Copyright enforcer Righthaven doesn't seem to be having better luck in South Carolina than it did elsewhere in the country.
On Thursday, U.S. Magistrate Judge Jacquelyn D. Austin in South Carolina indicated that she is considering recommending dismissal of Righthaven's sole case in that state -- a lawsuit against blogger Dana Eiser, of the right-wing site Lowcountry912.com. She allegedly reposted a column that originally appeared in the Denver Post.
Austin said it appears that Righthaven lacks standing to sue because the Denver Post has only assigned to Righthaven “a bare right to sue,” and no other rights, like the ability to license material. Austin gave Righthaven until Oct. 28 to file papers showing why its lawsuit shouldn't be dismissed.
Should Austin recommend dismissal, the move would be in keeping with a series of rulings by judges in Nevada, where the company filed the bulk of its 275 copyright infringement cases, as well as the judge in Colorado who is presiding over all Righthaven cases in that state. Those judges all found that Righthaven never had the right to sue the broad array of bloggers, small publishers and nonprofits that it dragged into court for reposting news articles. The judges found that Righthaven never obtained the right to profit from the material by licensing it, and therefore couldn't sue for infringement.
On top of the setback in South Carolina, Righthaven also was rebuffed by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in another matter -- the company's lawsuit against Wayne Hoehn for allegedly infringing copyright by reposting a Las Vegas Review-Journal article. A district court judge ruled in Hoehn's favor and ordered Righthaven to reimburse Hoehn's defense attorneys to the tune of slightly more than $34,000. The judge later said that Righthaven need not pay the attorneys immediately, but must at least put up a bond for the judgment by Oct. 28.
The copyright enforcer is apparently having trouble doing so. It recently filed what it characterized as an “urgent motion” with the 9th Circuit, seeking a stay of the order requiring it to post a bond.
“In sum, the bonding companies ask for full cash payment, certain forms of collateral held by the company or irrevocable letters of credit be posted to obtain a bond in the amount requested,” Righthaven said in its papers. “To date, Righthaven has been unable to satisfactorily meet these requirements in a manner acceptable to a bonding\ company.”
The company added that its entire “operating capital” is going toward operating expenses -- including its efforts to appeal the unfavorable rulings it has racked up. The 9th Circuit doesn't appear especially sympathetic to Righthaven. This week, the appellate court denied Righthaven's motion.