United Kingdom / Great Britain

The war on internet piracy currently being waged by entertainment industry lobbyists the U.S. Justice Department seriously puts me in an ideological bind. On one hand, I am a creative person. I understand the need for content creators to be compensated for their work. Whether that means movie producers, musicians, or journalists, the internet has deeply screwed with the compensation structure for “artists.”

On the other hand, that should not be the internet’s problem. The entertainment industry needs to figure out a way to update its outdated business model. Going after every 23-year-old with a few personal servers and high-speed internet is never going to fix the piracy problem.

But that would take a lot of actual work and planning and compromise. In the meantime, it’s business as usual. And that means extraditing a 23-year-old software engineering student from the U.K. who ran the website TVShack, a site which linked to streaming video files.

The kid has never been to the U.S. He did not even break any British laws, but OMG piracy, and woe to all who get caught anywhere near the crosshairs of the American entertainment industry….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Since When Is Merely Linking to Copyrighted Content an Extraditable Offense?”

Be careful what you write when you’re young and idealistic.

In 2003, David Wolfe, a lawyer who works alongside Cherie Blair at top London human rights shop Matrix Chambers, decided he was unhappy with the way the British legal hierarchy works. So he co-signed an open letter criticising the Queen’s Counsel (QC) system –- a process that sees a handful of barristers (British trial lawyers) promoted to the elite QC rank each year, enabling them to charge clients more money. “The QC system cannot be justified as being in the public interest or promoting competition,” the letter stated.

Nine years on, and last week Wolfe found himself made up to QC — an honour which, despite the name, involves no input from the Queen or her family members. He didn’t decline. Indeed, all QCs have to actively apply in order to gain the title. Unfortunately for Wolfe, someone mentioned his youthful letter to RollOnFriday, a widely read U.K. legal blog.

When contacted about the letter, Wolfe responded….

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With Murdoch gone, British media can return to doing what it does best.

* A federal judge tossed out a law requiring tobacco companies to put graphic warning labels on cigarette packages. If paying $7 a pack doesn’t stop you from buying smokes, I don’t think nasty photos will either. [CNN]

* SCOTUS won’t deal with Arizona’s controversial immigration law for a couple months, but the Eleventh Circuit will hear oral arguments about Alabama’s even stricter law today. But why would you immigrate to Alabama, of all places? Thomson Reuters News & Insight]

* The Seventh Circuit ruled that police can search a cellphone for its number without a warrant. Judge Richard Posner compared it to law enforcement’s ability to open a pocket diary and copy the owner’s address. The bigger question is: do drug dealers keep diaries? [Wall Street Journal]

* James Murdoch, the News Corp. heir apparent, has resigned in the wake of the News of the World scandal and related lawsuits. Now everyone can just go back to reading British tabloids for the Page Three Girls. [Los Angeles Times]

* RIP Lynn D. “Buck” Compton, the prosecutor who secured a conviction of Robert F. Kennedy’s assassin, and the Army paratrooper portrayed in the book and HBO miniseries “Band of Brothers.” [Washington Post]


Last week Britain was treated to the surreal sight of a junior lawyer collecting a lifetime achievement award for his services to pop music. Dave Rowntree, drummer in the band Blur — honoured with a lifetime achievement award at Wednesday’s BRIT awards — now spends his days working as a trainee lawyer at London corporate firm Kingsley Napley, and plays music part-time. Judging by his constant fiddling with his Blackberry during the awards ceremony, Rowntree seems to have got into the spirit of Biglaw.

The lure of the legal profession hangs heavily over celebrities in Britain….

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Working as a process server is a tough job. It might be one of the few modern professions where “don’t shoot the messenger” still has literal meaning. Seth Rogen made it look kind of cool in Pineapple Express, and he got to wear disguises. But that movie wasn’t exactly realistic.

But what if there was a new, technologically savvy way to serve hard-to-access litigants? Some sort of online community that everyone was a part of? Oh wait, we have that. It’s called Facebook.

