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Thursday, July 31, 2003

Good Work, Nice Sites

The First District Appellate Project (FDAP) is a non-profit law office, created in 1985 under the auspices of the Bar Association of San Francisco in conjunction with the First Appellate District of the California Court of Appeal and the Administrative Office of the Courts. FDAP's mission is to ensure quality representation of indigent appellants in criminal, juvenile, dependency and mental health appeals in the First District Court of Appeal.

[Link added.] The FDAP site also "assist[s] a panel of approximately 325 attorneys who are appointed to represent indigent appellants in the First District." (Oh, and they like weblogs.) Similar appellate projects in California include Appellate Defenders in San Diego and the California Appellate Project in Los Angeles.

(Tom, I doubt you meet the requirements for "indigency," but if your plans pan out, anything's possible. ;> You might want to bookmark these sites. Criminal and mental health appeals, mind you!)

Book 'Em Dano

CafePress: " Publishing service will be live August 4, 2003." Like Apple's cool iPhoto books, I can think of all kinds of ways this could come in handy.

Tuesday, July 29, 2003


Forecast: Steady Growth

Here's my passenger as of last Friday:

Baby Howell
July 25, 2003; 20 Weeks, 6 Days

BH and I will be finishing a brief in the next couple of days, but wanted to leave you with a couple of parting links:

Monday, July 28, 2003

RIAA Subpoena Search

From today's TVC Alert:

The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) offers a search feature for finding out if one of the subpoenas on file with the U.S. District Court in the District of Columbia contains your IP address or P2P handle.

More Music And Media, In The Times

Both from today's Los Angeles Times business section:

John Healey, "Napster Service to Be Revived by Year-End"

"Napster 2.0 has been built from the ground up to reflect the values of the original Napster brand, which is really all about independence, innovation and consumer choice," [Roxio Chief Executive Chris] Gorog said.

He declined to disclose how much the new service would charge or what specific restrictions would be imposed on the songs it sold, which would be in an encrypted format from Microsoft to deter piracy. But he said the restrictions would be "very liberal, very easy to understand, and most importantly, they will be common throughout" — unlike the patchwork found on the new downloadable music store from of Aliso Viejo.

Jube Shiver Jr., "Focus of Media Debate Turns to Congress"

Powell had already put together the votes to pass his agenda for relaxing media ownership rules. So, the strange-bedfellows alliance turned away from the agency and focused its attention elsewhere: If they couldn't stop the deregulation train from leaving the FCC, they might be able to derail it farther down the tracks, in the halls of Congress.

Last week, their strategy paid off.

"Send me your tired, your poor, your huddled appellate jurists..."

It's my humble opinion that one of the most remarkable things anyone has yet managed to accomplish with a weblog is Howard Bashman's 20 Questions for the appellate judge, monthly interviews that commenced in February this year with appellate jurists from around the U.S. (and conceivably from around the world). These interviews provide invaluable insights into the appellate lawmaking process and the people who make it work. They're detailed, thorough, and utterly free and freely accessible—no one needs to know you're an Omanian octegenarian before you can take a look.

Howard is willing to keep this up as long as appellate jurists are willing to participate, but he needs to get the word out to keep the volunteers coming. If you are a lawyer, law student, judicial clerk, or anyone who from time to time breaks bread with members of the appellate judiciary, please let them know how much you enjoy Howard's interviews and urge them to participate. I for one would love to see this continue indefinitely.

More from Howard this morning: "One week from today, I will be posting online here the August 2003 installment of '20 questions for the appellate judge.' August's interviewee is Eleventh Circuit Judge Gerald Bard Tjoflat. September's interviewee will be Federal Circuit Judge William Curtis Bryson. And October's interviewee will be Eleventh Circuit Judge Stanley F. Birch, Jr. [...] I am willing to keep the monthly '20 questions' feature going for as long as there are federal and/or state court appellate judges who are willing to participate as interviewees. However, if a month were to arrive for which there is no interviewee, then the feature will come to a permanent end." Let's not let that happen.

Lady Liberty

Sunday, July 27, 2003

Mmm. Good Blawg.

These folks know something. And they're telling. (As you'll see too, blawgy things seem to be particularly happening in Minnesota for some reason. But then, the Star of the North has been at the vanguard of such things as pop-up toasters, so maybe this is no surprise at all.)


  • Ray Cox is a State Representative for Minnesota, and has a fantastic weblog about his work, life and the issues confronting the voters he represents.


  • Matt Conigliaro is an appellate lawyer with Carlton Fields in St. Petersburg, FL, and his blog is about Florida law and the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals.
  • The authoress of frolic and detour is "an attorney/writer/wonk/critic" in Minneapolis, MN, who maintains a rich and fascinating site. [Via Jack Bogdanski]
  • I've really been enjoying C.E. Petit's blog, Scrivenor's Error. (I've also been enjoying the way arcane legal jargon morphs so well into catchy titles for weblogs.) C.E. represents authors (big 'uns), and writes about copyright law from their perspective. He's a fresh voice who gets sarcasm and irony, and ain't afraid to use 'em.
  • Jeanne Pi's Texas Elder Law Blawg is " a web portal to federal, state and local web information, resources and services related to Texas Elder Law."
  • Mark Smith practices in Lincoln, NB, and writes the Incorporation Blog about legal and tax matters for small business owners. [Via]
  • George M. Wallace is an attorney in Pasadena, CA, and he writes of things personal, cultural, and political at A Fool in the Forest.
  • Travis A. Wise lives in Campbell, CA, and is a corporate tax attorney in the International Corporate Services practice of KPMG in Mountain View. If you're taking the California bar exam next week, it's not too late to pay a visit to his California Bar Exam Primer. [Via]

