Copyright

425G – Remembered to lift the seat

* First the law school rankings, now urine-based video games? It’s been a whirlwind week of heavy journalism for U.S. News. [U.S. News]

* Did you ask for a diorama of the Supreme Court? Because I did… [Washington Post]

* What do SCOTUSblog and “Girls” share in common? If you guessed that Tom Goldstein spends most of his day at the office naked, you’re (probably) wrong. [Peabody Awards]

* Casinos have systematically driven men out of the bartending and cocktail serving market. They use a fig leaf to protect themselves from Title VII… apparently literally. [Workplace Prof Blog]

* Dartmouth professor Sonu Bedi argues that same-sex marriage is really about the separation of church and state. You say potato, I say egregious denial of basic rights. [Huffington Post]

* UBS trying to get out of an SEC case. Color me surprised. [Dealbreaker]

* Central New Mexico Community College does not want to hear that sex talk. It makes Sol the Suncat sad. [Popehat]

* As mentioned before, there’s a new legal dispute over whether or not Sherlock Holmes has lapsed into the public domain. Alex Heimbach of Slate puts the case under the proverbial magnifying glass. [Slate]

* Prosecutor charges America’s official groundhog, Punxsutawney Phil, for failing to accurately predict the weather. Good to know Pennsylvania prosecutors are on top of the groundhog beat after messing up the “sexual predator coaching a football program” beat for about a decade. [Washington Times]

* UPDATE: Judge Easterbrook is getting hitched to former Anchorage City Clerk Barbara Gruenstein on May 12. [Anchorage Daily News]

* Tattoo convention discusses copyrights. As long as I don’t have to remove the giant butterfly tat on the small of my back I’m cool. [Washington Post]

* “Pope Francis changes Holy Thursday plans to celebrate Mass in prison.” OK, ready yourself for the Pope Francis “Man in Black” phase. [Catholic News Service]

* Defending yourself from solicitation charges counts as “Official Senate Business?” Actually, that sounds about right. [Lowering the Bar]

* UChiLawGo sums up the end of law school. [UChiLawGo]

* Sad news, “Mississippi State Rep. Jessica Upshaw (R), an attorney who had been a lawmaker since 2004, was found dead at the home of former state Rep. Clint Rotenberry (R) in Mendenhall, Mississippi…Mississippi Bureau of Investigation spokesman Warren Strain said it did not appear to be a natural death.” This is the fifth Mississippi lawmaker to die in five months. The other four all died of natural causes…so they say. [Jezebel]

* David and Elie will be showing up at Georgetown this Thursday afternoon. RSVP at the linked ACS site. [ACS]

* I’ve got a feeling “Bart Simpson” isn’t going to get a fair trial from this judge. [Lowering the Bar]

* The Supreme Court strikes a blow for copyright sanity by telling publishers that they can’t go after people reselling books published overseas. Now the only incentives to move your publishing operation overseas are the cents per hour wages and the lax health and safety standards. [Volokh Conspiracy]

* The only way to stop a bad guy with a gun is… the same bad guy with a gun. [Legal Juice]

* Following up yesterday’s link to Professor Richard Epstein’s AMA, Ken White of Popehat exposed himself to the same onslaught. [Reddit]

* About 11 years too late, the NFL rescinded its ridiculous “Tuck Rule,” which was always hard to understand, but basically ruled that an otherwise obvious fumble allowed the player to ditch his actress baby momma and marry a Victoria’s Secret model. [USA Today]

* This guy is VERY specific about what gigs he’s willing to play. And he’s also, apparently, a registered sex offender. [Lawyers, Guns & Money]


Everyone loves doing the Harlem Shake, the latest dance craze to take YouTube by storm. Your friends have done it, law students have done it, and even Justin Timberlake has done it on Saturday Night Live. It’s a cultural phenomenon, and everyone wants to get involved, but eventually, the fun has got to stop — and as is usually the case with these viral videos, that stopping point comes quicker than a former Biglaw partner having a mid-life crisis.

This time, the fun is stopping because the ultimate party-killers are now on the scene to assess the damage. That’s right: lawyers are poking their noses into the Harlem Shake because of — you guessed it — copyright violations.

Let’s talk about the underlying legal claims before you feel the need to put on a Halloween costume in March and violently flail around to a 30-second music clip on film….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Did You Honestly Expect the Harlem Shake to Be Free of Copyright Violations?”

* Court rules that overlapping elements between romance novels do not amount to infringement. I mean, there’s only so many ways to phrase “throbbing member.” [Courthouse News Service]

* Pinellas County, Florida (Tampa Bay area) returns to using fluoridated water after a governmental sea change brought on by the issue. Don’t they understand the Communist plot to sap and impurify our precious bodily fluids? [Tampa Bay Times]

* In fairness, I think pro se litigants generally have a pretty good ineffective assistance claim. [Lowering the Bar]

* The D.C. Circuit managed to irritate both environmentalists and industry by affirming Fish and Wildlife’s designation of polar bears as “threatened.” It’s a nice middle ground. You know who else would appreciate some middle ground? A polar bear clinging to a shrinking ice floe. [Volokh Conspiracy]

* Former Justice Sandra Day O’Connor thinks kids need a healthier respect for the American democratic process. It would be unfortunate if the will of a democratic majority could get hijacked by five partisan hacks. [Courthouse News Service]

* Following up on yesterday’s profile of Lindsay Lohan’s attorney Mark Heller, the judge declared him “incompetent.” Fair enough. [TMZ]

* Oh, but trust him, he’s a doctor (of law). [The Economist]

* To quote the inimitable Spencer Hall, “Fine, here, cry.” [New York Times]

To date, defendant has evaded personal service and cannot be located in Belgium, Spain, or in any country in Europe.

