EFF: “Courts Call Out Copyright Trolls’ Coercive Business Model, Threaten Sanctions.” Apparently discovery (in the legal sense of the term) isn’t what it used to be…
Ars Technica: “Supreme Court weighs legality of putting public domain works back under copyright.” Golan v. Holder is shaping up to be one of the biggest copyright decisions by the Supreme Court in years. The briefs are available at SCOTUSblog.
WSJ @ Truth on the Market –> “Litigation funding grows.” Hedge funds enter the world of litigation…as an investment opportunity.
David Kravets over at Wired notes today that Righthaven appears to be on “life support” since it hasn’t filed any new lawsuits in a while:
With [a bunch of sanctions and adverse fee awards] now on appeal, the litigation factory’s machinery is grinding to a halt. A review of court records shows Righthaven has not filed a new lawsuit in two months, after a flurry of about 275 lawsuits since its launch at the beginning of last year. A court filing indicates there have already been layoffs (.pdf) at Righthaven’s Las Vegas headquarters, and even some already-filed lawsuits are falling by the wayside because Righthaven isn’t serving the defendants with the paperwork.
I think Wired may be a bit premature in its prediction of Righthaven’s demise. Litigation factories have a tendency to rise again and again from the ashes. Still, it’s nice to hear that no new bloggers are being hassled by Righthaven, at least at present.
Ars Technica is reporting a new class action lawsuit in the ebook market:
The essence of the claim is that these publishers [HarperCollins, Hachette Book Group, Macmillan, Penguin Group Inc., and Simon & Schuster Inc.], in coordination with Apple, conspired to nix the low price e-books that Amazon launched in 2007.…
The accusation is that the publishers and Apple fixed prices via two means. First, the publishers embraced an "agency model" arrangement with Apple in which Apple would act as an agent for the publishers, accepting their pricing and simply taking a cut of the proceeds. (Compare this to a model where a company agrees to "buy" each e-book at a set price, but it can then offer those e-books at any price it chooses. Amazon, in fact, was widely believed to be taking a loss on many e-books in order to encourage adoption of e-readers like the Kindle and e-books at the $9.99 price.)
Second, the publishers allegedly agreed not to sell books to any other online venue (like Amazon) at prices lower than those offered to Apple (a "most favored nation" agreement).
It’s far too early to tell whether the Hagens Berman litigation group will able to prove any of this. Each publisher had the incentive to raise their own prices, and that’s not illegal. The question thus becomes whether they colluded with Apple and/or the other publishers to do so. Only time (and very expensive discovery) will tell…
Perhaps climate-change litigation is where lots of money is to be made in the coming decades:
In the past three years, the number of climate-related lawsuits has ballooned, filling the void of political efforts in tackling greenhouse-gas emissions.
Eyeing the money-spinning potential, some major commercial law firms now place climate-change litigation in their Internet shop window…
But legal experts sound a note of caution, warning that this is a new and mist-shrouded area of justice.
Many obstacles lie ahead before a Western court awards a cent in climate damages and even more before the award is upheld on appeal…
Lawsuits in the United States related directly or indirectly almost tripled in 2010 over 2009, reaching 132 filings after 48 a year earlier, according to a Deutsche Bank report.
Elsewhere in the world, the total of lawsuits is far lower than in the US, but nearly doubled between 2008 and 2010, when 32 cases were filed, according to a tally compiled by AFP from specialist sites.
Sounds like it will take some time and some important rulings before this field comes into greater focus.
1. How much money could be at stake in these sorts of lawsuits?
2. Does this mean this will be the subject of the next John Grisham novel?
How much is a technical trespass worth? Apparently $1. That’s the amount just granted to a couple who had their home photographed by Google as part of its Street View service:
over two and a half years after the case got started, a judge has handed down her consent judgement, ruling that that Google was indeed guilty of Count II Trespass. [The plaintiffs] are getting a grand total of $1 for their trouble. Ouch.
Ouch indeed. It’s not quite Bleak House, but 2.5 years of litigation is an awful lot of trouble for $1, any way you measure it.