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State Bar of Nevada Probes 3 Lawyers Who Helped Righthaven Pursue Copyright Claims

Posted Jan 13, 2012 1:30 PM CDT
By Martha Neil

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The State Bar of Nevada is investigating the CEO of Righthaven, a company known for its prolific filing of copyright lawsuits against bloggers who allegedly infringed by reposting newspaper content, as well as two lawyers who worked there.

CEO Steven Gibson, an attorney, is a subject of the probe along with former Righthaven lawyers J. Charles Coons and Jodi Donetta Lowry, VEGAS INC. reports.

Gibson and Lowry work in the Las Vegas offices of Detroit-based Dickinson Wright as a partner and counsel, respectively. Coons is with Cooper | Coons in Las Vegas.

A lawyer for the bar would say only that the investigation concerns Righthaven, the article says. However, critics contend that the company pressured individuals into settling copyright claims of dubious validity rather than risk being hit with judgments that they might have had difficulty paying.

Meanwhile, a federal judge in Las Vegas has fined Righthaven $5,000 and rebuked the company for “inaccurate and likely dishonest” statements in court filings, the article continues. The judge also suggested that the company could have been involved in unauthorized practice of law.

Coons couldn't be reached for comment, VEGAS INC says. However, Gibson said yesterday that “I will be responding to the informational requests of the Bar and believe that after such responses and clarifications, the matter will be properly addressed. Miss Lowry indicates her concurrence.”

Related coverage:

ABAJournal.com: "Hit by Defendant Judgments, Copyright Troll Righthaven Decries ‘Scorched Earth’ Effort to Collect"

Law & Disorder (Ars Technica): "Righthaven's lawyers now targets of State Bar investigation"

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