“Are you troubled by strange noises in the middle of the night? Do you experience feelings of dread in your basement or attic? Have you or your family ever seen a spook, spectre, or ghost?” If you recognize those movie lines then perhaps you know that yesterday marked the 30th anniversary of the release of Ghostbusters. The movie starred Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, and Harold Ramis as three ousted Columbia parapsychology professors who start a supernatural elimination business. Joined by a fourth crusader (Ernie Hudson), the Ghostbusters save New York City from a ghoulish invasion unleashed when a meddling EPA agent shuts down their ghost containment system. This week, On Remand looks back at Ghostbusters, the lawsuits it generated, and the case of one man who needed a Ghostbuster, but called a lawyer instead.
Hell Freezing Over? Disney Realizing That Fans Celebrating ‘Frozen’ By Infringement May Be A Good ThingBy Techdirt
Disney is a name that is often associated with copyright maximalism for pretty good reasons. Despite the fact that many of its early successes depended heavily on either direct infringement or making use of the public domain, the company was a very aggressive enforcer of its own copyrights. And, of course, it was also a primary lobbyist for expanding copyright protections, andextending copyright term every time Mickey Mouse approached the public domain.
However, in the past few years, it’s seemed as though Disney has been a bit quieter than in the past about copyright issues, allowing some other companies to take the lead on that. And, in some cases, it seems to even be recognizing (*gasp*) that some infringement can actually be a good thing. Andrew Leonard, over at Salon, has the story of how Disney has finally joined the 21st century in realizing that having fans create derivative works around the movie Frozen, has actually been useful and free promotion for the original (and massively successful) movie.
- Antonin Scalia, Copyright, Movies, Music, Non-Sequiturs, Rap, Richard Posner, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, SCOTUS, Supreme Court, Technology, Television
* Abraham Lincoln was a harder working lawyer than you are. [Abraham Lincoln's Almanac Trial]
* Quentin Tarantino has given up the ghost and dropped his suit against Gawker over The Hateful Eight. [The Escapist]
* The people who made stupid toe shoes have settled a big class action. [Deadspin]
* Judge Posner and Justice Scalia haven’t had a public fight in a while. So this lawyer is trying to stir one up. Thanks, buddy! [Legal Times]
* Colorado’s energy industry is suing municipalities creating a patchwork of fracking regulation. As the author notes, “for a state that has boldly snubbed federal law on marijuana policy, such arguments sound a bit hollow.” [Breaking Energy]
* Stop calling on Justice Ginsburg to retire… it’s probably too late for Obama to nominate a replacement anyway. [New Republic]
* Lawyer writes threatening letter to customer who wrote a negative review on Amazon. [Ars Technica]
* Our tipster put it best, “New Show on Bravo: ‘Lowering the NJ Bar.’” [The Star-Ledger]
We didn’t write about this case when it came out because it just seemed so ridiculous, but filmmaker Quentin Tarantino sued Gawker Media earlier this year for linking to a script he had apparently been working on. There had been a bunch of media coverage over the fact that his script for The Hateful Eight leaked, and was being shared around Hollywood, though not online. Gawker then asked anyone if they’d seen a copy, leading to a followup post which included a link to the newly leaked script….
- Christopher Christie, Election Law, Gay Marriage, Law Revue, Law Revue Video Contest, Movies, Murder, Non-Sequiturs, Tax Law, Technology
* Remember to enter the Sixth Annual Law Revue competition. The submission deadline is Thursday at 5. [Above the Law]
* Johnny Depp subpoenaed in a murder case. He’ll finally pay for what he did to basic dignity in that Lone Ranger movie. [TMZ]
* Speaking of murder, a court in Pakistan has dropped the attempted murder charges that had been filed against a 9-month-old baby. Maggie Simpson nods in approval. [NBC News]
* The difference between this student note and your student note is that this one is guiding Department of Justice policy. [Wall Street Journal]
* The Income Tax turns 100. You’re looking fabulous. [TaxProf Blog]
* The fallout from Heartbleed continues. Here are a few legal websites affected by the glitch. [ATL Redline]
* Jon Stewart has some choice words for the Gibson Dunn report that Chris Christie commissioned and that not-so-surprisingly came out in Christie’s favor. Video after the jump…. [Comedy Central]
I’d be lying if I said legally blonde had nothing to do with my desire to go to law school.
– Sarah Watson, expressing the secret shame of far too many indebted law students who predicated their legal careers on the exploits of a vapid caricature. Query whether or not this is an improvement over students going to law school because of Atticus Finch.
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….
- 8th Circuit, Biglaw, Celebrities, Law Firm Mergers, Law Professors, Law Schools, Morning Docket, Movies, Murder, Sexual Harassment, Small Law Firms, Trials, Wall Street
* The Eighth Circuit axed a $900K jury award after a lawyer recounted her tale of sexual harassment by a law professor at Drake University Law during closing arguments. Well, that sucks, but we’d really love to know which professor this was. [ABA Journal]
* If flat is the new up, then mergers must be the new growth. The new year is upon us, and law firms are on track to either meet or break the merger record set in 2013. Thus far, 22 firms have announced mergers or acquisitions in 2014. [Washington Post]
* A lawyer in Minnesota who’s been in trouble with the bar quite a few times was recently charged with setting his girlfriend on fire. Yikes, someone’s way too excited about the Fargo mini-series. [Star-Tribune]
* Oscar Pistorius took the stand in his murder trial yesterday, revealing that when he killed his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, he was really trying to protect her. This case gives us the sads. [New York Times]
* Sorry we’re not sorry about the toupee: Paramount wants this Wolf of Wall Street suit dismissed since it’s undeniable the plaintiff was part of “bizarre travesty that was Stratton Oakmont.” [Hollywood Reporter]
- Biglaw, Celebrities, Disasters / Emergencies, Guns / Firearms, Law Firm Mergers, Law Professors, Law School Deans, Law Schools, Money, Morning Docket, Movies, Patton Boggs, Student Loans, Violence
* Despite all the outrage over Albany Law’s faculty buyouts, some have already accepted the package offered. Looks like anything’s possible for the right price. [Albany Business Review]
* Guess which law school is cutting tuition by a whole lot? Some hints: it’s in New York and it’s been selling off real estate. We’ll have more on this later. [Wall Street Journal (sub. req.)]
* Perhaps this could be considered a gift of provisional accreditation: Alberto Gonzales, U.S. Attorney General in President George W. Bush’s administration, is now dean at Belmont Law. [The Tennessean]
* Take a look at this new paper by Professors Amy Chua and Jed Rubenfeld on race and culture in law school admissions. Actually, it’s fake, but it’s sad that it could, in theory, be very real. [Washington Post]
* Zac Efron is going to star as a Yale Law grad forced by criminals to work in the world’s largest Biglaw firm in a film adaptation of John Grisham’s book, The Associate. OMG, he’s so cute. [Hollywood Reporter]
* Our thoughts go out to the families of those wounded and killed during the Fort Hood shooting. [AP]
By now you’ve probably heard about Duffey v. Twentieth Century Fox Film Corp (S.D.N.Y.). The plaintiff, actor Todd Duffey, played Brian, aka the “Flair Guy” — the Chotchkie’s waiter adorned with a plethora of “flair,” or colorful, cheesy buttons — in the 1999 cult-classic movie “Office Space.” Duffey sued Twentieth Century Fox and Library Publications, alleging that the defendants improperly used his image to market a spinoff product, the Office Space Box of Flair (affiliate link).
But these non-legal outlets didn’t delve into the citations — where it appears that Judge J. Paul Oetken (or his clerks) buried some sly, movie-related jokes….