Learning The Craft

  • Ms Anastasia Beaverhousen, aka the Lonestar Expat, is "leaving the old country for law school in the mid-west. . .do they have electricity there yet?" I couldn't say, but I can say with some assurance it's going to be fun to find out. [Via Howard Bashman]
  • I certainly hope James at Hilsy Blog is having a hoppy weekend. [Via Jack Bogdanski]
  • Joe Gratz is a law student who lives in Minneapolis, MN, and writes about all kinds of interesting stuff, like music sharing and ownership, law school lecture hall "backchanneling," and practicing law in the corporate arena: "[A] good deal of litigation seems to be two corporations fighting over one pile of cash. I see no reason not to help them. One is reminded of a rather cynical T-shirt slogan I once saw, which read, 'Once one understands that all of society is merely an elaborate mechanism for the movement of money from other people to lawyers, many matters which were once obscure become clear.'" [Via]
  • Le-Gal is a "50 something mother, wife, grandmother, law student, certified webmaster, decorative artist, who is beginning a whole new life." She also pointed me to the Larval Lawyer, who's taking the Virginia bar next week and along with TCC is one of Le-Gal's faves.
  • The writer in residence at Like a Blind Man attends law school at Georgetown. [Via]
  • Shannon is gearing up for law school at Queen's University, Canada. [Via]
  • The weblogger at Unfashionable Observations is at Stanford and writes great movie reviews, among other things. [Via]
  • Alice W. has been expanding her (and our) horizons at Drink Me in addition to her original page for awhile now. "according to my site statistics, drink me is the site that everyone bookmarks, but nobody will link to, or even admit to reading (besides the few faithful, you know who you are)." Let's remedy that: "I'm Denise Howell and I read Drink Me!"

Giving It A Rest

  • Ms. Morality is home by choice following the birth of her first child, but it sounds like her law firm sadly did not go out of its way to make that choice a difficult one. Do not miss her Realities of Being Pregnant in a Large Law Firm. ("Upon my return I was given a few short-term assignments (2-3 hours) and otherwise left to surf the internet and attend CLEs.  I researched discrimination laws.") [Via]

Blawgers At Large


Managing The Chaos

  • The paralegal weblogger at Groklaw is doing a bang-up job covering the SCO case. [Via Frank Field] Great writing about the music industry and P2P issues too.


Hey, I have a favor to ask. If you stop by here occasionally and are a blawgrollee, let me know if it's time to update where you sit/stand/fall in the massive monster. Often I put folks under Blawgers At Large if they're not yet in law school, or if they don't make it clear on their site just what the heck they're up to professionally. It's getting to be time when some on that list will start school, some in school have moved on, etc. I'll need to go through and try to figure that out soon, but it will be greatly appreciated if you are inclined to help speed the process.

Saturday, July 26, 2003

Yesterday And Today In The Los Angeles Times


  • "The Internet Is Reshaping Bryant Story:" "Mainstream newspapers, torn between old standards and new fears of losing readers to broadcasters or cyberspace, are split over how much to tell readers about the accuser's past."
  • "VeriSign Faces Suit Over Stolen Sex Site:" "The appeals court overturned a lower court ruling that Network Solutions couldn't be held liable for the theft of because Internet names aren't tangible property. By the lower court's logic, [9th Circuit Judge Alex] Kozinski wrote, the crime of 'torching a company's file room' would be treated differently from the crime of 'hacking into its mainframe and deleting data.'"


"FCC Rule May Bring a Veto Standoff:"

Only a few weeks ago, it appeared the administration would easily overcome the remaining obstacles to a federal rule allowing large communications companies to control a larger share of the nation's television markets.

But a sudden change in political currents, culminating in a House vote Wednesday, has left that outcome in doubt. The turnabout reflects an unanticipated swell of opposition in rural areas to a consolidation of local media and intensive lobbying by liberal and conservative interest groups against the new rule.

Friday, July 25, 2003

Wash Cycle

Rory Perry: "There's been a wash of articles this month that appear to solidify weblogs as a solid online content platform for politics, business and public information. This continued level of acceptance will hopefully enable more conservative institutions (like courts) to embrace the platform more widely." Rory's roundup.

Read On

I was about to address this post to anyone visiting from today's ABA Journal eReport article on lawyer blogs, then remembered that eReport articles supply no hyperlinks...

No matter, if you went to the extra effort of finding Bag and Baggage through a search engine (or if you followed an inbound link from a Web page that by definition would have somewhat less on the eBall than a bona fide eReport), and are curious to read what people much smarter than I have to say about relationships between the Web, organizations, individuals, and society, then by all means please visit, buy, and/or sign up for:

Lawyers, Blogs, Money, And Stone Cold

This week's issue of the ABA Journal eReport includes an article, "Bemused About Blogging," that encourages a cautious and open-eyed approach to legal weblogging. This is something I always try to foster as well. However, to the extent the article suggests a blogging lawyer must dissimulate and dissemble to avoid alienating clients, it perpetuates insular thinking and ignores the realities of the modern business world, which thankfully is populated by individuals with a broad range of interests and concerns.

