Righthaven ordered to pay nearly $120,000 in attorney fees, court costs

Steve Green
Las Vegas Sun

Newspaper copyright infringement lawsuit filer Righthaven LLC of Las Vegas was hit Wednesday with an order to pay $119,488 in attorney’s fees and costs in its failed lawsuit against former federal prosecutor Thomas DiBiase.

This was by far the largest fee award against Righthaven, but likely will be dwarfed by an upcoming award in Righthaven’s failed suit against the Democratic Underground. Before Wednesday the largest fee award against Righthaven was for $34,045 — an amount Righthaven says it’s having trouble paying or even posting a bond to cover.

DiBiase has a website covering no-body murder cases, or cases where a murder is suspected but the victim’s remains have not been located. He was sued by Righthaven last year over allegations he posted without authorization a story on such a murder case by the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

U.S. District Judge Roger Hunt in Las Vegas dismissed Righthaven’s suit against DiBiase this summer because Righthaven lacked standing to sue him under its flawed lawsuit contract with R-J owner Stephens Media LLC.

The DiBiase case was noteworthy because his attorneys at the Electronic Frontier Foundation in San Francisco said DiBiase’s nonprofit website performed a public service assisting law enforcement officials in bringing justice to crime victims — and that his post was protected by the fair use concept of copyright law.

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