Tuesday, August 17, 2010

RightHaven Founder Lives in an Another Universe

Steve Gibson, founder of RightHaven LLC, must live in an another universe.

He was interviewed by Joe Mullin for the Corporate Counsel section of Law.com in an article that appeared yesterday. He seemed a bit bewildered by all the attention that his lawsuits have gathered. He goes on to say:
"It's unbelievable," says Gibson. "There appears to be a groundswell of interest in our business model."
He says that like he thinks every intellectual property lawyer in the world now wants to form another RightHaven LLC to sue as many bloggers as they can find in order to become rich and famous. Earth to Steve - you aren't considered a model but rather a pariah by most in the legal and journalism communities.

Mark Hinueber, general counsel of Stephens Media, joins Gibson in this alternate reality fantasy when he notes:
"My hope," says Hinueber, "is we will raise awareness of copyright laws, and have more links back to our site, and have less of our material infringed on the Internet."
While Hinueber may be correct that that they have raised awareness of copyright law, he is a fool to think that bloggers will link to the  Las Vegas Review-Journal. If anything, it and the rest of the Stephens Media chain are being actively boycotted by bloggers. Less of the LVRJ's material will be "infringed" because no one is going to touch it.

To paraphrase the Las Vegas Tourism motto - What happens in Vegas, needs to stay in Vegas.

UPDATE: TechDirt has a post with much the same response I had to the Law.com article.


  1. What I want to know is when will the legal establishment begin to police itself. If they don't, then this will increase to a tipping point and legislatures will be forced to act. I know that most legislators are attorneys, but they'll have to act to preserve their own political skin. IMO, it's in the legal profession's best interest(as with any other business) to keep the government's nose out to the extent possible.

  2. I couldn't agree more. However, what RightHaven is doing is legal. It is the morality of it that is in doubt especially since the lawsuits are sprung without a take-down letter.

  3. This seems to be a fairly dangerous game that attorney Gibson is playing. Granted, he will be filing his lawsuits in federal court in the 9th circuit which is extremely plaintiff friendly by federal court standards. However, there is plenty of room for the court to argue that he, as an officer of the court, is exploiting the spirit of both the law and rules of procedure to enrich his client...a business that he is an owner of (a not insignificant fact in the legal ethics world).

    Here in the 7th circuit we have a word for lawyers that try to pull this crap: "disbarred".

  4. In 2001 a federal judge told serial litigator Paul Bilzerian he couldn't file any more lawsuits without the court's permission. He ignored the order, and is now facing possible jail time.

    Gibson's heading for a similar fate.