Before I get into that, one thing needs to be clarified up front since the writer Stephanie Ward apparently had some trouble distinguishing between comments I was making and comments I told her others had made on similar topics. Specifically, in response to her question about writing about things beyond just the law, I told Stephanie that Eugene Volokh had addressed this in his recent interview with Chris Lydon and she should go take a listen. I also told her I appreciated Eugene's answer so much I had quoted him on B&B, and proceeded to read her the interview passage in question. The quotes and attribution somehow got left out of her piece, but one of the benefits of having a weblog is the ability to supply such things where, as here, they have been neglected or cut.

As far as the overall message of the piece, everyone is entitled to an opinion about what might constitute "acid-rainmaking," a great turn of phrase supplied by Perkins Coie Labor and Employment partner Michael Reynvaan. Not so great in my view is Mr. Reynvaan's suggestion that while writing about certain hobbies—"bridge, marathon training, sailing"—might form a common bond with clients, writing about others—"professional wrestling or NASCAR"—could be perceived as "unlawyerly." Maybe it's just me, but the adjectives such an approach brings to mind are "elitist," "narrow-minded," "backward," and "out of touch." While I'm not personally into NASCAR—IRL is more my thing—or professional wrestling, if I were, I assume from time to time they'd come up here. Then, to the extent any of the millions of people who contribute to the huge popularity of these pursuits—who are bound to include clients, potential clients, and colleagues—should stumble on a related Bag and Baggage post, it might just bring a smile to their face.

If you want an automaton as a lawyer, someone like me may not be your best bet. If, on the other hand, you would prefer your legal representatives to think, breathe, and have some grasp on the kinds of cultural and policy issues that so frequently affect the development of the law and the outcome of judicial decisions, that might be another story. By the way, I think the same thing goes for Howard Bashman, who inaccurately is described in the article as someone who "does not discuss personal issues on his blog." Anyone passingly familiar with How Appealing recognizes that Howard's passions and personality, and the way they come through in his writing, are an enormous part of what makes his weblog exceptional.

Buy Music—Just Watch Where You Buy It launched earlier this week, and the reviews are pouring in. Mac Observer does a side-by-side comparison with the iTunes Music Store and concludes the flexible pricing model can be a gouge: "Is anyone home at Is the amazing DRM dance they are doing distracting them from common sense pricing?" The Mac News Network notes the rip-off television ads (which I saw for the first time Wednesday night; yeah, they're catchy but much, much too familiar), and the fact songs can't be moved to an iPod (50% of the portable player market). Ars Technica likewise is unimpressed:

With, you'll end up with a cacophony of licensing deals that'll make doing your taxes look easy. It looks to have been a trade-off: Apple put their fist down and said, "our way or the highway," and some labels walked. was more flexible, and as a result, their music catalog has about 100k more songs, but lacks consistency.

Worse still,

[T]he licenses are totally non-transferable, and are machine specific. The license is tied not to you, or to a key you possess. Nope, the license is tied to the computer. As far as I can tell, and someone on the phone confirmed this, once you switch computers, you're no longer licensed. Your burned CDs are still playable, but the WMA file on your computer will no longer work.

As Doc Searls recently observed, "there is zero demand on the customers' side" for these sorts of shenanigans. Much as I would like to see take off, the market may have some hard lessons for it in the near term.

Thursday, July 24, 2003

And Now For Something Completely Wet

Deregulatory PushmePullyou

Sallie Hofmeister in today's Los Angeles Times business section ("Media Owners May Have to Sell"):

A spending bill passed Wednesday by the House of Representatives includes a provision to block implementation—for one year—of a recent Federal Communications Commission decision allowing a single company to own stations that reach 45% of the nation's TV households, up from 35%.


Jane's Addiction last night on Carson Daly was epic. So glad they're back, so wish their new album Strays (five stars from the Guardian) was available from iTunes, along with Radiohead's new album, Hail to the Thief (three stars).

Failing that, if you are in northern California and free tomorrow night, don't miss the EFF's Digital Mix at the Black Box on Telegraph in Oakland. bIPlog has more. (I've heard CatFive, and they alone would be worth the trip!)


From the front page of today's Los Angeles Times, "Birth by Test Tube Turns 25:"

Today, as Louise Brown approaches her 25th birthday, a once-stupendous and controversial accomplishment has become routine. In vitro fertilization is an outpatient procedure conducted at nearly 400 clinics in the United States alone. More than 1 million people conceived in lab dishes now walk the Earth.

(No, I didn't have to go that route, but know plenty of people who have.)

Item of the day I wouldn't want to be this pregnant and live without: these soft, comfy, faux-suede slacks (sans stripes, and avec more buttoned buttons) by the perplexingly-named Japanese Weekend, via the superbly-named One Hot Mama.

