Righthaven May Be Going Bankrupt

A Nevada judge has ordered it to pay major legal fees

Copyright troll Righthaven—which was just dropped by one of its two clients,  Denver-based MediaNews Group—may have to file for bankruptcy after facing a series of failed lawsuits. According to Vegas Inc., Righthaven disclosed its precarious position in an emergency request it filed with a federal judge in Las Vegas, who had demanded that the company pay $34,045 in legal fees to the attorneys defending a man sued by Righthaven.

Righthaven had launched a lawsuit against Wayne Hoehn for posting a column from the Las Vegas Review-Journal (owned by Righthaven client Stephens Media; incidentally, the Stephens family owns half of Righthaven) on a sports betting website message board. But the judge ruled that Righthaven lacked standing to sue Hoehn, and even if Righthaven did have standing, that Hoehn was protected by fair use in reposting the article.

In its court filing, Righthaven said that its litigation campaigns in Nevada, Colorado, and South Carolina have all come to a halt while judges in the three states determine whether Righthaven has standing to sue over material belonging to its publisher clients. The company said that the legal deadlock has hurt its finances and is worried that successful defendants could seize its assets, which include copyrights to material from Stephens Media and MediaNews Group.

If Righthaven does file for bankruptcy, creditors would still be able to ask the bankruptcy court for the right to seize the company’s assets, says Vegas Inc. Righthaven would also have to reveal detailed financial information that, until now, had been kept private.

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