Intellectual Property

* A law firm in England, Edwards Duthie, believes that everyone is entitled to legal representation, even those who don’t believe in the rule of law. Have fun with Gaddafi; he should be a model client. [Guardian]

* An appeals court has ruled that Casey Anthony must serve her probation in Florida. It’s time for Extreme Makeover: Acquitted-of-Baby-Killing Edition. Casey would look good as a blonde. [CNN]

* Now that we know that a software program can practice law, with this settlement, is it fair to say that LegalZoom was only kinda illegally practicing law in Missouri? [WSJ Law Blog]

* Football players are suing over concussions. If the helmet on your head wasn’t warning enough that you could get a brain injury from playing the game, then I don’t know what to tell you. [Fox News]

* Don’t mess with Texas, unless you want to get hit with a trademark infringement lawsuit. I guess romance novels aren’t considered trash these days. [Austin Business Journal]

It doesn’t take much to get people riled up about peer-to-peer file sharing and everything that goes along with it. Who is the RIAA is suing or not suing? Which Oscar-winning director thinks illegal downloading is maybe kind of OK after all? The list goes on and on.

Often file-sharing doesn’t much concern us here at Above the Law, but sometimes the P2P attorneys themselves become important and/or easily despicable characters within the always-hot topic. A few months ago, I wrote about an attorney named John Steele. A court found his methods of going after P2P porn downloaders to be unsound.

Last week, two more British attorneys were fined almost £200,000 and suspended from practicing law for their unacceptable Internet pirate-baiting schemes.

Let’s see who these guys are and what they did….

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Over the weekend, a quaint little festival took place up in Hebron, Maine: the Redneck Olympics. Don’t ask me why this event happened in Maine. I didn’t think that rednecks were allowed to cross the Mason-Dixon line. The event featured typical redneck fare, including a greased watermelon haul, a wife-carrying race, toilet seat horseshoes, and bobbing for pig’s feet. Needless to say, it was a hit.

So naturally, when I heard that a lawsuit was brewing over Maine’s summer games, I wondered what could have happened. Was someone injured during a Dukes of Hazard-style car jump competition? Did someone get whiplash after one too many bucks on the mechanical bull? Was there an abundance of alcohol poisoning after the PBR case race?

But none of these things happened. No arrests were made, and the lone injury was a bee sting. So why is the organizer of the Redneck Olympics facing a lawsuit? Let the games begin, y’all….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “The ‘Redneck Olympics’ Try to Jump the Hurdle of Law”

* The DOJ is suing Alabama because of its immigration law, saying it interferes with federal law. To the extent that federal law won’t prosecute illegal aliens, they’re spot on. [Bloomberg]

* Floridians, grab your pitchforks, torches, and chloroform, because Casey Anthony has to return to Orlando for a year’s worth of probation on check fraud charges. [CNN]

* Like many a man before him, Charlie Sheen decided to pull out on his extortion lawsuit against porn star Capri Anderson. Winning? You be the judge. [New York Daily News]

* FYI: If a pretty design will make wiping your own ass easier, you probably can’t trademark it. Not even if you waste 675,000 pieces of paper to prove your case. [Mogulite]

* A photographer is suing over the use of her pictures on Project Runway. I bet if Tim Gunn told her to “make it work,” she’d drop it and offer up the rest of her photos on a platter. [Hollywood Reporter]

* This whole debt crisis has been a little like Deal or No Deal, except that show had a much better host. Howie Mandel can get people to make a deal with the banker in under 60 minutes. Obama? Not so much. [POLITICO]

* Real life intellectual property matters be damned, because even virtual horses need to eat. If a PETA group doesn’t exist yet in Second Life, I have a feeling that one soon will. [Wall Street Journal]

* Reality shows rule, but I’m not sure if an execution can compete with Jersey Shore. The only thing I want to see die on TV is dignity, but our own David Lat has some other interesting ideas. [New York Times]

* New Mercer Law students are moving into the apartment complex where pieces of Lauren Giddings were found. Why would you sign a lease with a place that’s so stabby? [Macon Telegraph]

* B*tch has balls if she’s willing to go to war with Oprah over an acronym. Before you can OYP (Own Your Power), you might want to OYT (Own Your Trademark). [Daily Intel / New York Magazine]

The normally tepid e-discovery world felt a little extra heat of competition yesterday. Recommind, one of the larger e-discovery vendors, announced Wednesday that it was issued a patent on predictive coding (which Gabe Acevedo, writing in these pages, named the Big Legal Technology Buzzword of 2011).

