What in the World Happened at Righthaven LLC?

Righthaven burst onto the scene a couple years ago with a hot new business model–partner with a content provider (copyrights holder) and sue everybody who uses that content without permission for copyright infringement. Derided as a lawsuit factory, Righthaven has been hit with a string of losses that have not only threatened the whole operation but have placed the lawyers themselves of jeopardy for fraud upon the court.

Most of us have a nemesis, someone who makes our life difficult, who we can’t help but wish bad things for. Usually, it is an unrequited wish. Revenge is not sought or achieved, justice is not done, life goes on without satisfaction. In fact, it’s quite rare that someone’s fondest wish for their worst enemy comes true, it’s an event normally reserved for Hollywood screen writers. But Righthaven LLC, the bane of bloggers and fair use advocates everywhere, is in the process of giving their enemies just such a present as they melt down in spectacular and very public fashion.

How did this happen? The plan was not complicated.  A rights-holding organization, Stephens Media (and its flagship Las Vegas Review-Journal) pairs up with a law firm to try and maximize revenues. A property holder and a law firm get together to make some money. Happens every day, right?

Yet despite having all the necessary ingredients and skills,  they appear to have screwed it up so badly that what should have been a mere public relations problem for Stephens Media has become a serious legal problem instead (or in addition).

So I ask again, how in the world did we get here? How is it that the bloggers’ schadenfreude is being so richly fed?

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