Copyright

The past year or so has been an epic period for snarky responses to cease and desist letters. We’ve seen hilariously irreverent responses to C&D letters telling off the likes of Starbucks, the American Bankers Association, and the Township of West Orange.

And now Hollywood celebrities are throwing themselves into the mix. Which “seriously out of control” young actor just got saucy over Twitter in response to a lawyer’s letter?

Here’s a hint: Is this kid Lawless?

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As they do every year, unfortunately, the good folks at the Center for the Study of the Public Domain at Duke have put together a depressing list of what should have entered the public domain yesterday. As you hopefully know, until 1978, the maximum amount of time that work in the US could be covered by copyright was 56 years (you initially received a 28 year copyright term, which could be renewed for another 28 years). That means, back in 1957, everyone who created the works in that list knew absolutely, and without a doubt that their works would be given back to the public to share, to perform, to build on and more… on January 1, 2014 at the very latest. And they all still created their works, making clear that the incentive of a 56 year monopoly was absolutely more than enough incentive to create.

And yet, for reasons that still no one has made clear, Congress unilaterally changed the terms of the deal, took these works away from the public, without any compensation at all, and will keep them locked up for at least another 40 years. At least.

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Ed. note: Happy New Year! We will resume our normal publication schedule on January 2nd. See you next year.

* A guy got pantsed twice. He then secured a six-figure judgment! And now he’s appealing that judgment!?!? God, this is exactly the kind of guy who deserves a wedgie. [Lowering the Bar]

* Professor Campos takes on George Will’s claim that the team name Redskins isn’t offensive because “Oklahoma” basically translates to “Redskin” too. Hey, I could get behind banning Oklahoma. [Lawyers, Guns & Money]

* A pro se inmate sues the state. The reporter tries really hard to treat the complaint seriously until the very end. [Times-Picayune]

* A Las Vegas judge (and son of a former mayor) suffered head wounds indicative of an assault. When asked about why LVMPD didn’t tell marshals that a judge had been attacked, they basically said, “Why would we?” Yeah, why alert a judge’s security team about a possible, persistent threat related to his job. [Las Vegas Law Blog]

* With Netflix about to purge a number of movies off its system, this is an interesting look back at a time when Hollywood tried to ban home movie rental because they generally adhere to the “cut off your nose to spite your face” business model. [Tech Crunch]

* More on the phenomenon of judges speaking out publicly. I don’t know about all these critics, but we’re sure big fans of these judges. [Wall Street Journal]

A sterner talking-to than Lanny Breuer gave HSBC.

* You can go to jail for possession, but if you actively aid and abet drug cartels, you can walk away with a fine worth 5 weeks of your income. It also helps if instead of “poor” you’re a bank. Hooray for “Too Big To Hold Accountable For Anything!!! [Rolling Stone]

* Disney has gotten fed up with “mockbusters,” films that jack the studio’s logo to confuse people into buying a different DVD. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ve been itching to check out this new flick September: Osage County. [Jezebel]

* Dahlia Lithwick explains that too many schools feel the cure for the trauma of school shootings is… creating more trauma. [Slate]

* Chief Judge Theodore McKee of the Third Circuit rules that the government can detain you for carrying Arabic flashcards. This doesn’t even make racist profiling sense: “bad guys” would already know how to speak Arabic, right? [The Raw Story]

* Defendants need to understand that getting an acquittal requires them to expend some personal effort, too. [Katz Justice]

We were just talking about the latest efforts to remove termination rights from musicians (and other artists), and a number of termination rights battles are still ongoing. Most of the existing ones are slightly different from the ones we’re talking about — and it gets pretty down in the weeds technically. In short, there are different rules for works created prior to 1978 and those after 1978. Most of the focus is on the termination rights for works created after 1978 — though there are some interesting ongoing battles concerning works created prior to 1978… including that song you just can’t stop hearing this time of year: Santa Claus is Coming to Town.

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* Mayor Bloomberg is filing suit to overturn New York’s Living Wage law, because wasting a bunch of money pursuing a lawsuit for the last two weeks of his term is the kind of efficiency he brings to the table as a biznessmun. [DNAInfo]

* Judge Richard Leon puts the NSA metadata surveillance program on ice. Looks like someone’s going to get bugged. [Slate]

* Someone’s asking for a fake college transcript in Baton Rouge. Pretty sure LSU’s athletic department could give you a hand. [Law and More]

* Considering the polygamy ruling in Utah, here’s an interesting analysis of the constitutionality of bestiality laws. This seems like an appropriate place to link this song about a guy who broke into the Lincoln Park zoo in Chicago. [The Volokh Conspiracy]

* Here’s a fun game: replace the name of the school and the course of study and marvel at how easily it could pass for an article Elie wrote. [Huffington Post]

