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Colorado Court Order Dismissing Righthaven's Lawsuit Against Leland Wolf

Colorado Court Order Dismissing Righthaven's Lawsuit Against Leland Wolf

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Court Order by Colorado Judge Kan Dismissing Righthaven's Copyright Infringement Lawsuit in Righthaven LLC v. It Makes Sense Blog and Leland Wolf, Case No. 11-cv-00830 (D. Colo.)
Court Order by Colorado Judge Kan Dismissing Righthaven's Copyright Infringement Lawsuit in Righthaven LLC v. It Makes Sense Blog and Leland Wolf, Case No. 11-cv-00830 (D. Colo.)

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Published by: www.righthavenlawsuits.com on Sep 28, 2011
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Case1:11-cv-00830-JLKDocument49Filed
09/27/11
USDCColoradoPage1of14
INTHEUNITEDSTATESDISTRICTCOURTFORTHEDISTRICTOFCOLORADOJudgeJohn
L.
KaneCivilActionNo.1:11-cv-00830-JLKRIGHTHAVENLLC,aNevadaLimitedLiabilityCompany,Plaintiff,
v.
LELANDWOLF,anindividual,andITMAKESSENSEBLOG,anentityofunknownoriginandnature,Defendants.MEMORANDUMOPINIONANDORDERKane,J.Theissuepresentedinthiscase,whetherapartywithabarerighttosuehasstandingtoinstituteanactionforinfringementunderfederalcopyrightlaw,isoneoffirstimpressionintheTenthCircuit.Afterconsideringtheparties'writtenandoralargumentsandanalyzingtheconstitutionalunderpinningsoffederalcopyrightlaw,thelegislativehistoryofthe1909and1976CopyrightActs,andthemeagerprecedentavailablefromanalogoussituationsinotherCircuits,Iholdthattheanswertothatquestionisaforceful,yetqualified,"no"andGRANTsummaryjudgmenttoDefendantLelandWolf.Furthermore,pursuantto17U.S.C.
§
505,RighthavenshallreimburseMr.Wolfsfullcostsindefendingthisaction,includingreasonableattorneyfees.FACTUALBACKGROUNDOnNovember18,2010,
theDenverPost
publishedaphotographofaTransportationSecurityAdministrationAgentperforminganenhancedpat-downsearchatDenverInternationalAirport(the"Work").AlthoughthecopyrightinthisphotographwasoriginallyheldbyMediaNews
1
 
Case1:11-cv-00830-JLKDocument49Filed
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Group,Inc.,
theDenverPost's
parentcompany,atsomepointfollowingitsoriginalpublicationthecopyrightwaspurportedlytransferredtoPlaintiffRighthavenLLC,whichregisteredtheWorkwiththefederalCopyrightOfficeonDecember10,2010.
See
CopyrightRegistration(doc.1-4).Shortlythereafter,Righthavenfiledfifty-sevenlawsuitsinthisdistrict,eachallegingcopyrightinfringementinviolationoftheanti-infringementprovisionsoffederalcopyrightlaw.
See
17U.S.C.§501.DefendantLelandWolfwasamongthosecaughtupinRighthaven'senforcementdragnet.'AsallegedinRighthaven'scomplaint,onoraboutNovember29,2010andFebruary5,2011,Mr.WolfdisplayedtheWorkonhiswebsite,itmakessenseblog.com,withoutseekingorreceivingpermissiontodosofromRighthaven.Basedontheseallegedfacts,RighthavenfiledsuitagainstMr.Wolf.OnMay17,2011,Mr.WolffiledaMotiontoDismissforLackofSubjectMatterJurisdiction(doc.11).ANALYSIS
NatureofReview
Asathresholdmatter,itisnecessarytodeterminetheproperframeworkforresolvingMr.Wolfsmotion.Ordinarily,motionstodismissforlackofsubjectmatterjurisdictionarepremiseduponFederalRuleofCivilProcedurel2(b)(1)andtakeoneoftwoforms:eitherafacialorfactualattack.
SeeHolt
v.
UnitedStates,
46F.3d1000,1002(10thCir.1995).Inafacialattackonthesufficiencyofthecomplaint,areviewingcourtmustaccepttheallegationsofthecomplaintastrue.
!
Asevidencedbythecaption,Righthavenalsonamed
It
MakesSenseBlogasapartytothisaction.
It
MakesSenseBlogisnotapersonororganizedlegalentity,butthedomainnameofawebsiteownedandoperatedbyMr.Wolf.Itisnot,therefore,capableofbeingsuedanditisdismissedasapartytothislawsuit.
See,e.g.,Aston
v.
Cunningham,
216F.3d1086n.3(10thCir.2000)(dismissingSaltLakeCountyjailasadefendantbecauseadetentionfacilityisnotapersonorlegallycreatedentitycapableofbeingsued).
2
 
Case1:11-cv-00830-JLKDocument49Filed
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ld.
Whenapartyreliesonevidenceoutsideofthecomplaintinmountingafactualattack,however,areviewingcourtmaynotpresumethetruthfulnessofthecomplaint'sallegations.
ld.
at1003.Insuchinstances,thereviewingcourthas"widediscretiontoallowaffidavits,otherdocuments,andalimitedevidentiaryhearingtoresolvedisputedjurisdictionalfactsunderRule12(b)(1)."
ld.
(citing
Wheeler
v.
Hurdman,
825F.2d257,259n.5(10thCir.1987».Ordinarily,theconsiderationofevidenceoutsidethepleadingsdoesnotconvertaRulel2(b)(1)motiontodismissintoaRule56motion.
ld.
Thereis,however,oneimportantexceptiontothisrule:whentheresolutionofjurisdictionalissuesisintertwinedwiththemeritsofthecase,"acourtisrequiredtoconvertaRulel2(b)(1)motiontodismissintoaRulel2(b)(6)motionoraRule56summaryjudgmentmotion...."
ld.
Theresolutionofjurisdictionalissuesissaidtobeintertwinedwiththemeritsofthecase"whensubjectmatterjurisdictionisdependentuponthesamestatutewhichprovidesthesubstantiveclaiminthecase...."
ld.
(citing
Wheeler,
825F.2dat259);
seealsoTilton
v.
Richardson,
6F.3d683,685(10thCir.1993).Thepartiesmust,however,begivennoticebeforeaRule12(b)(1)motionisconvertedtoaRule56motion.
Wheeler,
825F.2dat259.Suchnoticeneednotbeformalorexplicit;"whenapartysubmitsmaterialbeyondthepleadingsinsupportoforopposingamotiontodismiss,theprioractiononthepartofthepartiesputsthemonnoticethatthejudgemaytreatthemotionasaRule56motion."
ld.
at260.Becausemyjurisdictioninthiscaseisdependentuponfederalcopyrightlaw,whichalsoprovidesthebasisforRighthaven'sclaimofinfringement,thejurisdictionalissuesraisedinMr.WolfsMotiontoDismissareintertwinedwiththemeritsofthecase.Accordingly,IwillconverthisRulel2(b)(1)motiontodismissintoaRule56motionforsummaryjudgment.Furthermore,becausebothpartiessubmittedmaterialsinsupportoftheirrespectiveargumentsonMr.Wolfs3

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