Wednesday, July 23, 2003

Deep Inc.-ing

Inc. has a July article about business blogging ("Blogging for Business") and the importance of doing it right. In fact, writer Anne Stuart appears to have a keen grasp on the sliding scale of escalating risks:

But blogs are also deceptively tricky to manage. Do it wrong and you could embarrass yourself, bore or alienate customers or prospects, contribute to information overload, and potentially even wind up on the wrong end of a lawsuit.
Worse yet, you could run afoul of the blogging community itself.

(She also managed to move me back to San Francisco without the usual inconveniences of packing, househunting and the like. My parents will be thrilled, but this is bound to come as some surprise to the husband. ;) )

The Requisite Showing Of Spamage

Jonathan Bender on Intel v. Hamidi (PDF): "Intel put forward the wrong evidence in its summary judgment papers by focusing on disruption in its workplace caused by the content of Hamidi's messages, rather than the disruption to its computer systems caused by the e-mails themselves and the likelihood of future harms caused by other ex-employees inspired by Hamidi. ... Other plaintiffs need not make the same mistake." (Note that when Jonathan's article, "California Retethers Internet 'Tresspass to Chattels' to Chattels," was posted it might not have been immediately apparent that Chief Justice George concurred in Justice Mosk's dissent. The Court has reposted the opinion to so reflect.)

I Feel Geeky, Oh So Geeky

Cory's post yesterday reminded me to submit the Woodfin Suite Hotel (more) to Geektels. Done.

Dim Yankees

Michael Moore in Stupid White Men, on the pivotal role of southern states in the last ten U.S. presidential outcomes: "No longer can anyone from the north be elected to lead the nation."

The Bloggy Politic

John Palfrey points to an interesting Boston Globe article on the impact of blogs on the current election cycle: "'Blogs' shake the political discourse." Rick Klau, in the article, discusses why voter trust and blogging may go hand in hand: "These are very honest opinions, and they're not poll-tested." Note that Rick puts his savvy where his mouth is, and has been helping the Dean campaign add features to its official blog.

But as Dave Winer and others have noted, while blogging candidates are exciting they are just part of the equation and it's the folks on the ground who may supply coverage and information about the 2004 U.S. elections the likes of which we've never experienced. Stop by Cameron Barrett's Watchblog: 2004, for example, for some multi-party, multi-editor immersion in the issues and candidates. [via Sabrina Pacifici]

Hump Day Supreme

Midway through the 20th week: "You're halfway there!"

Tuesday, July 22, 2003

Roundtable Blawging

Ernie Svenson, in the current edition of the LLRX Internet Roundtable: "I have no idea where my blog is heading. I just hope that it doesn't wind up in a place where the SWAT teams have to storm in."

This discussion among blawgers about blawging is a must-read, and notable in particular for its observations about the personal connections blogging enables that otherwise would not be possible. Jerry Lawson, for example, "did a posting about a news aggregator program, and received a response—from the guy who programmed it." This kind of thing happens with such great regularity that it's tempting to start taking it for granted, but that would be a mistake. This is a medium uniquely suited to bridging divides of culture, expertise, and distance, and though like Ernie I have no clue about the ultimate destination, it's good fun to be along for the ride.

By the way, I'll fill in the credit to David Weinberger for coining the term "Google URL," and note (because it's bound to be fleeting!) that for the time being one of mine is "Denise."

Appellate Lawyers Reading And Writing About Weblogs

The Journal of Appellate Practice and Process has been a staple subscription of mine for a long time. Delightfully enough, Gary O'Connor and Stephanie Tai have co-authored an article in the current issue about Legal And Appellate Weblogs: What They Are, Why You Should Read Them, And Why You Should Consider Starting Your Own. (Thank you Blogger and Blog*Spot for making it ridiculously simple for one of the co-authors to make this widely available.)

Note too that Stephanie has started The Blawg Review, reviewing law journal and academic articles.

Facing Intel

Over the next few weeks I'll be writing a piece on the Intel v. Hamidi (PDF) trespass to chattels decision for a national legal publication. I'll keep you posted as to its availability.

This Won't Hurt A Bit

Chris Lydon on Doc Searls, who he interviewed yesterday: "[]I see Doc in a white coat, with a medicine bag. Blogs are his scope on the soul and spirit of the country." Doc marvels at the speed and ease with which Chris made this available, but equally marvelous is Doc's instantaneous ability to review and clarify, which of course he has done. The interview may be over, but the conversation continues.

Mining The Blogs And Blawgs

From today's TVC Alert: "The current business news search engine Rocketnews now enables searching blog sources. Select 'Weblogs' from the pull-down category menu." And if you want to focus on what the legal bloggers have to say, Blawg Search by Detod lets you do just that.

Monday, July 21, 2003

Settlement Certainty: Making it Stick Under §664.6

A provision of the California Code of Civil Procedure, Section 664.6, is designed to help parties enforce litigation settlements to which everyone has agreed, but which may be called into question when someone suffers "buyer's remorse" or otherwise has a change of heart. I am co-author of an article in the current issue of the Civil Litigation Reporter that analyzes recent appellate decisions in this area and suggests strategies for ensuring an enforceable settlement.

Latest Linking Legalities

The Register: "Deep-linking has won the legal thumbs-up in Germany." [via ILN]


I had a great time with Jonas yesterday morning just before heading off to the airport. His tag line now reads like a Swiss Army millenium edition promo: "Rambles from a guy wielding a gun, a motion to suppress, and a compiler."

