A good chunk of America was Googling “class action” this weekend thanks to Facebook. Millions of the site’s users received an email in the last few days with the subject “Re: LEGAL NOTICE OF SETTLEMENT OF CLASS ACTION.” Those that didn’t immediately delete it as spam discovered they’re entitled to up to $10 from the social networking giant for putting them in “Sponsored Story” ads. That’s when Facebook takes something you Liked or a link you posted and uses it in an ad aimed at your friends. (So, word to the wise, never ever post a link on Facebook to a 55-gallon gallon drum of sex lube.)
Fraley v. Facebook, the class action lawsuit that could make a bunch of Facebook users a little richer and a bunch of class action lawyers (led by Robert Arns) a lot richer, was filed in California in 2011 by an enterprising group of plaintiffs led by seamstress Angel Fraley, shortly after “Sponsored Stories” launched. They claimed the company had violated the law by using their names and likenesses in ads without their permission and without paying them. (Lead plaintiff Fraley later dropped out of the suit citing Facebook lawyers’ aggressive tactics, which basically consisted of digging up embarrassing material about her from her profile page.)
Facebook and the plaintiffs settled the suit in December to the tune of $20 million. That $20 million is covering the class action lawyers’ fees ($7.5 million plus expenses), with the rest either being divvied up among approximately 125 million presumably-aggrieved Facebook users who appeared in Sponsored Stories ads, or, if the demand is too great, divided by a bunch of non-profits that work on privacy issues. If the amount of money divided by the number of claimants comes out to less than $4.99 each, the money goes to the non-profits, who surely must be in the midst of planning a major “Rock The Claim” campaign. Unfortunately, I can’t help out.
* Let me just say that societies that fully utilize the talents of women have an inherent advantage over the ones that don’t. With one rules change, we now have twice as many potential combat soldiers. Glory. [Daily Beast]
* A “Good Samaritan” gun owner defended a little boy from pit bulls by shooting at the dogs who were mauling the little boy. Look, as a dad, can I just say that if you see some pit bulls attacking my son, please help… by running at the pit bulls and saying, “Git, git away from that boy,” not by shooting a freaking hand cannon towards my child! [Cato @ Liberty / Cato Institute]
* Okay, who has standing to sue for a violation of the 27th Amendment? Who? I want this to happen. Come on, constitutional scholars. Make it happen. Let’s see who really cares about “all” the amendments, not just the ones that allow people to shoot each other. [The Note / ABC News]
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.
[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).
* Colin Powell continues his tradition of saying the right things only when he has no power to do anything about it. [CNN]
* A new poll shows Americans think it’s more “morally acceptable” to kill criminals than to love somebody of the same sex. After I saw that poll, I turned to Jesus and said, “Now your failure is complete.” [Atlantic]
* Kashmir Hill was on the Kojo show talking about the Dharun Ravi sentence. Sure, like she’s never been taped having a gay hook-up. [The Kojo Show]
* Black people who wear hoodies get shot to death, and white people who wear hoodies don’t live up to their IPO expectations. What a lovely post-racial world some people seem to be living in. [Dealbreaker]
* Here come the men in black. Won’t let you remember. Here come the… what are you doing? Decapitate him? Come on, he’s not an alien, you get that we just saw a movie, AAAAHHHHHHHH NOOOOOOO. [New York Daily News]
Elie wasn't the only ATL writer who dressed as a pirate this year.
Unfortunately, ATL editor emeritus Kashmir Hill has never been molested. But I think she’s getting rogered-but-good by her landlord.
Kash, who recently moved to D.C., sent us pictures of her Halloween party this year because, well, I asked, and one of the cool things about my job is that I can generally demand that women send in pictures of themselves without it sounding too creepy.
She had a pirate-themed party. But when she showed me why she went with that theme, my lawyer brain kicked in and instead of a suggestively dressed Kash, I saw a potential lawsuit in the making.
Since ATL readers have been so helpful with my own landlord/tenant issues, I thought you guys might be able to provide Kash with some unsolicited advice.
And yes, I’ll show you her Halloween costume in the bargain….
As we mentioned in Friday’s Non-Sequiturs, the legal team of Dharun Ravi has moved to dismiss the criminal charges against Ravi stemming from the suicide of Tyler Clementi. As many of you know, Clementi committed suicide after Ravi streamed video of Clementi hooking up with another guy.
Lawyers to Dharun Ravi discovered comments from Clementi suggesting that Clementi was concerned about his parents’ reaction to his sexual orientation. Other Clementi messages are getting more headlines. According to New York Magazine, Clementi “also made jokes about Ravi’s family, calling them ‘sooo indian / first gen americanish…his rents defs owna dunkin [donuts].’ In other words, typical teen asshole gossip, on both sides.”
Typical is how I’ve been describing Ravi’s behavior from the very beginning. I didn’t need the system digging into the past of a suicide victim to determine whether his roommate “caused” him to take his own life.
But this is what many people wanted. So now that we’re here, I’m wondering if people are happy….
* Should the police be able to use mobile-phone location data in order to locate a charged defendant? Kash reports on a recent decision. [Not-So Private Parts / Forbes]
* More importantly, should Bert and Ernie of Sesame Street get “gay married”? [Althouse]
* The ABA takes a lot of blame for the inadequacy of graduate employment reporting by law schools, but at least they’re taking “a step in the right direction,” according to Professor Gary Rosin. [The Faculty Lounge]
* Professor Ilya Somin: “The Decline of Men or Just the Rise of Women?” [Volokh Conspiracy]
* No need to email us that Kentucky judge’s (very funny) “tick on a fat dog,” “one legged cat in a sand box” order, regarding a case that settled, obviating the need for a trial — we covered it last month. Thanks. [Above the Law]
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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We currently have a number of active openings for associate roles at US and UK firms in HK / China, Singapore and two new in-house openings. As always, please feel free to reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org in order to get details of current openings in Asia, as well as to discuss the Asia markets in general and what we expect for openings later this year. Our Evan Jowers and Robert Kinney will be in Beijing the week of March 25 and Evan Jowers will be in Hong Kong the week of April 1, if you would like to meet them in person.
The US associate openings we have in law firms are in the usual areas of M&A, cap markets, FCPA / white collar litigation, finance, and project finance. The most urgent of our top tier (top 15 US or magic circle) law firm openings in Asia (among many other firm openings that we have in Asia) are as follows:
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• 2nd to 4th year M&A / cap markets mix associate needed in Singapore.
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