Thursday, April 07, 2011
Colorado judge rebukes Righthaven's champerty; lawsuit against Ars Technica journalist end-arounds the DMCA safe harbor
A Colorado federal judge, John L. Kane, has rebuked Righthaven’s “business model” of shaking down defendants for settlements to avoid the cost of litigation, in denying an extension of a motion to dismiss the case against Brian D. Hill. The Scribd link for the opinion is here.
The judge wrote ‘"the courts are not merely tools for encouraging and exacting settlements from Defendants cowed by the potential costs of litigation and liability."
The site “Vegas Inc” has a story “Denver judge critical of Righthaven tactics”, link here.
For another story about Righthaven in Colorado, see this blog Feb. 10, 2011.
Steve Green has a novel story (March 28, link) in the Las Vegas Sun about a suit against a journalist Eriq Gardner for Ars Technica for including an image (of a TSA Agent performing pat-downs) supposedly owned by Righthaven from an earlier case (Drudge). Ars Technica itself was protected from secondary liability by the DMCA Safe Harbor, but the original journalist as an individual was not. This practice is actually unusual in DMCA-related cases. It could further complicate advice given to webmasters or service providers to try to get themselves registered as copyright agent. Again, this case would need to be followed closely for legal technicalities, which judges may see with a great deal of variation.