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Remember Righthaven? On appeal, copyright troll looks just as bad

posted onFebruary 6, 2013
by l33tdawg

Righthaven was a copyright-enforcement business dreamed up by Las Vegas attorney Steve Gibson. He managed to convince the largest newspaper in Nevada, the Las Vegas Review-Journal, to let him use its copyrights to sue more than 200 mostly small-time bloggers and demand several thousand dollars apiece from them for reposting Review-Journal articles. Righthaven struck a similar deal with the Denver Post, which led to about 50 more lawsuits.

The plan went on for over a year. It included lawsuits against a cat blogger, a mildly autistic hobby blogger, and one Ars writer; but by mid-2011, Righthaven had been absolutely pounded in court. They lost a few cases on fair use grounds. Even more profoundly, Righthaven was found not to have standing to sue at all. The contract it struck with the Review-Journal didn't transfer the whole copyright, a judge found; it merely transferred a "bare right to sue," which is not allowable under a legal precedent called Silvers v. Sony Pictures.



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