Television

Why can’t movie-streaming sites deliver the selection of movies that customers obviously want? This was the question posed by a recent New York Times column, comparing undersupplied services like Netflix with unauthorized platforms like Popcorn Time. The answer, the Times explains, is windowing—the industry practice of selling exclusivity periods to certain markets and platforms, with the result of staggered launches.

But the Times fails to ask a more fundamental question: why do streaming sites have to listen to Hollywood’s windowing demands in the first place? After all, while it’s clear why the studios like windowing—they can sell the same rights over and over once the promised exclusivity periods expire—it doesn’t seem like a very good deal for users. Those users get access to a smaller selection, higher prices, and fewer choices between platforms and services. It should be astonishing that a company that once had to maintain and transport a staggering inventory of fragile plastic discs is able to offer less when its marginal cost dropped to near zero.

The problem is that, unlike earlier movie-rental options, streaming rights fall fundamentally within a permission culture….

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* There’s a guy called the “Good-Grammar Bandit” out there and he’s a high priority target of the FBI? Allow me to take this opportunity to tell the FBI their doing a good job. [Lowering the Bar]

* Some folks have asked me incredulously about yesterday’s Non-Sequiturs item about Louisiana and Oregon allowing convictions with non-unanimous juries. So here’s some background on how that came to be. [Constitutional Accountability Center]

* Speaking of Louisiana, a lawyer has filed suit against Morris Bart, a major personal injury law firm, for unpaid wages. From what we’re hearing this may be the tip of the iceberg for these sorts of allegations — lots of people have been leaving the firm recently and that’s a recipe for complaints going both ways. [Louisiana Record]

* Florida may not regulate real guns any time soon, but one 11th Circuit judge is ready to regulate the hell out of shotgun pleadings! [South Florida Lawyers Blog]

* Lawyers are bad at social media. They’re bad at social reality, why did we expect them to be good at social virtuality? [CMS Wire]

* ADA’s father was kidnapped (and recovered). Yikes. [WRAL]

* A follow-up on our prior Sriracha lawsuit coverage. [USA Today]

* A look at the legal issues in the most recent episode of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. If you saw it (and Captain America to the extent they are intertwined), you know there were some heavy legal issues at play. [Legal Geeks]

Cinemax is a premium cable network with only two missions: to show all the third-rate movies in HBO’s catalog that HBO would never want associated with the flagship network[1] and to show softcore porn. That’s it. It has no other role.

Which is why it’s curious that an actress who signed on to play a part in a Cinemax TV series was so shocked to learn that they actually wanted her to take her clothes off and simulate sex acts while embroiled in what — I’m guessing — is some plothole-ridden murder mystery.

Anyway, she was shocked, and since this is ‘Murica, she sued and then Cinemax and its parent entities sued back with the help of a certain Biglaw firm…

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Actress Shocked — Shocked! — To Learn Skinemax Wanted Her To Do Softcore Porn”

Aasif Mandvi accepting his Justice in Action Award last night at the AALDEF 40th anniversary celebration.

Last night, I had the privilege and pleasure of attending the 40th anniversary celebration of the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund (AALDEF). Forty years is a remarkable milestone, so everyone was in a celebratory spirit. Here’s my account of the evening, which also honored several leaders within the Asian-American community….

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Judge Joe Brown

Judge Joe Brown went nuts according to TMZ after he appeared in juvenile court for a case that the clerk couldn’t find. On a personal note, it is a little frustrating when you are in court on a case that is on the calendar, that your notes say is on the calendar, your client is there, and the clerk says, “We can’t find the file.” You have to wait around for a break whereupon the clerk looks for the file and hopefully finds it.

That said, I’ve never lost my marbles over something like this. He must have been having a bad day, or maybe the pressure of being a has-been TV court judge finally got to him…

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Judge Joe Brown In The Pokey?”

