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Thread: Legal attack on VCDL fails, but at a cost - Donation request

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    Founder's Club Member ed's Avatar
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    Legal attack on VCDL fails, but at a cost - Donation request

    WHAT HAPPENED

    Back on September 29, 2010 a Nevada litigation company called Righthaven filed a lawsuit against VCDL alleging copyright infringement for the use of a Las Vegas Review-Journal story in a VCDL Update. (The story in the VA-ALERT Update on July 21, 2010, was item number 31 about a CHP holder who was shot to death by police at a Costco in Las Vegas when the CHP holder didn't comply with two simultaneous and hopelessly conflicting orders from police - "Don't move!" and "Put your gun on the ground!")

    What Righthaven was doing with the suit was a form of legal extortion: "Give us a bunch of money to drop the suit or you'll have to pay a lot more money to an attorney to defend yourself!"

    VCDL was in good company - Righthaven filed at least 276 such lawsuits in a little over a year! These suits were going to be a primary source of income for Righthaven.

    A list of all those sued by Righthaven (VCDL is number 142 on the list) can be found here:

    http://www.righthavenlawsuits.com/lawsuits.html


    HOW THE SCHEME WORKED

    Righthaven would scan the internet for anyone having stories on their website from the Las Vegas Review-Journal or from a few other selected newspapers. Once a story was found, then Righthaven would buy the litigation rights to that story from the newspaper, and without any warning immediately sue the company, organization, or individual that had posted the story.

    In VCDL's case, Righthaven was seeking $150,000 from us and to have the "vcdl.org" domain transferred to Righthaven!

    To try to twist the rope tighter for a settlement, Jim Snyder, VCDL's Vice President, and I were also named individually as defendants.


    VCDL BOARD OF DIRECTORS'S RESPONSE

    If Righthaven didn't want a fight, then they picked the wrong organization to sue. The Board simply would not tolerate the idea of caving in to Righthaven and voted unanimously to fight the case to completion. When we stood to fight them, Righthaven's attorneys then hinted to our attorneys that they might consider a smaller out-of-court settlement from us. Settlement was simply out of the question for two reasons: we had done nothing wrong and it would also encourage Righthaven to continue these illegitimate and unfair practices against other companies, groups, and individuals.

    Ultimately VCDL believed we would be vindicated because:

    * VCDL is a NON-PROFIT corporation. So it could not be claimed that we published the story to make money on it.

    * There is a "fair use" exemption in the law for using such a story for educational purposes. BINGO! That's what we use them for every time. Most often I mark up the story with my own comments, as well.

    Because VCDL is a corporation, its individual Directors are shielded from most lawsuits. However, that would have still put a draw on personal funds for Jim and me until such time as the courts removed us from the suit.

    Also, VCDL had not been given any notification that there was something wrong. Instead Righthaven just sued VCDL out of the clear blue sky, which, of course, was what this was all about from the beginning. Righthaven didn't want us to fix the problem; they wanted our money.


    AN EQUAL OPPORTUNITY PREDATOR

    This attack on VCDL was not about gun rights. If you look at the list of those being sued, you'll notice no common thread politically or philosophically. VCDL had unfortunately caught a predator's attention and was dragged into a fight.


    WHERE WE ARE NOW

    Always frugal with membership funds, the VCDL Board of Directors felt that we didn't need to contact members for money to support the fight, as we felt we would win and could sue to get our very costly legal expenses reimbursed. The problem is that the firms which stood up and fought back, like VCDL was doing, were winning their cases as they came up, which ultimately caused Righthaven to go broke!

    So by the time the show-cause judicial hearing came up, Righthaven, seeing the writing on the wall, didn't even show up. Righthaven's case against VCDL has been dismissed, but VCDL is left with $30,000 in legal fees with no chance of recovery from our now financially defunct accuser.

    While we are pleased and relieved that Righthaven did not succeed in its morally and ethically corrupt mission against us, the depletion of VCDL's cash flow in defending against them seriously harms our immediate capability to successfully engage attacks to our rights on all fronts.

    We need YOUR help now!

    As you know, we as an organization rarely ask for money even though that is the grease that allows the wheels to turn. And we would not be asking now if it wasn't critical. You can rest assured that we will continue to spend carefully and frugally as though the money comes from all of our own pockets (because we understand that it does!)

    Thanks in advance for anything you can do to help us continue our most urgent mission to safeguard and advance our right to keep and bear arms in Virginia.

    To donate to VCDL, please click on this link:\

    https://mobipledge.mobi/vcdl/webpledge/index.php

    Thanks!

    --

    A small sampling of historical information on the RIghthaven lawsuits:

    A group countersues early on:

    From the Las Vegas Sun: http://tinyurl.com/d72rz7g

    Things begin to unravel:

    From the Las Vegas Sun: http://tinyurl.com/4abdhrq

    VCDL's case is dismissed:

    From Vegas Inc.: http://tinyurl.com/7a3t3gm
    Carry On.

