Righthaven backed into a corner; copyrights to be auctioned
12 December 2011
Copyright lawsuit filer Righthaven LLC of Las Vegas faced more problems Monday after a federal judge granted a defendant’s motion that Righthaven be placed under control of a receiver and that its copyrights be auctioned off, giving it nothing to sue or appeal over.
U.S. District Judge Philip Pro granted the motion made by attorneys for defendant Wayne Hoehn, who said a receiver was needed to run the company and that its assets should be auctioned.
That was after Righthaven failed to pay their attorney’s fees and U.S. Marshals were unable to round up enough Righthaven assets to cover their fees totaling more than $63,000.
Pro noted in his one-page order that Righthaven hadn’t responded to the Nov. 14 receiver and copyright auction request.
A request for comment was placed with Righthaven.
A U.S. magistrate judge on Monday also ordered that Righthaven CEO Steven Gibson and his wife, Raisha “Drizzle” Gibson, appear in court on Jan. 5 “and provide testimony under oath concerning the location of Righthaven’s assets.”
Righthaven in past has typically responded to such threats to its survival with appeals or threats to file for bankruptcy. If Righthaven doesn’t appeal or file for bankruptcy, it could see appeals pending before the 9th and 10th U.S. Circuit Courts of Appeals evaporate because others could buy its copyrights, giving Righthaven nothing to sue and appeal over.
Righthaven is the copyright enforcement partner of the Las Vegas Review-Journal and formerly of the Denver Post. Since March 2010, it has filed 275 no-warning infringement lawsuits, only to suffer a series of legal defeats based on its lack of standing as the newspapers maintained control of the material Righthaven was suing over.
Righthaven has also suffered four losses under the fair use doctrine of copyright law, meaning defendants were allowed to use Review-Journal material in full or in part in those cases without authorization from the R-J.
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