::Light bulb goes on::

At least, that’s what a judge in England was thinking on Tuesday when he ruled that a defendant in a commercial dispute could be served via Facebook. The judge gets points for forward thinking, but at the same time I’m not sure the plan was too well thought-out…

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Stephanie Adams

* Vedel Browne, the man charged with robbing Justice Stephen Breyer, will enter a plea of not guilty. Why turn yourself in and then claim innocence? That makes no sense, mon. [Washington Post]

* Guess which Biglaw firms helped to broker the $173B Greek debt deal? Cleary Gottlieb, Allen & Overy, and White & Case. It’s too bad they’re going to get paid in gyros. [Am Law Daily]

* England has approved of the use of Facebook for service of legal documents. If the files went to “Other” messages, the defendant can probably claim ineffective service of process. [Associated Press]

* A Florida firm is suing the BBB after receiving a grade of “F.” It’s not the firm’s fault its clients complain — they’re just too dumb to “understand legal complexities.” [Orlando Sentinel]

* Former Playboy Playmate Stephanie Adams won a $1.2M jury award in her excessive force case against the NYPD. You don’t drop a woman with implants to the ground, she could pop. [New York Daily News]

Last week, the Duchess of Cornwall Camilla Parker-Bowles became an honorary barrister (British for trial lawyer). Upon receiving the award in a ceremony at Gray’s Inn — one of the quasi-law schools (known collectively as the Inns of Court) which help train up barristers — the Mon Fertile Finishing School alumnus said: “I think it’s very important to keep everything sort of ticking.”

The Duchess follows in the footsteps of her husband, Prince Charles, and her step son, William Saviour of the Falkland Islands, in attaining elite legal status. Charles was called to the Bar, also at Gray’s Inn, in 1975, while William was made an honorary barrister by another Inn of Court, Middle Temple, in 2009. Guided by Prince Harry’s on-off girlfriend Chelsy Davy — a real lawyer at Allen & Overy –- the group are expected to team up to form Windsors LLP.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Letter From London: Camilla Launches Windsors LLP”

* Chris Christie, you’re making me ashamed to be a Jersey girl. Please allow our state be known for something besides the disgrace that is the Jersey Shore. Just sign the damn bill. [New York Times]

* A Biglaw firm that’s got some Seoul: Clifford Chance is the first firm from the United Kingdom — and the first foreign firm — to file a formal application to open an office in South Korea. [American Lawyer]

* Holland & Knight scored a half-million dollar contract to negotiate a deal for a new Massachusetts casino. Instead of giving out spring bonuses, the firm threw a big party to celebrate. [Boston Herald]

* “I am convinced that [he] was given an intentionally defective bomb . . . to stage a false terrorist attack.” This is what a Cooley Law grad said during the Underwear Bomber’s sentencing hearing. Figures. [ABC News]

* 32 law schools provided Law School Transparency with their NALP reports for the class of 2010. Remember when just one school was willing to provide data, and then reneged? [Thomson Reuters News & Insight]

It was just another day at Shearman & Sterling. Daniel England, a British trainee lawyer based out of the firm’s Singapore office, took a break from whatever thrilling piece of work he was doing to email his friends about their forthcoming vacation in Dubai.

Being a rules-obsessed lawyer, he included a list of “do’s and don’ts” for the group — two of whom work in London’s financial district, the City — to follow on the trip. A few days later, the poor fellow found the email plastered across the British press.

“‘Cheating on our girls is allowed… We must boast about how rich we are': City boys are ruled offside after rugby tour ‘rules’ email goes viral,” bellowed the Daily Mail on Thursday.

“For four young City high-fliers, the adage ‘what goes on tour, stays on tour’ has unravelled after a private email with their ‘tour rules’ went viral,” crowed The Telegraph.

Here are those tour rules…

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Letter from London: Shearman Lawyer in ‘Spit-Roast’ Email Shame”

Sidney Spies

* Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg thinks Roe v. Wade was a mistimed ruling, saying things would be different today if the court had been more “restrained.” Well, wire hanger sales would be up, that’s for sure. [CBS News]

* Bait and switch of the day: personal injury firms are enticing plaintiffs to sue with promises of free iPads, but they may never see them. Blame England for this one. At least it’s not happening in America… yet. [Daily Mail]

* Netflix is settling its nationwide video privacy lawsuit for $9M. It’s embarrassing enough that you know you watched the Twilight saga so many times. Netflix doesn’t need to keep your shame on record. [paidContent]

* Remember Sidney Spies, the sexy First Amendment freedom fighter? Her final yearbook photo submission was rejected, and now her family wants to file a complaint — because nobody’s gonna tell their daughter that she can’t look like a skank. [ABC News]

* Roger Aaron, one of Skadden’s most prominent mergers-and-acquisitions partners, RIP. [WSJ Law Blog]

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