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.
We’ve covered the Stephanie Lenz / dancing baby / fair use case for years — but now it looks like there’s finally going to be a trial to consider if Universal Music can be punished for sending a DMCA takedown notice on a video of Lenz’s infant son dancing to 29 seconds of a song by Prince, which Lenz asserts was clearly fair use.
If you haven’t followed the case, it’s been argued back and forth for years. At one point, the court ruled that a copyright holder does need to take fair use into account before sending a DMCA takedown, but that there needs to be “subjective bad faith” by Universal Music in sending the takedown. In other words, Lenz (and the EFF, who is representing her) needs to show, effectively, that Universal knew that it was sending bogus takedowns. The EFF has argued that willful blindness by Universal meant that it had knowledge (amusingly, using precedents in copyright cases in the other direction, where copyright holders argue that willful blindness can be infringement)….
If such a shoe exists, the parties have not pointed to it, there is no evidence that Already has dreamt of it, and we cannot conceive of it. It sits, as far as we can tell, on a shelf between Dorothy’s ruby slippers and Perseus’s winged sandals.
– Chief Justice John Roberts, remarking in a recent opinion on the specific degree of fabulosity that would be required for Nike to renege on its covenant not to sue Already LLC for trademark infringement. The Supreme Court opinion can be found here.
* “This is a total victory not just for the C.F.T.C., but also for financial reform.” Regulators, mount up, because you basically just got a free pass to do your jobs and keep a more watchful and vigilant eye on Wall Street. [DealBook / New York Times]
* Last year, China officially surpassed the United States in terms of the number of patent applications filed. China’s probably surpassed the United States in terms of patents infringed, but that’s neither here nor there. [National Law Journal]
* And now we see why St. Louis University School of Law’s interim dean said he’d be donating his salary to the school. He’s no “butt boy” — he’s settled $25M worth of cases since the fall. [Madison-St. Clair Record]
* “Help me, I’m poor”: the Huffington Post’s army of unpaid bloggers will continue to be unpaid, because the Second Circuit recently affirmed the S.D.N.Y.’s decision to toss out their case. [WSJ Law Blog (sub. req.)]
* Diane von Furstenberg, the fashion designer behind luxury brand DVF, is suing an ex-distributor for selling her wares on the cheap to the likes of TJ Maxx and Marshalls. Ugh, cringe… that’s très déclassé. [Bloomberg]
We’ll put this simply to avoid further confusion: stringing together nonsensical bits of pseudo-legalese cannot save you from succumbing to the rules and regulations of the Facebook gods. On the other hand, stringing together nonsensical bits of pseudo-legalese is sometimes what law blogging is all about, so we’ll help our readers debunk the myths of privacy and intellectual property rights on Facebook.
Aww, you thought Facebook couldn’t use all the things you posted on the site because of your privacy settings? Well, isn’t that just precious….
* In case you missed this yesterday during the Cravath bonus-mania-palooza, David Kappos, the director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office, announced that he’d be stepping down from his position in January 2013. [Blog of Legal Times]
* And speaking of bonuses, somebody’s not probably getting one this year, because here come the lawsuits: Hewlett-Packard just got slapped with a securities class action suit as a result of the company’s allegedly fraudulent Autonomy acquisition. [Reuters]
* Will Penn State’s former general counsel be able to testify against Gary Schultz and Tim Curley in post-Sandusky criminal proceedings? Considering she’s “a key witness,” she better be. [Corporate Counsel]
* Of course Vermont Law School is considering offering voluntary staff buyouts, the school has a freakin’ $3.3M budget shortfall. In other news, they’ll be upping LL.M. programs to make up the cash. [National Law Journal]
* Paul Ceglia, the man who claims he owns half of Facebook, has been indicted on federal wire and mail fraud charges. He’ll appear in court this Wednesday, but who knows if he’ll have a lawyer by then. [Bloomberg]
* Jay Jaffe, law firm public relations pioneer, RIP. [PRWeek]
“There’s winners and there’s nothing else. I don’t give a sh*t what those pinkos over in Russia say. You want to be a loser you go live in Russia. I’m not a loser. I’m a winner. I’m an American. Who wants to be John Wayne? Who wants to grab a root and hang on? Who wants to get a mean on? Get a mean on son.”– Coach Hisler, Johnny Be Good.
