Recently, we have been anticipating the demise of Righthaven, the infamous copyright troll (see our many previous blog entries on this subject: WARNING!, No Response, No Comment, Picking Your Battles, A Step Too Far, Strange Bedfellows and Wrong Approach). Well, now it has apparently come to pass. Righthaven LLC v. Wayne Hoehn
Unable to sense the turning of the tide, Righthaven brought one of its copyright infringement suits against Hoehn at a time when more prudent parties would have been quietly sailing away. Hoehn removed the allegedly infringing work from his website soon after being sued. When this failed to mollify Righthaven, he filed a motion to dismiss the case, claiming that Righthaven lacked standing to sue.
The Court granted this motion, finding that “Righthaven does not possess an exclusive right in the work and therefore does not have standing to bring a suit for infringement.” Determined to drive a stake through the bloodsucker’s heart, the Court went on to note that Hoehn’s use of the work was noncommercial, that he used it for an informational purpose, and that Righthaven had failed to establish that the market for the work had, in any way, been harmed. The Court then held that even if standing had been found, Hoehn was entitled to summary judgment on the ground of fair use of the work.
Leaving no doubt as to his feelings on the subject, the judge concluded, “Righthaven’s ham-fisted business model is victimizing hundreds of people across the country – Hoehn among them – to the tune of thousands of dollars each.” He then awarded Hoehn $34,000 in costs and attorney’s fees.
Hopefully, that spells the end of Righthaven.
The court may have driven a stake through Righthaven's blood-sucking heart, but you know how horror movies go -- the villain usually seems to rise again. Will we see a sequel in this instance, I wonder?