Pornography

Now with more briefs, but fewer breasts.

Not much…. I guess one difference is that, in our society, lawyers are treated with a little bit more respect than porn magazine editors — but only a little.

Dan Kapelovitz, commenting on his unique transition from being the Features Editor of Hustler magazine to attending the UCLA School of Law. Kapelovitz now practices criminal law.

The job market for entry-level lawyers isn’t a very welcoming place, and while it’s better to be underemployed than unemployed, you might have to take some blows to your self-esteem in the process. It’s not a big deal, because you’ve realized that beggars can’t be choosers.

Take, for example, the case of the recent law school graduate who was only able to find a job as a paralegal. Hey, at least you’re at a law firm. Endless hours at the copy machine? You relish it. Redacting documents until you’re high off Sharpie fumes? Bring it on. Creating binders until you’ve got more paper cuts than you can count? Meh, that’s what Band-Aids are for. Being forced to feed your boss as he pressures you to join him in a polygamous romp and become his “third wife”? Uhhh…

Let’s meet the woman who claims she had to turn down her employer’s polygamous pleas, in a sexual harassment suit that she slapped him with late last week….

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Attorney John Steele says he has sued more than 20,000 Internet users. Now he's the one in legal trouble.

“It should be clear by now that this court’s focus has shifted from protecting intellectual property rights to attorney misconduct.” — U.S. District Judge Otis Wright

John Steele, the lawyer who told me he’d made “millions” going after people who illegally download pornographic movies, is experiencing some legal trouble of his own. A district judge in Los Angeles has questions about the way in which Steele and his colleagues have conducted their litigation. Ars Technica and Popehat have been providing detailed (and often gleeful) coverage of a series of hearings that may lead to the unraveling of hundreds of lawsuits filed by Steele and his colleagues at Prenda Law against alleged XXX-movie lovers whose IP addresses were caught downloading the films online.

Steele and his colleagues have been pursuing “John Does” who download XXX films without paying for them for copyright violations. When I interviewed him last year, he told me he had filed over 350 of these suits, and that he was at that time suing approximately 20,000 people. The tactic is similar to the one employed by the recording industry years ago, but where RIAA wanted to scare people out of illegal downloads by getting massive, scary judgments in highly publicized cases against individual Napster users, Steele and the lawyers like him are content to get relatively small settlements — deal letters often ask for $3000 or so — from individuals who pay up quietly to avoid being named in public court filings for allegedly watching a film such as “Illegal Ass 2.”

But now Steele and his firm are starting to run into serious problems.

Continue reading at Forbes.com….

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.

A few weeks ago we wrote about Iceland’s thoroughly daft idea of trying to block porn there. Bad proposals for the Internet always seem to spread, and so it should perhaps come as no surprise that the European Parliament will be considering a similarly unworkable proposal, but in a rather more covert way, as the Pirate Party politician Christian Engström noted on his blog:

Next week in Strasbourg, probably on Tuesday, the European Parliament will be voting on a Report on eliminating gender stereotypes in the EU. To promote gender equality and eliminating gender stereotypes are of course very laudable goals, so my guess would be that unless something happens, the report will be approved by the parliament, possibly by a very large majority.

That would be a good thing, were it not for the following detail….

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‘Get on your knees and beg for that file!’

Has anyone seen that movie Secretary? It’s about a law firm love affair — woman gets released from mental hospital, gets a job as a legal secretary, and enters into a BDSM relationship with her boss. Pretty standard, really, because you’d have to have some sadomasochistic tendencies to willingly subject yourself to a partner’s whims on a daily basis.

As some of you know (admit it, you do), when these illicit law firm relationships occur, they’re usually only discussed in secret behind closed doors. But when one of the those allegedly involved is an unwilling participant, it’s just a hop, skip, and a jump away from allegations of sexual harassment in the workplace, and your darkest sexual proclivities will be revealed for all the world to see.

Despite the fact that many women wish they had a Christian Grey to dominate them, it’s a little less sexy when the man who’s allegedly at the center of this would-be torrid affair is just shy of his full retirement age. But hey, even old farts are allowed to dream.

Let’s find out who the players are in this failed office romance. Be sure to remember your safe word….

