Blog Post

In Wake Of Righthaven’s Loss, Counter-Attacks–And A Response From Gibson

Earlier this week, a Nevada federal judge dealt a major setback to copyright enforcer Righthaven. In the wake of that decision–which said that Righthaven didn’t have standing to sue in the majority of the 270+ lawsuits it has filed–a variety of forces have been pushing back against Righthaven.

It still isn’t clear what Righthaven will do next. In one of Righthaven CEO Gibson’s only public comments since the loss, he struck an unrepentant tone, telling Wired.com that he wasn’t worried about a legal counter-attack from the bloggers who made settlement payments to Righthaven; those bloggers were guilty of infringement and “they can do what they want to do,” he said.

Gibson also said it’s clear that Righthaven now does have standing to sue, since it amended its contracts in May. But in his order, Judge Roger Hunt cast serious doubt on whether that is true, saying that Righthaven’s amendments thus far have been merely “cosmetic.”

Other new developments:

»  The Nevada State Bar is still looking into multiple complaints filed against Righthaven and its principal Steve Gibson, reports the Las Vegas Sun. Gibson didn’t respond to a request for comment on those inquiries.

»  A lawsuit has been filed in South Carolina state court against Righthaven, MediaNews, and Stephens Media, accusing the companies of unfair trade practices and “barratry,” a term for the improper encouragement and pursuit of lawsuits.

»  Stephens Media, which owns the Review-Journal, is now a defendant in three different counter-suits brought by Righthaven defendants, according to the Sun.

»  The Sun has covered Righthaven extensively. But the Las Vegas Review-Journal has, for the most part, studiously ignored this extraordinary legal story that it’s intimately connected with. However, the most recent setback moved even the R-J to publish a story, featuring additional comment from Gibson.

In response to the court’s assertion that Righthaven “has made multiple inaccurate and likely dishonest statements to the court,” Gibson said that there was “certainly no intent” to be dishonest. The article continues:

Gibson said he will review the decision with Righthaven’s lawyers and evaluate appeal options.

“It’s important to recognize that Righthaven respects the judiciary and respects judicial decisions,” he said.

Gibson said the ruling left him pondering an interesting question: If Righthaven does not have “standing,” or the right to file a lawsuit, then who does?

The obvious answer to that would seem to be–actual copyright owners with actual businesses, beyond solely litigation, clearly can and do bring copyright suits. Nothing about the Righthaven fiasco is suggestive that the R-J couldn’t have gone on this copyright campaign on its own.