Righthaven Takes $120K Hit in Latest Lawsuit

October 28, 2011 -

Righthaven has been ordered to pay nearly $119,488 in attorney fees, court costs after losing a lawsuit against former federal prosecutor Thomas DiBiase. The company, which trolls internet sites and sues them for alleged newspaper copyright infringement (it represented the rights of the Las Vegas Review-Journal in this case), couldn't afford to pay a previous judgment of $34,045, and likely faces an even bigger judgment in another case involving the Democratic Underground.

DiBiase runs a website covering "no-body murder cases" - crimes where a murder is suspected but the victim's body has yet to be located by police. Righthaven decided to sue him last year claiming that he posted a story on such a murder case by the Las Vegas Review-Journal without authorization.

U.S. District Judge Roger Hunt in Las Vegas dismissed Righthaven's suit against DiBiase this summer because it lacked the standing to sue under a flawed lawsuit contract with R-J owner Stephens Media LLC. The judge hearing the case didn't rule on the fair use claim, but ruled that Righthaven had wrongly claimed it had the right in its lawsuits to seize defendants' website domain names.

DiBiase had help from attorneys at the Electronic Frontier Foundation in San Francisco, who defended DiBiase's nonprofit website performed because it provided a "a public service assisting law enforcement officials in bringing justice to crime victims." They argued that his post was protected by the fair use concept of copyright law.

That standard lawsuit demand was also criticized by defense attorneys in several cases who argued that it was meant to bully defendants into settling. DiBiase's attorneys received every dollar they asked for in their fee request, showing that judges are growing tired of these types of lawsuits - particularly ones filed by Righthaven.

Source: Las Vegas Haven


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