The right thing to say…

May 22, 2015

Las Vegas lawyer, Barry Levinson, after getting sentenced to jail.

“I embarrassed Las Vegas. I let everybody down,” he said. “I accept responsibility for what happened. It’s my fault. I made the mistakes. I’m paying for it.” (source)

Not excusing his conduct, but from a public relations standpoint, that’s how you handle it.


Eu Sou Metzker

May 21, 2015

Yet another fatal attack on a blogger. This one, Evany José Metzker.

Evany José Metzker

Evany José Metzker

Metzker was known for his in-depth investigations of political corruption in Brazil and also for his blog titled ‘Coruja do Vale’ (The Owl of the Valley). He was found late Monday in the poverty-stricken town of Padre Paraíso located in the northeast state of Minas Gerais. Various local media outlets report that Metzker was stripped half naked, decapitated, with his hands tied behind his back. His body had clear signs of torture, and his head, located almost 330 feet away from his body, had been scalped.

Metzker was missing for several days and colleagues state that he was in the Minas Gerais region investigating child prostitution and drug trafficking rings. His credit cards, check book and ID were all found near his body, suggesting this was a crime of intimidation or retaliation. Metzker received death threats before, though it’s unclear if any were related to his current investigation.

According to Reporters without Borders, behind Mexico and Colombia, Brazil is ranked as the third most dangerous country for journalists in Latin America. (http://en.rsf.org/ameriques-infographic-the-deadliest-30-09-2014,47028.html) Today, the news of blogger Evany José Metzker’s murder is a gruesome reminder of how real the threats are in a country many associate with only cold caipirinhas and a sunny Copacabana.

Our deepest sympathies go out to his family, friends, and colleagues. Brazil, Latin America’s most populous country with over 200 million, faces an extremely turbulent future so long as the climate of the free press has a cloud of barbaric terror looming over it. Rest in Slack Mr. Metzker, the latest blogger to give his life in the name of freedom of expression.

I sincerely hope that a dozen Brazilian bloggers rise to duplicate his efforts. Let them try and blow out the candle of the free press — and let that wind just fan the flames higher. See Why you should speak up for slain blogger.


Sanity Restored: Garcia v. Google en banc decision

May 18, 2015

Today, the Ninth Circuit issued its long anticipated en banc opinion regarding the matter of Garcia v. Google, affirming the district court’s denial of summary judgment and solidifying longstanding principles of copyright history and law.

The facts of this one are ugly and bizarre. After the Benghazi attacks that took place on September 11th, 2012, where Islamic militants killed several members of the U.S. Government, the press and the American public were in search of answers. After all, this was a possible terrorist attack on the anniversary of 9/11, just weeks before an upcoming Presidential election. If there was ever a dog to wag…

Somehow, someway, the media reported that rather than an organized terrorist attack, this act of violence was the byproduct of a spontaneous protest that came about after a group of rogue Muslims took offense to a YouTube video.

The video in question was titled “The Innocence of Muslims” and portrayed the Prophet Mohammed in a critical manner. This claim was later proven to be false, but once the word was out about this film, the sword of Islam began poking around at those purportedly involved with its production.

One actress in particular, Cindy Garcia, was completely in shock as she never agreed to star in the “Innocence of Muslims” and now found herself bombarded with death threats. After her life had been threatened by radical fundamentalists, Ms. Garcia found out that a greasy producer (now in jail) had taken her five second performance originally produced for another film titled “Desert Warrior”, and used it without her consent in the “Innocence of Muslims.”

Fearing for her life, Garcia requested that Google remove the film from all its platforms, including YouTube. She insisted that she had a copyright interest in her five-second performance, a claim that had no basis from the onset. However, because of the barbaric circumstances that surrounded her plea, it attracted more attention than was ever intended or warranted.

As the Ninth Circuit correctly noted today, copyright protection is afforded to authors of creative works, not those who merely have a passive role in their making. Section of 102(a) the Copyright Act requires an “original work of authorship fixed in any tangible medium.”

Garcia’s claim was that the “Innocence of Muslims” infringed her audio-visual dramatic performance. The problem with this lies in the fact that her audio-visual performance itself doesn’t meet the statutory requirements laid out in § 102(a). The fixation required by the Copyright Act must be done “by or under the authority of the author.” Garcia was not the author of her performance. She was an actress for hire who was without question swindled, but nonetheless never promoted to the director’s chair.

