Copyright

* There’s been a changing of the guard at Sidley Austin. Carter Phillips, one of our nation’s preeminent appellate advocates, is now the sole chair of the firm’s executive committee after a one-year stint as co-chair. Congrats! [The Recorder]

* You should really try to make the most of your summers during law school, even after your first year. Because duh, in case you weren’t aware, it’ll probably help you to get a job later on. [Law Admissions Lowdown / U.S. News & World Report]

* It looks like the trolls attorneys behind Prenda Law got benchslapped in the worst of ways — complete with a multitude of Star Trek references. We’ll likely have more on this later today. [Ars Technica]

* The California Supreme Court just ruined everyone’s high, because it ruled that cities and counties can ban medical marijuana dispensaries. Smoke ‘em while you’ve got ‘em, stoners. [Associated Press]

* Justin Bieber is being sued for copyright infringement, along with his musical mentor, Usher. Tween girl mob: ASSEMBLE! Defend your pop idol’s honor; after all, he just needed somebody to love. [Reuters]

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.

Michael Carusi points us to the news that Warner Bros., MGM and Universal Studios have agreed to pull nearly 2,000 films from Netflix’s library, in order to put them in the Warner Bros. Instant Archive. You may recall that Warner recently launched this archive, which is an incredibly overpriced and ridiculously limited offering. Apparently, they’re trying to bolster the offering in part by hurting Netflix. As we’ve warned, this sort of fragmentation does little to help anyone…

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Warner Bros., MGM, Universal Collectively Pull Nearly 2,000 Films From Netflix”

* We know you’re all excited about the new RANKINGS, but tonight is also the LAST NIGHT to vote for Law Revue finalists. [Above the Law]

* “It’s totally reasonable to spend $75 just for a shot at an unpaid internship,” said no one ever. [Craigslist] UPDATE: The crafty employer took it down already. But they didn’t count on me getting a screenshot and transcribing it. Check it out after the jump!

* Kirkland & Ellis (or any Biglaw firm) handing out advice on women and “work/life balance” should elicit exactly this response. [UChiLawGo]

* Reading Above the Law can make you money. Sure, it’s only by boosting your severance package, but… [A Paralegal's Life]

* Several law school professors were recruited from prison. So if you’re hoping to get tenure… [Dallas Blog]

* Pirate Bay is still out there hopping around the Caribbean to avoid prosecution. Just like real-life, well, you know. [IBTimes]

* Running over a bicyclist? Accomplishment unlocked for some real-life GTA players. [Legal Juice]

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Non-Sequiturs: 05.01.13″

* The New York Post responds to critics of its Boston attack coverage. [The Onion]

* I’m just going to quote our tipster on this one because I cannot improve upon his commentary: “Because we should publicize every time a Donald Trump lawsuit fails.” [Chronicle of Higher Education]

* DOUBLE F**KING NEWSFLASH: this pissed off sorority girl will write the BEST cease and desist letters someday. [Gawker]

* CVS: the place with the helpful, anti-Asian racist staff! [Associated Press via Yahoo! Finance]

* The Supreme Court stands up to warrantless searches. Sort of. [Simple Justice]

* Sports franchise owners totally rip off the communities they supposedly serve? [Lawyers, Guns & Money]

* You’d think an intellectual property firm would know better than to commit copyright violations. [Law 360]

* Good news, law students! You can get a casebook for the low, low price of $200! [PrawfsBlawg]

* Rachel Ray sued for negligence in trying to help a teen lose weight. If the goal was weight loss, Rachel should have just forced the girl to exclusively eat from Rachel Ray’s cookbook. Nothing can turn someone off eating like that. [US Weekly]

* Thoughts go out to all those in Boston. [CNN]

* I hope you’ve all got your taxes finished. Here’s a fun fact: most tax cheats live in the South and the West. The two areas of the country filled with people who think taxes are evil cheat more? Go figure. [NBC News]

* Remember, it’s not polite to say “thank you.” [Las Vegas Law Blog]

