Amazon

Did you catch 60 Minutes last night? Did you at least catch the 60 Minutes promos during various awesome football games this weekend?

On last night’s program, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos declared that Amazon intends to send drones to your house to deliver packages. I’m pretty sure this is the only strategy that would be ultimately effective in Afghanistan. Instead of using drones to bomb people, if we were sending HD televisions, water, and vacuum cleaners, you’d see that region become much more amenable to America. At the very least, sending people things from the ATL holiday gift guide (sponsored) is better than sending them warheads.

But the thought of Amazon drones dropping consumerism on us from the sky should be pretty terrifying to Americans. How would that even work? I live in an apartment building… the humans often don’t know where to leave my packages. Watching Bezos, all I could think of was angry robots shooting copies of the Washington Post at me through my window while I read news on the internet.

Luckily, the Amazon plan is currently illegal. And it’s likely to stay completely unworkable…

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Shopping And The Law”

Send your stories to [email protected]!

PETERMAN: Kramer, my friend, that is one ripping good yarn…
KRAMER: You know, if you like that one, I got more… what are you looking for? Romance? Comedy? Adventure?… Erotica?

I would like to hear your stories. Not long ago, Joe reminded those of you who currently attend law school that you are invaluable to this site’s ability to report all of the important goings-on at our nation’s elite bastions of legal learning. Without you, we would never get to regurgitate the overwrought exclamations law school dorks spew on their school listservs. Tipsters, like torts, strive to make us whole.

But what if I told you that I don’t care about your newsworthy tips? What if I told you that I want nothing more than to bathe in your tedious day-to-day life, your minor humiliations and your microscopic triumphs? I want to hear the stories you will tell each other this weekend over beers at your favorite dive bar. The stories you have problems getting out because you laugh so hard at times that the whole table shakes and your eyes water. You probably think this stuff is too dumb and petty to entertain. But you’d be wrong. I love people’s stories like Lat loves peep toes. And I want you to send me those tales.

To grease the skids for this venture, I thought I’d share with you the story that highlighted a recent weekend repast. It’s a tale of Biglaw, sex toys, and online surveillance. I call this story “Elite Law Firm Dildo Cookies”…

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Titillating Tales From The Bar!”

* Happy Administrative Professionals’ Day! While we focus a lot on lawyers, judges, and law students, I’d like to take this opportunity to appreciate our legal staff audience — the secretaries, paralegals, clerks, recruiters, office managers, word processors, receptionists, and everyone else affiliated with the legal practice other than the J.D. crowd. Not only do you do great work, but you help keep this site running with your anonymous tips. Keep ‘em coming! [Above the Law]

* Why yes, I do want a Tumblr of GIFs about public defenders. [What the Public Defender]

* A mega-retailer with a reputation for ruthlessly destroying its competitors makes life difficult for anyone who has to subpoena them? No! [Associate's Mind]

* UVA College Republicans see a massive infringement of student rights in the administration’s decision that fraternities conclude pledging early as an anti-hazing measure. Republicans: Protecting your God-given right to create a naked pyramid since Abu Ghraib. [Cavalier Daily]

* “The Blogger as Public Intellectual.” See, we’re a lot more than dick jokes about law firms, people. [PrawfsBlawg]

* Of all the reasons to lock your cell phone, “To Avoid Arrest” is one of them. [Legal Juice]

* Biglaw explained: Clinical depression is contagious. [Law and More]

* SJL Attorney Search has acquired The Shannon Group, a Washington, D.C.-based career transition, coaching and talent development firm. [Wall Street Journal (press release)]

* Arrested Development is coming back soon! Check out this infographic that tells you which Arrested Development character you are. To the surprise of no one, I’m Lucille. Unfortunately, Barry Zuckercorn, Maggie Lizer, and Bob Loblaw aren’t options. [OK Gorgeous]

Emily Dickinson: poet — and legal scholar?

There is no Frigate like a Book
To take us Lands away,
Nor any Coursers like a Page
Of prancing Poetry –
This Traverse may the poorest take
Without oppress of Toll –
How frugal is the Chariot
That bears a Human soul

– Emily Dickinson, quoted by U.S. District Judge Denise Cote in today’s ruling, which approved a major e-book price-fixing settlement. Just yesterday, the case made headlines when Bob Kohn submitted an amicus brief — consisting entirely of cartoons.

Any Tintin fans out there? How ’bout Frank Miller? No? Me neither.

No matter, because we may have a new genre of graphic novels to add to the canon that will specifically appeal to attorneys: the illustrated amicus brief. Yeah. That’s a thing now. happened.

For anyone who has ever been frustrated by a judge’s imposition of silly page limits, just follow the lead of Bob Kohn. He filed a brief regarding the Justice Department’s proposed settlement in the long-standing e-book (so appropriate, right?) price-fixing case involving Amazon, Apple, and some of America’s largest publishers.

