Want to be the New Righthaven.com? Just Three Shopping Days Left!

It's been a few months since we've checked in with everyone's favorite copyright troll, Righthaven. 

When we left them in September, Righthaven was resisting paying the $34,000 in legal fees in attorneys fees that the Nevada district court ruled it owed defendant Wayne Hoehn (who is represented by friend of the CMLP Marc Randazza). Righthaven argued that it was so close to bankruptcy that it would have to sell its assets to make payment, thereby hindering its ability to conduct its trolling business.

It's certainly been eventful since then.

After an aggressive first half, Righthaven has been surrendering goal after goal in the subsequent months: some scored by Randazza and his crew of trollslayers extraordinare, some scored by the Electronic Frontier Foundation, and some own goals Righthaven shot into its own net.  Among the highlights (as well documented by Steve Green of the Las Vegas Sun):

● In early November, the judge in the Hoehn case did indeed order U.S. Marshals to seize Righthaven's assets in order to liquidate them to pay Hoehn's attorneys fees. Among those assets: righthaven.com itself.  And it's being auctioned right now!  Yes, the domain name of the country's self-described "pre-eminent copyright enforcer" can be yours!  (But you needn't be a law firm to pick it up. For example, Righthaven would be an excellent name for a quiet hotel by a woodsy cove.)  But hurry, the bidding closes on Jan. 6, just a few days away!

● Righthaven has seen several of its cases tossed out for procedural reasons, most notably including its appeal to the Ninth Circuit of its lawsuit against Garry Newman.  The Ninth Circuit apparently ordered Righthaven to file a mediation document within seven days, but Righthaven declined to do so. The Court then gave them seven more days.  When Righthaven declined to do so again, the Court dismissed the appeal.

● And in the latest bit of news, Righthaven is being sued by its process server for lack of payment. And is facing a contempt motion filed by the Randazza Legal Group, after Righthaven CEO Steven Gibson and his wife Raisha "Drizzle" Gibson failed to obey a court order to turn over information about their resources in order to satisfy what Righthaven owes Hoehn.  Oh, and a South Carolina Tea Party group is suing Righthaven and attempting to pierce their corporate veil.  Good times in camp Righthaven!

So all in all, 2011 was a remarkable year for Righthaven, going from mass litigator supreme to on-the-ropes debtor.  We can only hope that the soon-to-be owner of Righthaven.com will have better luck (and fewer dubious legal claims) in their business endeavors. 

Arthur is the research attorney and editor for the Citizen Media Law Project at the Berkman Center and a correspondent for The Christian Science Monitor.  He tweets occasionally here.

(Image courtesy of Flickr user opensourceway licensed under a CC BY-SA 2.0 license. Image originally appeared in Going after a troll for barratry by Pam Chestek on opensource.com.)


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Well, the auction is over, and a mystery buyer has acquired the rights to righthaven.com for a mere $3,300.  Congratulations to the winner - I hope you put the domain to productive, perhaps even beneficial use!