Private Attorney General Disarray*

Michael Hiltzik writes about lawyer abuse of California's unfair business practices law in the Business Section of today's Los Angeles Times ("Consumer-Protection Law Abused in Legal Shakedown"):

One thing on which both sides agree is that Section 17200 is unique in the nation. It allows any Californian to sue a business for wrongdoing on behalf of the general public even if no one, including the plaintiff, has been personally injured. All that is necessary to state a 17200 claim is an assertion of unfair or deceptive business practices....

[T]here's no guarantee that any particular reform will cure some lawyers of the impulse to "take advantage of their education to intimidate unsophisticated people," in the words of Michael Nisperos, the State Bar's chief prosecutor, who handled the case against the Trevor attorneys. "I don't know if there's a real cure for greed and stupidity, and that's what you really need."

New on my law firm's site is a "special topic" on Section 17200 litigation and our specialists in the defense of these claims.

*Bonus points for General Disarray's real name. (Answer here.)

Specialty Circuits

C.E. Petit sends up a thought balloon: "Send copyright matters to the Federal Circuit, too."

Sunday, July 20, 2003

E'Ville Eats

Rudy's Can't Fail Cafe
Rudy's Can't Fail Cafe

Good to see that the Pixar parking lot is (almost) deserted early on a sunny Sunday.

Saturday, July 19, 2003

Suite Hotel!

Wow! The Woodfin Suite Hotel in Emeryville is convenient to Berkeley, Oakland and S.F., priced at from $130-$200/night for new, clean, spacious, attractive, suite-style rooms (ask for one facing the Bay), and the price includes:

  • In-room T1 Internet access! Plug in ethernet, launch browser. No login screens, no extra charges. Smokin' fast.
  • Massive buffet breakfast.
  • Business center.
  • Fitness center, pool, jacuzzi.

During the week (M-Th) the place also has happy hour 5-7 in its Big Sur room on the first floor, with complimentary drinks and hors d'oevres. My meeting earlier today was at the Claremont where I'm suddenly glad not to be staying; a Bay Area landmark to be sure, but dial-up only at well over twice the price.

Pizza Mind

Wish I could make pizza tonight in Santa Clara with Robert, Dave and hopefully you if you're in the area, but part of the reason I'm up here this weekend is to give an appropriate send-off this evening to an amazing colleague who is headed to the Eastern Front (Pittsburgh). Have fun, all!

Friday, July 18, 2003

It's Hot, Pass The Hose

(Reading copyright briefs in the afternoon swelter can do funny things to your head. —d.)

Text alternative
El Valle

Text alternative
Los Gatos

Text alternative
Las Rosas del Pantyhose

Thursday, July 17, 2003

How To Tell You've Landed At The Norman Y. Mineta San Jose International Airport

Is the fellow next to you on the American Eagle commuter Indian? Working on a laptop? Wearing a navy golf shirt emblazoned with a bioscience company logo? Khakis? Comfy brown loafers? Does he badly want your PowerBook? When you pick up your rental car are the radio buttons preprogrammed to three great stations? Does the stifling heat have you contemplating a few unwise liquid nitrogen experiments? Good! You're there.

Marketers Wrestling With Business Blogging: Take Note

A report from Scott at Life, Law, Libido, on a Legal Times event yesterday in Washington, D.C.:

Pop Quiz: There is a large room. Among others, the room contains a former Solicitor General, the most respected Supreme Court journalist, a 25-year veteran of the OSG, two lawyers that won the two most famous Supreme Court cases of the term, and the editor-in-chief of DC's most popular legal publication. Who draws the most attention?
That's right—a blogger.

Going To The Cats

I leave today for a mixed work/family trip to the Bay Area. The work part will involve some meetings in Berkeley and a dinner in Emeryville—at which it will take an iron will to remember I am "in a family way" and may not order a Fog Cutter. The family part will involve staying with my grandmother in Los Gatos. She was born in 1909, when wireless technology already was the buzz, Teddy Roosevelt was paying high-protein workers' compensation, the first ham radio broadcast was made, and Shackleton's Nimrod expedition found the magnetic south pole.

The camera and computer are never far out of reach, so I hope to check in again soon from a town made for bloggers.

(In unrelated/actual news, Justice Brown goes to Washington; wow! As the Recorder points out, among other things this would open up a spot on the California Supreme Court potentially to be filled by a nominee of Governor Davis.)

Wednesday, July 16, 2003

Into The Mix's forthcoming digital music service wants "to become the iTunes for Windows." [Via c |net, via ILN] More from the Merc: "Like the iTunes Music Store, will sell individual music tracks without collecting an up-front monthly subscription fee; even though it has yet to secure licensed music from all five major record labels, knowledgeable sources say."

Tuesday, July 15, 2003

Making Lemonade, Or Something Less Palatable?

I must say, Global Removal has me stumped. So much so that this sounds like a job for Politech, to figure out whether this is 1) an out and out scam, 2) not a scam but a bad idea nevertheless because creating incentives not to spam is not enough to stem the tide, and not as effective as a system of legislated penalties (which Global Removal says it's lobbying for*), or 3) a surprisingly good idea. Even if this is completely on the up and up, the idea of paying to verify valid email addresses for spammers strikes me as, oh, perhaps doubly unwise. Global Removal's press release of today's date sheds further light on how this is supposed to work. Neither Google nor Technorati shows any incoming links to the site (which may just have launched); Snopes has nothing. I'm emailing Declan, and will follow up should this shed any light. Your thoughts, of course, are most welcome.

