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If you take a hard line in your belief in free speech, you need to double that staunch stance when it comes to humor and satire, because they almost universally require an edge or offense of some kind. Quadruple your stance if that humor or satire is aimed at anything having to do with the government, since they’re not allowed to be offended by our speech. Sorry, government, but that’s the deal we made two-hundred-plus years ago: you get to pretend like you represent us and we get to make fun of you for it…

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Ohio AG Gets Urban Outfitters To Pull Satirical Prescription Coffee Mugs From Stores, Citing His Own Lack Of Humor”

The top secret “No-Fly” list has been problematic since day one. The DHS and FBI apparently believe over 20,000 people are too dangerous to allow to board a plane but not dangerous enough to arrest.

This is the process the government follows to place would-be travelers on the no-fly list.

1. The government places a person on the no-fly list.

That’s all there is to it. The list is too “sensitive” to publish and exposing its methodology would apparently result in airliners raining down around us.

If you’re a lucky recipient of the “no-fly” designation, here’s how you’re informed of your new status…

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Federal Judge None Too Impressed With Government’s Defense Of Its ‘No Fly’ List”

I have to admit that I’m still a bit surprised that pop-up/pop-under advertisements still exist. The concept is so annoying and so anti-consumer that pretty much all browsers figured out ways to build in pop-up blockers many, many years ago. Every so often one gets through (almost always advertising Netflix, by the way), and I get annoyed and try to remember never to visit that site again. However, Paul Keating alerts us to the news that a company called “ExitExchange” now claims to hold a patent on pop-up ads, and has sued seven porn sites and two travel companies [Ed. note: this link is from a porn industry publication so it's "safe-ish" for work, but be warned] for using them without a license.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Company Claims Patent On Pop-Up Ads, Sues Porn & Travel Companies”

Here’s a bit of good news: the Supreme Court has effectively said you can’t patent genes, though in typical Supreme Court fashion, it hedged a bit. Basically, they found that merely separating out naturally occurring DNA is not patentable, but that synthetically made “complementary DNA” or (cDNA) can be patentable. This case has been going on for quite some time, involving a company called Myriad Genetics, which isolated two genes, BRCA1 and BRCA2, where mutations indicate a high likelihood of developing breast cancer. Myriad then set up a very lucrative, extremely high priced set of tests to find those mutations and argued that others testing for those genes violated its patents — because stopping breast cancer should be prohibitively expensive, apparently.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Supreme Court Strikes Down Gene Patents”

Towards the end of my piece this morning about the administration’s ridiculous response to the leaked evidence and confirmation that the NSA is scooping up every single phone record (confirmed from Verizon at least, though you can assume it applies to everyone else as well) was a quick note mentioning that Senator Dianne Feinstein was saying that this was a continuation of the same program that had been going on for seven years. And, now, lots of Senators are coming out and saying the same thing. In fact, it appears that our 100 Senators all knew that this has been going on for seven years without telling us…

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Senators: Why Is Everyone So Worked Up About Verizon Spying? We’ve All Known About It Since 2007″

Insane legal actions over relatively mild pranks are coming fast and furious these days. We just recently discussed the 17 years old high school girl staring down felony charges over a childish year book prank. There have also been several cases of those that fall victim to pranks turning to intellectual property law as a way to hide their gullibility. There’s something — embarrassment perhaps — that spurs victims into unreasonable legal action once the trap has been sprung.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Prank Resulting In 2 NFL GMs Talking To Each Other Results In Up To 5 Years Of Prison, $500k Fine”

I’ve always liked the state of Vermont — but mainly because it was a nice place to visit. But, now the state appears to be declaring war on patent trolls. A new anti-patent trolling law has been quietly enactedH.299, which targets patent trolls. Or, as it says “bad faith assertions of patent infringement.” It does this by amending the state’s consumer protection laws, to give tools to judges to recognize when patent litigation is done in bad faith (i.e., for trolling, rather than legitimate reasons)…

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Vermont Declares War On Patent Trolls; Passes New Law And Sues Notorious Patent Troll”

I’m not sure where vice president Joe Biden is getting his information, but he seems rather confident that a tax can be levied against “violent media.” He may want to check with the Supreme Court, which has ruled against regulating violent video games and found taxing certain varieties of speech differently to be a violation of the First Amendment.

Possibly Biden just got carried away with the jovial spirit of censorship pervading the post-Sandy Hook political climate. Or maybe he was just in an overly-agreeable mood and started making affirmative statements without considering what he was saying…

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “VP Joe Biden Believes There’s ‘No Legal Reason’ The Government Can’t Slap A Sin Tax On ‘Violent Media’”

So, you may recall that as a part of Judge Otis Wright’s Prenda sentencing, he ordered that a copy of the ruling be submitted in every other case involving Prenda:

For the sake of completeness, the Court requests Pietz to assist by filing a report, within 14 days, containing contact information for: (1) every bar (state and federal) where these attorneys are admitted to practice; and (2) every judge before whom these attorneys have pending cases.

In one Prenda case (involving AF Holdings again) in the Northern District of Georgia, the defendant, Rajesh Patel, and his lawyer, Blair Chintella, submitted Judge Wright’s ruling themselves to the court in the case. As pointed out by Fight Copyright Trolls, Prenda’s local counsel in Georgia, Jacques Nazaire has filed one of the most ridiculous filings we’ve ever seen yet in all of the Prenda filings. It argues that the court should not allow Judge Wright’s order to be entered into the docket because California recognizes gay marriage and Georgia does not. I’m not joking…

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Prenda Lawyer Says Judge Wright’s Order Is Inapplicable In Georgia Because California Recognizes Gay Marriage”

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.

Michael Carusi points us to the news that Warner Bros., MGM and Universal Studios have agreed to pull nearly 2,000 films from Netflix’s library, in order to put them in the Warner Bros. Instant Archive. You may recall that Warner recently launched this archive, which is an incredibly overpriced and ridiculously limited offering. Apparently, they’re trying to bolster the offering in part by hurting Netflix. As we’ve warned, this sort of fragmentation does little to help anyone…

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Warner Bros., MGM, Universal Collectively Pull Nearly 2,000 Films From Netflix”

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