(CN) - The copyright holder Righthaven cannot take over a website dedicated to "no body" murder cases to satisfy charges that the site violated copyright by reprinting a Las Vegas newspaper article, a federal judge ruled.
Nevada-based Righthaven sues bloggers and website owners on behalf of several newspapers for the illegal use of copyrighted articles and photos.
In the present case, Righthaven sued former federal prosecutor Thomas DiBiase who runs nobodycases.com, a website dedicated to murder trials where the victim's body has not been found.
The company claimed that DiBiase published an article from the Las Vegas Review Journal on his website without permission, and requested a court order transferring control of DiBiase's domain name to Righthaven.
DiBiase filed a counterclaim to dismiss the lawsuit.
Chief U.S. District Judge Roger Hunt denied Righthaven's request in an order signed Friday, finding that "Congress has never expressly granted plaintiffs in copyright infringement cases the right to seize control over the defendant's website domain."
Hunt also denied Righthaven's motion to dismiss DiBiase's counterclaim.
"The Court finds that DiBiase's counterclaim serves a useful purpose because, among other things, it will guide DiBiase's website operations (and the operations of other, similarly situated parties) in the future," Hunt wrote. "Furthermore, the Court finds that DiBiase has pled sufficient facts to make his request for declaratory relief a plausible claim."