When we last visited the topic of Righthaven, the so-called “copyright enforcement” company which questionably defends copyrights for American newspaper mogul Stephens Media had just been hit with a class-action lawsuit alleging that the company’s practices were nothing but “extortion litigation.” Now, a US district judge has dealt the copyright trolls another blow, accusing them of making dishonest statements to the court and threatening sanctions against them.
Nevada judge Roger Hunt took issue specifically with Righthaven’s practice of suing parties while representing themselves as the copyright holder of material that actually belongs to Stephen’s Media.
Although Righthaven and Stephen’s Media had an agreement to evenly split the proceeds from any of the settlements resulting from their cases, the newspaper owner consistently retained sole rights to the content in their news publications, and was not named in the lawsuits filed by Righthaven.
A “copyright owner cannot assign a bare right to sue.” Judge Hunt stated in his ruling.
“Making this failure more egregious, not only did Righthaven fail to identify Stephens Media as an interested party in this suit, the court believes that Righthaven failed to disclose Stephens Media as an interested party in any of its approximately 200 cases filed in this district,” Hunt also stated. “Accordingly, the court orders Righthaven to show cause, in writing, no later than two weeks from the date of this order, why it should not be sanctioned for this flagrant misrepresentation to the court.”
Good luck with that, Righthaven!