Tuesday, 12 April 2011

Copyright troll Righthaven drops lawsuit after judge blasts tactics

The Denver Daily News reports that copyright infringement firm Righthaven and the Denver Post have dismissed a $150,000 lawsuit they filed after a blogger used a Post photo on his website. The notice for dismissal was filed after the judge in the case denied Righthaven a motion for an extension.   In this case, Righthaven had filed a $150,000 suit against Brian Hill, a 20 year old, chronically ill, mildly autistic blogger. According to the Denver Westword blog, "Typically, Righthaven obtains copyrights for material that's already been used in unauthorized fashion (like a Post photo of a TSA agent Hill published on his www.uswgo.com site), then sues for big bucks in the apparent hope of a speedy settlement. For instance, Righthaven offered to let Hill off the hook for $6,000 - an enormous sum given that he and his mom are both subsisting on disability payments. He has brittle diabetes, and she has to monitor him at night to make sure he doesn't lapse into a coma."
Judge John Kane, in denying the motion for extension, blasted Righthaven's tactics, saying "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."
 Techdirt says, "it's looking like more and more judges are recognizing that the new found love of copyright trolls, to use the US judicial system as a shotgun to force people to pay settlement fees, is not a proper use of the courts".

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