Righthaven Defends Aim in Copyright Litigation

     (CN) – As federal judges in Nevada and Colorado threaten to dismiss Righthaven’s infringement claims, the copyright enforcer argued in a recent filing that its amended agreement with the Las Vegas Review-Journal is sufficient to grant standing in more than 200 lawsuits against websites and blogs for illegally posting the newspaper’s content.

     Labeled a copyright troll by fair-use advocates, Righthaven also defended its failure to name the Review-Journal’s parent company, Stephens Media, as an interested party in the controversial lawsuits.
     In June, a federal judge in Nevada ruled that Righthaven’s previous agreement with Stephens Media did not allow Righthaven to sue on the newspaper’s behalf, and threatened to sanction the company for failing to include Stephens Media in its complaints.
      Righthaven disputed the finding in a new response. “Righthaven undoubtedly owns the copyright under the recently executed amendment,” Righthaven attorney Shawn Mangano wrote with regard to a lawsuit against the website Pahrump Life. “Through that agreement, Righthaven obtained all right, title and interest in the infringed work, and licensed back only a nonexclusive right to exploit the work.”
     In a separate filing in Righthaven’s case against website Democratic Underground, Mangano argued that Righthaven should not be sanctioned because it provided enough information to show that Stephens Media had an interest in the case.
      “The facts demonstrate that sufficient information was contained in the record to enable the court to ascertain Stephens Media’s potential interest in, and eventual formal involvement through Democratic Underground’s counterclaim, shortly after this action was filed,” Mangano wrote. “Accordingly, even in view of Righthaven’s former in-house counsel’s oversight disclosing Stephens Media on the company’s Certificate of Interested Parties, the court had ample information before it to ascertain whether recusal was warranted based on Stephens Media’s association with the claims and counterclaims before it. The totality of these circumstances further demonstrates that neither Righthaven nor its counsel, past or present, willfully or otherwise intentionally violated Local Rule 7.1-1 in this case or in any other pending case.”
     Meanwhile, U.S. District Judge Larry Hicks put 10 Righthaven lawsuits in Nevada on hold last week “because substantial doubt exists as to Righthaven’s standing and the court’s subject-matter jurisdiction.” He gave the company 10 days to show cause as to why the cases should not be dismissed.

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