    Ed

    VirginiaOpenCarry.Org (Coins, Shirts and Patches)
    - - - -
    For VA Open Carry Cards send a S.A.2S.E. to: Ed's OC cards, Box 16143, Wash DC 20041-6143 (they are free but some folks enclose a couple bucks too)

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    Wow, $30k to get a case with no legal merit dismissed?

    No wonder ten thousand lawyers at the bottom of the ocean is a good start!

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    Regular Member TFred's Avatar
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    I had no idea VCDL had been dragged into this scam. The last link says that there is a long line of winners hoping to get some money back. I hope they go after the personal assets of these vermin. There was also a report about them being in contempt of court for failing to turn over financial documents to some of those who won, certainly trying to hide every last penny. I hope they end up broke, and in jail!

    I have no tolerance for those who abuse our legal system for personal gain.

    TFred

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    Accomplished Advocate peter nap's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TFred View Post
    I had no idea VCDL had been dragged into this scam. The last link says that there is a long line of winners hoping to get some money back. I hope they go after the personal assets of these vermin. There was also a report about them being in contempt of court for failing to turn over financial documents to some of those who won, certainly trying to hide every last penny. I hope they end up broke, and in jail!

    I have no tolerance for those who abuse our legal system for personal gain.

    TFred
    This is an old copyright scam. They threatened to do the same because of OV's syndicated links. I guess my FU response impressed them.

    Is VCDL going after damages?

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    Regular Member ryan7068's Avatar
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    "Stand-your-ground" law support

    This is VCDL supporting the stand-your-ground law I couln't imagine having to dish out all that money over such nonsense.
    "Yes, I am carrying a loaded firearm. Why aren't you? "

  6. #6
    Regular Member TFred's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by peter nap View Post
    This is an old copyright scam. They threatened to do the same because of OV's syndicated links. I guess my FU response impressed them.

    Is VCDL going after damages?
    May do no good.. from the end of the story:

    "Always frugal with membership funds, the VCDL Board of Directors felt that we didn't need to contact members for money to support the fight, as we felt we would win and could sue to get our very costly legal expenses reimbursed. The problem is that the firms which stood up and fought back, like VCDL was doing, were winning their cases as they came up, which ultimately caused Righthaven to go broke!

    So by the time the show-cause judicial hearing came up, Righthaven, seeing the writing on the wall, didn't even show up. Righthaven's case against VCDL has been dismissed, but VCDL is left with $30,000 in legal fees with no chance of recovery from our now financially defunct accuser."

    TFred

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    Accomplished Advocate peter nap's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TFred View Post
    May do no good.. from the end of the story:

    "Always frugal with membership funds, the VCDL Board of Directors felt that we didn't need to contact members for money to support the fight, as we felt we would win and could sue to get our very costly legal expenses reimbursed. The problem is that the firms which stood up and fought back, like VCDL was doing, were winning their cases as they came up, which ultimately caused Righthaven to go broke!

    So by the time the show-cause judicial hearing came up, Righthaven, seeing the writing on the wall, didn't even show up. Righthaven's case against VCDL has been dismissed, but VCDL is left with $30,000 in legal fees with no chance of recovery from our now financially defunct accuser."

    TFred
    You're probably right and that's probably why the left me alone. Figured I didn't have any money.
    I'll send in a small donation. VCDL certainly has enough members to cover it.

  8. #8
    Campaign Veteran Dutch Uncle's Avatar
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    If I may be so bold as to ask: Just whom does VCDL owe the $30,000 in expenses to?

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    Accomplished Advocate peter nap's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dutch Uncle View Post
    If I may be so bold as to ask: Just whom does VCDL owe the $30,000 in expenses to?
    Seems like a reasonable question Ed?
    Why wasn't this in an alert?
    Last edited by peter nap; 04-25-2012 at 08:20 PM.

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    Just sent $100.

    Why aren't we going after the newspaper? They seem complicit in the scam.

    Who do we owe the $30k too?

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    Campaign Veteran T Dubya's Avatar
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    Warning: The comments on the video are profane.


    "These are the shock troops (opencarry.org) of the gun lobby. And, they are not going away."
    Ceasefire NJ Director Brian Miller, NJ.com, August 20, 2009

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    Regular Member TFred's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by T Dubya View Post
    Warning: The comments on the video are profane.


    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GOsL99mAXS8
    What a weasel! These folks are the "anti-User."

    TFred

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dutch Uncle View Post
    If I may be so bold as to ask: Just whom does VCDL owe the $30,000 in expenses to?
    All legal fees - lawyers fees (3 lawyers, including one in Nevada to file all the paperwork and motions) and filing fees.

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    Just an off-topic observation.

    It is a serious lese majesty when the VCDL Prez has only 5 stars by his name, and his EM's around here have six stars.

