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Copyright Enforcer/Troll Righthaven On the Edge of the Precipice

In another twist, Righthaven, the company some call a copyright enforcer and others call a copyright troll may be nearing bankruptcy.

We have followed this controversy closely and you can get up to speed quickly by going here and here.

Is a judge’s order to pay 34 thousand dollars enough to push Righthaven over the edge?  Apparently so, according to its own lawyers (via wired.com).

In copyright cases, prevailing parties can obtain their attorneys’ fees.  Here, the defendant who prevailed over Righthaven, Wayne Hoehn, accumulated about $34,000 in attorneys’ fees.  In an order, the Court required payment of those fees as proscribed by the Copyright Act.  Righthaven opposed the immediate payment citing to their claim that, if nothing else, the case presents a novel issue which could be turned over on appeal.  In addition, Righthaven claims that the 34 thousand dollar payment will push the company over the edge to bankruptcy causing it to lose proprietary information – including software that determines if its client’s content has been copied elsewhere on the internet.

Defense attorneys call the argument hogwash (via VegasInc.com) and nothing but a false choice.  As I have seen on numerous occasions, defense attorneys correctly point out that Righthaven can obtain what is called an Appeal Bond.  Such a bond does not require payment of the entire amount to the bond company, but a fraction or portion of the judgment depending on the health of the company and/or its owners.  Here, that option is presumably available to Righthaven.

It would be interesting to see if Righthaven’s reply indicates that they have been unable to find a company willing to bond the judgment.

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