Righthaven hits porn defendant with hypocrisy charge

Las Vegas newspaper copyright enforcer Righthaven LLC is accusing one of its defendants of hypocrisy -- for first fighting copyright infringements and then allegedly infringing on Righthaven's material.

The Righthaven lawsuit at issue was filed in August in Las Vegas federal court against Hush-Hush Entertainment Inc., PN Media Inc. of Burbank, Calif., and Andrew Stoddard, owner of PN Media. The lawsuit said the defendants have an adult website called www.pornnewz.com.

Court records indicate a user of that site, "Tawnya," posted to the site a Las Vegas Review-Journal story last year about a church that ministers to pornography stars, exotic dancers and prostitutes in the Las Vegas area.

The records indicate the www.pornnewz.com posting did not credit the R-J for the story.

Attorneys for Stoddard responded with a motion to dismiss, charging Righthaven had failed to show it owned the copyright to the story at the time of the alleged infringement.

Righthaven, in several other cases, has seen its right to sue upheld based on copyright transfers from Review-Journal owner Stephens Media LLC.

These assignments give Righthaven the right to sue for infringements that occurred before Righthaven acquired the copyrights -- though that arrangement is under attack in Righthaven's suit against the Democratic Underground.

Stoddard's attorneys also complained in the motion for dismissal that Righthaven failed to allege in its suit "that it complied with its obligation to send out a notice to defendants to take down the allegedly-infringing work."

Righthaven, however, maintains take-down notices are required only in limited circumstances where infringing material was posted by a third party -- and the website where it was posted registered an agent for receipt of takedown notices in compliance with the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA).

Stoddard, who lives in Los Angeles County, also complained the Nevada court lacks jurisdiction over him as Righthaven failed to allege in the lawsuit that Stoddard is engaged in commercial activity concerning Nevada, that the website contains advertising or sells any products or services; or that Stoddard has a physical presence in Nevada.

"Stoddard has no significant business relationships with Nevada," his response said.

Several Righthaven defendants have asserted these jurisdictional arguments, but they have been rejected by Nevada federal judges who noted the defendants had subjected themselves to jurisdiction in Nevada by allegedly lifting material from a Nevada newspaper's website.

In responding to the motion for dismissal, Shawn Mangano, an attorney for Righthaven, noted the irony that Stoddard had participated in 2008 in launching The PAK Group to fight the widespread online piracy of porn movies.

Given this, Mangano said in a court filing that Stoddard's defense was "unbelievable."

"Amazingly, the defendant has justified forming this new adult content protection company by proclaiming, `You have people who think it’s OK to steal my content and make money off of it, and that’s bull----,'" Mangano's filing said. "Righthaven certainly concurs with defendant’s colorful assessment of the underlying basis for imposing copyright infringement liability.

"In fact, Righthaven maintains that when the dust settles in this case, the defendant will have a far greater appreciation of the ramifications for stealing someone else’s copyrighted material upon entry of a sizeable monetary judgment against him," Mangano's filing said.

Mangano also noted Stoddard's business produces pornography that "may be shocking" -- pornography called "reality style interracial videos" with explicit titles.

"As the court is likely aware, Righthaven has pursued numerous copyright infringement lawsuits in this judicial district. In doing so, Righthaven has been subjected to the scrutiny of various anonymous Internet bloggers and entities that may find themselves facing allegations of unauthorized posting of copyright protected content. Occasionally, a defendant surfaces in a Righthaven copyright infringement action that engenders public sympathy on the Internet and in other media sources whether or not such sympathy is justified. This is not such a case," the filing said.

Stoddard's attorneys have not yet responded to Mangano's filing and it's unknown when the motion for dismissal will be resolved.

Despite suggesting Stoddard's porn movies may be "shocking," Righthaven itself owns copyrights to two porn movies with interracial content: "Ebony Amateurs Vegas Edition #10" and "Ebony Princess #3."

Records indicate Righthaven obtained the rights to these DVDs from U.V.C. Inc. of Van Nuys, Calif. U.V.C. does business as Heatwave Video.

Righthaven hasn't said why it obtained these copyrights or whether any lawsuits are planned over them.

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  1. The fact that Righthaven is scraping the bottom of the barrel for copyrights shows they are in serious trouble. All they can get now is porn movies. They have not acquired any new copyrights from either the RJ or Denver Post or any other newspapers for several months now. This may indicate the papers have already cut them loose and that Righthaven is forced to look elsewhere for new copyrights.

  2. It's impossible to even comment minimally on this matter anymore, though I do like the stories. I sure wish one of the real trials would be expedited, then poor Steve Green can get on to other work.