    I think there should be $100 fines all around, used to offset VCDL's Wronghaven legal costs.

    Meaning, anybody with more stars than the VCDL Prez should pay $100 per star.

    Uh-oh! No. Wait. All it would take is for Philip to ask to have his stars reduced to one star, and suddenly I would owe $300! No, no, no. Scratch that idea.
    Last edited by Citizen; 04-25-2012 at 11:21 PM.
    I'll make you an offer: I will argue and fight for all of your rights, if you will do the same for me. (Because that is the only way freedom can work. We have to respect all rights, all the time--for each other and everybody else--and strive to win the rights of the other guy as much as for ourselves.)

    Equality and consent of the governed: We're all equal. How can another legitimately govern me without my express consent?

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    Founder's Club Member thebigsd's Avatar
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    I will send what I can to help!! Of course, it may have been more prudent to ask for money all along, but I understand the reasoning.
    "When seconds count between living or dying, the police are only minutes away."

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    Quote Originally Posted by peter nap View Post
    VCDL certainly has enough members to cover it.
    Roughly four bucks apiece. Worth it I think even though I don't take the time to read through those newspaper clippings in the alerts. Then again, I don't read that section the NRA puts together either. I guess the NRA didn't get sued by this crowd since they merely give a summary of the salient points of the stories with appropriate credits rather than a wholesale cut 'n paste for "education."

    We'll put out a labeled can with a $30k thermometer at the next gun show and see what kind of a response we get from the rank & file. By then the board members/executive members who made the top-level decisions on how to proceed with this and who to hire as counsel will have had time to contribute. Should see some rapid upward thermometer movement as they kick in the big bucks. That'll make it easier to persuade folks to do their part and drop some loose change in the can.

    I do have one question though which is bound to come up as folks talk about the cash flow problem around the booth. Since VCDL is a corporation; albeit non-profit, isn't there an insurance policy in place to protect the organization and board members against litigation, defamation claims, etc? Heck, my umbrella policy covers me and my family against things like this; surely VCDL has something similar. Why weren't they in the lead?

  17. #17
    Accomplished Advocate peter nap's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 1911 Enthusiast View Post
    I do have one question though which is bound to come up as folks talk about the cash flow problem around the booth. Since VCDL is a corporation; albeit non-profit, isn't there an insurance policy in place to protect the organization and board members against litigation, defamation claims, etc? Heck, my umbrella policy covers me and my family against things like this; surely VCDL has something similar. Why weren't they in the lead?
    It depends on the type of Corp ...1911

    My insurance for OV would have covered it to the limits but I deal with copyrights all the time.
    My insurance for the farm wouldn't.

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    Regular Member Marco's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by thebigsd View Post
    I will send what I can to help!! Of course, it may have been more prudent to ask for money all along, but I understand the reasoning.
    1+
    I'll renew early and send a few extra $.
    "The Second Amendment similarly appears to contain an express limitation on the government's authority. If the Second Amendment is read to confer a personal right to 'keep and bear arms,' a colorable argument exists that the Federal Government's regulatory scheme, at least as it pertains to possession of firearms, runs afoul of that amendment's protections" (U.S. v. Printz, 1997) ~Clarence Thomas (SPJ)

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    Regular Member 45acpForMe's Avatar
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    I sent in my donation. Long Live VCDL!!!!
    "Cogito, ergo armatum sum: I think, therefore I am armed."

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    Hello from Colorado.
    50 bucks heading your way.

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    Regular Member ryan7068's Avatar
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    vcdl

    goood on yah jeeps....thanx

    I'm waitin till the first of the month. Go G.I. Bill.

    I wouldn't be the least bit offended if PVC and VCDL asked for a little change now and then just to keep the juices flowin! I don't think'd hurt.
    "Yes, I am carrying a loaded firearm. Why aren't you? "

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    Regular Member Dreamer's Avatar
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    It's looking pretty grim for Mr. Gibson and Righthaven's other partners. If there is any justice in the world, they will all eventually end up in Federal Prison for RICO violations, because it's starting to look--more and more--like they were in fact operating some sort of organized criminal enterprise that was engaged in interstate fraud, extortion and the knowingly filing wrongful claims...

    http://www.righthavenvictims.com/201...haven-ceo.html

    Hopefully they will see justice soon, and the world can rejoice when several rotten attorneys are put behind bars for a long, long time...

    Thanks VCDL, for standing up to these thugs. Even though I barely make a "poverty-level" wage, I'll be sending you a little something for your efforts to preserve both 2A AND 1A Rights.
    It is our cause to dispel the foggy thinking which avoids hard decisions in the delusion that a world of conflict will somehow mysteriously resolve itself into a world of harmony, if we just don't rock the boat or irritate the forces of aggression—and this is hogwash."
    --Barry Goldwater, 1964

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    Founder's Club Member Skeptic's Avatar
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    I will try to remember next payday, my account is somewhat tapped.

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