December 2009

An Early Open Source License

December 29, 2009

One of the first open source copyright licenses: This song is Copyrighted in U.S., under Seal of Copyright # 154085, for a period of 28 years, and anybody caught singin it without our permission, will be mighty good friends of ourn, cause we don’t give a dern. Publish it. Write it. Sing it. Swing to it. Yodel it. We wrote it, that’s all we wanted to do. Said to be Woody Guthrie’s copyright notice.

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There are a lot of pissed off law students and recent grads out there …..

December 28, 2009

I considered tagging this under “humor,” but that wouldn’t be right.  Several more of these at the author’s Youtube site

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File Under: Strange Communications I Have Received

December 28, 2009

Email Received December 28, 2009: Good day May I use the spirit of this season to introduce myself to you and at the same time introduce my intentions to you? I am Mr. Robert Duke one of the portfolio funds managers of The Scottish Investment Trust Plc. The largest and oldest Independent self managed funds Management Company in the United Kingdom with over £450 billion Capital Investment Funds. Nevertheless, as a Scottish Investment Funds Manager, I handle all our Investor’s Direct Capital Funds and extracted 1.3% Excess Maximum Return Capital Profit (EMRCP) per annum on each of the Investor’s Magellan Capital Funds. As an expert, I have made over £45.500,000.00 million from the Investor’s EMRCP and hereby looking for someone to trust who will stand as an Investor to receive the funds as Annual Investment Proceeds from Scottish Magellan Capital Funds. All confirmable documents to back up the claims will be made available to you accordingly. Meanwhile, I have worked out the strategies and technicalities whereby the funds can be claimed in any of our Clearing Houses without any hitches. Furthermore, 40% of the total funds will be for you as the foreign partner, 10% will go to charity organization, while 50% will be mine as the initiator of the deal. If you are interested, Please email me for discussion of this transaction in detail. Yours sincerely Robert

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Listen to Oral Argument in Bilski v. Kappos

December 10, 2009

Well, sort of. You can wait until the end of the term to hear oral argument in Bilski v. Kappos, or you can listen to Professor Doug Lichtman’s students’ impassioned reading of the transcript, on the superb Intellectual Property Colloquium.  I found this reading to be very accessible – a new twist on audiobooks. IP Colloquium is by far my favorite legal podcast.  Professor Lichtman has great guests and provides thoughtful commentary.  This Shakespearean treatment of an appeal hearing is inspired. (Nice summary of the background of Bilski, and what’s at issue, on Bill Trout’s blog). And, some nice quotes from the justices, trying to figure out the limits of patent protection.  Could a patent protect – “somebody who writes a book on how to win friends and influence people?””horse whisperers?””a method for speed dating?” “a great wonderful, really original method of teaching antitrust law?” “actuarial tables and risk formulas?” In the meantime the CAFC is applying its “machine or transformation” test from its en banc ruling in In re Bilski.  A recent example of this is Prometheus Labs v. Mayo, issued on September 16, 2009, where the patentable invention was a “pro-drug that upon administration to a patient converts to 6M-P, which are used to treat inflammatory bowel diseases (“IBD”) such as Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis.” The CAFC held, among other things, that patent law does protect the…

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Tenenbaum Final Judgment

December 8, 2009

Update: Link to First Circuit’s Decision Rejecting Constitutional Grounds for Reducing Statutory Damages, issued September 16, 2011. ____________________ Final judgment in Sony v. Tenenbaum entered by Judge Nancy Gertner today.  The 30 day appeal clock starts to run.  Should be interesting to see what the First Circuit does with this one, although I suspect that the betting is heavy in favor of quick affirmance. A few choice quotes from Judge Gertner’s opinion, which is provided in full below on scribd.com. “the Court, deeply concerned by the rash of file-sharing lawsuits, the imbalance of resources between the parties, and the upheaval of norms of behavior brought on by the Internet, did everything in its power to permit Tenebaum to make his best case for fair use.…The Court did what it could to focus the issue, notwithstanding what can only be described as a truly chaotic defense.” … Tenenbaum “tailor[ed] his fair use defense to suggest a modest exception to copyright protections,” he “mounted a broadside attack that would excuse all file sharing for private enjoyment. It is a version of fair use so broad that it would swallow the copyright protections that Congress created, defying both statute and precedent.” … “As this Court has previously noted, it is very, very concerned that there is a deep potential for injustice in the Copyright Act as it is currently written. It urges –…

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BLS Discovery Pilot Project to Take on Electronic Discovery

December 8, 2009

Guest post by Gesmer Updegrove attorney Nancy Cremins. ______________________________ On December 1, 2009, the Massachusetts Superior Court announced the implementation of a Discovery Pilot Project in the Superior Court’s Business Litigation Session (BLS). A link to the press release announcement is here, and the text of the Project here. The BLS Discovery Pilot Project will be implemented on January 4, 2010 and was developed as the result of a joint effort of the BLS judges and the BLS Advisory Committee, in an effort to address the increasing burden and cost of civil pretrial discovery, particularly electronic discovery. The BLS Pilot Project incorporates some of the principles set forth in the March 2009 Final Report of the American College of Trial Lawyers Task Force on Discovery and the Institute for Advancement of the American Legal System, which (no surprise) found the civil justice system “in serious need of repair.” The guiding principal of the BLS Pilot Project is to tie the scope of discovery to the magnitude of the claims at issue. The BLS judges will work with the parties to determine the scope and timing of permitted pre-trial discovery, taking into consideration the needs of the case, the amount in controversy, the parties’ respective resources, and the complexity and importance of the issues at stake. In a move similar to the “automatic disclosure” that has been in effect in the…

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File Under: Strange Communications I Have Received (Are There Really Lawyers Stupid Enough to Fall for This?)

December 7, 2009

I’ve been getting emails like the one below for months.  Maybe if I get one from a prospective client in Nigeria I’ll head over for a visit ….. Dear Desired Lawyer/Lawfirm, Greetings to you from Nippon Steel Corporation With all due respect, please kindly confirm the receipt of this mail  if you are in a position to represent on our company in matters of  delinquent accounts. We contact you to represent our company after a careful review of your profile. We are of the opinion that you represent us in the United States of America  in order for us to recover monies due to our  organization by our American clients. In order to achieve these objectives a good and reputable lawyer or law firm will be required to handle this service. Please advice once  you take in this issue. P.S. If you are not in the position to represent us we would be very glad if you could refer us to any law firm in North America or Canada  that could. Once more thank you for taking time from your busy schedule to read this mail. Your truly, Akio Mimura Director and Chairman Nippon Steel Corporation 6-3, Otemachi 2-chome, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 100-8071, Japan. Email: amimura@discuz.org

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Spoilation = Destruction of Evidence = Dismissal + Sanctions

December 5, 2009

Here is a link to Judge Judith Fabricant’s recent decision in Stein v. Clinical Data (reported on the front page of the November 30, 2009 Mass Lawyer’s Weekly), where she found that the plaintiff had destroyed evidence.  Judge Fabricant sanctioned the plaintiff in this case by dismissing his case and ordering him to pay almost a quarter of a million dollars in attorney’s fees and costs to the defendant.  These cases are relatively rare (since the party who destroys evidence rarely is caught), but the consequences to the party who engages in this kind of conduct can be devastating. Stein v. Clinical Data (SpoilatIon)

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