Friday, October 29, 2010

Righthaven seems to win legal victory for its "business model", at least for now

Steve Green has an important story in the Las Vegas Sun Oct. 28, about a ruling by a Las Vegas federal judge Gloria Navarro that Righthaven lawsuits will not automatically be dismissed because alleged copyright infringement occurred before ownership interest was sold to Righthaven. The link for the story is here.

The ruling involved Canadian website majorwager.com (link), and also dealt with some subjective 14th Amendment questions involving Nevada jurisdiction, especially with foreign defendants.

However the judge remained open to considering arguments about Righthaven’s “technique” during trial, and particularly the question as to whether “right to sue” is normally transferrable as an ownership interest. In Righthaven’s favor is probably the example that debt collection companies purchase that right from creditors as part of their business all the time. Another factor in Righthaven’s favor could be the strong deference to property rights, also subsumed by the 14th Amendment. The problem is that the property right argument could become important to bloggers and writers in other kinds of litigation, such as involving conflict of interest or employer blogging policies. So bloggers have their hands in both sides of the argument.

Update:
Monday Nov. 1 the Las Vegas Sun provided more material, including a counterclaum by Thomas A DiBase, here on Scribd. DiBase runs the "NoBody" website to help prosecutors in cases where no body is found after a disappearance. 

In answer to questions about requested seizure of domain names, Righthaven claims that domain names could provide revenue incase a judgment is not paid. (For example, a domain name could be used for a purpose other than what the defendant had been using it for.)  Also, defense attorneys are continuing to press arguments to the effect that Righthaven must make a reasonable case that a quoted story could earn its copyright owner income in a conventional mabnber.

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