I try to be a nice person, improve the lives of those around me and generally not delight in the misfortunes of others, but when the bad guys lose spectacularly, it’s so hard not to feel a bit of shameful joy.
Actually, in the case of Righthaven, there is no shame, just joy. The company began hitting at small-potatoes bloggers and everyday message board posters about a year ago, filing copyright infringement lawsuits for anything they could get their weasly hands on and generally trying to choke the development of new media and web freedoms for some short term financial gain. The law firm- affiliated with Stephens Media- bet big on the assumption Joe blogger wouldn’t have the money to fight a lawsuit or the legal wherewithal to understand they’d violated no laws; as well as ostensibly hoping that judges would look at the murky grey area of copyright law and precedent and set some sucky ones in the process.
Well, it seems they’re losing. Rather spectacularly, did I say that already? Because it’s spectacular. It seems one year in- which isn’t that long in the realm of court battles- the company not only claims it’s close to declaring bankruptcy, but also is fighting a pending judgment wherein they’d be forced to pay a blogger they wrongfully sued $35,000 in legal fees. Wired notes:
“Righthaven faces the very real threat of being forced out of business or being forced to seek protection through bankruptcy (.pdf) if the court does not stay the judgement pending resolution of the company’s appeal to the Ninth Circuit,” Shawn Mangano, Righthaven’s attorney, wrote [District] Judge [Philip] Pro.”
The tech site adds that the blogger’s lawyer commented:
“Remember, it’s not like we sued them,” [lawyer Marc] Randazza said in a telephone interivew. “Righthaven figured this guy was some defenseless yahoo, he’d settle up quick and move on. They underestimated him hard. He fought, and now that the judge has ruled, you break it, you buy it.”
Randazza pointed out that “nobody is playing a violin” for Righthaven. The legal woes come as one of the widely vilified company’s main clients called Righthaven’s strategy “dumb” and announced it was hastily severing ties with the outfit.