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.
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…
* Airport security has forbidden joking about bombs and hijacking. Now TSA is cracking down on joking about TSA itself. In the interest of my next flight, “I love you, TSA!” [Daily Mail]
* A detailed analysis of the 14th Amendment’s role in the debt ceiling debate. President Obama should employ this solution now before the Supreme Court realizes there’s another part of the 14th Amendment they can overturn. [Main Street]
* Law school professors do not take kindly to your antics. [Law Prof Blog]
* The rules don’t apply to Yale or Harvard. Or at least the rules don’t apply to their law reviews. [Professor Bainbridge]
* Congress is still trying to decide how to regulate FM radio instead of looking at salient issues in modern copyright law. Given how brilliantly they keep the government open, maybe FM radio is the biggest issue we should give them right about now. [The Daily Caller]
* The lawyer as generalist is fading into obscurity. Let’s commemorate it in poetry, shall we? [Poetic Justice]
* A preview of some upcoming Supreme Court cases this week. Complete with cartoons! [The Spark File]
* Finally, here’s a little gem for Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg fans that we got….
* A California judge sentenced a man to 53 years in prison and then officiated his wedding. So she gave him 53 years followed by a life sentence? Hey ho! [CBS News]
* Jersey Shore’s The Situation suffers the indignity of a legal defeat. I mean, if he has dignity left. [South Florida Lawyers]
* Who would make a better juror: a non-citizen or Charlie Sheen? I’d prefer to have Sheen… I don’t know if there are many crimes he wouldn’t understand. [The Atlantic]
* The results are in from Kaplan’s just completed 2013 survey of law school admissions officers. The headline is that 54 percent of law school admissions officers report cutting their entering law school classes for 2013-2014 and 25 percent plan to do so again next year. Time to build another law school! [Kaplan Test Prep]
* A comprehensive list of the crimes committed by Batman in Batman Begins. And I’m not entirely sure everything he did in his hostile takeover of Wayne Enterprises was on the up-and-up either. [Salt Lake Tribune]
* The recycling of policy debaters into litigators brings good and bad habits to the legal profession. On the plus side, there’s the refined research skills. On the other hand, stenographers have a hard time keeping up. [Houston Law Review]
* The new song “Lady Justice” by lawyer-artist DNA (featuring Zoha). He’s already figured out that all the good songs these days have to be “featuring” someone. Song after the jump…
Folks love Game of Thrones. Maybe it’s the intricate storytelling, the impeccable acting, the allure of high fantasy, or the fact that all the exposition is done by naked prostitutes. Whatever it is, the show is a hit and everyone clamors to watch it.
Unfortunately, lots of people want to watch it illegally. Even the New York Times is watching it illegally.
And when students use a school network to stream Game of Thrones, it can clog up the works and bottleneck the Internet faster than Walder Frey can lock down passage over the Trident…
We’ve written many times about the issue of termination rights in copyright. Under the Copyright Act that went into effect in 1978, artists have a “termination right” to basically take back their copyright from whomever they assigned it to, 35 years after the works were created. Artists cannot contract that right away. It’s inalienable. Of course, it’s 2013, and as you may have noticed, that’s 35 years after 1978. There are a variety of legal fights going on, as copyright holders (generally large gatekeeper companies) are fighting to stop the termination rights. One of the first key cases on this involved The Village People’s Victor Willis, who initially scored an initial victory last year. Of course, the legal fight went on. The NY Times, however, is reporting that Willis himself is now claiming victory, but the details are lacking, and the lawyer for the record labels denies Willis’ claim, noting that there’s still an appeal to be heard.
That said, what struck me as more interesting — but no less troubling — is the gleeful manner in which it appears Willis is preparing to use his new copyright powers (if he actually gets them) to make the current version of The Village People stop performing the band’s classic songs….
Back in June, we got a chance to see an absolutely great response to a cease and desist letter. The author of that response letter, Stephen B. Kaplitt, is an Above the Law folk hero for kicking off his response to an unnecessarily threatening C&D with “obviously [this] was sent in jest, and the world can certainly use more legal satire,” before systematically ripping the opposing attorneys a new one.
Now comes another great response to a C&D letter, and this one may even be better because of the firm on the receiving end.
As you hopefully are aware, today is the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King’s powerful, moving and memorable I have a dream… speech. In a just world, that speech would be in the public domain. And, legally, it might be. While King did apparently send a copy of the speech to the Copyright Office, he did so as an “unpublished work.” There has been a dispute, then, about the speech itself, since that would be a publication. His estate, however, has argued that the speech was not a “general publication,” but rather a “limited publication” and thus King retained a common law copyright — and an appeals court appeared to agree, but the lawsuit over this was settled without a final ruling, and no one has challenged it since. However, King’s estate has beenridiculously aggressive in trying to lock up his speeches and take down videos commemorating his talks, with a focus on this momentous speech.
Of course, they’re more than happy to license the speech to the highest bidder…
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