Television

(c) Image by Juri H. Chinchilla.

On today’s date in 1998, the series finale of “Seinfeld” aired to an estimated 76 million viewers. “Seinfeld” lasted nine seasons, ranking in the top three of the Nielsen ratings for its last five, and is widely considered one of the greatest television shows of all time. Its success continues in syndication. Post-finale, “Seinfeld” has generated $3.1 billion in revenues for its creators and rights holders. This week, On Remand looks back at the show about nothing everything, a lawsuit about the origin of the character George Costanza, and cases that echo “Seinfeld” plots….

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Game of Thrones always touches on interesting legal issues. For instance, when the government’s dragons charbroil your flock of goats, you can totally recover damages under the common law theory of “trover.” Mhysa isn’t being nice, she just has a competent understanding of tort law.

Of far more importance to the Westerosi justice system is the idea of “trial by combat.” Apparently, any accused person can claim this “right,” and have champions fight on their behalf to determine their legal fate.

Trial by combat isn’t a mere invention of George R.R. Martin or other fantasy writers who find stabbing drama to be more interesting than “courtroom drama.” Trial by “battle” was a remedy under English common law, and by extension American common law.

And you know what, it was a pretty good idea! Not necessarily in the way it’s portrayed by HBO, but historical, real-world trial by battle was actually a fairly just and smart way of handling certain disputes…

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* Abraham Lincoln was a harder working lawyer than you are. [Abraham Lincoln's Almanac Trial]

* Quentin Tarantino has given up the ghost and dropped his suit against Gawker over The Hateful Eight. [The Escapist]

* The people who made stupid toe shoes have settled a big class action. [Deadspin]

* Judge Posner and Justice Scalia haven’t had a public fight in a while. So this lawyer is trying to stir one up. Thanks, buddy! [Legal Times]

* Colorado’s energy industry is suing municipalities creating a patchwork of fracking regulation. As the author notes, “for a state that has boldly snubbed federal law on marijuana policy, such arguments sound a bit hollow.” [Breaking Energy]

* Stop calling on Justice Ginsburg to retire… it’s probably too late for Obama to nominate a replacement anyway. [New Republic]

* Lawyer writes threatening letter to customer who wrote a negative review on Amazon. [Ars Technica]

* Our tipster put it best, “New Show on Bravo: ‘Lowering the NJ Bar.’” [The Star-Ledger]

* A young solicitor known as Mr. Kelly was inspired to release a rap album about how much he hated his training job at a top 10 global firm. His video after the jump…. [Legal Cheek]

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* Are you a judge or former judge interested in being on television? All you have to do is move into some quasi-Survivor commune. Who would be the best jurist to send out there? I’d say Thomas so he can just stare at everyone silently and offer no assistance. [LawSites Blog]

* Law students fight to get an immigrant lawyer admitted to the bar over 100 years later. Just what California needs. Another lawyer. [UC Davis News & Information]

* Speaking of California needing more lawyers, California law schools are reaching out to community colleges to find students who saved on their undergraduate education and might be willing to start taking on some serious debt. [SF Gate]

* The State of Texas has intervened in a legal brawl between two breweries over the use of the Alamo. One more liberal government trying to take over the free market. [Brewery Law Blog]

* Professor John Banzhaf has an interesting suggestion regarding the death penalty: why are we still using injections anyway? [PR Log]

* Most people shouldn’t sue just because they can: a commentary on Alex Rich’s recent piece. [Law and More]

* More feedback on the ATL Top 50. [Most Strongly Supported]

* “Tacoma needs a law school like I need a hole in the head.” Exactly. [Post Defiance]

* The South Carolina Commission on Higher Education took a big step toward invalidating their own name by approving the sale of Charleston to Infilaw. By the way for comedy’s sake, attached below is a screenshot of the Google News alert I got on this story…. [The State]

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Q: You can’t just have a bunch of clients with preexisting intentions to kill someone?

A: Yeah, that would certainly make things more risky for the firm.

– An exchange between Above the Law columnist Carolyn Elefant and Daily Show correspondent Jordan Klepper, in a segment about the trend of small law firms offering “self-defense retainer plans” for gun owners.

(Read more and watch the full, funny clip, after the jump.)

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When you go on national television you just hope the producers are there to help you look your best.

Especially if it’s a pre-taped segment. Meaning they set it up, chose the shot, taped it, edited it, and then chose to put it on TV — leaving a whole bunch of last clear chances to fix anything that undermines your credibility.

For this professor, the producers probably could have done him some favors.

Dropping the extreme close-up and telling him to blink would have been good starts.

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Andi Dorfman

First we heard that Bachelor contestant and now Bachelorette Andi Dorfman, a prosecutor at the Fulton County District Attorney’s Office, left her job to star on The Bachelorette.  That would not be too offensive except that she left mid-murder trial, leaving her coworkers high and dry.  Though, she was apparently assisting on the trial, so there was likely another district attorney to take over the reins.  Still, her boss called the leave “highly unusual,” and it seems to be a disservice to the public for a prosecutor to leave in the middle of a murder trial for a TV show.

Now, there is word that attorney and former Bachelorette contestant Craig Robinson allegedly left his client high and dry to star on the show.  The case was your run-of-the-mill slip-and-fall matter.  Robinson apparently left for the TV show just before the case was to go to trial, resulting in a dismissal of the case…

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Porsha Williams

At the Real Housewives of Atlanta reunion that aired Sunday night, cast member Porsha Williams laid the smackdown on cast member Kenya Moore.  At issue was that Moore accused Williams of cheating on her husband, NFL superstar Kordell Stewart.

Moore called 911 from the reunion, though Williams was not arrested on the set.  Instead, an arrest warrant issued and Williams voluntarily had herself booked on a misdemeanor assault warrant and was released on $2,000 bail…

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “The Real Housewives Of Atlanta Fight”

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….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “The Cost Of Permission Culture: Or Why Netflix Streaming Library Sucks Compared To Its DVD Library”

* 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]

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