An exciting twist in the saga of copyright troll Righthaven: the company that has made a business of acquiring copyrights to newspaper articles, then suing bloggers and others said to be infringers, may have its assets auctioned off to recoup a blogger’s legal costs.
Paidcontent reports that a federal judge in Nevada issued an order that will allow Wayne Hoehn, who was sued for posting a copy of a Las Vegas Review-Journal op-ed to a forum called MadJack Sports, to appoint a receiver to recoup his legal costs.
Hoehn had been awarded the $30,000-odd judgment earlier this year after a judge found that Righthaven didn’t technically own the copyright to the article (just the right to sue), but Righthaven had said it didn’t have the money to pay.
Now, Righthaven, instead of appealing, has claimed that it actually has the copyrights, and it wants to continue its appeal.
If it does manage to produce the copyrights, paidcontent says, they will be sold to pay Hoehn. If it doesn’t have the copyrights, Righthaven’s lawyers will be found in contempt of court.
“In a related order on Monday,” Paidcontent continues, “U.S. Magistrate Judge Robert Johnston ordered Righthaven’s lawyer and his wife to appear in court on January 5th to explain under oath where the assets are. If the couple doesn’t appear, the judge has authorized US Marshalls to hunt them down and bring them back.”
If the auction goes forward, Stevens Media, the Review-Journal publisher, may be forced to buy back its own copyrights.