On Vegas Inc, Steve Green reports that the company’s lawyer, Shawn Mangano, actually showed up in court for the rescheduled hearing (unlike the last one), and complained about the “scorched earth” tactics defendant Wayne Hoehn and his lawyer Marc Randazza have been using to collect judgments against the company. (That’s pretty rich coming from a company which demanded defendants turn over their domain names for the crime of cutting and pasting a few lines from a newspaper article.)

Righthaven’s tactics continue to amuse:

Righthaven reiterated arguments in its court filing that Randazza is seeking to force the company to sign over copyrights that federal judges — in Hoehn’s case and in others — have ruled Righthaven doesn’t own.

This caused one of Hoehn’s attorneys, Marc Randazza, to remark during a hearing Monday that “they’re taking inconsistent positions in their appeal.”

Righthaven, in appealing the dismissals of several of its lawsuits, is arguing judges were wrong to find it didn’t own the copyrights it was suing over.

Righthaven was successful in a request that information about a debtor’s exam of Righthaven owner Steve Gibson and his wife not be publicly disclosed.

The company continues filing motions claiming that the amount of the legal fees award is too high, while Randazza argues the amount Righthaven owes gets larger with every court proceeding and filing. Mangano claims that the company’s assets now amount to about ten computers and a server—apart from their hard drives, which contain privileged information. “There might be a desk and a chair or two that can be sold as well.”

A judge still has to rule on whether Steve Gibson can be hauled bodily into court by US marshals to sign over Righthaven’s copyrights. (Found via TechDirt.)

In a separate article, Steve Green reports that the State Bar of Nevada has announced it is opening a formal investigation of Righthaven CEO Steven Gibson and two other former Righthaven attorneys. The Bar reports it had received complaints about Righthaven as early as fall of 2010 and has been watching the progress of Righthaven’s litigation.

Phil Pattee, assistant Bar counsel, said the agency couldn’t disclose the nature of the grievances against the attorneys or whether they relate to complaints from outside parties or the Bar’s own review of the Righthaven cases or both. But he confirmed the grievances relate to the attorneys’ work for Righthaven.

“We’ll be asking them about Righthaven,” he said.

The State Bar has the authority to recommend attorneys be reprimanded, suspended, or disbarred. The Nevada Supreme Court will then decide whether to act on those recommendations. (Found via Ars Technica.)

Who would ever have expected Righthaven to implode quite this quickly, or this completely? Normally this sort of litigation drags on for years, but it seems that there was nothing more to Righthaven after all than just a showy façade. When its copyright enforcement shakedown operation was challenged in the court, it turned out only to be the newspaper’s paper tiger.

At any rate, it couldn’t happen to a more deserving company. Righthaven needs to be smacked down as hard and fast as possible, to serve as an example to any other institutions considering running copyright enforcement shakedown operations. The court system is not your personal money machine.


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