Infamous copyright trolls Righthaven LLC and its chief lawyer Steve Gibson (pictured at right) may have recently lost a case in US District Court, but they didn’t stay lurking under their troll bridge for long. Righthaven – whose sole reason for existing is to acquire copyright on material published by media outlets, then to sue websites and bloggers that reprint said material in whole or in part – is branching out to sue people for reposting online sportsbetting content. This past Friday, Righthaven filed suit against the forum of online gambling affiliate TheRX.com (“The Prescription”) for allegedly reposting content belonging to Stevo Design Inc., a sports handicapping info service run by long time industry rounder Steven Budin.
The ransom note, er, lawsuit claims that a Nov. 10, 2010 post entitled “Rockets 11-10-10” was reposted on therxforum.com the same day. However, Righthaven didn’t apply for copyright on the post until Feb. 7, 2011, and sued (for $150k) without first issuing a warning to take down the offending content. This is the same set of troll tactics that produced US District Court Judge James Mahan’s ruling that “the copyright has been removed from its original context,” which he said stripped said copyright of much of its legal protection. Worse, Righthaven is accusing The Prescription of “vicarious copyright infringement,” i.e. The Prescription should be held liable for the content of all posts made by any of its forum users.
Other online gambling-related sites that have incurred Righthaven’s wrath include MajorWager.com, SBR Marketing Ltd. and Eddie Roman Consulting Inc. The latter two suits also involved alleged infringement of Stevo Design material. Truly, Steve Budin must have fallen on hard times to find it necessary to ally himself with the Righthavens of the world. Unethical businessmen + unethical lawyers = trolls using the US legal system as their personal extortion racket.
The Prescription was originally launched by Ken “shrink” Weitzner, whose suicide pact with his wife shocked the industry last year. Weitzner sold The Prescription to Marty Jensen in 2003, but the Righthaven suit lists the site’s current owners as Rick Allec and RX Advertising Inc. LLC. Righthaven previously sued RX Advertising in June 2010 for allegedly publishing Las Vegas Review-Journal content without permission. According to the Las Vegas Sun, despite RX Advertising having been served with and failing to answer the 2010 lawsuit, Righthaven voluntarily dismissed the suit without prejudice and without explanation. So did RX Advertising settle out of court, which is, after all, Righthaven’s preferred result? If so, it only appears to have emboldened these ass-trolls to try shaking the money tree once again, which is why we feel nobody should ever knuckle under to these extortionists’ demands. You don’t negotiate with terrorists, and you shouldn’t negotiate with trolls.