Righthaven, the copyright trolling organization that misrepresented its title to the copyrights of many of the newspaper articles at issue in its lawsuits against website operators, is now on the brink of bankruptcy. The US Marshals in Nevada have been authorized to seize $63,720.80 from it in cash or assets to pay the fines and fees owed for one of its failed legal actions. For more of Righthaven's keystone kops antics, see our earlier stories.
In August, the case Righthaven v. Hoehn was tossed by a federal judge in Nevada, who went a step further and declared that defendant Wayne Hoehn's complete copy of a newspaper article in a sub-forum on the site "Madjack Sports" was fair use. On August 15, the judge awarded $34,045.50 to the Randazza Legal Group, which represented Hoehn. Righthaven, which had spent so much time thundering to defendants about just how badly the federal courts would make them pay… didn't pay.
Instead, it filed a flurry of appeals alleging (among other things) that having to pay the money would involve "the very real threat of being forced out of business or being forced to seek protection through bankruptcy." Righthaven contended that it could eventually win the case on appeal and thus should not be bankrupted before it had the chance to make its case.
But the increasingly disorganized organization couldn't even get its appellate filings in on time. Yesterday, Righthaven had to admit that it missed the October 31 deadline for its opening brief in the case. It blamed the problem on a "misunderstanding," then noted it would need a few more weeks to actually write the brief, since "Righthaven's counsel is scheduled to undergo a surgical procedure for which it is estimated that he will be recovering outside of the office for approximately one week."