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Righthaven stripped of rights

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The corpse of copyright troll Righthaven may have given its last twitch, with a US judge relieving the company of the only thing it had to work with: copyright.

Unable to pay its debts, Righthaven has been ordered by a Las Vegas federal judge to relinquish both its copyrights and its trademark, reports Vegas Inc.

Before any intrepid Register readers seek out the company’s grave to dance on, the order has an interesting intent: Righthaven’s 278 federal copyright registrations, and its trademark, are to be auctioned by a court-appointed receiver to try and pay the company’s debts.

In the case of the copyrights, that raises an interesting poser: will the companies that assigned copyrights to Righthaven bid to get them back – making their support for the model an expensive mistake – or could a new litigant arise in its place?

According to Vegas Inc, Righthaven lost this latest round because nobody from the company showed up in court on Monday (5 March) to oppose the suit, brought by one of its targets, Wayne Hoehn.

Hoehn’s lawyers are owed more than $US30,000 after defeating Righthaven over whether posting a Las Vegas Review-Journal article on a sports betting message board was copyright infrigement.

The company’s copyrights holdings have been turned into a shell anyhow, courtesy of other rulings finding that it didn’t own many of the copyrights it was trying to enforce. Acknowledging that, the court this week ordered that it transfer its copyright interests “to the extent that such interests remain.”

Hoehn’s Las Vegas attorney Marc Randazza put the position succinctly. “It moots them”.

Righthaven was once a feared stalker: in 2010 it targeted a Republican Senate candidate, Sharron Angle; it also tried to take over the Website of the Drudge Report over use of a photograph from an article in The Denver Post.

Ultimately its lawsuits numbered in the hundreds, but US courts repeatedly found against Righthaven, and in the end, the publishers that were its mainstays withdrew their support. ®

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