social networking site for fascists.

Store that only sells implements for 'righties'.

A blog for pedants.

Re:possible bidders (4, Funny)

lennier1 (264730) | more than 2 years ago | (#38513282)

Goatse mirror, for obvious reasons.

Re:possible bidders (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38515326)

I was thinking exactly the same

Re:possible bidders (1)

datavirtue (1104259) | more than 2 years ago | (#38521594)

What is it with the goatse obsession? Am I missing something. I was a victim once, not agitated, but concerned that I had a goatse image waiting for me in a tab. Not funny, not infuriating, just a tab I had to close. Quite nasty though.

Re:possible bidders (1)

cryptographrix (572005) | more than 2 years ago | (#38517964)

+1

Re:possible bidders (2)

Carnildo (712617) | more than 2 years ago | (#38520036)

Redirect to www.thepiratebay.org, for equally obvious reasons.

Re:possible bidders (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38525872)

"Goatse mirror, for obvious reasons."

wouldn't that be left and right haven...

The less that is bid... (4, Interesting)

Neil_Brown (1568845) | more than 2 years ago | (#38513266)

the more that needs to be sold to pay the debt.

Re:The less that is bid... (1)

DiEx-15 (959602) | more than 2 years ago | (#38522830)

I'll bid $1

I'm sure this is a silly question... (2)

Gordonjcp (186804) | more than 2 years ago | (#38513268)

... but why would you want to buy righthaven.com? Really, what possible value could it have?

Re:I'm sure this is a silly question... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38513290)

I'm tempted to bid $1 just for the amusement value.

Re:I'm sure this is a silly question... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38516724)

I'm tempted to bid $1 just for the amusement value.

*gasp* and you actually win the auction! and then everyone laughs at you, for wasting a dollar on such a hated domain...

Re:I'm sure this is a silly question... (4, Insightful)

Sasayaki (1096761) | more than 2 years ago | (#38513326)

Set up an anti-patent advocacy group?

Re:I'm sure this is a silly question... (5, Interesting)

six025 (714064) | more than 2 years ago | (#38513330)

... but why would you want to buy righthaven.com? Really, what possible value could it have?

Righthaven owe a lot of money due to losing the court case and being ordered to pay costs, but they don't have many assets to sell to cover those costs. By purchasing the domain name you would, in a sense, be donating to the person who fought Righthaven in court and won - doing us all a favour in the process.

Peace,
Andy.

Re:I'm sure this is a silly question... (3, Insightful)

Quick Reply (688867) | more than 2 years ago | (#38514144)

You would be FAR better off donating to the victim directly, rather than letting the lawyers get any of it and do RH a favor

Re:I'm sure this is a silly question... (4, Informative)

thegarbz (1787294) | more than 2 years ago | (#38513354)

Depends if you have a product or a company called RightHaven. Just because it belonged to one company doesn't mean there isn't some other company very interested in the name. The most classic example of this would be www.nissan.com [nissan.com] which any reasonably person would think took you to the website of the car manufacturer.

Re:I'm sure this is a silly question... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38513612)

That link has convinced me to never buy a Nissan car.

Re:I'm sure this is a silly question... (1)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 2 years ago | (#38513972)

That link has convinced me to never buy a Nissan car.

But would you buy a Datsun?

Re:I'm sure this is a silly question... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38517266)

Only the Obitch.

Re:I'm sure this is a silly question... (1)

datavirtue (1104259) | more than 2 years ago | (#38521640)

It is nothing but an ad trough now.

Re:I'm sure this is a silly question... (1)

Gordonjcp (186804) | more than 2 years ago | (#38514568)

Would you really want such a poisonous association, though?

Re:I'm sure this is a silly question... (1)

Pharmboy (216950) | more than 2 years ago | (#38517670)

Not me, I'm wondering nissanusa.com doesn't lead me to a computer store. Nissan Computers [nissan.com] has been around way before Datsun changed their name to Nissan, and at least the computer store is a USA company. He should sue them.....and win.

Re:I'm sure this is a silly question... (2)

EmagGeek (574360) | more than 2 years ago | (#38518672)

Already done. Nissan sued Uzi Nissan and lost.

Re:I'm sure this is a silly question... (3, Insightful)

hairyfish (1653411) | more than 2 years ago | (#38513362)

... but why would you want to buy righthaven.com? Really, what possible value could it have?

Er.. for the 99.999% of the world that have never heard of Righthaven, it is a cool sounding Fantasy/Sci Fi/Heavy Metal type name, and .com domains made up of real words are quite scarce these days. If I was a publisher I'd look at buying it for a future book/tv/movie/album release. I wouldn't pay much for it, but it'd have fetch a few hundred bucks at least.

Re:I'm sure this is a silly question... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38513384)

A pirate bay style torrent site for ebooks and articles would be funny.

Re:I'm sure this is a silly question... (1)

number11 (129686) | more than 2 years ago | (#38517166)

A pirate bay style torrent site for ebooks and articles would be funny.

Nice. You could buy the domain and just redirect to Pirate Bay. Maybe with an ICE-style "redirecting..." page that said "This domain has been seized because the copyright trolls who were ripping people off also tried to rip their creditors off." That'd be worth a couple of bucks.

