Public Domain

In the mists of the ancient past, the American legal profession agreed to cede responsibility for developing a consistent citation method to the most anal-retentive of law school gunners determined to lord their mastery of unnecessary commas over people. Ultimately, the whole thing is an exercise in hazing law students. Torturing students over questions of underlining or italics is kind of a lame hazing ritual, but long gone are the days when a young Louis Brandeis was dared by ne’er-do-well Harvard 3Ls to head down to the local theater and yell “Fire!”

But the Bluebook is also a cash cow because every lawyer needs to own a copy that they’ll promptly ignore because in the real world, everyone blindly trusts their online research database to get it right and barring that, no one much cares about the minutiae of the Bluebook as long as everyone can easily find the source. Besides, you can get close enough for government work with the outdated ratty copy you were issued in law school. Very few judges are going to flip out if you signal “See” where you could just insert the cite.

Now that cash cow is in jeopardy, because one law professor thinks he can get everyone a free copy of the Stickler’s Bible. How, you ask?

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Is The Bluebook About To Be Killed Off?”

We’ve written plenty of times about the importance of the public domain around here, and one of the biggest beneficiaries of the public domain has been Disney, a company which has regularly mined the public domain for the stories it then recreates and copyrights. Of course, somewhat depressingly, Disney also has been one of the most extreme players in keeping anything new out of the public domain, as pointed out by Tom Bell’s excellent “mickey mouse curve” showing how Disney has sought to push out the term of copyrights every time Mickey Mouse gets near the public domain.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Crowdsourcing A List Of How Disney Uses The Public Domain”

* Marshall University is no longer a defendant in a case about a student shooting bottle rockets out of his anus. So from now on your sum total knowledge of the Thundering Herd involves the movie We Are Marshall and “shooting bottle rockets out of anuses.” [West Virginia Record]

* Documentary filmmaker files suit seeking declaratory judgment that “Happy Birthday to You” is in the public domain. Why hasn’t everyone just accepted Larry Lessig’s new birthday song? [New York Times]

* Men tend to think professional dress is one part white/blue shirt and one part brown/black/navy slacks. There’s more to it than that. Well, if you want to look good at all, there’s more to it than that. [Corporette]

* Market realities catch up with law school plans. Pour a little out for the proposed Arlington Law School. [ARL Now]

* Rough legal question: Should the U.S. refuse to send a child to a country employing Islamic family law? [Volokh Conspiracy]

* A federal judge ordered HHS to give a little girl a lung transplant. Popehat wonders who lost out on a transplant in this exchange. I’m wondering why there aren’t more lung donors out there. [Popehat]


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]