Blog Ending

You may have noticed that posting has been very slow as of late. After seeing that Prof. Paltry is closing down his blog, I am following suit. The reasons for ending the blog are the same as why I have not been blogging much and why Paltry is quiting.

1. There are some strange people out there. You would not imagine the strange and abusive emails I recieve because of a stance I take on something as benign as balance in copyright law.

2. Time. I only have a limited amount of time, and I would rather spend my academic time writing articles on domain name disputes or orphan works, arguing with people who actually know what they are talking about. My academic career needs work, my marriage need work, my work needs work. Something has to give, and this is it.

3. It is depressing. As in all things, there are a number of people out there who want to get more than their fair share of rights/money/power, etc. These people who try to do evil seem to have infinite patience, as they always seem to outlast those who are trying to do good. There are a number of bills introduced yet again this year to serve as examples.  For example, there is nothing in the Pro-IP bill to benefit actual people or even creators, only things to put the screws to anyone unlucky enough to get to in the way of a record label or large movie house. Copyright law already favors rights-holders too much over the public good. And, nothing seems to staunch the flow of the rights grab by big business. I am tired of writing about how large corporations are pushing the boundries and arguing for more, more, more.

4. It is really depressing. The phone calls I get are the worst. On average, I receive about one phone call every other day from someone being sued for file-sharing music. I have my response memorized. There is no good news for (usually parents of) someone getting sued by RIAA, et, al. I believe that given the right case I could win. I have a dozen arguments against these suits and a complete plan of attack ready, starting with having the record company prove they are the rightful holder of rights, that each file contained both what it purported to be and that it was a enough to be infringing, that the sharing does not equal distribution, that the collection of information equaled unlicensed private investigation, that the collection of information was without permission and equals hacking, abuse of process, etc. However, no person with anything to lose would do anything but write the $4-5k check and go on with their lives. The sadness in their voices pains me. This is the reason I didn’t do criminal law or family law or even personal tax law. I love the law, I don’t like the messiness of peoples lives. I really love IP law. If someone would give me a full time IP law teaching gig, I would likely die in that job. However, I really can’t take anymore of these calls from people being hijacked by record companies for (what is usually) their life savings, or more.

I have a business plan I am launching in the Spring, I am sure that I will be blogging about that and will give details later.

Arkansas Bar Exam Results – July 2008

Bar exam results are out for July 2008. Congrats to all of my classmates and students.  The full list, also available on the Ark. Supreme Court (pdf) web site, follows:

Continue reading

Posting will be slow – working on a business plan

I will be posting very sporadically for the next few months. I am not teaching this semester and am working on a business plan in order to begin raising money in the spring.

Disneys rights to young Mickey Mouse may be wrong – Los Angeles Times

Under thr 1909 copyright law, formalities (concerning notice and registration) were very important. I do not find it surprising then that the Disney’s may have messed up their copyright notice. The law then was that if there existed any ambiguity in the notice, then copyright was void. Of course, when a young law student working on an article asked Disnry about it, they threatened a slander of title suit if he made his thoughts public. Under the same difficulties in managing copyrights in the early days, I also firmly believe that other items generatin millions annually now, i.e. the Birthday Song, have expired copyrights. I am always available for anyone with unlimited funds who wants to take up this fight.

Ethically, a California slander of title action would not have been frivolous, and I have no doubt that they would bring such a suit, so the threat made by Disney General Counsel, now Los Angeles County judge, Louis Meisinger was not unethical. I do, however, find it unseemly – and just the sort of anecdote that makes the public hate lawyers. Threatening a law student with a lawsuit just for making a theory about a voided copyright public is an assault on decorum and propriety (and before dozens of people email me about the first amendment, please note that Disney is not a govt. actor).

Disneys rights to young Mickey Mouse may be wrong – Los Angeles Times

The notion that any Mickey Mouse might be free of copyright restrictions is about as welcome in the Magic Kingdom as a hag with a poisoned apple. Yet elsewhere, especially in academia, the idea has attracted surprising support.

“That Steamboat Willie is in the public domain is easy. Thats a foregone conclusion,” said copyright scholar Peter Jaszi of American Universitys Washington College of Law after studying the issue at The Times request.

The issue has been chewed over by law students as class projects and debated by professors. It produced one little-noticed law review article: a 23-page essay in a 2003 University of Virginia legal journal that argued “there are no grounds in copyright law for protecting” the Mickey of those early films.

Jackson Browne v. John McCain re: Copyright Infringement

Singer Jackson Browne is suing US Republican presidential candidate John McCain for using one of his songs without permission. (NY Times)

McCain used Browne’s 1977 hit “Running on Empty” in a commercial shown in Ohio. Browne claims that the use of the sone infringes hiis copyright and will make people conclude thaT he endorses McCain. He is seeking $75,000 on damages.

On a different front, a week ago on Swingtown,  Laurie ran away from the cabin so she could hitchhike back to Chicago so whe and Doug could go to a Jackson Browne concert. 

All in all, a big week for Jackson Browne. And I am not sure that “Running on Empty” is the best song for a campaign.

Online petition against the Orphan Works Act of 2008

Online petition: Against the Orphan Works Act of 2008. This bill is no better than the one that I wrote about the Journal of the Copyright Society this Spring. It even includes a registration database requirement, which is an anathema to the stated purpose of the copyright clause of the Constitution. If you have time, please sign.

New Tivo!

Yesterday, my new Tivo Series 3 HD arrived. Yes, I know that it is a box that is being discontinued in favor of the Series 2 HD, but the extra candy on this box is so nice I couldn’t pass it up. As it is also intended to be in the Home Theater some day, the THX certification was an added bonus.

 Tivo Series 3

So now we have a both single tuner and dual tuner Series 2 Tivo’s sitting around. If I could just use them import recorded content and watch them in other rooms without having them activated, then life would be perfect. As it is though, I am left with having them as useless bricks, hacking them, paying Tivo $9.99 a month to make them useful, or selling them on eBay. I guess what I am saying is… if you need a cheap used Tivo, let me know.



Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.