Copyright

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.

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All too often we seem to see people making copyright claims over public domain works. It’s especially egregious when we see museums do this kind of thing, as happens every so often.

While museums in some other countries like to try to claim that they can create a new copyright on the digital scan of a public domain image, in the U.S. it is generally considered settled law that museums cannot create such a new copyright. Public domain is the public domain….

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“… TO BE SANCTIONED!”

Usher wrote this song called Bad Girl. It’s got a good beat and you can dance to it. Anyway, this guy named — I s**t you not — Dan Marino claims he wrote the song and Usher and his cronies stole it from him. He wants millions and millions of dollars. But rather than trigger the fall of the House of Usher, his lawyer got handed his hat.

He hired a lawyer named Francis Malofiy to zealously represent his interests. To his credit, “zeal” is not a failing of Mr. Malofiy. Courtesy, respect, professional responsibility — these things might be lacking, but he’s got zeal covered.

And, as it so often does, the latter failings (coupled with the former strength) gave rise to an epic benchslap….

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* The best part of the DOJ’s charges against the Chinese hackers is definitely the fact that we now have a “Wanted” poster for “Wang Dong.” Third graders of the world, go ahead and snicker. [What About Clients]

* This is a literal way of sticking it to the banks — man arrested for attempting to have sex with an ATM machine. He was charged with public intoxication. And solicitation… goddamned $3.00 out of network charge. [The Smoking Gun]

* A new NFL lawsuit alleges that the NFL illegally used painkillers to cover up injuries. This story is brought to you by the letters D, U, and H. [Sports Illustrated]

* In an interview, the admissions dean of the University of Texas says the school “extend[s] opportunities to students who aren’t 100% perfect on paper.” No kidding. [Tipping the Scales]

* Australian lawyers are trying to argue that their cease and desist letters are copyrighted and cannot be republished. Professor Volokh explains why that’s not a viable argument in the United States. We. Totally. Concur. [The Volokh Conspiracy / Washington Post]

* A transwoman was denied a requested name change. The judge? The former counsel to Liberty University. Of course. [GayRVA]

* Twitter icon Judge Dillard cited Wikipedia in a decision. Didn’t Keith Lee just have an article about that? [Court of Appeals of Georgia]

* More analysis of Gaston Kroub’s look at Biglaw’s Scarlet Letter. [Law and More]

* The DOJ announced that LSAC will pay $7.73 million and institute systemic reforms over its ADA violations. If only the DOJ could get on top of LSAC’s problems securing your private personal information. [U.S. Department of Justice (press release)]

* Justice Kagan received a Supreme Court fact check when she confused the site of the nation’s oldest standing synagogue with the home of the nation’s first Jewish community. At least she didn’t make a mistake about the actual law that she actually wrote. [WSJ Law Blog]

* Justice Scalia may not understand how cell phones work, but even he gets net neutrality — because it’s a lot like pizza. [The Atlantic]

* Marc Randazza describes the need for a right to be forgotten online. Getting forgotten online? Hey, we found a new job for Jill Abramson. [CNN]

* A woman threatened to shoot up a South Carolina Burger King over a stale roll. Don’t tell her what “pink slime” is. [New York Daily News]

* Cops arrest upwards of 40 people while trying to catch a bank robber. When you read the whole history, it’s actually surprising they weren’t limiting their search to people in stripes carrying bags with dollar signs on them. [Slate]

* Corporate lawyer fits right into the rising phenomenon of “Bulls**t Jobs.” [Strike! Magazine]

* Earlier today we wrote about a possible crowdfunded lawsuit. Here’s a discussion of legal issues involved in crowdfunding generally. [IT-Lex]

* Sen. Rand Paul has a stupid idea, so he’ll probably convince a bunch of liberals to go along with it. And that would be bad news for Professor David Barron’s nomination to the First Circuit. [New Republic]

* Led Zeppelin is getting sued over allegedly stealing the opening riff from Stairway to Heaven. It turns out there’s some band out there who’s sure that all that glitters is gold and they want some of it. A clip of the alleged original below…. [The Guardian]

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* Wal-Mart adds lawyer offices. No, this article isn’t about Infilaw. [ABA Journal]

* Now we are! The faculty of Charleston Law is pleading with anyone who will listen to stop Infilaw. [Pro Bono Populi (Charleston School of Law Alumni Association)]

