Friday, March 30, 2007


On Wednesday I drove down to Santa Clara U for a Bay Area Blawgers gathering (Eric Goldman's recap here. The group comprised lawyers, law students, guys from Google and Sun Micro, law professors, blawg readers.

One of the themes I saw come up again and again was the power of blogs to connect lawyers to civilians. So many lawyers expressed their pleasure at giving information to people who couldn't afford or couldn't interpret the law themselves.

Humor highlight, for me anyway: A guy from EFF asked the group if anyone had received DMCA take-down requests for content on their site. The guy from Google grinned sheepishly and raised his hand. (Viacom...)

Talking about why he had come to this meeting, an attorney said, "I read a lot of blogs, and I wanted to see what bloggers look like!" Our host responded, "Sorry to disappoint you...."

A few years ago when I started blog-reading, I got so much flack from my friends for the geek-factor. Blogging has definitely become more main stream (MySpace has a blogging function). Nevertheless, when I told a buddy of mine (28 years old) where I was headed, he smirked.

When he saw me on IM a little while later, he wrote, "I thought you were at the geek fest?"
"I am," I replied.
"Of course. On your laptop at the geek fest."

Of course!

Saturday, March 24, 2007


Another quote from my fave judge, Judge Kozinski of the 9th Circuit:

"NetGate [an ISP] then took what might be described as the 'Baskin-Robbins' approach to subpoena compliance and offered defendants a 'free sample' consisting of 339 [email] messages." (From Theofel v. Farey-Jones, 359 F.3d 1066.)

Marvelous analogizing.

Friday, March 23, 2007


Unrelated side note:
The other night as I drove home, I found myself behind a silver Mercedes bearing a vanity plate with "GAVIN" on it. After chasing him a few minutes, I finally pulled up along side. I swear it was Gavin, our Mayor of San Francisco.

I'm trying to determine if Gavin has a vanity plate with his name on it. Who else?

FalseyTake-Down Requests

Last night I went to a bar where EFF's client Jeff Diehl threw a party. (They achieved an embarrassingly successful settlement against a man who filed fake DMCA take-down requests against Diehl's website. Full release here.)

I didn't see the whole event, but I did witness an extremely odd performance by a guy sporting what he dubbed a "thimbletron." Gloves with thimbles on the tips of his fingers - touching his be-thimbled thumb to another finger altered, stopped, or started a music soundtrack. (I overheard someone say, "This guy will probably be an EFF client soon.")

In other news, EFF is also suing Viacom on behalf of and Brave New Films. Viacom filed a take-down against a film spoof on GooTube. EFF argues the film is a fair use parody of the Colbert Report.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007


I accept!

I got an offer from the organization I want to work for. I'm effing thrilled. Elated. All that. Went and celebrated with my mentor from San Jose. He's been great...connecting me to people, inviting me to big firm events like Tuesday night in Palo Alto. But whatever about all that - he believed in me. That was enough. That was what I needed. My boy in LA, he believed in me too. Gave me the confidence to go into this interview with the right attitude. Believing in myself, knowing I am exactly the kind of student who should be working at a place like this. My mind so in line with their mission, lacking only the refinement of experience.

Obviously it's unpaid (all the good internships are)...anybody have any funding ideas? I checked PSLawNet, but the only applicable grants deadlined earlier this month.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Right Side of Everything IP

I had a big interview today for a rad nonprofit that I won't name for fear of...jinxing myself. This entity litigates on the right side of everything IP. It went well; I'd heard horror stories from 2 friends who interviewed there. They did sit me in a room with two attorneys and ask me issue questions, but I wasn't intimidated because I'm half-drowning in the issue. Yeah, you guessed it: I dropped that I'm writing a paper on Grokster and the convo went smoothly from there. At the start I felt a little nervous. When one attorney innocently asked me what I thought about Grokster, I launched into a discussion on the impact of inducement on contributory and vicarious liability as causes of action, thick with "substantial noninfringing use."

I told them honestly that I have a few more interviews in the next two weeks, but that I wanted to work for them the most. They'll let me know in a week.

Oh, and the kicker is that rumor has it they've never hired a legal intern from my school before.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Light Bulb

It's Saturday night, I know. But I'm working on the 25-page paper on Grokster (gotta present on it on Tuesday). Luckily I checked EFF's site (the Electronic Frontier Foundation) and felt relief that someone has completely solved the P2P file-sharing problem. Eventually I will recover from the marvelousness of it and try to pick out some flaws, but for now I'm blinded by the light:

Charge people $5 a month to download as much DRM-free music as they want, using any P2P apps or websites they want. EFF suggests that broadband providers could tack the $5 onto monthly payments. As long as the price is low, people will pay for the peace of mind and convenience. They note that the film industry first sold VHS movies for $90 until learning that a lower price cuts down on piracy. The juicy details: Voluntary Collective Licensing.