* And now the rare, “self-benchslap.” [Associated Press]

* A detailed look at how the Federalist Society became so powerful in American law schools. Unfortunately, it neglects the “they tend to order better pizzas for their events” gambit. [Chronicle of Higher Education]

* Remember the new, depressing, public domain Happy Birthday song? The sponsor of that contest, WFMU, is at it again with a new contest to create modern, entertaining covers of public domain ditties. Despite my ragging on the birthday song, this is a pretty cool idea. [Free Music Archive]

* Are you a young lawyer complaining about your lot in life? You’re at this site, so statistically you are. Well, quit your bitchin’! [Associate's Mind]

* The Texas Supreme Court does not value emotional attachments to dogs. This is surprising because I can think of at least 10 country songs on this very point. [Law and More]

* Mocking law school couples with a GIF from Veep? Get out of my head, UChiLawGo! [UChiLawGo]

* Boob-induced failure. [Legal Juice]

Attorney John Steele says he has sued more than 20,000 Internet users. Now he's the one in legal trouble.

“It should be clear by now that this court’s focus has shifted from protecting intellectual property rights to attorney misconduct.” — U.S. District Judge Otis Wright

John Steele, the lawyer who told me he’d made “millions” going after people who illegally download pornographic movies, is experiencing some legal trouble of his own. A district judge in Los Angeles has questions about the way in which Steele and his colleagues have conducted their litigation. Ars Technica and Popehat have been providing detailed (and often gleeful) coverage of a series of hearings that may lead to the unraveling of hundreds of lawsuits filed by Steele and his colleagues at Prenda Law against alleged XXX-movie lovers whose IP addresses were caught downloading the films online.

Steele and his colleagues have been pursuing “John Does” who download XXX films without paying for them for copyright violations. When I interviewed him last year, he told me he had filed over 350 of these suits, and that he was at that time suing approximately 20,000 people. The tactic is similar to the one employed by the recording industry years ago, but where RIAA wanted to scare people out of illegal downloads by getting massive, scary judgments in highly publicized cases against individual Napster users, Steele and the lawyers like him are content to get relatively small settlements — deal letters often ask for $3000 or so — from individuals who pay up quietly to avoid being named in public court filings for allegedly watching a film such as “Illegal Ass 2.”

But now Steele and his firm are starting to run into serious problems.

Continue reading at Forbes.com….

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.

Just a few weeks ago, we had a story about how an awesome looking documentary about comic artists needed to hit up Kickstarter to raise more money solely to purchase licenses to some of the artwork & video clips in the film. Most of the copyright holders let them use the work for free, but a few were demanding payment — often thousands of dollars for a single image or short clip. As we’ve noted, documentary filmmakers are scared to death of relying on fair use, because they don’t want to get sued (and some insurance providers won’t give you insurance if you plan to rely on fair use).

And, now, there’s an even crazier example. Two huge fans of the cult favorite TV show, Arrested Development have made a documentary about the show, talking to a ton of people who created and acted in the show, as well as to a bunch of fans. Given that a new season (via Netflix) is quickly approaching, getting this documentary out would make sense. The film is finished according to the filmmakers. Done done done. So why are they asking Kickstarter for $20,053? Yup, you guessed it. Copyright licensing issues. And this time, it’s really crazy…

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Arrested Development Documentary Has To Hit Up Kickstarter Because of Copyright Issues”

Aaron Swartz

It was just days after Aaron Swartz’ death, and I was having a crisis of conscience about publishing in a journal that was not open access…. The best Taylor & Francis could come up with was a less restrictive license that would cost authors nearly $3000 per article. The Board agreed that this alternative was simply not tenable, so we collectively resigned. In a sense, the decision was as much a practical one as a political one.

Chris Bourg, formerly an editor at the Journal of Library Administration describing the motivation behind the resignation of the Editor-in-Chief and the entire editorial board. It’s the latest fallout from the suicide of Aaron Swartz after the government threatened him with 35 years in prison for challenging the exclusive rights of publishing giants like Taylor & Francis.

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]

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