Trials & Litigation

Hit by Defendant Judgments, Copyright Troll Righthaven Decries 'Scorched Earth' Effort to Collect

Once upon a time, not so long ago, those running the company at Righthaven LLC saw a seemingly lucrative litigation opportunity.

The Nevada-based entity obtained copyright licenses from several newspapers and filed infringement claims against individuals who allegedly made unauthorized use of protected material posted on the Internet.

But in a favorable turn of events for defendants in the cases brought by the so-called copyright troll, a federal judge ruled that Righthaven had no standing to sue for infringement, and judgments against the onetime plaintiff began to pile up.

Now, in a federal court filing Monday in Las Vegas, the company seen by some as an abuser of the litigation process is complaining about “scorched earth judgment enforcement efforts” by blogger Wayne Hoehn, a onetime defendant in Righthaven litigation, and his counsel, according to VegasInc.

In particular, Righthaven complains that Hoehn’s counsel, the Randazza Legal Group in Las Vegas, obtained a $63,720 writ of execution to cover what the company says is an inflated legal bill for the law firm’s collection work through October of last year.

It also objects to a law firm effort to force Righthaven’s CEO, attorney Steven Gibson of Las Vegas, to appear in court personally so he can turn over copyrights to satisfy the judgment.

Righthaven argues that the company can’t turn over copyrights federal courts have ruled it doesn’t own.

Attorney Shawn Mangano of Las Vegas, who represents Righthaven, says attorney Marc Randazza, who represents Hoehn and others sued by Righthaven, can have about 10 company computers … minus their hard drives, which contain privileged litigation information about legal cases and appeals, the newspaper reports.

“There might be a desk and a chair or two that can be sold as well,” Mangano said.

Additional and related coverage: (April 2011): “Threat Level: What’s Lower Than a Copyright Troll? A Sham Copyright Troll Licensed to Litigate” (June 2011): “As Judge Considers Righthaven Sanctions, Bloggers Who Settled Mull Options”

Law & Disorder (Ars Technica): “Sweet irony: Righthaven sued by company it used to sue others”

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