Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Cat Fights

Exxon was sued at one point by Kellogg's, the cereal company, for trademark infringement. The mark at issue was Exxon's tiger vs. Tony the Tiger ("...the taste of Tony's Frosted Flakes...").

I really enjoyed the way Exxon's artist described the evolution of the tiger following the Exxon Valdez oil spill:

"Today's tiger is now cast in a more humanitarian role. He is polite to the elderly,* plants trees for ecology and has an overall concern for the environment."

Even better, however, is the asterisked footnote from the editors:
*"It is unclear if Exxon's tiger was rude to the elderly prior to this time --Eds."

Kellogg Co. v. Exxon Corp.
, 209 F.3d 562 (6th Cir. 2000).

Monday, November 26, 2007


I traveled about half an hour outside of San Francisco yesterday for a hike in Muir Woods to a quasi-German Beer House. Surrounded by the bird song and the fresh air, with an amazing view, a friend and I found ourselves sitting at a picnic table...playing with his iPhone. I investigated its features for about 10 minutes before we caught ourselves, laughing at the irony.

So we lifted up the iPhone and took a picture of the setting sun.

Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Disease and Confession

Finals in about three weeks! I've been outlining all semester, but in a very lackadaisical way. Everyone talks about 3L-itis, or whatever you wanna call it. Whatever it is, I have it. I think it's exacerbated by the fact that by this point in the game, studying doesn't require as much effort. You just figure out how to do it efficiently and you spend so much less time doing it.

Same with reading, although I have a confession: I still brief the cases in my notes when I read for class. Embarrassingly dorky! They say by 2L year all you do is book-brief - take notes in the margins of the text and underline. The other day I had this scary thought: what if, when I get into law practice, I can't understand the cases I read without briefing them?? An argument in favor of book-briefing...?

The bar results have come out; everyone I know personally passed. My Facebook is bursting at the seams with congratulations. My school has had nearly 100% passage rate for the top 20% for years. In one year I will be an attorney.

Monday, November 19, 2007

On Billables

An attorney friend of mine:

"I make the same mistake with billing as I do with dieting. I tell myself, 'I'll make it up tomorrow,' but you never do."

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

What's Shakin'?

I failed to mention an entertaining moment in Sports Law last week. As you know, if you're in the Bay Area, we had a big, juicy earthquake around 8 pm last Tues.

I was in class, where we had a guest lecturer talking about NCAA rules. When the quaking began we all looked at each other and started murmuring, questioning whether it was a quake. At first it felt like the rumbling when you walk along a highway bridge-overpass, with large trucks speeding past, and then it increased to a back-and-forth shaking.

This quake was interesting because it was fairly prolonged; you had to time to process the movement, question it, acknowledge it, marvel at it, and then start to get nervous! We immediately checked the quake map link on Craig's List, and moments later it appeared as a 5.6. (The largest I've experienced in my two years here.)

Naturally, the guest lecturer continued her speech unfazed once the shaking ceased.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

A Stupid Game

I enjoyed parts of an article from Reuters on PirateBay, the Swedish P2P downloading website. In May of last year the MPAA claimed victory over Pirate Bay after Swedish authorities confiscated the site's computers, but PirateBay was up again three days later.

"Sweden is not a state in the United States," says one. "It is the opinion of us and our lawyers that you are ... morons."


Pirate Bay also wants to raise $50,000 to buy an island and create its own nation-state where piracy would be legal. So far it has about $20,000, Sunde said.

Its three founders face criminal charges related to piracy, but they're not worried because the stiffest sentence they could get in Sweden if found guilty is a $300 fine, Sunde said.

"I don't believe what we are doing is a crime," he said. "It is a stupid game," he added, referring to the legal proceedings.

You Don't Say

Bill Patry describes a study conducted by the Canadian government on his blog that indicates that P2P downloading actually increases the purchase of music:

"Our review of existing econometric studies suggests that P2P file-sharing tends to decrease music purchasing. However, we find the opposite, namely that P2P file-sharing tends to increase rather than decrease music purchasing."

"We find evidence that purchases of other forms of entertainment such as cinema and concert tickets, and video games tend to increase with music purchases."

Lathering Up

Two affiliated branches of the Lever soap company sued the US for failing to prevent the soap made in the UK from getting into the US. Apparently the soap was made slightly differently in the UK as it was in the US: the UK brand didn't lather as well.
The court explained:

"The manufacturing choice evidently arises in part out of the British preference for baths, which permit time for lather to develop, as opposed to a US preference for showers."

Lever Bros. Co. v. U.S., 877 F2d 101 (1989).

Is that true??

Friday, November 02, 2007

University of Oregon Resists the RIAA

The University of Oregon became the first University to challenge RIAA subpoenas seeking the identity of file sharers on the network as Recording Industry vs. The People describes.

The only way to really challenge a simple subpoena is by saying it's burdensome and over broad. Accordingly, the University's motion to quash says, "The University cannot determine whether the content in question was accessed by one occupant as opposed to another, or whether it was accessed instead by a visitor." The motion argues that interviews and forensic investigation would be necessary, thereby burdening the university.

In an interesting twist, Oregon's Attorney General Hardy Myers is representing the University, apparently the first time a State AG has done so. (The last Oregon AG became governor.)

I don't see it being very successful - there are only 17 names, and dozens of other universities have been able to do it - but I think it's a good thing to check the RIAA, and to force them to, well, tighten up their game. In the same way, counterclaims by incorrectly named defendants forces the RIAA to use greater care in pointing fingers.

More to the point, the AG's motion notes that they are not required to create these records, as opposed to produce them. This reminds me of the TorrentSpy case, where a federal district court judge "ordered the company to begin saving their logs since the company's servers 'save' the logs in RAM memory for about 6 hours before the info is tossed or overwritten. Essentially the magistrate judge Jacqueline Chooljian of California's Central District is ordering the company to hold onto information it normally decided to toss as part of its privacy policy promises to its users." (from Wired.)