Righthaven copyright, trademark auction begins Monday
28 April 2012
The second auction of Righthaven LLC assets, including its trademark and a copyright for a Las Vegas Review-Journal editorial, is scheduled to begin Monday morning on eBay.
Righthaven's intellectual property has been seized under court orders requested by creditors who beat back Righthaven copyright infringement lawsuits against them. The creditors are owed $188,927 for attorney's fees and costs.
Righthaven, a Las Vegas company, obtained copyrights from the Review-Journal and the Denver Post to file copyright infringement lawsuits. Beginning in March 2010, the company filed 275 no-warning lawsuits against suspected infringers.
Now, Righthaven essentially has shut down after judges threw out the suits on grounds the copyright assignments were flawed, leaving the newspapers in control of material Righthaven claimed to own. Several defendants also were cleared on fair use grounds.
With creditors going after Righthaven assets after the company couldn't or wouldn't pay judgments against it, receiver and Northern Nevada attorney Lara Pearson auctioned Righthaven's website domain name for $3,300 in January.
Next week's auction covers Righthaven's federal trademark and 18 of its copyrights.
The copyrights can be viewed here.
The copyrights are for two pornographic movies as well as 15 pieces of outdated sports betting commentary and predictions Righthaven had obtained from a company called Stevo Design Inc.
Just one federal copyright registration from one of Righthaven's newspaper partners will be auctioned in the sale that runs through Wednesday afternoon.
That's for a Las Vegas Review-Journal editorial published on June 24, 2010, called "Avoiding the issues.'' The editorial complained about the ''crippling fiscal burden of the state's exorbitant public employee retirement benefits.''
Pearson declined comment Friday on why all of Righthaven's 278 federal copyright registrations that she obtained title to aren't included in next week's auction and why just one newspaper copyright is being auctioned. She had been expected to auction a column by R-J columnist and former Publisher Sherman Frederick also complaining about public pensions. It was a Righthaven lawsuit over a Kentucky man's post of Frederick's column that resulted in one of the judgments against Righthaven and the order that its copyrights be transferred to Pearson for auction.
It's unclear if Pearson is just testing the water with the initial auction; whether she plans to auction the other copyrights later; or whether the Review-Journal, former Righthaven partner the Denver Post or Righthaven have been threatening legal action against the copyright registration auction plan.
Attorneys have said that since Righthaven was found to not have standing to sue under the flawed copyright assignments from the Review-Journal and the Denver Post, those newspapers maintain control of the material covered by the federal copyright registrations Pearson is auctioning.
That means they may sell for just memorabilia value.
It's also possible the buyer of the copyright assignment for the R-J editorial could demand that the R-J remove the editorial from its website or pay a licensing fee to post its own editorial.
That could put Stephens Media LLC, owner of the R-J, in the position of having to discredit the copyright assignment it earlier agreed to.
But doing so could contradict Righthaven's stance in pending appeals that the copyright assignments were valid.
Righthaven, owned by Las Vegas attorney Steven Gibson and the family of Arkansas investment banking billionaire Warren Stephens, the same family that owns the R-J, never responded to inquiries about why it acquired the two porn movies to be auctioned.
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