June 16, 2011 - Righthaven LLC, a company that has been described by its critics as a "copyright troll" for filing over 300 copyright infringement lawsuits over newspaper articles posted on websites, was dealt a blow by a judge who ruled that the company lacked standing (meaning the right) to bring suit.
Righthaven signed an agreement in January 2010 with Stephens Media, publisher of the Las Vegas Review-Journal, that purportedly gave Righthaven the right to file copyright infringement lawsuits on behalf of Stephens Media and keep a portion of the damages recovered. Righthaven then embarked on an aggressive copyright enforcement campaign, targeting individuals and organizations who reproduced copyrighted articles in print or on their websites. (See our blog posts "Warning!" and "No Response, No Comment" for more background on Righthaven's activities.)
However, Judge Roger Hunt - a federal judge - ruled that Righthaven's agreement with Stephens Media does not confer the right for it to bring copyright lawsuits. Judge Hunt wrote that he believes Righthaven "has made multiple inaccurate and likely dishonest statements to the court."
Righthaven has two weeks to explain - in writing - why Judge Hunt should not sanction it "for this flagrant misrepresentation to the Court."
Meanwhile, many of the over 100 bloggers and website owners who previously settled with Righthaven are mulling their options for getting their money back.