*" is also lobbying Congress to create a national 'Do Not Email' list that will be similar to the 'Do Not Call' legislation recently passed."

What Has It Gots In Its Pocketses?

Have you seen the Web site for Gnomedex 3.0 yet? "The Fellowship of the Geeks." (Wipe tears of laughter from eyes; go about business.)

A Clued Cabal

Search Google for "conspire" and find ("Wear Your Paranoia Like A Sweaty Undergarment!"), while "conspiracy" will serve up The Volokh Conspiracy at or close to the top. Enjoy Chris Lydon's interview with phenom Eugene Volokh himself, as well as Lydon's burgeoning aud-blog series, to date featuring Dave Winer and Jim Behrle. I particularly like Eugene's comments about the eclecticism of the "Conspirators" and their writing:

I suppose you're right that it's something like a coffeehouse, or something like a conversation around a dining room table, that people talk about the things that interest them. In a sense, that's actually more natural for humans I think. Very few of us decide, "Ok, over dinner, we're only going to talk about law." And when we do decide that then most people don't want to have dinner with us anymore.

Thanks to John Palfrey for pointing the way.

Look Ma, The Hummer's On The Plasma Screen!

The new Fox series "The O.C." premieres Tuesday, August 5:

The O.C., otherwise known as Orange County, California, is an idyllic paradise—a wealthy, harbor-front community where everything and everyone appears to be perfect. But beneath the surface is a world of shifting loyalties and identities, of kids living secret lives, hidden from their parents, and of parents living secret lives, hidden from their children.

Early returns look promising. I've always thought my adopted home town was emminently fictionalizable. It's a place where working without a net often amounts to more than just a state of mind.

Light The Canons

If you are concerned about the viability of federal government employee blogs (and blawgs), and in particular those of federal judicial clerks, get on over to this lengthy, thoughtful and oft-updated post from The Curmudgeonly Clerk, and click all the links. I agree with Howard and TCC that preapproval appears to be needed to comply with Canon 4 of the Code of Conduct For Judicial Employees. I also have to say that some of the rigors of the Canons seem to me a little like losing those last five pounds—great if you can do it, perhaps regrettable yet understandable if you can't. (If I had to avoid the "appearance of impropriety" every day, I'd probably never leave the house. But never leaving the house has its own appearance issues I suppose...)

TCC makes the fine point that writing is writing, and there's no reason to treat it differently because it appears on a weblog. This too captures my sentiments: "[T]he curtailment of blogging by those affiliated with the government is more likely to assure that the views of those familiar with and sympathetic to the government are absent than to achieve any other aim." (By the way TCC, that's not cursoriness, it's pith.) ;-)

Monday, July 14, 2003

RYB* Auto-Discovery

Perfectly Sassy (A Sassy Lawyer in Philippine Suburbia), on learning she's a blawger: "I just checked my ranking in Google and my individual pages outrank the Philippine local dailies. Wow."

*Right On, You're Blawging

The Professor And The Dean

Howard Dean is up and writing—out of the gate, about media deregulation—at Professor Lessig's: "James Madison and Thomas Jefferson spoke of the fear that economic power would one day try to seize political power. No consolidated economic power has more opportunity to do this than the consolidated power of media."

Over at The Screen Savers, today's poll asks "Could a Web-only campaign win the Presidency?" Current results: 25% Yes, 75% No.

Functionality Karma

Fix a few, break a few. In theory, there is a fleeting, blissful state when all elements of one's life function harmoniously. In practice, that condition violates so many recognized and as yet undiscovered laws of physics that were it to occur, one's being would shrink to a tiny pulsing glow around the former navel area, and pop suddenly off into the ether. Anecdotal proof:

Working (by 7/14, 7:00 a.m.)

  • Blogger in Safari. Publishing interface on a browser tab, side by side with other Web pages. Very nice.
  • Maxtor external firewire drive, nonfunctional on the floor for four months, now happily gobbling iMovie projects.
  • Virtual PC 6. Why? To retain access to years of Windows-formatted Quicken data, and to my CD-ROM law library via Premise (which is OS X challenged; I'm OS 9 challenged). Don't yet know if it'll turn out to be practical for these purposes; it's riillly slow.

Broken (by 7/14, 7:30 a.m.)

  • Hot water heater.
  • Dishwasher.
  • Sprinklers. (Flooding.)
  • Cordless phone.
  • Terminix. (Ants. Everywhere.)

All is, in other words, perfectly normal and in relative balance, and any extraneous good karma has better things to do.

What He Said

John Palfrey has a fine follow-up to his recent RSS copyright post, including this observation: "I very often hear technical people rely on fair use as a reason for doing something, and those people are almost always overstating its reach." Yep. Go read.

Sunday, July 13, 2003

Blogger And Safari, Sitting In A Tree

Hey! Blogger Pro now works in Safari. Finally! (Regular Blogger too? Has this been the case forever now and I've just been asleep at the switch?)

