Brooklyn law school logo.JPGYesterday we reported on this announcement by Brooklyn Law School:

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.

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Apparently so. From a student at Brooklyn Law School:

Brooklyn law school logo.JPGToday 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.

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Antonin Scalia Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.jpgDespite their ideological differences, Justices Antonin Scalia and Ruth Bader Ginsburg bond over their shared love for the opera. Both judicial luminaries attended Saturday’s opening night performance of Ariadne auf Naxos, at the Washington National Opera. If you’re into Article III celebrity sightings, the D.C. opera house is where it’s at.
Not only did the justices attend the opera; they also participated. An eyewitness evaluation of their performances, plus a photo of Justice Scalia with a sexy soprano in his lap, after the jump.

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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.)

Disney Allows a Gay Miley Cyrus Knock-Off Video to Flourish Online [Media Decoder / New York Times]
Finally, an Excuse to Post This Video of Fire Island Gays Lip-synching to Miley Cyrus [Daily Intel / New York Magazine]
Fire Island Gays Get the Attention of Miley Cyrus With ‘Party’ Video [Towleroad]


If you’re leaving Biglaw and moving to New England to innkeep is not your thing, maybe you should consider moving to Los Angeles to promote music.
The American Lawyer has an interesting piece on a laid-off first-year associate, Brandon Dorsky. He was among the batch of Pillsbury Winthrop associates whose departures were inadvertently leaked by a garrulous partner on the train from D.C. to New York.
Dorsky was doing IP work in Pillsbury’s Los Angeles office. The Ohio native had moved to California with the intent to get into the entertainment industry and so he seized the opportunity provided by being laid off:

After leaving Pillsbury, Dorsky decided to build a practice geared to entertainment clients, while also managing musical acts. He e-mailed friends and business contacts looking for leads. Just three days after leaving the firm, he landed his first client, TRG Sports and Entertainment. A friend from the University of Michigan recommended him to the management company, which was looking for a lawyer to draft a recording contract….
“I’m out most nights,” Dorsky says. “I see five concerts a week. I’m out there looking for new clients and looking for opportunities for existing clients.”

Dorsky’s tale might provide inspiration for other laid-off first years. In addition to working with bands, he’s drafting recording contracts and doing trademark work. Read more about the secret to Dorsky’s success and the importance of being a “hustler” at the American Lawyer.
After the Layoffs [American Lawyer]
Earlier: A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to New York
(Or: Pillsbury associates, brace yourselves.)

Kiwi Camara KAD Camara Above the Law blog.jpgYou learn a few things when you survive a major outbreak of alleged racism before you even graduate from law school. One thing you learn is that you don’t have to step aside quietly when million-dollar judgments go against your client.
Last month, we reported that Jammie Thomas-Rasset — who is represented by K.A.D. Camara — was hit with a $1.92 million judgment for illegally downloading 24 songs. When we spoke to Camara about the verdict, he expressed his belief that the high penalty could be problematic for the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA):

I think a verdict this high may backfire against the RIAA. It makes clear that there’s a problem with the statute. And there are many grounds for appeal in Jammie’s case.

The problem is that Jammie Thomas-Rasset has already been tried twice.
But that isn’t going to stop the law firm of Camara & Sibley. Threat Level reports that Camara has asked U.S. District Judge Michael Davis to set aside the $1.92 million verdict, declare the Copyright Act unconstitutional, or at least order a new jury trial to assess damages.
Put another way, we’ve gotten to the “kitchen sink” point of this litigation.
More details after the jump.

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Michael Jackson king of pop dead died obituary.jpgLegendary entertainer Michael Jackson, aka the King of Pop, wasn’t a lawyer. But he certainly generated lots of work for them, thanks to his child molestation charges and financial woes. Not every pop culture icon has their own ATL category tag.
(Sure, MJ didn’t always pay his legal bills on time. But it’s the thought that counts.)
Michael Jackson was 50 at the time of his death. May he rest in peace.
Update: Read Marin’s thoughts on the Gloved One over at True/Slant (here and here).
Michael Jackson Has Beat It [True/Slant]
Michael Jackson Dies []
Pop icon Michael Jackson is dead [Los Angeles Times]

Dangerous Communication Device 1 - Williams Connolly.JPGThe members of Dangerous Communication Device (Williams & Connolly), celebrating their victory.
Last night we reported on the Battle of the Law Firm Bands, held last week in Washington, DC. The evening raised over $80,000 for Gifts for the Homeless, a non-profit, all-volunteer organization supported by the city’s legal community to help the homeless.
Eleven bands competed, and one was victorious: Dangerous Communication Device, from Williams & Connolly. They won by raising more money than any other band: over $15,000. (The vote was conducted “Chicago-style,” with each vote requiring a dollar contribution to GFTH.)
Read our interview with the band, after the jump.