Robert S. Mueller III

* Congratulations to WilmerHale on landing former FBI director Robert Mueller, and congratulations to Mueller on his move (a homecoming of sorts; he was once a partner at Hale & Dorr, the “Hale” in “WilmerHale”). [DealBook / New York Times]

* A former television judge gets held in real-life contempt. [Memphis Commercial Appeal]

* In the wake of the Dewey & LeBoeuf criminal charges, Jean O’Grady poses an interesting question: should law firms have whistleblower programs? [Dewey B Strategic]

* “Have a Better Legal Career by Being Less of a Lawyer.” [Medium]

* This story of losing a client might contain lessons for lawyers. [BigLawRebel]

* As we previously mentioned, the SCOTUS-themed play Arguendo is coming to D.C., and there’s a discount code for ATL readers: WMATL, good for 15% off on previews, Friday nights, Saturday matinees, and Sunday evenings. Enjoy! [Woolly Mammoth]

* In case you missed our Attorney@Blog conference, our friends at wireLawyer were on hand to document the proceedings. Video after the jump….

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The most polarizing figure in the field of syndicated trivia programming watched over a microwaved TV dinner is Arthur Chu. Chu, a 30-year-old insurance analyst, has lit up his competition on Jeopardy since late January. Chu rejected the tried-and-true method of running categories from top to bottom — giving the viewer a pleasurable run of questions with an increasing level of difficulty — to employ game theory in a mad hunt for Daily Doubles. Some hated him. Some Jeopardy experts defended him. Most of us really didn’t care that much over the media-manufactured controversy.

For a bit it seemed the only things capable of halting his reign of terror were Jeopardy’s prescheduled tournaments, which did put the champ on ice for a few weeks.

But last night, a law student put Chu down. Sure, that’s impressive, but could she win the next ATL Trivia Night? (It will be in D.C. on Wednesday, April 2; RSVP here.)

So what law school boasts a Jeopardy champ?

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An ethics scandal is one thing. A sex scandal is another. The combination is amazing. That’s what happened when a lawyer was accused of billing a client $900 for a number of sexual encounters after starting up an affair with her. A guy’s gotta get paid.

This was the story of Thomas Lowe, a Minnesota attorney who got his Arnie Becker on by hooking up with a woman he was representing in a divorce and billing her, resulting in his indefinite suspension.

All this went down last year, but now — out of nowhere — we have a response from Thomas Lowe….

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Teresa and Joe Giudice

Teresa and Joe Giudice, famous for their roles on the Real Housewives of New Jersey, have entered guilty pleas in their federal bank fraud case.  Media outlets are reporting that Teresa faces 21 to 27 months and Joe is facing 37 to 46 months.

The plea agreement reached is not one with a sentence specified.  In reality, the sentencing range is a suggested sentence under the guidelines; the court is free to sentence them up to the maximum of 50 years. Of course, it is highly unlikely that either Joe or Teresa would be sentenced to 50 years.  My prediction is that Teresa gets probation and Joe gets two to three years.

But Joe has a bigger problem….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “‘Real Housewives’ Stars Teresa And Joe Giudice Take A Plea; Will Joe Be Deported?”

19 Recordings, the entity that enters into record deals with the recording artists who win American Idol, has sued Sony Music for allegedly stealing millions of dollars after underpaying the company in terms of royalties. The 33-page complaint, available after the jump, opens with a list of American Idol success stories and then documents in detail how Sony Music reportedly stole millions from them. 

According to the suit, Sony misclassified streaming music sales to pay 19 Recordings less than what the company was owed.  Another claim is that Sony was supposed to obtain approval from 19 Recordings after a certain ceiling cost for advertising was reached, but Sony failed to seek that approval before spending 19 Recordings’ royalties without its consent. The remaining allegations similarly claimed underpayment for royalties, improper passing of expenses on 19 Recordings, not allowing 19 Recordings to audit all of Sony’s books, and claims related to royalties for individual artists.

Interestingly, 19 Recordings filed in federal court. 19 Recordings is the little guy in this action — with the backing of name brand stars — and it seems that the company might fare better in state court.  The suit comes just after Season 13 of the show premiered on Fox.  The suit seeks $7 million in damages and $3 million in prejudgment interest.

Keep reading to see the complaint…

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