* These folks got smacked with a cybersquatting charge because they used a logical domain name to publicize an ongoing dispute. It’s a lot easier to sue people than to build a solid home. [IT-Lex]

* In sad news, the victim in a recent carjacking-related killing was Dustin Friedland, a Syracuse law grad whose wife Jamie, also a lawyer, worked with Adam Leitman Bailey. Our thoughts are with the Friedland family. [NY Daily News]

* The Beastie Boys are suing GoldieBlox over the latter’s viral ad set to a parody of “Girls.” Unlike GoldieBlox, NYU Law professor Chris Sprigman doesn’t need an elaborate Rube Goldberg machine to burst the Beastie Boys’ bubble. Video embedded after the jump… [Bloomberg Law via YouTube]

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Amanda Knox

* Oh baby (or the lack thereof): the Supreme Court has decided to take on two of the cases asserting religious challenges to the Affordable Care Act’s contraception coverage mandate. [Blog of Legal Times]

* “[H]e has a Rolodex like a Ferris wheel.” Delaware’s Supreme Court Chief Justice is retiring from the bench to join Potter Anderson & Corroon, where that Rolodex will come in handy. [Wall Street Journal]

* Italian prosecutors think Amanda Knox should be convicted of murder (again) and given a 30-year sentence in a retrial she’s not even there for. This kind of sounds like it’d be a double-secret conviction. [CNN]

* With fall finals right around the corner, law students can take comfort in the fact that next week they’ll be soothed by therapy dogs — ones that’ll need therapy after dealing with law students. [WSJ Law Blog]

* If you’re considering applying to law school against all odds, you should determine when the right time to apply would be. Don’t listen to your parents, listen to your gut. [Law Admissions Lowdown / U.S. News]

* If you haven’t heard, the Beastie Boys are having a copyright fight with toymaker GoldieBlox over a parody of the song “Girls” that’s been used in a commercial. Fair use? Decide after the jump. [NBC News]

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I’m always amazed when lawyers send clearly bogus DMCA notices. It shouldn’t be hard to figure out that doing so ends badly. I’m doubly surprised, however, when it comes from big companies that should know better. And, I’m quadruple surprised when one of these companies that should know better sends a completely bogus DMCA notice to a company that absolutely understands why the notice is bogus, and is also in a position to make the world know all about a company’s bogus DMCA notice. That’s what we have here. You see, this morning, Office Depot decided to send a DMCA to Reddit.

Yes, to Reddit….

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It would take an heroic effort of explication to derive such a conclusion from their words and informal email exchanges. And to read Phillips’s or Z-Trip’s words to convey a contract to cede Monster such rights would flout common sense. Phillips, a former forestry and ski-industry worker with no evident legal expertise, never raised any such questions with Z-Trip, or reflected any awareness of the copyright interests that Monster would need to acquire or license to bring the promotional Video it contemplated into compliance with copyright law.

Judge Paul A. Engelmayer, ripping a claim by Monster Energy that it received a license to advertise with a mashup of Beastie Boys songs because the D.J. who created the mashup said “Dope!” As Spin magazine puts it, Monster’s argument was that the aforementioned word “could function as some sort of license-giving, legally binding term. Really.”

* The Second Circuit has remanded the New York Stop and Frisk decision, demanding that a new judge hear the case. Among the reasons: that Judge Shira Scheindlin gave “media interviews and public statements purporting to respond publicly to criticism of the District Court.” So basically, act like a contemptuous prick in the press and when the judge calmly reaffirms her impartiality, get her thrown off the case. Thankfully this will all stop being an issue on about January 1, 2014. [U.S. Courts]

* Attorney networking and referral site wireLawyer gave itself a Halloween makeover. Personally I wouldn’t want a Fett as an attorney — they have a tendency to lose their heads or fall into pits of despair. Screenshot if you check out the site after they’ve moved on to what we can only assume is their All Saints Day makeover. [wireLawyer]

* Joe Biden’s niece appeared in court after she clashed with police last month, “swinging at a female officer then slapping another” before being dragged away in handcuffs all while touting how she “studied law.” This actually sounds more like something Joe Biden’s Onion persona would do. [NY Post]

* Penn Law is sporting pumpkins carved with the likeness of all nine Supreme Court justices. [Under the Button]

* Vivia Chen’s epic fail as a mother on Halloween. We still love you. [The Careerist]

* The House of Representatives has now introduced a use restriction on videos of House hearings to prevent the footage from being used for political purposes. That doesn’t sound all that legal. The Republicans just desperately don’t want people to know what they actually do at “work.” [Patently-O]

* Meanwhile, the Senate GOP is going filibuster on Patricia Millett’s nomination to the D.C. Circuit despite lacking any objection to her. [Huffington Post]

* NYU Law carried on its annual tradition of acting out the Erie case. Screw that! They should act out Palsgraf…

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