EFF: Judge Dismisses Copyright “Troll” CasePublished on 15 June 2011 @ 11:53 pm
Intellectual Property Watch
A US judge ruled yesterday that copyright “troll” Righthaven lacked legal authorisation to bring an infringement lawsuit because it did not have ownership of the copyright in question, according to the Electronic Frontier Foundation. The case could have an impact on the future prospects of so-called copyright troll cases, EFF said.
Righthaven sued Democratic Underground last fall for a posting by a user of an excerpt of a Las Vegas Review Journal news story. However, according to EFF, a document unearthed in this litigation showed that “the copyright assignment was a sham and that Righthaven was merely agreeing to undertake the newspaper’s
case at its own expense in exchange for a cut of the recovery.”
The Las Vegas, Nevada judge rejected Righthaven’s claim as “flagrantly false – to the point that the claim is disingenuous if not outright deceitful,” according to EFF, and ordered Righthaven to show that it is not guilty of misrepresentation to the court as it had “made multiple inaccurate and likely dishonest statements to the Court.”
“We are pleased that the Court saw through Righthaven’s sham assignment of the copyright and dismissed its improper claim,” said EFF Senior Staff Attorney Kurt Opsahl. “Today’s decision shows that Righthaven’s copyright litigation business model is fatally flawed, and we expect the decision to have wide effect on the over 270 other cases Righthaven has brought.”
Democratic Underground will be given a chance to clear itself as its counterclaim was allowed to continue against Stephens Media, the publisher of the Review Journal. The user posted a five-sentence excerpt of a 50-sentence article.
EFF, Fenwick & West LLP, and Las Vegas attorney Chad Bowers are defending Democratic Underground.
The judge’s full order is here.
The EFF press release is here.