Judge Dismisses ‘Copyright Troll’ Righthaven Lawsuit

The law firm criticized for their “copyright trolling” in an attempt to wring money out of internet users for engaging in nefarious activities such as viewing a YouTube video or quoting an news piece on a message board were majorly smacked down by a judge, the Electronic Frontier Foundation gleefully reports.

Righthaven is dedicated to enforcing copyright laws- regardless of who the copyright holder actually is. Awesomely, though, judges apparently don’t look kindly on this kind of suit. The EFF’s press section reports:

In dismissing Righthaven’s claim in its entirety, Chief Judge Hunt’s ruling decisively rejected the Righthaven business model of conveying rights to sue, alone, as a means to enforce copyrights,” said Laurence Pulgram, head of copyright litigation at Fenwick & West in San Francisco. “The ruling speaks for itself. The court rejected Righthaven’s claim that it owned sufficient rights in the copyright, stating that claim was ‘flagrantly false–to the point that the claim is disingenuous if not outright deceitful.'”

Judge Hunt also noted that “Righthaven has made multiple inaccurate and likely dishonest statements to the Court” and rejected Righthaven’s efforts to fix things after the fact with a May 9, 2011, amendment to the original assignment agreement. The judge expressed “doubt that these seemingly cosmetic adjustments change the nature and practical effect” of the invalid assignment.

As part of his ruling today, the judge ordered Righthaven to show why it should not be sanctioned for misrepresentations to the court. The Court permitted Democratic Underground’s counterclaim to continue against Stephens Media — the publisher of the Review Journal — allowing Democratic Underground to show that it did nothing wrong in allowing a user to post a five-sentence excerpt of a 50-sentence article.

The EFF expressed hope this was the end of this sort of infringement on “free and open” expression on the internet. Do you think this ruling will stop Righthaven?

[via BoingBoing]