ABA Journal Magazine Tackles Righthaven in May 2012 Issue

April 23, 2012

Remember Righthaven?  While it has been stripped of its intellectual property and claims against it keep piling up, the fat lady has not yet sung – and the ABA has noticed.

The May 2012 ABA Journal’s cover story is the aftermath of Righthaven.  Eriq Gardner, who Righthaven once sued for posting an image of an exhibit from one of its court pleadings, examined both sides of the copyright enforcement equation.  Marc Randazza and Ron Coleman are quoted in the lengthy piece, which centers on Righthaven but touches on the RIAA’s litigation campaign, the mass-joinder suits brought by porn studios, and the realities of plaintiff-side copyright enforcement.

Righthaven’s CEO, Steven Gibson, is quoted with the following observation:

“One of the questions for the article is why is it so difficult for copyright owners to hire competent copyright litigation counsel?” he said. “There’s not a lot across the country. Definitely not like personal injury lawyers. You can’t go into the phone book and find a listing. Why is it this difficult? Why isn’t there more copyright litigation?”

Yet, even with Righthaven.com no longer belonging to Nevada’s Righthaven LLC, he is optimistic about the venture’s future.

“Righthaven remains the vehicle for dealing with infringements on the Internet,” Gibson told me recently.

A motion by the EFF seeking personal sanctions against Gibson at a rate of $500 per day is still pending as of this writing.

The problems of online copyright infringement and enforcement are real, and few would argue that there is not some useful role of copyright in society.  These controls, however, cannot and should not completely gobble up protected speech – especially since the 1976 Copyright Act codified fair use in 17 U.S.C. § 107.  Even allowing breathing space for hilarious derivative works, much work needs to be done with respect to fighting infringement, even as the law for doing so remains in flux.


Marc Randazza on Savage Nation

March 14, 2012

By J. DeVoy

Marc Randazza recently did this appearance with Dr. Michael Savage on his nationally syndicated radio show, Savage Nation.  Among the topics discussed were Rush Limbaugh’s latest kerfluffle with Sandra Fluke, and Savage’s banning from the Great Britain due to his critical statements concerning Islam, Muslims and others.  Listen at the link above or download audio from the appearance here.


Dispatches from the front in the primate intellectual property war

July 11, 2011

By J. DeVoy

Monkeys and copyrights have become a topic of fierce debate, and are at the leading edge of the great ongoing war between apes and humanity.

Crime and Federalism shows us why we should respect primate claims to intellectual property.  Please, someone amend the Copyright Act so that we may know peace in our time.


Open letter to Mr. Bardamu: Why won’t you pay for porn?

June 20, 2011

By J. DeVoy

On Ephemeral Notebook, Ferdinand Bardamu – skilled writer and friend of the blog – writes that Kayden Kross’ takedown of pirates won’t make him stop stealing porn.  While “stealing” is an emotionally charged word, and copyright infringement laws only affect uploaders on bittorrent, tubes and file locker sites (assuming, very generously, the latter two are DMCA compliant), that is ultimately what piracy of porn and anything else is about: Getting something for nothing.

I’m fond of Ferdinand, and his primary blog, In Mala Fide, is on our blogroll.  He links to my posts when they’re interesting and not too legal, and I link to his if I think readers here might appreciate them.  I’ve both written for his blog and written him in for the U.S. Senate.  To the extent I call him on the carpet like this, as if our blogs were some rap battle mixtapes, it’s nothing personal – I end up having this discussion with everyone I consider a friend.

So, Ferd:

Why won’t you pay for porn?  Or will you pay, but just for certain subsets of it?

I find that this attitude is common in men of our age.  It is hard to justify paying for something when so much is available for free.  But the shortcomings of these methods are readily apparent as people rave about discovering long-retired actresses whose content has just finally trickled onto some seedy overseas-based site.

What would it take to make you pay?  Is there a technological breakthrough you can think of that would make porn a worthwhile investment?  Or, if you were sued for copyright infringement, how much money would you have to pay before you’d never pirate again – $5,000? $15,000?  Or would it be some other amount on the continuum between a harsh lesson and complete and utter financial ruin?

