I don’t pretend to understand all this — how does some third party sue for copyright infringement when they don’t have rights to said intellectual property? Then not tell you you’re being sued? — but here goes:
Righthaven files “no warning” lawsuits. That is, it gives no advance notification to defendants, which violates the norm of providing “take down notices” to those suspected of copyright violations.
By doing this, Righthaven — which made a speciality out of suing small-time bloggers and “mom-and-pop” businesses — was able to scare the bejesus out of its targets, who then would settle out of court generally in the three to five thousand dollar range. Defendants were threatened with the possibility of a $150,000 judgment and the forfeiture of their website’s domain name (URL address).
Let me tell you: It’s frightening as hell opening up that letter of service and reading the lawsuit. You can’t even believe you’re being sued, but you can’t ignore it or wish it away. A non-response would result in a default judgment, so there’s no time to dilly-dally.
No wonder so many defendants settled out of court rather than attempt a legal defense, especially since obtaining legal counsel and going to trial would probably run into the tens of thousands of dollars on average. I first found out about the lawsuit from Steven Green of the Las Vegas Sun, who left me message on Facebook and then the link to this article mentioning me as a defendant. (…)