* Has the college applications process become a monopoly? There’s an antitrust lawsuit contending it is. Maybe somebody will make the same sort of claim about the law school applications process with all its major security concerns. [Reuters]

* The latest traffic stats for blogs edited by law professors. It’s good to see Brian Leiter wasn’t just wrong about being more popular than ATL — he was really, really wrong. [TaxProf Blog]

* Goldieblox paid the Beastie Boys (or technically charity) $1 million over using their song for 10 days in an effort to promote smart toys for girls. Good job bringing the lyrics to life, Boys! [Hypebot]

* Speaking of intellectual property suits, the University of Alabama sued a company for using a houndstooth pattern because Bear Bryant used to wear hats with a houndstooth pattern that some other company developed. They’ve settled. [SF Gate]

* Judge Claudia Wilken has denied the NCAA’s latest effort to delay the Ed O’Bannon trial. At least the NCAA is nearing a settlement on a concussion suit. I wonder if that’ll end up favoring the players? [Associated Press]

* Litigation financing meets intra-disciplinary disputes as philosophy professors chip in to help a student sue a Yale philosophy professor for sexual harassment. [Chronicle of Higher Education]

* Porsche sued for building cars that are too fast and too furious. [ABC News]

* 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]

* A young solicitor known as Mr. Kelly was inspired to release a rap album about how much he hated his training job at a top 10 global firm. His video after the jump…. [Legal Cheek]

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Non-Sequiturs: 05.08.14″

In case you thought casebook publishers held students in anything but rank contempt, this will relieve your doubts. A major publisher has decided to alter its business model to exact more misery from students already paying thousands of dollars on textbooks that they will never again crack open after the semester. Because the only way to save money in the book game for law students is to (a) buy used books; (b) sell back your books; or (c) all of the above.

Aspen Publishers wants to rip those options away from students. Starting with their next editions, Aspen is banning resale of their books and trying to enforce the ban by making students return the books at the end of class.

Check out the full policy and what you can do to fight it….

UPDATE (12:10 p.m.): That was fast! Aspen has changed its policy. Full details below.

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* Donald Sterling may be banned from the NBA, but the recording that placed him on the outside looking in was captured illegally per California law. [The Legal Blitz]

* If the NBA owners agree — as expected — to force Sterling to sell the Clippers, it could cost his heirs over $100 million. Let’s feel sorry that megamillionaires might be slightly less megamillionaires. [Slate]

* The inimitable Charles P. Pierce with more on the horrifically botched execution in Oklahoma last night. Overlooked in the horror was the constitutional crisis that preceded it — where the very authority of the state supreme court was called into question. [Esquire]

* After getting his client acquitted of molesting a child while drunk, a lawyer managed to get arrested for DWI, hours after the verdict. Amazing. [St. Louis Post-Dispatch]

* The conservative argument for copyright reform. Seriously, at this point there’s no political philosophy in favor of lengthy copyright terms, so why can’t we change this? Oh, right. Media companies have tons and tons of money. [R Street]

* UVA Law funds the first jobs of a bunch of its grads. David Lat weighs in. [C-Ville]

* This story could just as easily be entitled “I’m a young Biglaw associate who lives in Williamsburg.” [McSweeneys]

* Remember when I said it was a bad idea to drop off a drunk in Ireland? This is EXACTLY why. [The Independent (Dublin)]

* Oh, Cooley Law School… don’t ever change. [The Faculty Lounge]

* Republican tort-reform advocate settles overblown personal injury suit. Oh the irony. [The Hutchinson News]

* Check that, this is even more ironic. [The Chronicle of Higher Education]

* The U.S. Postal Service helped kill an innovative, anti-junk-mail startup. You could say a bloated government agency is to blame. Or you could say cutting off the Post Office and forcing them to fund themselves through Faustian deals with junk mail distributors is to blame. Either way, a great idea was smothered. [Inside Sources]

* Indicted former Virginia Governor and transvaginal ultrasound enthusiast Bob McDonnell has taken a gig as a visiting professor at an ATL Worst Law School finalist, Liberty Law. Of course. [The News & Advance (Lynchburg)]

* Do you need to be on a law journal to succeed? [Huffington Post]

* Can you get paid for sleeping on the job? Good question. [The Spitz Law Firm]

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