Bloggers who were terrified by copyright troll Righthaven into paying up rather than go to court, are banding together to sue the outfit.
While Righthaven did badly when it sued up in court, it did rather well by scaring the willies off bloggers to settle.
Now that a federal judge said the copyright troll had no legal standing to bring that kind of lawsuit, they are thinking about how they can get their money back.
Clayton Cramer, the former operator of the now-defunct Armedcitizen.net, said in a telephone interview he was thinking about what to do..
More than 100 blogs owners and other sites have settled with Righthaven for undisclosed sums, and want their cash back. Righthaven sued more than 300 people across the nation and it appears that it did so illegally.
Cramer settled for an undisclosed sum with Righthaven last year to end allegations his gun rights site committed copyright infringement for running an entire Las Vegas Review-Journal article. Initially the outfit demanded $75,000, which Clayton thought was credible.
Righthaven had been suing on behalf of Stephens Media copyrights, but US District Judge Roger Hunt said that such a litigation tactic was illegal because a “copyright owner cannot assign a bare right to sue.”
The decision, and a similar one in Colorado has totally stuffed up the litigation-based business model, which the Electronic Frontier Foundation has been campaigning against.
Lawyers are currently looking at whether the settled cases can be reopened, or whether there are other legal options.
Steve Gibson, Righthaven’s chief executive, told Wired that the bloggers who settled were guilty of infringement.
Righthaven and Stephens Media have altered their licensing arrangement in a bid to obtain legal standing, Gibson said.
He warned that if the bloggers who settled managed to get their settlement’s vacated, they might be sued again.