Righthaven Loses Another Fair Use Case, Ordered to Pay $34K in Legal Fees

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Righthaven was dealt another blow in a Nevada federal court, as it was ordered to pay over $34,000 to cover the legal fees of the defendant it had just sued (and lost).

For some more background on Righthaven, you can peruse our previous coverage here. Basically, it's a company that has made a business out of buying copyrights from publishers (namely the Las Vegas Review Journal) and suing bloggers and other sites for using article texts and images in various ways.

They've already lost some key suits in the name of fair use.

Vegas INC is reporting:

U.S. District Judge Philip Pro awarded the fees Monday in the case of Kentucky message board poster Wayne Hoehn.

Pro on June 20 dismissed Righthaven’s lawsuit against Hoehn, finding Righthaven didn’t have standing to sue him and even if it did, Hoehn was protected by the fair use doctrine in posting an entire Las Vegas Review-Journal column on a sports betting website message board. Righthaven's lack of standing was due to the R-J maintaining control of the column despite Righthaven's claims of ownership.

"The wheels appear to be coming off the Righthaven trainwreck-in-progress," says Nate Anderson at Ars Technica, who describes the company as "the litigation outfit, which generally sues small-time bloggers, forum operators, and the occasional Ars Technica writer."

That last part is a reference to when Righthaven filed a suit against Ars Technica contributor Eriq Gardner. The article was about Righthaven suing Drudge Report. It featured a screenshot of The Drudge Report page in question, which was actually taken from a court document. In the screenshot, was an image that Drudge Report used, and was the reason it was being sued by Righthaven.

Righthaven lawyers told Anderson shortly thereafter that they dismissed the suit against Ars Technica once they realized Gardner "was a reporter."

Anderson calls Righthaven v. Hoehn "an utterly shambolic piece of litigation."

Clearly the judge agreed. Of course, Righthaven is appealing. As they've proven time and time again, they're no quitters.

Chris Crum

Chris Crum has been a part of the WebProNews team and the iEntry Network of B2B Publications since 2003. Follow Chris on Twitter, on StumbleUpon, on Pinterest and/or on Google: +Chris Crum.

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