Apr 15, 2011

Righthaven Copyright Troll Targets Pro-Veteran Groups and Advocates

Righthaven LLC as Troll

Update: Sources report Righthaven LLC, the embarrassment to the legal profession and lowest scum to crawl out of the gutter of Las Vegas, is the subject of multiple major press stories coming out in the coming weeks. U.S. District Judge John Kane: Courts will not be used as tools to exact settlements from intimidated defendants afraid of high costs of litigation and alleged liabilities

Righthaven LLC is a new business model that is organized to abuse the judicial process in its search for potential defendants to sue.

Now Righthaven is targeting veterans and advocates for veterans.

As reported by the Las Vegan Sun, Righthaven, “detects (alleged copyright) infringements, obtains copyrights to the stories at issue and then retroactively sues the alleged infringers.”

A very partial list of Righthaven lawsuits reveals a "sue-first-ask-questions-later," gutter operation run out of Las Vegas abusing its way to 100s and 100s of lawsuits the number of which appears to grow almost by the day.

From the Righthaven Victims Network:

Righthaven LLC -- a bottom feeding legal outfit -- has teamed up with the Las Vegas Review-Journal and the Denver Post [among over 100 media outlets] to sue 'mom and pop' websites, advocacy and public interest groups and forum board operators for copyright violations. The strategy of Righthaven is to sue thousands of these websites and counts on the fact that many are unfunded and will be forced to settle out of court. Most cases are being filed in a Nevada Federal Court and [according to Righthaven] must be fought in this jurisdiction.
From the late and great Larry Scott to the POW Network to a Gulf War trauma nurse veteran, Denise Nichols [whom Righthaven appears to be attempting to drive to her grave by inflicting stress through litigation], to Veterans Today, to Michael Leon, the list of veteran advocates and writers across the political spectrum under target is growing.

But so is the pushback against Righthaven, led by a federal judge.

The legal-political tide is definitely turning:

From Joe Mullin at Yahoo Finance:

Court orders from [Tuesday] and Thursday make it clear that the judge overseeing the [Righthaven defendant Brian Hill's] case has great distaste for Righthaven’s sue-first-ask-questions-later business model. The problem for Righthaven is that the same judge—U.S. District Judge John Kane—is handling all 58 of the lawsuits the company has filed in Colorado. ...

Judge John L Kane of the Federal Court of the District of Colorado ruled 'against Righthaven stating his court will not be used as a tool to encourage and exact settlements from defendants who may be intimidated due to the high cost of litigation and potential liabilities. Thus cutting to the heart of Righthaven's business model.'
Righthaven is also targeting Veterans Today.

Veterans Today describes itself as "a journal representing the position of members of the military and veteran community in areas of national security, geopolitical stability and domestic policy .... the only independent, unaligned voice of its kind in America, accepting no financial support from any organization or individual, existing solely for educational purposes."

Reading between the lines of this shadowy group, best I can tell the site is run by ex-intel and ex-special forces American military personnel with a long reach into many spheres of intelligence, geo-political and international covert ops.

Reaching Veterans Today is like finding life on Mars, and Righthaven which has numerous suits pending against Veterans Today calls them in court documents, an "entity of unknown orgin and nature."

I'm guessing Righthaven just stepped into some deep waters with funny undertows.

In any event, here's an open statement to Righthaven: Nobody likes a scumbag.

And the Tenth Circuit of the United States District Court system really doesn't like these scumbags.

To offer the reader an idea of the duplicity of Righthaven, consider its claimed Venue [the legally proper place where a given case ought to be argued].

Righthaven asserts in one suit: "The United State District Court for the Southern District of California is an appropriate venue, pursuant to U.S.C. 28 §139(b)(2), because a substantial part of the events giving rise to the claim for relief are situated in California.” [No 2:10-CV-01672-GMM-LRN filed 11/24/2010]

In a virtually identical suit served on another party, Righthaven asserts: "The United State District Court for the District of Nevada is an appropriate venue, pursuant to U.S.C. 28 §139(b)(2), because a substantial part of the events giving rise to the claim for relief are situated in Nevada.” [No 2:10-CV-01672-GMM-LRN filed 09/27/2010]

Attorneys litigating in the federal court system are expected to be diligent about the facts presented to the Court. But this cookie-cutter nonsense litigating is absurd on its face.

I'm no lawyer, but the above example of Righthaven simultaneously claiming two venues for the same complaint sure does appear to be a violation of Federal Rules of Civil Procedure III. PLEADINGS AND MOTIONS; Rule 11. Signing Pleadings, (b) Representations to the Court.

(b) Representations to the Court.

By presenting to the court a pleading, written motion, or other paper — whether by signing, filing, submitting, or later advocating it — an attorney or unrepresented party certifies that to the best of the person's knowledge, information, and belief, formed after an inquiry reasonable under the circumstances:

(1) it is not being presented for any improper purpose, such as to harass, cause unnecessary delay, or needlessly increase the cost of litigation;

(2) the claims, defenses, and other legal contentions are warranted by existing law or by a nonfrivolous argument for extending, modifying, or reversing existing law or for establishing new law;

(3) the factual contentions have evidentiary support or, if specifically so identified, will likely have evidentiary support after a reasonable opportunity for further investigation or discovery; and

(4) the denials of factual contentions are warranted on the evidence or, if specifically so identified, are reasonably based on belief or a lack of information.

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