Friday, February 08, 2013
Righthaven ("copyright troll") is still kicking before the Ninth Circuit
Believe or not, “it’s back”. Righthaven, that is. The copyright troll is in the Ninth Circuit, trying to overturn rulings from several district courts that it can’t sue people over copyrights it doesn’t fully own. Electronic Frontier Foundation, in an article by Kurt Opsahl, explained how it was assisting legal blogger Thomas A. DiBase, a former assistant US attorney for the District of Columbia, whose case is in front of the Ninth Circuit for his “No body” blog, which deals with murder cases in which no corpse can be found as evidence.
According to EFF, Righthaven claims it is entitled to sue because it owned copyright for an “instant” (essentially a singularity) before returning the rights to the newspaper. The Ninth Circuit has already questioned whether this use of the Copyright Law is more about form than substance.
If Righthaven wanted to claim full legal ownership, it would have to be involved in maintaining the content of the newspaper.
The "Righthaven Victims" blog has an (older) account of the DiBase case here.
Could a similar argument be used against patent trolls? With that issue, the problem seems to be more that the patents themselves are frivolous. This problem was discussed on my trademark blog in the case of Personal Audio, on Feb. 6.