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Brian Hill: Righthaven may be hit for fees even after dropping suit against autistic blogger

Earlier this week, amid a flurry of criticism and bad publicity, Nevada-based Righthaven LLC dropped its copyright infringement lawsuit against chronically ill, mildly autistic blogger Brian Hill for unauthorized use of a single Denver Post photo. But if the folks at the firm thought they'd permanently washed their hands of Hill, they were wrong -- because a new hearing has just been ordered.

In a motion to dismiss the lawsuit, Fort Collins-based lawyer David Kerr, who represented the financially strapped Hill pro bono, asked for attorney's fees. Most of that document was mooted by Righthaven's subsequent white-flag filing -- a notice that included snarky comments aimed at Hill and Kerr and a warning to other individuals being sued by Righthaven not to expect the outfit to withdraw. But U.S. District Judge John Kane, who ordered Righthaven's extraneous insults and threats stricken from the record, has ordered the company to file a response regarding the request for attorney's fees by May 5 and set a hearing on the topic for May 19.

In the end, Righthaven, whose business model is predicated on defendants paying to avoid court (Hill was given the chance to fork over $6,000), may wind up shelling out in a case that it belatedly decided not to pursue.

Which Hill's supporters will undoubtedly find suitably ironic.

More from our Media archive: "Denver Post parent MediaNews Group puts Mike Rosen column at center of copyright suit."

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