In a nutshell, predictive coding is a relatively new technology that allows large chunks of document review to be automated, a.k.a. done mostly by computers, with less need for human management.

Some of Recommind’s competitors were not happy about the news. See how they responded (grumpily), and check out what Recommind’s General Counsel had to say about what this means for everyone who uses e-discovery products….

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* Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer tapped the brakes on the Insane Train yesterday, vetoing one measure that would allow guns at schools and another that would require presidential candidates to prove they weren’t Kenyan immigrants hellbent on the destruction of Lee Greenwood. [TucsonSentinel.com]

* Microsoft went before the Supreme Court yesterday to argue that patents should be easier to challenge. Sotomayor spent the entire oral argument asking the Microsoft attorney how she could fit more Miami Sound Machine on her Zune. [Reuters]

* Customer accounts have been frozen following the indictment of online poker companies. Bloomberg decided this was the perfect time to upload their stock poker photo, featuring the caption “A royal flush, circa 1950.” [Bloomberg]

* And here’s a rundown of the potential attorneys and firms who will work the defense side in said p-p-p-poker case. [Am Law Daily]

* The Taco Bell soylent beef lawsuit was dropped yesterday. Posting will be light today while Elie makes a run for the border. [NPR]

* Yo, Mr. Dopeman, you think you’re slick. You sold crack to my sister and now she’s sick. But if she happens to die because of your drug, federal judges will have a difficult time sentencing you. Oof, that N.W.A. lyric took a weird turn, didn’t it? [New York Times]

* The Supreme Court rejected an appeal by five Uyghurs being detained in Guantanamo Bay. On a related note, I just wasted a good ten minutes listening to this pronunciation of Uyghur. [CNN]

* Match.com will begin cross-checking users against sex offender registries after being sued. Whatever, juggalove.com is more my speed anyway. [WSJ Law Blog]

You’re tired of him. I’m tired of him. Even Juggalo is tired of him.

I get it. Believe me, if Liam Neeson’s second cousin’s dogwalker so much as had gotten a parking ticket this week, I would have snapped that juicy news item up for Fame Brief. But alas, as your faithful celebrity news correspondent, I must deliver to you yet another Charlie Sheen post. Last one, I promise.*

In an inevitable move to cash-in on his enhanced celebrity, Charlie applied for trademarks on 22 of his now-passé catchphrases, including Adonis DNA, Tiger Blood, Rock Star from Mars and other mania-induced gems. Luckily still available: SmallLaw Total Bitchin’ Rock Star from Mars….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Fame Brief: Charlie Sheen Bi-Winning™ Crap Merchandise Coming Soon?”

Chris Webby

As many of you figured out, the cease and desist letter from Chris Webby, claiming ownership of the hashtag #webby, was an April Fool’s hoax. This week’s sign that the apocalypse is upon was a hologram launched by the Webby Awards people. Here’s the official reveal.

Really, we thought a few more of our loyal readers would see through it. The firm that purportedly sent the letter, Baxter, Butler & Associates, doesn’t exist. This commenter got it. But I guess most commenters don’t fire up Google unless an attractive girl is involved.

You can see why the Webbys weren’t able to get a real law firm to participate in this prank. It might have been a joke today, but the first hashtag infringement suit is surely just around the corner.

Happy April Fool’s Day. I’m going to go back to drinking heavily now.

Earlier: Cease and Desist Letter of the Day: Who Owns Your Hashtag?

Chris Webby

If you enjoy the fact that a company called PeerViews apparently claims ownership of the term “Small Law,” you’re going to love this latest piece of IP ridiculousness.

Rapper Chris Webby has sent a cease and desist order to the Webby Awards. He wants them to stop using the hashtag, #webby.

I’m pretty sure that trademarking hashtags is one of the prerequisites for the Rapture.

And yes, of course Chris Webby made a video about his legal complaint…

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