Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Barack on Net Neutrality

This I like, from BNA Internet Law News:

If elected president, Barack Obama plans to prioritize
barring broadband providers like AT&T and Comcast from
prioritizing Internet content. Affixing his signature to
federal Net neutrality rules would be high on the list
during his first year in the Oval Office, the junior senator
from Illinois said during an interactive forum Monday
afternoon with the popular contender put on by MTV and
MySpace at Coe College in Iowa.

Direct Deposit of an Intern Salary

Next semester I'm interning for a start-up company, but my friend/boss asked me to do some research for him now. I agreed as I'm ravenous for the experience.

The due date approached on my work, but he gave me more time to complete it. A series of email exchanges:

Me: "Thanks for the extra time. This statute is ridiculous. You realize there's only about 5 people in this country who understand it? And I'm not one of them...yet."

Him: "For sure. When I was at [XYZ major law firm] and I had a hairy problem, I'd always remind myself that my clients weren't paying me [high hourly rate] to figure out the easy stuff!"

Me: "Point taken, I totally agree. So, how 'bout that [high hourly rate]? Direct deposit works for me."

On a related note, the other day I noticed, for the first time, this amusing verbal play: up-start vs. start-up. Depending on how well it does...

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Go on...

I'd like to welcome a friend and classmate of mine to the world of blawging:


Go on, give him a hit!

Truly Consensual

Notes from my Legal Ethics text...

The Model Rules of Professional Conduct have loosened a bit on allowing spouses to represent opposing clients (a prohibition now allows clients to give informed consent). One reason given is that approximately half of new entrants to the bar are women, and half of female practitioners are married to attorneys!

In 1992, California became the first state to establish a rule against attorney-client sexual relationships. The ABA has since adopted a similar rule, and the comments argue that the client's emotional involvement prevents them from giving informed consent to this combination of sex with a professional relationship. The text editors ask, "Does it follow that only emotionless sex is truly consensual?"

Deborah L. Rhode and & David Luban, Legal Ethics, 4th ed. (2004).

Sunday, October 21, 2007

You learn something every day...

Booty: property necessary and indispensable for the conduct of war (eg, food, transportation, communication)

Pillage, or plunder: the taking of private property not necessary for the immediate prosecution of the war effort (eg, Marc Chagall painting taken by the Nazis).

Menzel v. List, 49 Misc. 2d 300 (NY 1966).

The plaintiffs fled their home ahead of the Nazis. The weird part is that when they returned 6 years later, the German authorities had left a receipt for the painting.

In the end, the plaintiff got her painting back, and the gallery got the present value of the work ($22,500) from the person from whom they'd bought the painting (for $4,000).

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Why blog?

Why law students should start a blog.

The link above is aimed at law students thinking about solo practice, but it's still relevant. Also, I should add that when I was interviewing for my firm, I heard through the grapevine that a partner expressed pleasure upon hearing that I had a law blog! Granted, my firm is an IP boutique in Silicon Valley with (probably) less fearful views of the internet, but still.

So go for it.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007


For Trademarks, we read a case about a hotel chain that created a "McSleep" brand of hotels, and was subsequently sued by McDonald's for infringement. The court found a likelihood of confusion by customers, who would believe that McDonald's was affiliated with the chain.

In the notes following the case, the text editors got a laugh out of me when they considered the relatedness of the products: fast food versus hotels. They wrote, "No one who would have booked a night at a McSleep Inn would have slept on the floor of the local McDonald's restaurant but for the confusion." (This is true, but I think the point is that McSleep is capitalizing on McDonald's good will.)

Later, the editors note that McDonald's has since created some hotels in Switzerland; the travel brochures describe it: "Each room is feng shui-influenced and designed in subtly matched colors creating a soothing atmosphere." The editors add wryly, "Presumably that means no large portraits of Ronald McDonald over the beds."

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

10 Reasons You Raise Your Hand in Class

Prof has a seating chart and makes mysterious marks on it when she calls on you.

You only read one case from the assignment, so you need to strike preemptively.

You didn't read any of the cases from the assignment, and Prof just asked the "Do you guys think that's fair?" question.

Prof has been begging someone to answer the question for more than 60 seconds, and he's a likable guy.

Prof has been begging someone to answer the question for more than 60 seconds, and he's getting pissed off.

If you don't answer a question, you'll nod off.

Everyone around you raised their hands, so you have to assume that Prof just asked a survey question (eg, "How many people think...?").

You had a few beers for Happy Hour before class.

The buddy sitting next to you just got cold called, and you owe him one.

You're a 2L.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Bay Area Blawgers Unite

The High Tech Law Institute at Santa Clara Law School and Six Apart are pleased to announce Bay Area Blawgers 2.0, the second gathering of legal bloggers in the Bay Area. See a recap of the first gathering. This time, we'll spend an hour in a structured discussion starting around 6:15 (see some possible discussion topics). We'll spend the rest of the time schmoozing/chit-chatting.

