This semester we have received several warnings from our Internet service provider that copyrighted movies and TV shows are being downloaded illegally via our wireless network. The Information Technology office is now ascertaining who is doing this. Once we have names of the individuals involved, we intend to give them to the copyright holders for enforcement purposes.
This stance proved unpopular with BLS students, as well as ATL readers. In a poll, about 75 percent of readers answered “yes” when asked, “Should Brooklyn Law School do more to protect its students from being sued for illegal downloading?”
It seems that Brooklyn Law School has had a change of heart. Check out the email that went out this afternoon, plus selected reader comments, after the jump.
Today we received this e-mail from the administration, which is causing quite an uproar among the student body.
The gist of it seems to be that, contrary to the practice of other schools, BLS will begin actively investigating [illegal] downloading and proactively providing names of people to media [companies] so [the individuals in question] can be sued.
I believe the typical practice at other schools (graduate and undergraduate) and institutions is to wait for a subpoena and either cooperate or fight the subpoena, not to go out of their way to inform on their students.
The total cost of attendance at Brooklyn Law for the 2009-2010 academic year, for full-time students not living with their parents (God forbid), is a shade over $66,000. Shouldn’t that buy BLS’s silence?
Or is the law school in the right here? Shouldn’t law students, i.e., future lawyers, know and follow the law? UPDATE: Brooklyn Law has announced a change in this policy.
Read the email and take a poll, after the jump.
The Great Recession has been tough for many different types of firms — and that even includes intellectual property firms. During the past year, IP-focused shops have cut back on hiring, slashed salaries, and lost key partners to larger firms.
A few recent developments at Finnegan Henderson, the D.C.-based IP powerhouse, reflect the new realities. Multiple sources report the following:
1. Earlier this week, at an “all associates” meeting, the firm announced that it is freezing associate salaries.
2. At the same meeting, the firm announced that it is reducing first-year associate salaries from $160,000 to $145,000 (in all offices).
UPDATE: We understand that Finnegan has frozen support staff salaries as well.
Two additional items about Finnegan, after the jump.
We’ve covered in these pages the many challenges faced by standalone intellectual property firms. One of them is competition from Biglaw shops seeking to scoop up top talent in the IP field.
Yesterday morning, Robert C. Sullivan Jr., president and managing principal of Darby & Darby, sent around an internal email announcing the departure of two prominent partners, Joseph Robinson (pictured) and Robert Shaffer. Robinson and Shaffer, who specialize in patent litigation, counseling and procurement, are joining the New York office of McDermott Will & Emery.
It’s not happy news for Darby, which a tipster describes as “one of the last IP boutiques of any meaningful size, [but] gasping for breath as it is.” Robinson, a biotech expert and noted patent litigator, is said to have been one of the firm’s top-grossing partners, “probably to the tune of about $4 million.” Darby is holding a town hall meeting to discuss the defections.
A source issues this warning to Robinson’s new colleagues at MWE:
[Robinson] is a control freak who wields the power he gets from high earnings with an iron fist…. He is a significant reason for the many partner and practice group defections at Darby in the past few years, and now he’s gone too. McDermott will love the revenue, hate the attitude.
In Robinson’s defense, does he sound all that different from many top partners or successful litigators?
Robert Sullivan’s email announcing the departures, after the jump.
The American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) sued AT&T and Verizon looking to recoup additional royalty fees from people who use ringtones. ASCAP members already receive money from ringtone purchases, but they wanted more money. You know, like a little charge every time a phone rings or something. They lost:
Wired reports ASCAP’s ridiculous argument (gavel bang: ABA Journal):
A federal judge has dismissed the music industry contention that when a cellphone’s ringtone begins playing, copyright infringement starts happening since others can hear the song, essentially arguing that a mobile phone is a portable concert hall.
That argument meant that millions of mobile phone users were copyright scofflaws anytime anyone called them.
I don’t think the insufferable noise pollution emanating from the pockets and purses of lemmings who think they are showing individuality is anything at all like a public concert. I’m glad at least one federal judge agrees with me.
The decision (pdf) made it clear that there was no infringement when ringtones are played without any commercial purpose. So make sure you don’t ever ask somebody to pay you for the privilege of listening to your phone. Not only do you run a high risk of getting punched in the face, you also might cause this nonsense argument to waste more judicial time. Judge: Cellphone Ringtones Are Not Concerts [Wired] No Royalties for Ringtones, Judge Rules [ABA Journal]
What should be done to protect fashion designers from copycats? Law professor Gerard Magliocca would probably say nothing, but other observers are more sympathetic to the designers. Law profs Scott Hemphill (recently married) and Jeannie Suk (half of celebrity couple Feldsuk) propose what they call “the squint test.”
Although fashion designs don’t currently enjoy copyright protection, designers who feel they’ve been ripped off do have other options. They can try suing under a theory of trade dress infringement, which is exactly what some of them have been doing.
Trade dress litigation over fashion designs seems as ubiquitous this season as thigh-high boots. Alexander McQueen recently sued Steve Madden, claiming that Madden’s Seryna peeptoe bootie is a ripoff of McQueen’s Faithful model (see for yourself here). Meanwhile, Forever 21, the fashion retailer known for cheap knock-offs, umm, affordable interpretations of designer fashion, has settled a lawsuit brought by Trovata, the Newport Beach clothing company. Trovata claimed that Forever 21 was copying its striped tees, sweaters and blouses.