– U.S. District Judge James Mahan failing to grasp the obvious hurdles involved with a lawsuit brought by Teller (of Penn & Teller) against another magician.

(You can see video of the trick below.)

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Teller Silenced In Court By Elusive Defendant”

* For any Catholics hitting up PaddyPower to lay down money on the conclave, you’ve probably had some restless nights wondering if Pope Gregory XIV’s edict per the Ius Decretalium still applies. It doesn’t. That’s a load off. [Canon Law Blog]

* A number of strip clubs are challenging San Antonio’s new regulations. One key to their argument: “the presentation of expressive dance performances is a beneficial social activity which creates an improved self image for the dancer….” Yeah, good luck with that argument. [KEGL]

* If you’re looking for emotional distress damages, maybe lay off the “I’m just embarrassed to be seen with him now” arguments. [Lowering the Bar]

* To challenge the law letting the government tap your communications in secret, you need to have full knowledge that the secret recording is happening. Thanks Joseph Heller. [Volokh Conspiracy]

* Lindsay Lohan can’t catch a break with her legal counsel. Hey, LiLo! Next time check Avvo to find a higher rated lawyer. [Perez Hilton]

* The new Copyright Alert System goes into effect, allowing copyright holders to make your service provider slow your Internet to a crawl if you’re identified as a repeat violator. I don’t see what the big deal is, but then again, I’m still using a Prodigy account. [Gawker]

* MC Hammer is softening, but still a tad miffed after police booked him for an expired registration after he told them, “U Can’t Touch This.” [Los Angeles Times]

* Are you kidding? University of North Carolina’s “Honor Court” is threatening to expel a student for “intimidating” her attacker by discussing that she was raped — without identifying her attacker. This is why North Carolina can’t have nice things. [Feministing]

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.

Universal Studios seems to have some trouble establishing concrete ideas and positions when it comes to copyright on its own products. In recent iterations, this has manifested itself in the form of their protesting a parody of 50 Shades of Grey while conveniently ignoring that work’s birth in the form of Twighlight fan-fiction. Alternatively, there are times when Universal doesn’t even seem to know what it holds the rights to and what it doesn’t. Well, it turns out that these stumbles aren’t exactly a new experience for Universal.

Chris O’Donnell writes in with the historical and hysterical case of Universal suing Nintendo over Donkey Kong shortly after Universal itself had argued that the property the dispute was based on, King Kong, was in the public domain. See, back when Michael Jackson was still best known for his music, Nintendo came up with their iconic Donkey Kong character, admittedly in some part inspired by the famous King Kong character. This inspiration, it turns out, came after the fact, but that didn’t stop Universal Studios from filing suit against Nintendo, because they had released a remake of King Kong a few years earlier. While some within Nintendo wanted to simply settle with Universal and move forward, others within sought out the words of a key ally to fight against them, and that ally was Universal Studios.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Historical Hypocrisy: Donkey Kong, King Kong, & The Public Domain”

* A new lawsuit asks, “Who owns Sherlock Holmes?” That sounds like a mystery suitable for… ugh, I can’t bring myself to finish that gag. [Courthouse News Service]

* The well-oiled train wreck that is the NCAA finds itself in hot water for ignoring legal advice and going after Miami using privileged information. Lawyers are often maligned by non-lawyers, so let’s enjoy this article from a sports columnist explaining why lawyers can be awesome. [EDSBS]

* There’s a new iTunes app to keep track of your hours! I’m assuming it has a Biglaw feature to pad hours. [Herald Online]

* A trilogy of articles about California’s prison “realignment,” described as “The Best Trilogy Since Star Wars.” I’m certainly hoping this isn’t a reference to Episodes I-III. [PrawfsBlawg]

* The previously discussed proposal to allow Arizonans to bypass law school and take the bar exam has been cut down. It was always ironic that the state most wrapped up in “they took our jobs!” rhetoric wanted to open the legal profession to everyone. [Verde Independent]

* The third in an ongoing series of posts covering the trial of DC superhero Firestorm. Too bad he doesn’t have that split personality defense to fall back on. For the three of you who got that joke, you’re welcome. [Law and the Multiverse]

‘Read me some Camus to cheer me up.’ — Hayley Franklin, 3, after hearing new birthday song.

Ever notice that movies and TV shows go out of their way never to sing “Happy Birthday To You” on-screen? Well that’s because Time Warner owns the copyright and rides that cash cow to the tune (hah!) of $2 million every year. Every unauthorized rendition of the song is technically worth $700 in royalties payable to Time Warner.

Time Warner’s zealous enforcement has even raised concerns that YouTube may have to take down videos of kiddie parties singing the song.

How can we break Time Warner’s stranglehold over our annual celebration of our own impending mortality? A New Jersey radio station (WFMU) decided to write a new song to replace “Happy Birthday To You” and brought in Harvard professor Larry Lessig to judge the competition.

A video of the new song that you’ll come to love appears after the jump. And by love I mean, “listen to, laugh, and hope to purge from your memory”….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “New Birthday Song To Make You Even More Depressed To Get Older”

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