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Black Cat DC music club bar lounge.jpg
Lining up outside The Black Cat for the Battle of the Law Firm Bands. The evening was sold out — 1,000 tickets in all.
We just got back from Washington, DC, where we spent a few days attending the 2009 convention of the American Constitution Society (ACS). We may have a post or two about the conference later.
While in the nation’s capital, we also attended this fun event: the sixth annual Battle of the Law Firm Bands. A description:

Lawyers from prominent area law firms will compete in a hotly contested sixth annual Battle of the Law Firm Bands to benefit Gifts for the Homeless, Inc. (GFTH), a non-profit, all-volunteer organization supported by the city’s legal community to help the homeless. The Black Cat, a premier hot-spot in DC’s historic U Street district, has partnered with GFTH to host “Banding Together 2009″ on Thursday, June 18, from 7:00 pm to midnight.

At the stroke of midnight, one band will be crowned champion for having raised the most money from the crowd through “Chicago-style” voting (each dollar equals one vote – vote early and often!). GFTH will use 100% of the money donated to purchase thermal underwear, sweatshirts, sweatpants, hats, gloves, underwear, socks, blankets and other essential new clothing items for homeless men, women, and children; the clothing is distributed to more than 30 shelters throughout the metro area. GFTH has already raised over $100,000 in connection with Banding Together 2008.

It doesn’t surprise us that Biglaw denizens would be willing to help the homeless. There but for the grace of God….
Our belated account of the evening — The BLT wrote it up in more timely fashion — after the jump.

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Exquisite rap duo.jpgYesterday, the Exquisite Rap Duo dropped a new album. What’s especially exquisite about the album is that it’s the work of Anthony McNamer, an IP attorney in Portland, Oregon.
McNamer is a ’95 Stanford Law grad who has worked for Bingham McCutchen and for Davis Wright Tremaine, clerked in American Samoa, and founded his own small three-person firm, McNamer and Company, five years ago. The firm does IP work and media, entertainment, and sports law.
“I’m probably the biggest music lawyer in Portland… but that’s not saying much,” McNamer told us. He is also on the short list for most extreme athletes looking for a lawyer, he said, representing them when sponsorship deals go awry or in “right of publicity” cases.
McNamer sent us an e-mail last week to let us know about his “rap group” and debut album:

You don’t hear about many big firm lawyer to rap group transitions. Word.

Apparently, McNamer is unaware of his East Coast rival, Mekka Don, who went from being a Weil first year to being a self-proclaimed savior of hip hop. Word.
We surfed over to his website and listened to some of the songs. As for our favorite, we’re torn between the one about not being able to look tough on a BMX bike and “Best Friends with a Gay Dude” about his college best friend coming out after graduation, which McNamer informed us is 100% autobiographical. The latter includes samples from Cher’s “Believe.” If you haven’t guessed yet, McNamer’s rap has a funny side. But he doesn’t consider his work to be pure novelty. “I don’t want to be Weird Al,” said McNamer.
We also watched the music video for Calculator Watch; the humorous approach reminded us strongly of Law Revue videos. We followed that hunch and discovered during our interview that McNamer was once a lead writer for Stanford’s version of Law Revue. None of the songs on Nine Mile (We Go The Extra Mile) employ legal humor, though. “I know from doing [Stanford's Law School Musical] that law stuff isn’t very funny,” said McNamer.
We spoke to McNamer yesterday about his music, founding his own law firm, and how his legal career will help boost his musical stylings. Check out his video and the beauty of having your own firm in Portland — HINT: his target for weekly billables is 15 hours — after the jump.

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