Fri Feb 8, 2013, 05:43 PM
Newsjock (11,003 posts)
Righthaven: Ninth Circuit doubts newspapers can pass along IP rights
A Ninth Circuit panel on Tuesday appeared skeptical that Righthaven LLC, a holding company set up to enforce newspapers' copyrights, had standing to sue people who posted newspaper articles online, saying that publishing companies aren't allowed to assign their rights to bring copyright infringement lawsuits to third parties.
A three-judge panel expressed skepticism that Righthaven had the right to sue individuals who posted newspaper and magazine content online, when the publishers themselves owned the copyrights.
Copyright troll Righthaven LLC just doesn’t know when to stay down. Faced with six district court judges determining it didn't have the right to sue people over copyrights it didn't own, it turned to a higher power: the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. Yesterday (Tuesday), EFF appeared before that court to argue against Righthaven on behalf of Tad DiBiase, a criminal justice blogger who provides resources for difficult-to-prosecute "no body" murder cases and was one of Righthaven’s victims.
... During the hearing, the three judges on the appeals court panel appeared quite skeptical of that theory, suggesting that Righthaven seemed to want them to put "form over substance." Judge Clifton called Righthaven's legal approach "too cute by half," adding "at the end of the day, I don't see how Righthaven has the rights under the Copyright Act to do anything." The panel, consisting of Judges O’Scannlain, Trott and Clifton, took the matter under submission, and will likely issue a decision in the next few months.
In its heyday, Righthaven had brought hundreds of lawsuits in federal court claiming copyright infringement (including against DU), even though it did not create, produce or distribute any content. Instead, Righthaven created lawsuits by scouring the Internet for content from Las Vegas Review-Journal stories posted on blogs and online forums, claiming to acquire the copyright to those particular stories from Stephens Media (the Review-Journal's publisher), and then suing the posters for infringement, seeking huge damages and control over their domains.
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