Copyright troll Righthaven suffered another loss this week, as a federal judge in Nevada granted a website user's motion for summary judgment in the copyright infringement case Righthaven brought against him. The judge found that Wayne Hoehn did not infringe the copyright in question by posting an entire Las Vegas Review-Journal article on mediajacksports.com to "prompt discussion."
Because Hoehn's use was non-commercial, and because Righthaven could not demonstrate the market for the article was harmed for the 40 days it remained on mediajacksports.com, the court decided that Hoehn's use was fair. The judge also considered the fact that Righthaven's "litigation tactics and ethics" are in question in several different courts right now.
As Wired reports, however, the judge didn't have to go into the fair-use analysis, really. He also found that Righthaven had absolutely no standing to bring suit. From the story:
[Judge Philip] Pro's decision came a week after a different Las Vegas federal judge threatened to sanction Righthaven, calling its litigation efforts "disingenuous, if not outright deceitful" when it came to standing....Judge Hunt suggested Righthaven never had standing in any of its cases because Righthaven and [copyright owner] Stephens Media had agreed to share the proceeds of any damages awards or settlements, yet Stephens Media kept ownership of the copyright. Righthaven must own the copyright to sue on its behalf, Hunt ruled.
Pro cited Hunt's decision when making his own. As a result of the recent decisions, writer David Kravetz notes several bloggers who previously settled with Righthaven are exploring their options for getting their money back. Righthaven, on the other hand, maintains that the bloggers who settled are guilty of infringement.