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As the Supreme Court’s October Term 2013 fades into memory, and the bickering over Hobby Lobby subsides, let’s look ahead to October Term 2014 — and beyond. We know now the identities of all the OT 2014 SCOTUS clerks, as well as a growing number of the clerks for October Term 2015.

The clerk hiring contains some bad news for Dean Erwin Chemerinsky and other liberals who want Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg to retire before it’s too late. The Notorious RBG has picked her posse for OT 2015, suggesting that she won’t be leaving the Court anytime soon.

But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. First let’s look at the official list of Supreme Court law clerks for October Term 2014, starting up in just a few months….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Supreme Court Clerk Hiring Watch: The Official List For OT 2014, Plus More OT 2015 Hires”

We’re in the home stretch of October Term 2013 at the Supreme Court. After the final two opinions are handed down on Monday, the justices will scatter to the winds (and supplement their incomes with teaching, often in lovely European destinations).

During the month of July, the clerk classes will turn over. Each week, new clerks will arrive and outgoing clerks will depart — do pass go, do collect your $300,000. (Or more; we’re hearing rumors of possible upward movement this year; drop us a line if you have info to share.)

So now is a good time to look at the latest SCOTUS clerk hires. We have almost all the clerks for October Term 2014, plus a few new hires for October Term 2015….

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Why can’t movie-streaming sites deliver the selection of movies that customers obviously want? This was the question posed by a recent New York Times column, comparing undersupplied services like Netflix with unauthorized platforms like Popcorn Time. The answer, the Times explains, is windowing—the industry practice of selling exclusivity periods to certain markets and platforms, with the result of staggered launches.

But the Times fails to ask a more fundamental question: why do streaming sites have to listen to Hollywood’s windowing demands in the first place? After all, while it’s clear why the studios like windowing—they can sell the same rights over and over once the promised exclusivity periods expire—it doesn’t seem like a very good deal for users. Those users get access to a smaller selection, higher prices, and fewer choices between platforms and services. It should be astonishing that a company that once had to maintain and transport a staggering inventory of fragile plastic discs is able to offer less when its marginal cost dropped to near zero.

The problem is that, unlike earlier movie-rental options, streaming rights fall fundamentally within a permission culture….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “The Cost Of Permission Culture: Or Why Netflix Streaming Library Sucks Compared To Its DVD Library”

We’ve written a few times recently about the importance of ECPA reform, to bring a woefully out of date law into the 21st century. Specifically, we’ve urged people to sign this White House petition in favor of ECPA reform. That petition closes soon, and it’s still a bit short of the 100,000 goal.

Why is this important to you? Because, without it, it’s much easier for the government to snoop on your emails without a warrant. What people want is for emails and regular mail to be treated the same, which is simply not the case today.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “If You’re An American Who Believes In The 4th Amendment, You Have No Excuse Not To Sign This Petition”

* Friendly reminder: All your holiday card competition submissions are due at the end of the day Monday! [Above the Law]

* Congratulations to Georgetown’s Nina Pillard on her confirmation to the D.C. Circuit. That whole “no filibuster” thing is really working out for the Democrats. For now. [Georgetown Law]

* The daily trials and travails of a law grad working retail. Some day the aisles run red with the blood of the supporters of Barbara from the men’s cologne counter. [Law Grad Working Retail]

* What if lawyers created some of the greatest ads in history? Missing: “Avis: We Try Harder” vs. “Avis.” [Vice]

* An interview with a whistleblower. What happened to the man who exposed the NYPD’s practice of creating quotas for summonses and arrests? [Colorlines]

* Mark Herrmann talks about his prosopagnosia. [New York Times]

* Robbery suspect explains that the crime was committed by his alternate personality that takes over against the suspect’s will. Looks like Killer BOB is on the loose and committing crimes in Wisconsin! [Stevens Point Journal]

* We’ve discussed the chimp case, but the real question is how will this all affect Superman. [Law and the Multiverse]

I’m always amazed when lawyers send clearly bogus DMCA notices. It shouldn’t be hard to figure out that doing so ends badly. I’m doubly surprised, however, when it comes from big companies that should know better. And, I’m quadruple surprised when one of these companies that should know better sends a completely bogus DMCA notice to a company that absolutely understands why the notice is bogus, and is also in a position to make the world know all about a company’s bogus DMCA notice. That’s what we have here. You see, this morning, Office Depot decided to send a DMCA to Reddit.

Yes, to Reddit….

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Ed. note: This post appears courtesy of our friends at Techdirt. We’ll be sharing law-related posts from Techdirt from time to time in these pages.

Silly reactions to violent video games are coming so fast these days it makes one’s head spin. Redundant labeling of games, doubling down on unconstitutional laws, and even special 1% taxes for games with a rating of “Teen” and above… It’s quite difficult to parse out the well-intentioned silliness from the grandstanding silliness. What’s clear, however, is that there are a great many people who don’t recognize games as the speech that they are.

One state representative from Connecticut, home of the Sandy Hook tragedy, is now upping the ante on that last idea and proposing a 10% tax on games that are rated “mature”….

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Down in Charlotte, at the quadrennial “We Hate America” (spelled “Amercia”) Convention, the Communist Pander-Bears have released a 70-page Party Platform replete with dozens of references to specific pieces of legislation that no one necessarily understands to remind us of the scores of bills that the Democrats have failed to pass since 2008.

The Democrats don’t provide nearly as many bold changes to the legal structure of the country as the Republicans. But there are a few legal planks worth reviewing, though tragically little on the subject of porn. How dare they not respond to the strongest plank of the Republican platform?

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Pol Dancing: Democratic Platform Tragically Light On Porn Policy”

We celebrate America on July 4th because that is the day in 1776 when the Declaration of Independence was adopted by the Second Continental Congress. The Declaration of Independence is one of the most important documents in history. Even though the brilliant men who wrote it and signed it were largely hypocrites who couldn’t see the self-evident truth that women and blacks were endowed with the same inalienable rights as white male landowners, the fact that they bothered to write them down is a starting gun for the modern march of freedom that even today topples tyranny and oppression.

Nobody will ever write the above paragraph about the “Declaration of Internet Freedom” that is making the rounds this week. In fact, most likely nobody will write anything at all about the Internet Declaration two weeks from now because the document is devoid of anything approaching a coherent articulation of the rights of “the internet” or anybody else.

Apparently, 85 organizations and many people have signed this thing, which looks to capitalize on the grassroots effort to stop SOPA legislation. I’m not sure if anybody involved with the project ran this by a lawyer, because this doesn’t appear to be a serious effort to promote a legal construct that will protect the freedom of anything….

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We have been covering the Justice Department’s case against Megaupload, the formerly massive file hosting site, ever since the government shut it down in January.

We have seen the government’s piracy case devolve from a slamdunk into a slopfest with what appears to be less and less of a chance of successful prosecution. Although charismatic CEO Kim Dotcom is still under house arrest in New Zealand, judicial officials there are getting frustrated with the United States. And the company’s attorneys at Quinn Emanuel are still continuing their assault against the Feds. The firm filed two important briefs yesterday, which could significantly impact the future of the case…

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “The Justice Department Appears to Be Losing the Battle Against Megaupload”

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