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You can do so much with a law degree: securities litigation, real estate, executive compensation, porn production…wait, what?

The Internet, one of the greatest technological achievements in human history, is mostly for porn distribution (not really, but that’s the popular misconception). And if the Internet is littered with copyrightable pornographic material, there’s an opening for attorneys to make some money helping clients go after those who steal that material.

But what if a law firm, operating through shell companies, started making its own porn in order to concoct its own causes of action? I mean, that couldn’t happen, right?

Well, Judge Otis Wright of the Central District of California suspects that may have just happened in his courtroom, and he’s not happy….

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* Two guys, one gun, three wounded. Definitely what the Founders intended. [KENS 5]

* Here’s the affirmance of the dismissal of Greg Berry’s $77 million lawsuit against Kasowitz Benson. Fun times. [Appellate Division, First Department]

* Ex-girlfriends are uniting to go after a revenge porn site. If this stupid site ruins Section 230 for everybody, I’m going to be pissed. [Jezebel]

* Not that anybody should need the help, but here is another reason to hate lawyers. [She Negotiates / Forbes]

* Honestly, I kind of forgot Gitmo was still open. What with all the talk of having a progressive president, I kind of assumed that this would have been a promise he kept and stuff. [How Appealing]

* Speaking of things I’ve forgotten about, say hello to the 27th Amendment. [The Volokh Conspiracy]

* It looks like the world has forgotten about Atari. [Bloomberg Law]

* When it comes to medical marijuana prosecutions, the government is supposed to have “bigger fish to fry,” but it looks like even the Department of Justice couldn’t resist reeling in one last big catch. [New York Times]

* According to the results of this study, if you want to do well in law school, you should probably stop being so damn awkward, scale back your antisocial habits, and consider joining a study group. [National Law Journal]

* “[U]nder American law, anyone interesting is a felon.” This Columbia Law professor argues that the legal system failed Aaron Swartz because he was treated like a criminal instead of a deviant genius. [New Yorker]

* Porn stars in Los Angeles are challenging the constitutionality of being forced to wear condoms during filming — because the transfer of STDs is “constitutionally protected expression.” [Courthouse News Service]

* So, it looks like Lindsay Lohan fired her best gal pal in the world: her lawyer. But sometimes you have to fire people when you allegedly owe them oodles of money to the tune of $300K and you don’t have any. [Daily Mail]

It’s the last day of December, so it’s a good time to look back on the year that was. We’ll do what we’ve done for the past three years (wrap-up posts from 2009, 2010, and 2011 can be found here, here, and here) and identify the ten biggest stories of the past year as decided by you, our readers. With the help of Google Analytics, we’ve compiled a list of our top ten posts for 2012, based on traffic (as represented by pageviews).

By the way, for the third year in a row, the most popular category page on Above the Law was Law Schools. People have now been intensely focused on the declining value proposition of going to law school for as long as it takes to earn a Juris Doctor degree. Isn’t it time that we graduate from the current educational model?

The second and third most-popular categories on ATL in 2012 were Biglaw and Bonuses. Although this year brought us the largest law firm failure ever, nearly all other firms indiscriminately doled out offers to summer associates, and bonus season looked better for the first time in years. While the legal profession is still in transition, things are certainly looking up, and through the highs and the lows, we’ve been there to cover it all.

So what were the ten most popular individual posts at Above the Law in 2012? Let’s find out….

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Back in July, we brought our readers a story about an Illinois judge who had allegedly been using his courthouse computer to view hardcore pornography while in chambers. Most would’ve lodged an objection to the judge’s alleged behavior, because after all, he could’ve waited until he got home to sate his supposed desire for untoward viewing pleasures, just like everyone else.

After the inception of a judicial ethics inquiry, some of the porn sites the judge visited were revealed by a Chicago-area newspaper (and based on his pervy predilections, it seems the good jurist is a chubby chaser). But alas, the only thing the judge is chasing now are his hopes of keeping himself on the bench.

Late last week, the alleged porn procurer found himself before the Illinois Courts Commission (ICC) to defend his honor and his livelihood. During the hearing, the judge confessed to many of his sins, and revealed the reason why he couldn’t wait until he was within the comforts of his own home to visit his favorite XXX sites….

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