When: November 5, 6-8 pm.

Where: San Francisco office of Fenwick & West, 555 California Street, 12th Floor, San Francisco, CA. Directions.

Who: Everyone is welcome, but this event principally will cater to active legal bloggers. People who have indicated they plan to attend: Tsan Abrahamson, Harry Boadwee, Robert Eisenbach, Sujatha Ganesan, Cathy Gellis, Eric Goldman, Beth Grimm, Chris Hoofnagle, Kimberly Kralowec, Ethan Leib, Susan Nevelow Mart, Deborah Neville, Dana Nguyen, Bruce Nye, Jay Parkhill, Aaron Perzanowski, Jason Schultz, Peter Smith, Chris Vail, Colette Vogele and Fred von Lohmann

Cost: Admission is free, but parking is not!

CLE: This event qualifies for 1 hour of general CLE credit. Santa Clara University School of Law is a State Bar of California approved MCLE provider.

RSVPs: RSVP are ESSENTIAL for this event because of security procedures at 555 California Street. RSVP to Eric Goldman ( egoldman@gmail.com ).

Saturday, October 06, 2007

RIAA Subpoenas

What does it mean when the RIAA sends subpoenas to a University?

Here's a rundown from www.p2pnet.net.

"That a subpoena has been sent out doesn’t mean the person on the receiving end will act on it and indeed, increasing numbers of academics in the US are protesting as the labels continue to seriously disrupt classes and lessons by firing these documents at students, and by coercing school staffs into passing on the extortionate ’settlement’ letters to those whom they’re supposed to be teaching, not intimidating."

"Because the RIAA does not know the names behind the IP addresses, the letters ask the universities to deliver the notices to the proper students, rather than relying upon the ordinary legal mechanisms," says Charles Nessor, William F. Weld professor of law, Harvard Law School.

As p2pnet also reports, "By itself an IP number on a packet has only suggestive value and is not reliable evidence at all," says University of Chicago professor Mike O’Donnell.

RIAA, 1; Individual, 0

As I'm sure people have heard, the first of 26,000 law suits by the RIAA against individuals has come to a jury verdict: RIAA, 1; Individual, 0.

The jury awarded $220,000, or $9250 per song for 24 songs.

Most of the time, the RIAA convinces these individuals to settle, usually for around $3000. Jammie Thomas, this defendant, defended on the ground that the Kazaa account wasn't hers; in fact, that she didn't even have an account. Interestingly, she was convicted of making files available in a shared folder, not of actually copying them.

It's important to remember that other cases, which didn't got to a jury, have come out in favor of the individuals.

Digital Media Wire reported music company CEO Terry McBride as saying, “I bet the RIAA is going ‘yes, yes, yes,’ but I’m like ‘no!’ You can’t sue your fans one day and then ask them to come to a concert the next day. A lot of these copyright lawsuits are done in the name of the artist (by the record labels), but the artists don’t want that (kind of relationship with their fans).”

But I'm not entirely convinced; what does the RIAA have to lose? Do fans really associate the RIAA as the strong arm of their artists? I think the RIAA has taken on an identity of its own, alienated from both fans and artists. As the Electronic Frontier Foundation notes, "Millions have been paid to the RIAA, with no sign that a penny of that money has gone into the pockets of artists."

I think it's possible that the defense lawyers in these cases will eventually start winning, once they figure out the best way to try these cases in front of juries, similar to the turn of the tides in the tobacco litigation suits. From my brief and unscientific perusal of the news, Jammie Thomas has been martyred, and I think that indicates something about public opinion on P2P file sharing.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Church and State

California Maxims of Jurisprudence, on equity, seem quasi-religious to me:

Sec. 3512: One must not change his purpose the injury of another.

Sec. 3518: He who has fraudulently dispossessed himself of a thing may be treated as if he still had possession. [OJ was thinking of this one.]

Sec. 3520: No one should suffer by the act of another. [Do unto others....]

Sec. 3527 The laws helps the vigilant, before those who sleep on their rights. [God helps those....]

[This one, however, contradicts religion, I believe.]
Sec. 3530: That which does not appear to exist is to be regarded as if it did not exist.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007


Dozing during court has become such a common occurrence that some jurisdictions use a three-step analysis to determine whether sleeping constitutes ineffective assistance of counsel:

1. Did counsel sleep for repeated and/or prolonged lapses?
2. Was counsel actually unconscious?
3. Were the defendant's interests at stake while counsel was asleep?

Monday, October 01, 2007

Chastity and Javelins

Some amusing notes from my Sports Law text:

Slandered athletes must prove actual damages, except in four situations that engender liability per se: accusations regarding 1) crimes, 2) loathsome diseases, 3) adverse affect on business, and 4) unchastity to a woman.

"Spectators run the risk of injury while observing a sports event. Spectator injuries can occur from foul balls, errant pucks, thrown bats, clumsy fullbacks, misthrown javelins, and so on."

Great imagery!