Share The Hope

Robert Scoble (lucid at 1:14 a.m.), on why it's a big deal that Microsoft has a hands-off approach to employee blogs: "Yeah, Microsoft trusts me not to do that. It's one of the reasons I love working here. But, make no mistake, that trust is a HUGE deal. I hope that other big companies follow along." (Another apparent example of divergent approaches by MSFT and the DOJ.)

Saturday, July 12, 2003


These lists of new blawgs just don't quit, and the ranks keep getting more and more diverse and exciting. See for yourself by paying a visit to this week's additions to the B&B blawgroll:





Learning The Craft

Blawgers At Large


  • Ron Friedmann is a lawyer who now runs his own law technology consulting firm, Prism Legal Consulting, in Arlington, VA. It's key when those who know law and technology are able to offer that knowledge to their colleagues in the legal profession. The disconnect too often is too wide. [Via Ernie Svenson]


  • The German American Law Journal (English Edition) is a group blog "for information sharing in the areas of German and American law, mainly where the two intersect, vary or intrigue." [Via]
  • Omni Legal News is the blog of LawTalkers, a site for news, rumor, information and gossip about the legal world. [Via]
  • One Big Blawg is a promising-looking new Glenn Garnes project (launched July 11), a collaborative site where lawyers can share knowledge about the jurisdictions where they practice. The site has many features and goals, so here's more from Glenn.


Two Sadly Down

Taking his cue from Stephanie Tai, one of my favorite psuedonymous blawgers D.C. lawyer Omnibus Bill has decided to "shut the hell up before this becomes a problem." This officially is Not Good. Bill further explains.

Friday, July 11, 2003

Drops Of Jupiter (LazyBlawg)

As mentioned here previously, I emailed my co-panelists Phil Wolff's questions to the Law of the Blog panel at the ClickZ Weblog Business Strategies Conference. I quickly got back some responses to some of the questions, so have been working on filling in the blanks. (One of my nonblogging co-panelists remarked that given the speed with which things move in the blog world we'd better get something up post—ahem—haste. My workload in the last month and my pregnancy-induced need to sleep all the time when not working have been the bog-down points, and I figured you could live with that.) I've been asked to remind you that these are the responses of the particular panelists and not their employers (where applicable), and that they do not constitute legal advice. Laws are constantly changing and vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, so the principles and cases we discuss might have little or no application to a given situation. You should seek help from a competent lawyer familiar with the laws in your jurisdiction for any particular concerns you may have. So let's get to it, shall we?

Does the blogspace axiom "You Own Your Words" make any legal sense?

Cathy: In my opinion, it does not. The average employee working in a high tech or media position (and many bloggers fit that description!) is required to sign an intellectual property agreement. These agreements are often drafted very broadly, and state that any works of authorship created by the employee that relate in any way to the type of work that the employee does for the employer are considered "works for hire," owned by the employer. The fact that the employee created the work on his or her own time, and using his/her own resources may not make a difference. The smart blogger will not assume anything, but will review all applicable contracts and policies carefully, and get legal advice.

Maury: By operation of law (federal copyright statute) the copyright for any copyrightable work produced by an employee within the scope of his or her employment is automatically vested in the employer and deemed a work for hire. This is true regardless of whether or not any employment agreement states so. Naturally, every situation is fact-specific, so one should get specific legal advice from competent counsel in any given instance.

Denise: Cathy and Maury have covered the employer/employee situation, the moral of which is you should not take for granted that you own anything written in your capacity as an employee; this could include posts to a work blog or work related posts to a personal blog. It pays to think practically by addressing these issues up front with an employer so everyone understands who owns what. I would also refer you to the U.S. Copyright Office's circular on "works made for hire," which is reprinted at GigaLaw. Rick Klau suggests the ultimate caution of not blogging on your employer's site or on your blogging application's site (e.g., Blog*Spot) to best safeguard your control over your weblog writing. Everyone must of course make their own decisions about such things, but I can certainly envision situations where an employee would be fine with blogging on behalf of an employer. I also don't think Rick meant to suggest that by posting to Blog*Spot or any other blog host domain you are ceding "ownership" of what you write to anyone else. As a practical matter though, if that host should crap out and you haven't backed up your site, you are not going to be a happy camper.

My answer to Phil in the non-employment context then is yes, if you have not licensed or otherwise transferred ownership to your work. The "You Own Your Own Words" concept has at least two sources: U.S. copyright law and longstanding Internet custom. Under U.S. copyright law, "Your work is under copyright protection the moment it is created and fixed in a tangible form that it is perceptible either directly or with the aid of a machine or device." [From The U.S. Copyright Office FAQ] This means you own the exclusive rights to the work unless you transfer or license those rights in some manner. U.S. copyright law also recognizes that individual contributors to a collective work retain the copyrights to their distinct contributions. With these considerations in mind, it is not difficult to see why the Well's Member Agreement (last amended 1997), for example, specifies that each contributor owns his or her own words. (For more about the Well, see Katie Hafner's book). Slashdot and OSDN adopt a similar approach. (Slashdot: "Comments are owned by the Poster." OSDN Terms of Use: "With respect to text or data entered into and stored by publicly-accessible site features such as forums, comments and bug trackers...the submitting user retains ownership of such OSDN Public Content....") In what would seem to be recognition that individual contributors are likely to retain copyrights in the material they submit absent other arrangements, AlwaysOn does not claim ownership of user-contributed writing but requires users to grant a license to the site:

[B]y posting, uploading, inputting, providing or submitting your Submission you are granting AlwaysOn and necessary sublicensees permission to use your Submission in connection with the operation of the AlwaysOn Site/Services, including, without limitation, the license rights to copy, distribute, transmit, publicly display, publicly perform, reproduce, edit, translate and reformat your Submission; and to publish your name in connection with your Submission...

