Nevada Judge Slams Copyright Troll Righthaven

Has two weeks to explain why it shouldn't be sanctioned

Righthaven, a copyright troll that acquires newspaper content from Stephens Media and then sues sites for posting the articles without permission, is in trouble with a Las Vegas federal judge.

U.S. District Judge Roger Hunt of Nevada has threatened to sanction Righthaven for what he calls “disingenuous, if not outright deceitful” litigation efforts, while also questioning the validity of the company’s business model, reports Wired. Righthaven has used a copyright loophole to launch more than 200 lawsuits against blogs and other sites for using material that Righthaven says it owns—all claims that the Hunt believes are false.

“The court believes that Righthaven has made multiple inaccurate and likely dishonest statements to the court,” the judge wrote, the “most factually brazen [of which was] Righthaven’s failure to disclose Stephens Media as an interested party in Righthaven’s Certificate of Interested Parties.”

The judge’s statements were spurred by a ruling saying that Righthaven did not have standing to sue the Democratic Underground blog for re-posting four paragraphs of a 34-paragraph story originally published by the Las Vegas Review-Journal, which Stephens Media owns, because “copyright owner cannot assign a bare right to sue.”

“Making this failure more egregious,” Hunt said, “not only did Righthaven fail to identify Stephens Media as an interested party in this suit, the court believes that Righthaven failed to disclose Stephens Media as an interested party in any of its approximately 200 cases filed in this district. Accordingly, the court orders Righthaven to show cause, in writing, no later than two weeks from the date of this order, why it should not be sanctioned for this flagrant misrepresentation to the court.”

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