Last week’s unsealing of the contract between the Las Vegas Review-Journal and Righthaven overshadowed another, smaller bit of bad news for the controversial copyright enforcer. On the same day, in a separate case, a judge ruled that Righthaven can’t ask for the domain names of the defendants it sues for copyright infringement, because such a remedy isn’t authorized under copyright law. But in its most recent lawsuit [PDF], filed late yesterday, Righthaven appears to be simply moving ahead as if that ruling never happened.
The ruling in the domain names came in a case against Thomas DiBiase, a former prosecutor who blogs about “no body” murders at nobodycases.com. DiBiase is one of two Righthaven defendants being defended by pro bono attorneys at the Electronic Frontier Foundation. (The other EFF client is Democratic Underground–that’s the litigation that resulted in the unsealing of the contract. So, yes, EFF is beating the pants off Righthaven in court.)
The newest Righthaven lawsuit appears to be openly defiant of the court’s order, by continuing to demand the transfer of a domain name to Righthaven’s control.
While Righthaven’s choice of defendants has often been questioned, the website that’s being sued in this case–lasvegasinfonewspaper.com–has an extremely questionable business model that, on the face of it, should have big copyright problems. The site simply cuts and pastes full articles from the two major Las Vegas papers, the Las Vegas Sun and the LV R-J. The site runs Google (NSDQ: GOOG) ads and is soliciting additional advertisers. Unlike the great majority of Righthaven defendants, lasvegasinfonewspaper.com does look like it’s simply trying to be an ad-supported information portal that competes directly with the Las Vegas newspapers whose content it grabs, without serving any new or additional audience.
According to the complaint [PDF], the website is controlled by Tony Carl Loosle and TCS, Inc., a Utah corporation that has Loosle listed as its president.