Copyright troll Righthaven has revised its contract with the Las Vegas Review-Journal so that it has full copyright ownership over the outfit’s content.
Bloggers, who the La Vegas Review claims stole its content, were able to laugh Righthaven out of court because it had no legal right to sue them.
US District Judge Roger Hunt dismissed Righthaven’case against the Democratic Underground blog, and descided that Righthaven attempted to “manufacture” standing to sue.
According to Wired, by changing the agreement that exists between Las Vegas Review-Journal and Righthaven it is possible for the law firm to sue whenever it sees a blogger using the magazine in a way it doesn’t like. According to Righthaven, it is now the sole owner of the copyrighted work in this case.
It seems strange that a newspaper which is so keen to defend its copyright should give an independent company the rights to all its content. However, at this point, the Review-Journal has very little to lose. Its name is already mud for supporting Righthaven and it has yet to see much cash from doing so.
Judge Hunt does not seem to like Righthaven much, and is unlikely to re-open the case. He has said that the amended agreement was “cosmetic” although he has not made a ruling on it yet.
Even if this turns out to be a non-issue, Righthaven then has to run the gauntlet as to whether or not the Judge thinks that the use of stories by bloggers in this way is “fair use”. There are already some specific rulings which suggest he might move in this direction,
More than 100 bloggers and websites paid Righthaven to go away before the issue of Righthaven’s standing to sue was brought to light. It is possible that there might be counter-suits, particularly if Hunt refuses to re-open the case.