Righthaven, [is] a new . . . venture that says it acquires copyrights from Stephens Media and sues bloggers for unauthorized display of those stories — about 200 cases in all since Righthaven was founded last year. . . . U.S. District Judge Judge Roger Hunt . . . ordered Stephens Media and Righthaven last month to respond to internal documents revealed in a case before his court. The documents seemingly showed that Stephens did not actually convey the copyrights to Righthaven, although Righthaven claims in court documents that it is the copyright owner. The Electronic Frontier Foundation told the judge that the arrangement was a “sham” and that Righthaven has no legal standing to sue.
While the contract between Stephens Media and Righthaven was and is easily amended to cure the problem (apparently granting Righthaven what amounts to a 50% contingent fee), the disclosure appears to betray a serious pattern of litigation misconduct by Righthaven's attorneys and to cast doubt on judgments and settlements that it has obtained from its litigation strategy to date in its campaign of copyright enforcement.
The publisher of the Denver Post has a similar arrangement with Righthaven.