All I could think about last Saturday, while Johnny Manziel was breaking down Alabama’s vaunted defense, was Johnny Be Good. It’s one of the worst movies of all time, and it starred the assistant principal from Breakfast Club as a football coach, the nerd from Breakfast Club as some kind of great football player, and Robert Downey Jr., who wasn’t even in Breakfast Club. The soundtrack had the eponymous Chuck Berry song redone by Judas Priest, and also included a track from Ted Nugent. There are cameos by Jim McMahon and Howard Cosell, and the whole enterprise comes off as an indictment of the 1980s as one wildly implausible football scene piggybacks on another. To be strained would be a slap on the wrist for credulity in some of these scenes. I mean, this film is a trainwreck in every meaningful way.
* You surely must remember former UT Law dean Larry Sager and his controversial $500K forgivable loan. Well, as it turns out, the school is now condemning the practice as inappropriate, and calling for its permanent suspension. [Texas Tribune]
* Someone finally sued a power company over its horrendous response to Hurricane Sandy. The Long Island Power Authority should’ve seen this lawsuit coming, but was woefully unprepared. Figures. [Bloomberg]
* I can haz copyright infringement? Internet memes are all the rage — we even had our own contest — but you may find yourself wading into dangerous intellectual property waters with improper use. [Corporate Counsel]
* Papa John’s is facing a $250M class-action lawsuit for spamming its customers with text messages advertising deals. With share prices dropping, it must suck to be Peyton Manning right now. [CNNMoney]
Yesterday, we wrote about Patrick Shields, the Quinn Emanuel partner who mysteriously vanished from the firm’s web site, with, as far as we could discern, nothing more than plans for an extended Irish vacation.
What the heck happened?
Well, it turns out Shields’s story is quite simple and a reflection of something most of us have felt at one time or another. Namely: burnout.
We heard from a tipster familiar with Shields’s situation, who explained to us how burnout led the star IP litigator to do the “coolest thing possible”…
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Ed. note: The Asia Chronicles column is authored by Kinney Recruiting. Kinney has made more placements of U.S. associates, counsels and partners in Asia than any other recruiting firm in each of the past six years. You can reach them by email: email@example.com.
Deal flow has clearly picked recently up for most US associates, counsels and partners in Hong Kong/China and Singapore. We are on the phone with a lot of these folks on a daily basis, many of whom we have known for years. Further, the head of our Asia team, Evan Jowers, and Kinney’s founder and president, Robert Kinney, frequently meet in person with leading US partners in Asia to assess their needs and keep on top of the inside scoop at as many firms as possible. The need for legal recruiting help in Asia from experienced recruiters appears to be live and well. In March, Evan and Robert were in Beijing at such meetings, in April, Evan was in Hong Kong, and for half of June Evan will be in Shanghai and Hong Kong. Thus its pretty easy for us to tell when there has been an across-the-market pick up in capital markets and corporate work.
On an average day in Asia when Evan and Robert visit firms, they typically have 5 to 9 meetings a day, mostly with US partners in the market. The reason they have these meetings is not simply because Kinney makes a lot of US attorney placements in Asia and that a particular firm may have openings; instead these are just visits with friends. After years of working together as business partners, the folks at Kinney are actually these peoples’ friends. The firms Kinney work closely with in Asia (which is just about every law firm – call us if you want to know the one firm in the world we will never place anyone with again, ever, and why) look forward to the visits, or at least act like they do. After seven years in the market, many of the client partners are former associate candidates. Also, these US partners see Kinney as a very good source of market information as well, because they know how deep their contacts are in the market and how frequently they are speaking to counterparts at peer firms.
In a land that is right here and in a time that is right now, a technology has arisen so powerful that it can replace basic human document review. Is it time to bow down before our new robot overlords?
First, here’s a little story about me: my life in the legal world began as a paralegal. My first case was a GIANT patent infringement case that was already six years old and had involved as many as five companies, multiple US courts, the ITC and an international standards committee. I knew nothing about any of this.
On my first day, my supervisor (a paralegal with at least eight other cases driving her crazy) sat me down in front of a Concordance database with a 100,000+ patents and patent file histories. “Code these,” she said. I learned that “coding”, for the purposes of this exercise, meant manually typing the inventor’s name, the title of the patent, the assignee, the file date, and other objective data for each document. I worked on that project – and only that project – for at least the first six months of my job. After a week or so, time began to blur.
What I know, in retrospect and with absolutely certainty, is that as time began to blur, so did my judgment. So did my attention to detail. If you could tell me that I did not make at least one mistake a day – one inconsistent spelling, one reversed day and month, one incorrectly spaced title – I frankly would need to see your evidence. I would not believe it. The human mind is trainable but it is not a machine.
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