As a nihilist, it is not your duty to care about whether other people earn a living.  You recognize the broad costs imposed by a coarsening of society.  But, from a self-interested perspective, you can appreciate what the deluge of sex and pornography means for your personal life.  By buying porn, you’re supporting the arts; under an extreme view, it could be like patronage for creators you particularly support, like the Medicis of Renaissance Italy.  Just as Renaissance art was inextricably linked with culture, so too is pornography wrapped into the modern zeitgeist.  Thanks to the lifetime oeuvre of, for example, John “Buttman” Stagliano – someone who risked a lengthy prison term to follow his principles – anal sex is not merely a reality for many men, but expected.  Sure, Stagliano got wealthy in the process, but his work and that of those he influenced have ensured that north of 80% of girls in our age range are up for some greek – and I’m not talking about gyros.  This is just one example of how what happens in porn affects real life, and, from my perspective, is worth preserving.

Again, FB, this isn’t an ax I have to grind with you; I’m not going to stop reading IMF or pull my links because we disagree.  To the extent you deign to acknowledge this letter, I trust you’ll articulate a thoughtful explanation for your positions on the issue.  As someone in the once-target demographic for porn, though, your thought process on this issue is important to understand – mostly because you’ll be able to state it so damn well.


Why the Westboro case should be porn’s victory as well

March 12, 2011

By J. DeVoy

Mark Kernes has an insightful piece at AVN about what the Westboro case (Snyder v. Phelps – read Randazza’s commentary here) means to porn – or should have meant, if the Roberts court wasn’t consciously out to limit the Court’s holding to the facts in Snyder.  Going beyond the political dimension of public concern, why aren’t matters of obvious social interest – measured by ratings, advertising dollars, headlines and column inches – accorded the same level of protection?  By any of those metrics, sex is certainly a matter of factual public interest, yet apparently not accorded the same legal significance.

It’s an interesting read, and Marks’ writing is better than a number of Opinions I’ve read, even from federal judges.  (I won’t name names.)  When I first started writing for this blog, Randazza recommended that I go back and read Kernes’ writings in AVN to get a sense of the industry’s legal history.  I still find Kernes’ pieces to be insightful and well-researched, even if he would politically disagree with me on, well, substantially everything.


ABA 100 Recommendations

December 27, 2010

By Randazza & DeVoy

Every year, the ABA Journal has a run-off of its top 100 Blawgs, which are selected by reader votes.  Others have made their recommendations so far, and now the time has come for us to offer ours.  Indeed, it is our hope to use this blog’s status as last year’s winner in the IMHO category to be the Kingmaker deep into this competition.  If you haven’t voted yet, you can register here, and then vote in each category (links to the categories are in bold).

Here’s the category-by-category breakdown:

Law Biz: What About Clients? Dan Hull is no pussy. If lawyers laid eggs and hatched their young, Randazza would have been in Hull’s nest.  Highly educated and a spirited advocate for his clients, he sees, and has long seen, that the legal marketplace for attorneys old and new is driven by value and versatility, rather than pieces of paper from exclusive schools that don’t teach you anything about legal practice.

News: Above The Law Enough said, and an obvious answer to anyone who reads legal trade news.

Law Prof Plus: This category is the bone that the ABA throws to the academic circle jerk. Most of the blogs in this category, if you waste a little time reading them, make you understand that term. However, Religion Clause, unlike competitors Feminist Law Professors and Brian LeiTTTer’s Law School Reports, is actually useful and insightful. Well, it is useful if you want to learn about the Religion Clause — which we do (and we would assume many of our readers do). It’s much more than useful, it’s great, but when dealing with academics, “utility” is the relevant threshold, and this is one of the rare law professor authored blogs to cross it. Honorable mention, TaxProf Blog, which is useful too. Of course, if the categories were organized properly, Volokh would be in this category, and he would pwn the shit out of it.

Torts: New York Personal Injury Law Blog Well written, prolific, and primarily dealing with one of the major legal markets in the country. However, Turkewitz strays from his yard a lot, bringing insightful commentary to many areas of law that have little to do with personal injury or New York. Don’t let the title scare you away.

IP: TTAB Blog You can actually teach yourself trademark law by reading this blog for 90 days.  Insightful, timely, smartly written, and covering a wide range of topics with appropriate context. John Welch, the author, is a hell of a great guy and blushes when told that certain lawyers got their start in IP law by reading his work.

Criminal Justice: Not Guilty Normally the endorsement might have gone to Simple Justice, but Greenfield would be too busy chasing kids off his lawn and eating disgusting, chalk-flavored Necco wafers to make it to the victory party if he won (assuming it was before his bed time). Besides, Greenfield despises the award and does not wish to win it. Nevertheless, Not Guilty is brilliantly written and a welcome addition to the blogosphere.