Let’s take a look…

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Why Write an Amicus Brief — When You Can Draw One Instead?”

One of the worst parts of attending an institute of higher learning, whether for undergraduate studies or law school, is being forced to purchase overpriced textbooks that in all likelihood you will never need or open.

A cottage industry has sprouted up for people trying to find ways to let students pay less for the costly laptop stands. These days, students can take advantage of local used bookstores, Amazon or eBay, and in some cases, their iPads.

Earlier today, the Supreme Court agreed to hear a case regarding the legality of one unexpectedly common way to make a little cash, and still sell affordable-ish books: buy that s**t abroad for cheap, bring the books back to the U.S., and sell them online for normal American prices.

Unsurprisingly, publishers are not excited about this emerging “gray market.” That’s where SCOTUS comes in….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “SCOTUS! eBay! Cert and Other Sundries”

Ah, yes. I am familiar with this internet of which you speak.

The first month of 2012 was a crazy one for internet law. The Stop Online Piracy Act gloriously crashed and burned, Apple is getting sued in China for naming rights to the iPad, and in America someone is suing to show that porn doesn’t deserve copyright protection. In the wake of all the hot debate and hot tempers, it seems some people highly invested in internet freedom and content protection have begun looking to gain support for their causes outside of the legislature.

This week, we learned from a couple news stories that advocates from both sides of the internet aisle have turned to lawyers and the court system to defend their causes. Earlier this week, some OG internet pioneers testified to a jury, and a major media company executive has begun courting law professors for support.

I’m not sure whether I think the fact that people have decided the legal system is a good place to argue high-level, fundamental internet freedom questions is impressive (give yourselves a pat on the back, attorneys, you are hip to the tech set now), or a little bit scary (do these people realize how technophobic lawyers can be?).

You will have to decide for yourself…

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Are Lawyers Officially No Longer Technophobic?”

Shoes. Oh my God, shoes.

On Monday, my roommate came home griping that his Zappos.com account, which he had not used in a year, had been hacked. Instead of feeling sympathetic, I started wondering how I might write about it. Data breaches are a dime a dozen these days.

It seems almost every company loses control of their customers’ sensitive data at some point. Someone almost always sues after the news breaks. But the lawsuits are rarely successful, unless customers can show real harm caused by the breach.

Most often, companies do not give up full credit card or Social Security numbers. This week, Zappos said it only suffered unauthorized access to somewhat less sensitive information. It’s a bit unnerving, but not the end of the world.

Did that stop some opportunistic consumer from taking action against the online shoe retailer?

Of course not. And we didn’t have to wait very long. A Texas woman filed a class-action lawsuit against Amazon, which owns Zappos, the same day the breach was announced. Is her lawsuit premature, vague, and a bit silly? Probably. Will it go anywhere? Probably not. But c’mon, you gotta love melodramatic, eager-beaver, consumer litigation.

So what, exactly, did Zappos lose? And how many people’s data was compromised? (Hint: it’s a lot.) Let’s mosey on past the jump and find out….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Zappos Suffers a Data Breach, and the Other Shoe Drops with a Lawsuit”

Last week I attended an interesting talk by Preet Bharara, currently serving as the U.S. Attorney for the (extremely powerful and prestigious) Southern District of New York. I had heard great things about Bharara from many people, including current and former colleagues in the U.S. Attorney’s office and people who previously worked with him on Capitol Hill, where he served as chief counsel to Senator Chuck Schumer. So I was eager to hear his remarks, which he delivered to the New York Financial Writers Association, a group of business and finance journalists here in New York.

Here’s my report on what he had to say — including, for those of you who aspire to be assistant U.S. attorneys, what he expects from the prosecutors who work for him….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “An Evening With Preet Bharara”

One morning last week, I walked past dozens of loyal Apple customers lined up to buy the new iPad 2. I scoffed as I walked by, my old, beat-up iPod nano playing in my ears. I also had the misfortune of walking past the same store later in the evening.

A sign in the doorway said something like, “Sorry, you’re too late. We’re sold out, na na na na.” Of course sample iPads were spread across the tables for gullible saps like me to play with, and I couldn’t resist. I really wanted to be able to legitimately say the gadget is silly and excessive, but — curse you, Steve Jobs — that thing is really cool.

It’s been, obviously, an exciting week for the company, but coincidentally (or not?) the Apple legal team has probably been working overtime too. Apple is no stranger to litigation, and we’ve covered Apple’s legal wrangling before.

Details about Apple’s hyperactive legal week — why Steve Jobs got deposed, who owns the phrase “App Store,” and a company that claims Apple stole intellectual property — after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Apple News That Only Kind of Relates to the New iPad”