Denver Post Dumps Righthaven, New CEO Calls Cooperation 'Dumb Idea'
“The issues about copyright are real,” Paton told Wired.com in a telephone interview. “But the idea that you would hire someone on an — essentially — success fee to run around and sue people at will who may or may not have infringed as a way of protecting yourself … does not reflect how news is created and disseminated in the modern world. I come from the idea that it was a dumb idea from the start."
Most firms would've stopped there, but not Righthaven. The firm lied about the nature of its relationship with its clients (including MediaNews and Stephens Media, its sole remaining client and financial backer), and misrepresented its ownership of the copyrights it claimed to be defending. Its lawyers further attempted to argue that the court should consider an amended agreement between itself and its clients in order to prosecute alleged infringement, even though the agreement was invalid at the time the infringement occurred.
Righthaven has ceased filing new cases, but not before Judge Rodger Hunt of the 9th Circuit fined it $5000 for failure to divulge pertinent information and blasted it for "masquerading as a company." Another defendent, William Hoehn, has been awarded $34,000 in attorney fees. While Righthaven has settled a significant number of cases out of court, the company is little more than a shadow of itself. It's a far cry from last year, when Righthaven's CEO, Steve Gibson, claimed he could rejuvenate the print industry by suing alleged infringers. "“We believe there to be millions, if not billions, of infringements out there," Gibson said.
Whatever funds Righthaven may have recovered, they'll scarcely be sufficient to defend the company from the avalanche of countersuits that could start snowballing. With MediaNews gone, Righthaven is down to just one client--and we suspect Stephens Media will cut its losses as soon as possible.