Re:I'm sure this is a silly question... (1)

Tom (822) | more than 2 years ago | (#38513464)

I'd buy it just for the lolz, if I could find the damn link where you can actually post an offer.

Re:I'm sure this is a silly question... (5, Informative)

vodevil (856500) | more than 2 years ago | (#38513578)

I'd buy it just for the lolz, if I could find the damn link where you can actually post an offer.

Minimum bid as of this posting is $1900. Snap Names [snapnames.com]

Re:I'm sure this is a silly question... (1)

Tom (822) | more than 2 years ago | (#38513764)

Thanks for the link. I think I'll pass, that's a little beyond what the lolz is worth to me. But interesting to see that there are 9 interested parties already.

I wonder how many of them are shills for the RightHaven trolls.

Re:I'm sure this is a silly question... (4, Funny)

Elbereth (58257) | more than 2 years ago | (#38513838)

My name is Rig H. Thaven. This is perfect!

Re:I'm sure this is a silly question... (5, Interesting)

ZombieBraintrust (1685608) | more than 2 years ago | (#38514750)

I could see EFF buying it and having the domain forward to their main site. Sort of a trophy domain.

Re:I'm sure this is a silly question... (1)

Myopic (18616) | more than 2 years ago | (#38516062)

I think it would be awesome to turn it into a torrent tracker.

We won! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38513272)

That's the best news all day!

Hate Magnet? (1)

UniTasker (2533914) | more than 2 years ago | (#38513468)

Auctioning this hate magnet of a domain is an interesting idea. The question is: could you ever launder the image of the domain sufficiently to make it worth the price of purchase? ***sigh*** I guess there is probably a PR company or two out there that specialises in that kind of work.

Re:Hate Magnet? (1)

elvesrus (71218) | more than 2 years ago | (#38522936)

Ocean Marketing might be able to help there

Re: Set up an anti-patent advocacy group? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38513562)

Er.. for the 99.999% of the world that have never heard of Righthaven, it is a cool sounding Fantasy/Sci Fi/Heavy Metal type name, and .com domains made up of real words are quite scarce these days. If I was a publisher I'd look at buying it for a future book/tv/movie/album release. medicine24h.com I wouldn't pay much for it, but it'd have fetch a few hundred bucks at least.

You can bid too! (2)

rrohbeck (944847) | more than 2 years ago | (#38513574)

Re:You can bid too! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38516780)

It's registered with GoDaddy, that drops the value quite a bit imo ...

Re:You can bid too! (1)

Kalriath (849904) | more than 2 years ago | (#38552040)

If you win, it's transferred to whatever registrar you use. You don't just get the login to the account it came from or anything.

And better yet, it's court ordered so it's illegal for GoDaddy to hinder your transfer. Pissing RightHaven AND GoDaddy off? Sounds like it's worth it!

pluS 1, Troll) (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38513872)

The resignation Is perhaps of business and Future at all and what supplies the resources that We all know, join in especiall7 claim that BSD is a Fly...don't fear

Only $64k in debt... (2)

cbope (130292) | more than 2 years ago | (#38513988)

I find it insightful to see a "company" like this who was going after MILLIONS in so-called damages, is suddenly struggling to pay a paltry $64k debt. And all I can say is... BWAHAHAHAHA! There *can* be justice in this world.

Re:Only $64k in debt... (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38514184)

I find it insightful to see a "company" like this who was going after MILLIONS in so-called damages, is suddenly struggling to pay a paltry $64k debt. And all I can say is... BWAHAHAHAHA! There *can* be justice in this world.

You are wrong, this is actually a case of _injustice_, brought to you by the corporate system and the inherent liability asymmetry that it creates. Think about it, Mr. Hoenh is owed $64k, most of which would be for his legal costs - costs that he rightfully deserves to recover since his time was wasted by this frivolous lawsuit. Instead, Mr. Hoenh in all likelihood will have to suffer an injustice because righthaven inc./corp./whatever will be unable to satisfy this debt and the person pulling the strings behind Righthaven will not be personally liable unless Mr. Hoenh goes to court again to pierce the corporate veil, thus incurring even more legal costs. IMO, Hoenh's court award will turn out to be an empty judgement and much cold comfort to him.

I'll go as high as $6.95/year. (1)

billybob_jcv (967047) | more than 2 years ago | (#38515168)

But I want it to include a date with Danica Patrick.

My Bid (1)

mdm42 (244204) | more than 2 years ago | (#38515372)

10c Zimbabwean.

TPB? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38516042)

I'd love to see the Pirate Bay nab this one and have it redirect to their site. Ideally, they get it for less than $100....

Can't help but notice (1)

andymadigan (792996) | more than 2 years ago | (#38517040)

I can't help but notice that the scummy law firm gets dismembered, but the scummy newspaper that contracted with them and started this mess gets off scott free. When is someone going to find a way to hold LVRJ responsible for their copyright-trolling-by-proxy?

Boycott the RJ (2)

robogun (466062) | more than 2 years ago | (#38517280)

Those of you in Vegas know you have two newspapers, the RJ and the Sun.

The Denver Post cancelled their contract with Righthaven while the RJ rewrote their contract with Righthaven such that it now has ownership and can sue as proxy.

If I were you I would not support the scum at the RJ - or their advertisers - who support this type of chilling effect on free speech.

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