Righthaven LLC has no claim to the copyrighted material it claims to protect from small bloggers and websites, according to documents filed in federal court in Righthaven LLC v. Democratic Underground, LLC and David Allen (No. 10-1356-RLH (GFW)).
In an agreement never before revealed, a copy of the Strategic Alliance Agreement between Stephens Media LLC and Righthaven LLC "on its face purports to be the master agreement that governs all the assignments Righthaven has sued upon in this Court," according to documents filed with the United States District Court for the District of Nevada.
The Strategic Alliance Agreement, dated January 18, 2010, provides for a 50/50 split of lawsuit recoveries between Stephens Media and Righthaven (less "costs").
The agreement expressly denies Righthaven any right other than to pursue infringement actions.
Righthaven claims in its 100s of lawsuits that "Righthaven is the owner of the copyright in and to the work" in question.
The Strategic Alliance Agreement appears to contradict Righthaven's repeated representations to the Court and the ramifications could constitute a major legal scandal.
Righthaven LLC is an embarrassment to the legal profession, the lowest scum to crawl out of the gutter of Las Vegas.
If I am reading this right, Righthaven is history.
Bankruptcy, class action suits, Rules 11 complaints, massive case dismissals and attorney disbarments are in the future.
Strategic Alliance Agreement
7.2 Despite any such Copyright Assignment, Stephens Media shall retain (and is hereby granted by Righthaven) an exclusive license to Exploit the Stephens Media Assigned Copyrights for any lawful purpose whatsoever and Righthaven shall have no right or license to Exploit or participate in the receipt of royalties from the Exploitation of the Stephen Media Assigned Copyrights other than the right to proceeds in association with a Recovery.From Vegas Inc:
As expected, the Jan. 18, 2010, Strategic Alliance Agreement shows the previously-confidential deal calls for Stephens Media to receive a cut of Righthaven's lawsuit proceeds, minus costs. That cut is 50 percent. ...
Laurence Pulgram, an attorney representing Righthaven defendant the Democratic Underground in the case, said this agreement shows Righthaven only obtains limited rights -- and this discovery may undermine all of Righthaven's lawsuits over Review-Journal material.
'By rejecting Righthaven's and Stephens Media's efforts to keep the document secret, Chief Judge Hunt has allowed the various victims of Righthaven's campaign of intimidation to know the truth. The document in question, a Strategic Alliance Agreement, gave Righthaven the right to sue on Stephens' Media's copyrights, but no other rights in the copyrights, which we believe will defeat Righthaven's standing to sue any of those it has targeted,' said Pulgram, an attorney associated with the Electronic Frontier Foundation with the San Francisco law firm Fenwick & West LLP.
Defense attorneys fighting Righthaven say that in order to sue, Righthaven must have complete ownership of the copyrights. They say that providing Righthaven only rights to sue undermines the purposes of the Copyright Act.
'Righthaven’s practices create a secondary commodities market for copyrights, or exclusive subsidiary rights in copyrights, to be used only in suing others who may have valid defenses, but cannot afford to raise them – or engage counsel whatsoever,' said a filing Thursday by attorneys in another case representing the Media Bloggers Association.
'This is inimical to the purpose of the Copyright Act, which was intended to protect the intellectual investments of creators, rather than creating lawsuit mills that use registered copyrights – only after their infringement was discovered – as a source of income, rather than a shield against others’ misappropriation.'