EFF Asks Court To Halt 'Righthaven's Legal Charade'

Given that Righthaven has suffered a string of recent courtroom defeats, it's probably not surprising that the copyright enforcement outfit appears to be in retreat.

Righthaven attorney Steven Ganim said last month in court papers that he had been laid off recently. Additionally, the company, which brought 275 lawsuits between March of 2010 and this June, didn't file any new cases in July or August. CEO Steve Gibson told Wired that he's waiting to see how the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals rules on Righthaven's appeals. "It certainly seems to be prudent to see how all of these cases come out in the wash," Gibson reportedly said.

Righthaven, which once touted itself as champion of the newspaper industry, has seen at least 10 of its 275 cases dismissed in recent months. In several of the lawsuits, federal judges in Nevada ruled that the outfit lacked standing to sue for infringement of articles that originally appeared in the Las Vegas Review-Journal because the newspaper never transferred key rights to Righthaven -- including the right to license articles. Judges also ruled in three other cases that the site operators or bloggers who were sued made fair use of the material -- even though in at least two instances they reposted the original work in its entirety.

On top of that, Righthaven was hit with a $5,000 sanction for making misrepresentations to the court, and was ordered to pay around $37,000 to defense attorneys who prevailed in two cases.

Nearly all of Righthaven's lawsuits involve material from either the Las Vegas Review-Journal or Denver Post. The cases alleging infringement of material from the Review-Journal are before various judges in Nevada, while most of the cases dealing with Denver Post material are in front of the same federal judge -- John Kane -- in Colorado. Attorneys representing defendants in Colorado have asked Kane to follow the lead of Nevada judges and rule that Righthaven lacked standing to sue.

This week, the digital rights group Electronic Frontier Foundation -- which has opposed Righthaven in other lawsuits -- filed a new set of court papers with Kane again asking him to dismiss Righthaven's pending cases, reports.

"The time for Righthaven's legal charade to end is upon us," the EFF argues. "They have wasted too much time and treasure of the court and the defendants and abused the legal process for long enough, suing to profit from quick settlements on a copyright they do not, and did not own."

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