Allowing someone in Garcia’s position to assert a copyright interest could have set off a suicide bomb for a wide array of content producers. Under Garcia’s train of thought, a costume designer or a background extra could have exercised their illusory rights if they didn’t agree with the final product, something that copyright law does not afford.

Furthermore, the core of Garcia’s desire in filing this suit was to get the video removed from YouTube. The court recognized this in its opinion but rightly noted that the Copyright Act is not the proper tool for this purpose. To the contrary, copyright was intended by the Framers to be an engine of free expression. While it may be easy for any of us to humanize with Garcia’s cause from a privacy, fraud, or false light perspective, the rights granted by copyright were never designed to serve as an instrument for suppression of speech, as justified as that suppression may be.

Granting Garcia’s claim would have essentially declared jihad on the history and principles that copyright law was founded on, not too mention issued a fatwa on decades of copyright case law. Nice to see the Ninth Circuit mend this mess.


How you talk to (shitty) journalists

May 16, 2015

Seymour Hersh rips the ass out of Isaac Chotiner. (source)


Hi-Tech Pharmaceuticals – Fire Your Public Relations Agent

May 16, 2015

From this press release.

Hi-Tech Pharmaceutical Sues Self Professed Weight Loss Expert – Harvard Professor Pieter A. Cohen for $50 Million in Compensatory Damages and $150 Million in Punitive Damages for Libel and Slander

NORCROSS, Ga., April 29, 2015 /PRNewswire/ — Hi-Tech Pharmaceuticals, Inc, ( “Hi-Tech”) filed a suit against four researchers who published a defamatory article in a journal known as “Drug Testing and Analysis” an article entitled, “An amphetamine isomer whose efficacy and safety in humans has never been studied, B-methylphenylethylamine (BMPEA), is found in multiple dietary supplements.” Jared Wheat, President of Hi-Tech Pharmaceuticals, stated, “Defendants Cohen, Bloszies, Yee, and Gerona have published and/or uttered multiple false and malicious statements about the safety of dietary supplements containing Acacia rigidula manufactured by Hi-Tech and others, with the intent to incite enforcement action against Hi-Tech from the FDA and to defame and disparage Hi-Tech’s products and commercial reputation.”

“Through several dozen false, misleading and defamatory statements, repeated continuously during a week-long disinformation campaign, Pieter A. Cohen ABC and other individuals knowingly misled consumers into believing that B-methylphenylethylamine LFTB was not a dietary supplement and not safe for public consumption, which is completely false,” said Stacey Alexander, Chief Scientific Officer of Hi-Tech. “Hi-Tech has filed suit because our business has been severely damaged by this conduct. As a result, we will be asking a jury to award Hi-Tech over two hundred million in compensatory and punitive damages.” stated Alexander.

Shit… are you awake? Oh no, the reader is CODING. Reader got BORED TO FUCKING DEATH. CLEAR! CLEAR!

Ok, whew… you back? Thought we lost you for a minute there.

So, if you got anything out of that, I imagine it is that “Hi-Tech” sued a researcher for his statements that their product didn’t work.

It doesn’t say where they sued him. If you dare read the rest of it, here it is.

Oh, and Hi-Tech, the person who damaged your business the most is the person who approved that press release.

And I would be surprised if it doesn’t get worse.

UPDATE: Here is the complaint. I don’t have time to draft a full report on it. But, looking at it suggests to me that it was not the most well thought out plan. This is not going to end the way Hi-Tech hoped.

UPDATE2: Wow… the more I read this thing, the more I question the wisdom of filing it. It certainly isn’t the stupidest defamation suit I’ve ever seen. But, it makes a pretty respectable showing in that competition.


The Legal Status of Filming Porn in Nevada

May 16, 2015

This month’s Nevada Lawyer features an article on the legal status of filming porn in The Silver State. (source) Written by yours truly.


Federal Anti-SLAPP Legislation Proposed!

May 13, 2015

I’m so glad that I can finally talk about this!

There is federal legislation pending that would enact a nationwide Anti-SLAPP law! I had the privilege of having some input into its content.

The final version is pretty damn good. HERE IT IS!


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