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Another $120,000 Rewarded Against Alleged 'Copyright Troll' Righthaven

Posted by: , 16:49 AEDT, Fri October 28, 2011
Tags: Copyright

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Righthaven's loss in another lawsuit means they now have to pay $120,000 in legal costs, a judge rules

More bad news for Righthaven, the firm that has tried to monetize copyright infringement of newspaper articles, and the firm that many have been calling a 'Copyright Troll'. They have been caught on the wrong side of another failed lawsuit, this time against former prosecutor Thomas DiBiase, as the judge in the cases has awarded DiBiase nearly $120,000 in attorney fees that Righthaven must pay up.

This is just the latest in a series of bad results for Righthaven, as the company itself claims that it may run out money soon.

In this latest case, DiBiase, who ran a non-profit, public service website that posted details about unsolved murder cases, used an article from the Las Vegas Review-Journal which prompted Righthaven's lawsuit. DiBiase's EFF lawyers say that the re-use comes under fair use, due to the non-commercial nature of the re-use, and no apparent financial harm being done to the LVRJ - this defence is supported by other decision rewarded against Righthaven.

But what worried U.S. District Judge Roger Hunt the most was the questionable nature of the legal contract between Righthaven and the Review Journal's owners, Stephens Media LLC, who also have a stake in Righthaven, which put into doubt whether Righthaven had any right to sue at all on behalf of Stephens Media. Judge Hunt also reacted against Righthaven's claim that DiBiase should hand over the domain name of his website over as punishment, something that the judge felt Righthaven had no rights to do.

"The Copyright Act states that prevailing parties may recover a reasonable attorney’s fee along with full costs. Mr. DiBiase is a prevailing party based on this court’s order granting his motion to dismiss for lack of subject matter jurisdiction based on Righthaven’s lack of ownership of the copyright and consequent lack of standing," Judge Hunt wrote in his ruling.

Righthaven is likely to appeal the reward of costs.


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