Five dollars looks right too, considering that Peter Jenner said $50 per year is "how much each music fan who buys music would have to pay in order for access to every song ever recorded while maintaining or increasing music sales." Full entry from Wired. I wonder how much I spend on iTunes a month...

Couldn't the film industry do the same thing? $10 a month... Software? $15 a month... Full text books online? $20 a month... A class-based online world, where only the wealthy can afford total information access? As long as you can pick-n-choose your services, or choose to pay for a single product, the price would remain reasonable. People could still burn CDs, but I think the convenience might outweigh it. Anything's better than what copyright holders are getting now, right?

Thoughts on this? What would the collective licensing future look like?

Two Bites

Lessig in his NY Times op-ed on the YouTube suit:

"The Grokster case thus sent a clear message to lawyers everywhere: You get two bites at the copyright policy-making apple, one in Congress and one in the courts. But in Congress, you need hundreds of votes. In the courts, you need just five."

Full Article

Friday, March 16, 2007

Jolly Green Giant

The defendant was a respected scientist who convinced his doctor that he needed 10's of thousands of controlled substances for his "experiments." He said he planned to inject the substances into vegetables so the greens would be relaxed, and absorb more nutrients. From Judge Easterbrook of the 7th Circuit:

"[The scientist] says the vegetables took their medicine. The US Attorney believes that the drugs were sold on the black market and turned at least one person into a vegetable."

(The court found prior bad acts - drug dealing - inadmissible because of the prejudicial effect.)

US v. Beasley, 809 F2d 1273 (7th Cir. 1987).

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Viacom v. YouTube! Viacom v. YouTube!

There's this excited uproar in all my classes (vast majority being IP courses) about Viacom suing YouTube. In Copyright, my prof read from Viacom's complaint, and I confess I was squirming and sputtering in my seat with responses. I'm writing my paper on the inducement theory after Grokster, as I mentioned, and this is awesomely exciting because I know what they're talking about. (Imagine that.) And to see how the DMCA performs! So exciting. My prof represents Metallica, which is all the information you need to know her position.

"How many of you think Viacom should win this suit?" She asked our class of about 35 kids.

Not one person raised their hand.

I concede it wasn't an entirely reliable survey. Copyright is a three hour class, on Thursday night, and it was almost 9 PM. While a lot of us agreed that the DMCA safe harbor should protect YouTube, I think the rest just love their YouTube. Outcome-determinative.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Evidence on the Beach

Reading week prequel - I mean Spring break officially ended, and the weather was phenomenal today for the occasion. Being able to walk around outside in San Francisco in a tank-top is rare indeed.

I biked down to Ocean Beach and - yes, I defy the nature of law - I studied my Evidence outline. (::nod:: to Lawyerlike). For a minute there I even understood the difference between Admissions and Declarations Against Interest. Declarations are when the party actually says it, and Admissions are when they adopt a belief in the statement? Damn, almost had it.

The job search continues, and my leads are solidifying. I could tell you about them, but I'd have to kill you. Let me just say I'm pursuing an internship with a woman who once represented the estate of Jimi Hendrix. Nuff said, right?

I've written 12 pages of my research paper; and you can see my blood in the lines of type to prove it. I need 25 pages. I'm irked that we have to use endnotes, instead of footnotes, and that the endnote pages don't count towards the 25 pages. Brutal! I'm writing about the post-Grokster world of P2P file-sharing applications (using a theory of inducement to find secondary copyright infringement). Insights welcome.

Monday, March 05, 2007


Spring "Break"

This whole Spring Break thing is such a farce. It's not a break, it's a chance to catch up on your reading and find a job. I don't know any fellow law student actually going on vacation. In fact, today is the first Monday of our break week, and two of my friends have already confessed to spending the day in the library.

It's a law of nature that you can't get any work done at the beach. I've been poolside in LA, but I too have been doing school work. (Research for a paper.) Admittedly interspersed with 1) sending a slightly-obnoxious, don't-you-wish-you-were-here webcam photo (see above) to a Canadian blawg buddy, 2) working, successfully, on my first burn of the season, and 3) fighting with a 5 Mbps wireless connection snagged from the neighbors.

I'm heading back to the Bay Area tomorrow before I become persuaded that I'm on vacation.


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