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* Dewey know how much money this failed firm has run up on its tab for legal advisers since May? It’s quite the pretty penny — $14.8 million — and that amount actually includes some pretty ridiculous fees and charges, like $21,843 for photocopies. [Am Law Daily]

* Everyone’s glad that we didn’t nosedive over the fiscal cliff, but the people who are the most excited about it seem to be Biglaw partners. This wasn’t the best bill, and more uncertainty means more work, which means more money. [National Law Journal]

* It looks like we’re never going to find out what the Justice Department’s legal justification was for the targeted killing of Anwar al-Awlaki, because a federal judge upheld the validity of its secret memo. [New York Times]

* Everyone flipped out over Instagram’s money filter, but they’re keeping relatively quiet about this mandatory arbitration provision. Quick, post some pseudo-legalese on your Facebook wall. [WSJ Law Blog (sub. req.)]

* Good news, everyone! Thanks to this ruling, in Virginia, you can be as nasty and negative as you want to be on Yelp without fear that your voice will be censored… kind of like the Above the Law comments. [All Things D]

* Another year, another round-up of the year’s legal highlights from the National Law Journal. Perhaps after a year that was wracked with destruction for this supposedly noble profession, we’ll actually see some substantial change in 2013. [National Law Journal]

* Meanwhile in Iowa, failure to sleep with your horndog boss is “like having a Lamborghini in the garage and never driving it,” so if he’s irresistibly attracted to your exotic lady parts car, you better be ready, willing, and able to find yourself a new job. [Washington Post]

* People were so pissed off about Instagram’s new terms of service that someone filed a class action suit. The app’s litigation filter must make exasperated attorneys and wasted dollars look shiny and happy. [Reuters]

* “It is not the perfect path to wealth and success that people may have envisioned.” As we’ve been stating here at Above the Law for years, being a lawyer is no longer the golden ticket that it once was. [Bloomberg]

* ASU Law will now offer a North American Law Degree that’ll prepare graduates to practice in the U.S. and Canada. Yes, ship your jobless grads north where there’s an articling crisis, great idea! [Associated Press]

* Still thinking about applying to law school? That’s a funny joke. But if you’re interested in being a punchline in three years, follow this application season timeline. [Law Admissions Lowdown / U.S. News & World Report]

* Jack Klugman, noted actor whose roles included that of Juror #5 in Twelve Angry Men, RIP. [New York Times]

* Richard Adams, a plaintiff in the first suit seeking federal recognition of gay marriage, RIP. [New York Times]

Congrats to Judge Edith Jones, one of my favorite judicial divas, for making the list of best benchslaps.

* Professor Josh Blackman has a Christmas gift for you: “The 8 Best Benchslaps of 2012.” See if you can guess who wins the award for lifetime achievement. [Josh Blackman's Blog]

* Speaking of unorthodox law school classes, how would you like to take a course on “Understanding Obama”? [Althouse]

* And speaking of the Instagram controversy, what might happen if the intellectual property issues wind up in the courts? [Associate's Mind]

* The deadline for our holiday card competition has passed; our write-up of the finalists will appear shortly. While you wait, check out this cute non-electronic law firm holiday card. [Ross Fishman]

* Time is running out! We’d love your votes in the ABA Journal’s Blawg 100 (under “News/Analysis”). [ABA Journal]

If you are not a fan of Westboro Baptist Church, check out Anonymous’s declaration of cyber-war against them….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Non-Sequiturs: 12.18.12″

Instagram is adding a monetization filter to its precious photo-sharing service. In a change to its privacy policy that has everyone in my Twitter feed freaking out, Instagram has given itself the right to lease users’ names, likenesses, and photos out to advertisers. That means the Kelvin-filtered photo of your polished finger nails might wind up being used by the responsible salon; or that the craft cocktail bar where you Hefe-filtered your Chewbacca Jacuzzi may throw it into an ad; or that the vintage market where you Walden-filtered that top-hat-wearing boar’s head might pay to promote it.

The change comes on the heels of corporate owner Facebook giving itself the right to dip into the data Instagram has on its users, which means Instagram’s photos will start being fed into Facebook’s well-oiled advertising platform.

“Dear @instagram @facebook – You have the right to run your business as you choose. But screw you,” tweeted one privacy advocate.

Here are the offending terms of the new Instagram terms of use:

[Y]ou hereby grant to Instagram a non-exclusive, fully paid and royalty-free, transferable, sub-licensable, worldwide license to use the Content that you post on or through the Service, except that you can control who can view certain of your Content and activities on the Service…

In other words, Instagram recognizes that it shouldn’t screw over users who have private accounts by using their photos in ads aimed at the general public (though they can put them in ads aimed at your friends).

But will Instagram screw over its users anyway?

Continue reading at Forbes….

* Little known fact of the day: the late comedienne Phyllis Diller apparently had a storybook romance with Paul Hastings name partner, Robert Hastings. She once said that her longtime Biglaw beau was the “love of [her] life.” [Am Law Daily]

* The Federal Trade Commission has closed its antitrust review of Facebook’s proposed Instagram purchase, clearing the way for the social networking site’s users to post grainy pictures to their hearts’ content. [Bloomberg]

* A former Vancouver lawyer serving a 15-year sentence for money laundering claims that one of the Mounties who investigated his case played a game of “hide the Canadian bacon” with Judge Ursula Ungaro. [Province]

* A judge who resigned in April has been retroactively removed from office for admitting to having sexual contact with his five-year-old niece. He presided over family court matters. Figures. [New York Law Journal]

* Which accomplishments and activities should you leave off your résumé? A) law review editor in chief; B) second in the class; C) 4.05 GPA; D) nonprofit executive director; E) child porn aficionado. [Willamette Week]

* Stabbing your lawyer is so last season. Another criminal defendant reportedly attacked his defense attorney in court, but this time chose to whack his own counsel in the head with his handcuffed hand. [Boston Globe]

Amanda Bynes

* With help from Fenwick & West, Facebook snatched up Instagram in a $1B deal that closed in just 54 hours. That’s a big accomplishment, but the bigger one was valuing a company that helps f**k up your photos at such a high price. [Am Law Daily]

* Senator Dick Durbin is trying to collect stories about soul-crushing law school debt in an effort to reform lending laws, but law students and new lawyers aren’t speaking up about the problem. Hey, Dick, it’s time to start reading Above the Law. [National Law Journal]

* Apparently sarcasm is lost upon mention of George Zimmerman, so let’s play this one straight. The man who shot and killed Trayvon Martin has set up a website to solicit money for his defense fund. Actually, that’s a pretty great punchline on its own. [MSNBC]

* A judge has refused to reduce accused “Millionaire Madam” Anna Gristina’s $2M bail. With her alleged clientele, you’d think she’d be able to afford it. Come on, John Edwards gets $400 haircuts. He’s probably willing to pay top dollar for his call girls. [Bloomberg]

* Amanda Bynes wasn’t drunk on alcohol, she was drunk on emotions, claims her daddy. That’s a defense that will totally stand up in court on a DUI charge. [New York Daily News]