For Fun: Corporette A First Amendment attorney who tells women lawyers that they don’t have to dress in pantsuits and potato sacks to be successful.  Sounds fun to me. She’s a First Amendment attorney. We’ve got her back because she’s got the Constitution’s back.

Legal Tech: Tossup – Technology & Marketing Law Blog / Robert Ambrogi’s LawSites Both are strong blogs and we couldn’t pick a favorite.  If you’ve never heard of either of them, be sure to give both a read.

IMHO: Although we are nominated in, and currently leading, in the IMHO category, The Volokh Conspiracy gushes content published daily from leading writers and thinkers, and it is edited by probably the most brilliant legal mind in America and someone who would be a shoo-in for the Supreme Court if we were in charge.  Seriously, what the hell are you doing here?  Although the reading is sometimes a bit eye-glazing, since it consists of so much academic navel gazing, it is still amazing — think of a law journal without all the worthless parts. Volokh’s blog should be in the Law Prof Plus category, but he’s here with us, and there’s no shame in admitting that he’s better.  He has this blog’s collective vote – even over voting for ourselves.

But if our current lead in the competition holds up – and the Legal Satyricon wins again – we will assign the ABA’s award to goatsegirl.  Do not look at that website at work unless we are your employer. Really.  

Giving the credential to a site so vile and bizarre is the only way to properly thank the ABA for the stewardship it has offered this profession.  Between allowing the massive outsourcing of legal work to India, accrediting every toilet law school with a roof, and not even having the stones to categorically refuse accreditation to overseas law schools, goatsegirl seems like a great fit for the ABA, a dysfunctional and self-interested shitbucket of an organization if one ever existed. (more)

That said, we actually love the ABA Blawg directory and the ABA journal, and all the news we can find there. Martha & Debra serve up the only useful functions that the ABA manages to provide.

Blogs that belonged in the list: Popehat, Public Citizen’s CL&P, Citizen Media Law Project, Crime & Federalism, Siouxsie Law, and Spam Notes.

So, if you’ve got the time, register here. And then go vote in each category.


Blog L00t!

September 15, 2010

W00t! W00t! It's the Hayes Blog L00t!


Hola! Chris is back with more L00T!  This is a lovely collection of the best from the friends of the Satyricon this week.

Corporate Stiffness is Bad for Innovation, Particularly in the Tech World

Being a Boston guy, I had to reference this post by Lee Gesmer at the Mass Law Blog.  The post presents the differences between the technology areas of the Rte 128 corridor in Massachusetts and Silicon Valley.  Gesmer points out the massive changes in the tech sector since the 1990s Internet boom in Silicon Valley, and how the region has left the Boston area in the dust.  It really comes down to the corporatist structures in the tech world that put Boston on the map in the 1980s despite lacking the openness and meritocracy of the entrepreneurs in Silicon Valley.  By the mid 90’s, Silicon Valley had left Boston’s tech corridor in the innovation dust, as the open networks and openness in the business culture allowed new ideas to thrive.  Check out the rest of the story at Mass Law Blog here.

Interfaith Projects Should Include Interfaith Religious Text Burnings

Ken Gibson at Windy Pundit appears to draw a different conclusion than most bloggers on the issue of the burning of Korans. Instead of trying to get upset about the burning of a holy text, perhaps we need to make the event more inclusive by burning numerous religious texts of many religions.  As Gibson suggests “barbecuing a cow using Bibles for fuel and using the ashes to draw Mohammed” may not go far enough.  Apparently many more religions should be involved.  Read more here.

Sex Offender Free Zones?

Gideon at A Public Defender blog writes an interesting piece here defending the rights of sex offenders.  This clearly doesn’t happen often so you should check it out.  Apparently, Connecticut has resisted efforts to clamp down on sex offenders by imposing residency restrictions.  Gideon believes that the Nutmeg state should be providing some sort of treatment centers for sex offenders, and it appears CT is seeking to do just that.  However NIMBY activists are on the march. Apparently the righteous residents of Montville, CT have sought to pass an ordinance banning sex offenders from parks, playgrounds and other places children inhabit.  Gideon argues that since we can never completely eradicate sex crimes against children, there may be more effective uses of police resources than standing around the park looking for predators.  See if you’re convinced, I’m not sure if I can get there.


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