Ah, the warm and fuzzy feelings of schadenfreude that come from watching copyright troll Righthaven dig itself in deeper. Righthaven, for those who haven’t been following, is a company whose business model is to look for people quoting or reposting articles from newspapers on-line and then buy the copyright to those articles from the newspapers and file a lawsuit. They’ve filed over 250 lawsuits so far, and reportedly settled with dozens of defendants to the tune of about $400,000.

Earlier today, I noticed an article in Ars Technica (one of whose reporters was actually briefly a target of an inane Righthaven lawsuit, before its lawyers came to their senses—and as a result, now Ars makes sure to repost the photo that got the reporter sued in every article they feature about Righthaven) about one of the company’s cases in Colorado—a suit against a young man suffering from autism, ADD, and diabetes. Righthaven had asked for a three-week extension, undoubtedly hoping to have additional time to try to force Hill to settle—but U.S. District Judge John Kane was having none of it, denying the request and making some decidedly caustic remarks about Righthaven’s behavior.

"Whether or not this case settles is not my primary concern," wrote the judge last week. "Although Plaintiff’s business model relies in large part upon reaching settlement agreements with a minimal investment of time and effort, the purpose of the courts is to provide a forum for the orderly, just, and timely resolution of controversies and disputes. Plaintiff’s wishes to the contrary, the courts are not merely tools for encouraging and exacting settlements from Defendants cowed by the potential costs of litigation and liability."

Subsequently, Righthaven dismissed the case, but not without some passive-aggressive “sour grapes” posing, complaining about “the Defendant and his counsel seek[ing] to extend this action for publicity purposes.” (Wait a second, wasn’t it Righthaven who was just asking for a three-week extension?) And they note that other defendants shouldn’t assume that just because they dropped this case, Righthaven will go easy on anyone else:

"While the Defendant may believe the Notice of Dismissal evidences his authorization to misappropriate copyright protected material in the course of his Internet-related conduct, he can continue to do so at his own peril," wrote Righthaven attorneys. "Others observing these proceedings should so likewise heed this advice because this Notice of Dismissal in no way exonerates any other defendant in any other Righthaven action for stealing copyright protected material and republishing such material without consent."

But it only gets better from there. As PaidContent notes, Judge Kane was so unimpressed that he actually ordered Righthaven’s complaints and warnings stricken from the record as “immaterial and impertinent.”

But the icing on the cake is that Judge Kane will be hearing all 58 lawsuits Righthaven has filed in Colorado—approximately 20% of the 250+ cases it has filed so far. And it sounds like he’s already used up all his patience with Righthaven on just this one.

So far, of the cases that actually made it to trial, Righthaven has lost two and dismissed two (this one and the one against the Ars Technica reporter). It will be fun to see what happens to the others. I feel like making popcorn.


  1. We desperately need legislation that makes patent and copyright trolling explicitly illegal. A business model based on using the court system to extort money via the threat of litigation is morally reprehensible and should be erased.

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