You can read more, compare the designs, and comment, over at Fashionista (links below). McQueen Sues Madden: Halle-f*&%#ng-lujah [Fashionista] Settled & Stuff [Fashionista]
Thank you for registering to participate in the AIPLA Career Fair. Please be aware that our attendance for firms/companies participation in the AIPLA Career Fair is not what we expected for this year. We’ve followed up with the Firms and Companies and they have indicated that they do not have positions available and/or not hiring at the present time.
Currently we have 9 firms participating in the Career Fair and we have over 350 Job Seekers that have registered to participate in the Fair. We strongly encourage you to only plan to come to the Career Fair if you have a confirmed interview or were otherwise planning on attending the AIPLA Annual Meeting. If you joined as an AIPLA Student Member between September 1 through October 6, 2009 to participate in the AIPLA Career Fair we will offer you a complimentary Annual Meeting Registration…. The Annual Meeting, which runs from October 15-17, will offer Educational Session, Committee Meetings, Continuing Legal Education Credit and is a Great Networking Opportunity!
Today we turn our attention to what’s widely viewed as a hot field: INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY. The reader who requested IP law as a subject offered an overview of the field:
IP is a very variable, different, and often forgotten practice of law that is mostly inhabited by engineers and science geeks who have no problems wearing Cosby sweaters and bad shoes around their workplaces.
More serious reflections, plus some questions, after the jump.
The myth that IP boutiques would be immune from the recession has already been debunked. Today, a few more intellectual property lawyers came back down to earth with the rest of the legal industry.
Above the Law has obtained an internal memo from the IP firm Townsend and Townsend and Crew. The firm is cutting salaries:
All- After much deliberation and consideration of the various issues involved, including the thoughtful input of the associates, the Policy Committee has made the decision to restructure associate compensation for 2010 as follows:
1) The associate pay scale for 2010 will be adjusted so that starting salaries for first year associates will be $145,000.
2) The remaining scale will be:
Level 2: $ 160,000 Level 3: $ 170,000 Level 4: $ 185,000 Level 5: $ 210,000 Level 6: $ 225,000 Level 7: $ 240,000
But don’t get too attached to that lockstep system, Townsend associates. After the jump, we see that Townsend wants to join the cool kids hanging out behind the gym lighting lockstep on fire.
Mainly we’re posting this because it’s a Friday afternoon and rainy (at least here in New York). We figure you need some entertainment to launch you into the weekend.
But there is a legal angle to this music video. It might have spawned intellectual property litigation, if Disney — and Miley Cyrus — didn’t have such a good sense of humor. Enjoy!
(If you like, feel free to discuss “fair use” issues in the music video context in the comments.)
The holiday season is upon us, and yet again, you have no idea what to get for the fickle lawyer in your life. We’re here to help. Even if your bonus check hasn’t arrived yet, any one of the gifts we’ve highlighted here could be a worthy substitute until your employer decides to make it rain.
We’ve got an eclectic selection for you to choose from, so settle in by that stack of documents yet to be reviewed and dig in…
Ed. note: The Asia Chronicles column is authored by Kinney Recruiting. Kinney has made more placements of U.S. associates, counsels and partners in Asia than any other recruiting firm in each of the past six years. You can reach them by email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
We currently have a very exciting and rare type of in-house opening in China at one of the world’s leading internet and social media companies. Our client is looking for an IP Transactional / TMT / Licensing attorney with 2 to 6 years experience. The new hire will be based in Shenzhen or Shanghai. Mandarin is not required (deal documentation will be in English) but is preferred. A solid reason to be in China and a commitment to that market is required of course. This new hire will likely be US qualified (but could also be qualified in UK or other jurisdictions) and with experience and training at a top law firm’s IP transactional / TMT practice and could be currently at a law firm or in-house. Qualified candidates currently Asia based, Europe based or US based will be considered. The new hire’s supervisors in this technology transactions in-house team are very well regarded US trained IP transactional lawyers, with substantial experience at Silicon Valley firms. The culture and atmosphere in this in-house group and the company in general is entrepreneurial, team oriented, and the work is cutting edge, even for a cutting edge industry. The upside of being in an important strategic in-house position in this fast growing and world leading internet company is of the “sky is the limit” variety. Its a very exciting place to be in China for a rising IP transactional lawyer in our opinion, for many reasons beyond the basic info we can share here in this ad / post. This is a special A+ opportunity.
If your firm is in ‘go’ mode when it comes to recruiting lateral partners with loyal clients, then take this quiz to see how well you measure up. Keep track of your ‘yes’ and ‘no’ responses.
1. Does your firm have a clearly defined strategy of practice groups that are priorities of growth for your office? Nothing gets done by random chance, but with a clear vision for the future. Identify the top practice areas for which you wish to add lateral partners. Seek input from practice group leaders and get specifics on needs, outcomes, and ideal target profiles.
2. In addition to clarifying your firm’s growth strategy, are you still open to the hire of a partner outside of your plan? I’ve made several placements that fit this category. The partner’s practice was not within the strategic growth plan of my client, but once the two parties started talking with each other, we all saw how it could indeed be a seamless fit. Be open to “Opportunistic Hires.” You never know where your next producing partner might come from, so you have to be open to it. I will be the first to admit that there is a quirky element of randomness in recruiting.
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