October 2008

Google said Tuesday that it has agreed to pay $125 million to settle the copyright litigation brought by book authors and publishers over Google’s project to digitize and show snippets of in-copyright books without the explicit permission of copyright owners. (See 1 2 3 for more on Google Book Search).

$125 million? Peanuts to Google. Less than peanuts. We don’t know all the terms and possible restrictions yet, but it sounds like this is a huge win for Google, which is now free to continue its project of digitizing the world’s books (or at least those under the control of the settling parties) without the threat of injunction.

Google press release here.

******************

[Update (10/29/08)]: Google explains here how it expects this settlement to affect Google Book Search. Some excerpts from that page are (emphasis added) :

Once approved, this agreement will allow us and our publishing industry partners to greatly expand the number of books that you can find, preview and buy through Google.

Read the full article

Ohhhhh, Boston you're my home …..

by Lee Gesmer on October 29, 2008

So I’m shocked, just shocked, to learn that all of our state legislators may not be completely on the up-and-up. But, that’s what the local feds seem to think. Eighteen-year state senator Diane Wilkerson was arrested by the FBI earlier today for allegedly taking bribes to help a nightclub secure a liquor license. Looks like Wilkerson was the subject of an elaborate stingthe lengthy FBI affidavit suggests that all of her bad behavior was video or audio recorded and photographed over an 18 month period. Wilkerson faces federal charges, and a long, long time in the federal pen if convicted.

Here is Wilkerson below, allegedly stuffing a $1,000 cash payoff into her bra during a meeting with an informant at No. 9 Park restaurant on June 18, 2007. No, I didn’t take this photo. I can’t afford to eat at No. 9 Park which, for out-of-towners, is a haute cuisine restaurant right near the State House, not a doorway on some poorly lit side street.… Read the full article

Attached below is Judge Judith Fabricant’s lengthy decision in Hilb Rogal & Hobbs v. Sheppard, decided by Judge Fabricant in the Suffolk Business Litigation Session early this year. To my knowledge, this decision and order became publicly available only recently.

This restrictive covenant case is interesting in one unusual respect: it involves what some lawyers like to call “employee raiding” – a perjorative term that one sometimes hears when a large group of employees leaves to join a new firm. Here, the group was unusually large, consisting of 24 employees who resigned en masse, leaving Hilb Rogal & Hobbs (HRH) identical resignation letters and advising HRH to contact the same lawyer in the event any legal communications were necessary.

HRH filed suit and moved for a preliminary injunction, presenting Judge Fabricant with a complex set of facts (the employees did not all have the identical agreements), and factual variations in their circumstances.… Read the full article

From the SF Chronicle’s obit of Hal Kant, aka “the Czar”, long-time attorney for the Grateful Dead:

When Ben & Jerry’s ice cream produced a new flavor, Cherry Garcia, in the early ’90s, McNally wrote in his book, the company did so without even discussing the idea with Garcia. Although Garcia was unconcerned when it was first brought to his attention – “At least they’re not naming a motor oil after me, man,” he said – Mr. Kant convinced him that the issue should be addressed.

As recounted by McNally, Mr. Kant told Garcia: “They will name a motor oilafter you if you don’t confront this, Jerry. You’ll have no control over your name at all.”

Garcia finally told Mr. Kant, “If it bothers you, go ahead.”

“In the next few years,” McNally wrote, “Jerry would have no problems in spending the large sum of money he’d earn thanks to the letter Mr.

Read the full article