The Las Vegas copyright-trolling firm Righthaven inched another notch toward oblivion Sunday when one of its creditor’s moved to seize its assets.
The development comes a week after the deadline passed for the former litigation factory to pay Righthaven defendant Wayne Hoehn $34,000 in legal fees for successfully defending himself against a Righthaven copyright lawsuit. Righthaven had asked U.S. District Judge Philip Pro of Nevada to stay the fee award, saying it might slip into bankruptcy if forced to pay.
No stay was granted. So Hoehn’s attorney, Marc Randazza, asked Judge Pro on Sunday to “authorize the U.S. Marshalls to execute Hoehn’s judgement through seizure of Righthaven’s bank accounts, real and personal property, and intangible intellectual property rights for levy, lien, auction or other treatment appropriate for satisfaction of Hoehn’s judgement.” (.pdf)
Randazza in an e-mail said that Righthaven, founded more than a year ago to monetize print news content through copyright infringement lawsuits, has made “no effort whatsoever” to pay up.
Judge Pro ruled in June that Hoehn’s posting of an entire Las Vegas Review-Journal article was fair use, and later ordered opposing legal fees. The Copyright Act allows for legal fees to the “prevailing party.”
Steve Gibson, Righthaven’s chief executive, did not immediately respond for comment. But it appears Righthaven is nearing insolvency, or is at least behaving that way.
Struggling after several courtroom setbacks, Righthaven has ceased filing new lawsuits pending resolution of the Hoehn case and others on appeal. Some of the appeals question Righthaven’s legal standing to even bring lawsuits.
The lawsuit against Hoehn, one of Righthaven’s roughly 275 cases, targeted the Vietnam veteran who posted all 19 paragraphs of November editorial from the Review-Journal. Hoehn posted the article, and its headline, “Public Employee Pensions: We Can’t Afford Them” on medjacksports.com to prompt discussion about the financial affairs of the nation’s states. Hoehn was a user of the site, not an employee.
Righthaven’s first client, Stephens Media of Las Vegas and operator of the Review-Journal, had invested $500,000 into the Righthaven operation last year.
Righthaven’s only other client, MediaNews of Denver and the publisher of the Denver Post and 50 other newspapers, is dropping Righthaven. John Paton, the media concern’s chief executive, said it was “a dumb idea” for the nation’s second-largest newspaper chain to sign up with Righthaven, and was terminating relations at the end of September.
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