As a final point in this discussion, I'd like to mention my co-panelist John Palfrey's post of today's date which considers the possible impact of RSS feeds on otherwise applicable copyrights. John urges tool developers to make it easy to embed Creative Commons license information in a syndication feed; I second that plea, as well as John's point that the more specificity bloggers can supply about their copyright intentions, the fewer the opportunities for confusion and disputes. John also wonders (in true exam-giver fashion) whether an implied license to republish might be created just from the act of supplying a feed—even where the feed specifies that all copyrights are retained by the weblog author. Of course, all of this is up in the air because no court I know of has considered or ruled on such questions, but my own take on that last suggestion is the finding of an implied license to republish would be a stretch, and a departure from the general rule (at least under U.S. law) that copyrights are not lightly surrendered. Publishing something in HTML makes it readable by a browser, but does not in and of itself do away with copyrights or result in an unfettered right to republish. I would think the same sort of logic would apply to publishing something in RSS/XML/RDF; doing so makes the material readable by a host of other applications, but should not, in the absence of an express license, connote republication rights beyond those afforded by the fair use doctrine. (This is like finals all over; how'm I doing, Prof?)

So yes, the blogspace axiom "You Own Your Own Words" makes legal sense, but need not apply in every situation. Your ownership rights can be affected by your actions or agreements, so it's wise to pay attention to these things.

What does European law say about blog ownership?

Sorry, all of us practice in the U.S. and are not up to speed on how European law might vary. There are a host of EU blawgers out there, and I have LazyBlawged this in hope of further input.

What license might be acceptable to an employer that would let an employee also preserve some rights in a blog? The ability to compile a book? The non-exclusive right to publish the blog from elsewhere? A clear definition of proprietary that doesn't include every thought written down? Using a Creative Commons approach, what are the big tradeoffs?

Cathy: Many of my clients have been quite willing to permit reasonable, clearly-defined carve-outs from their standard Intellectual Property agreements. You don't ask, you don't get! The devil, of course, is in the details. For example, the employer might not want the employee to be able to say anything about the employer or the employer's business on his/her blog.

Denise: See the work for hire discussion above. I agree with Cathy that these things can and should be addressed between employee and employer. Someone writing for an employer might want to cross-post to another, offsite blog, or, as you suggest, include the writing in a book. All sorts of variations on this theme are possible and conceivably could be negotiated. Regarding the last part of this question, I'm not sure I get it. Are you asking what the tradeoffs are for using Creative Commons licenses in general, or whether the Creative Commons approach could be adopted to fit relations between employers and employees? If the former, by granting any license you are authorizing specified uses of your work that otherwise would be barred by copyright law. There are all kinds of reasons you might want to do this, and I'd refer you to the Creative Commons site for more on that. If the latter, yes, an employer's rights in works for hire can be licensed, including by way of a Creative Commons license. If a Creative Commons license is used, then the license will apply broadly to any "individual or entity exercising rights under [the] License who has not previously violated the terms of [the] License with respect to the Work, or who has received express permission from the Licensor to exercise rights under [the] License despite a previous violation." This presumably would include the original employee-author, in the absense of any other arrangements.

If I post to my personal blog from work, can my employer claim ownership?

Cathy: That's a very fact-specific inquiry. The best answer I can give is, "maybe." I wouldn't assume that they can't!

Denise: Common sense tells me no, but consider this: what if the employer bars use of the Internet (including perhaps email, if you're posting that way) for nonbusiness purposes on company equipment and time, and/or (if the blog generates $$) bars you from multiple employment? In the latter situations, I could see an employer having an argument that unauthorized paid time spent on a personal blog was akin to embezzlement. The employer might not "own" the blog writing per se, but might nevertheless have an action for damages (and maybe not just for the paid value of the time you spend; what if, for example, you blogged the next Harry Potter?).

Who owns the comments on my blog?

Denise: See my part of the discussion above about "You Own Your Own Words." My take on it is your commenters do, unless they agree to license their submissions to you. And, under the Ninth Circuit's recent decision in Batzel v. Smith, your commenters probably not only own their own comments but are solely responsible for the information those comments contain. If that information is actionable (because it is defamatory, fraudulent, or otherwise violative of someone's rights), under Batzel, while the commenter can be sued, you probably cannot be sued for permitting its publication on your site and/or for not taking it down. Batzel turned in large part on whether a reasonable site operator could conclude that information provided by another was intended for Internet publication. While this might be an open question in the case of an email sent to a Web site author (in Batzel the case was remanded to the district court for further evidence on this point), it seems pretty straightforward in the case of a comment submitted via a blog comment form. Remember that as yet Batzel only is the law in the 9th Circuit of the United States (map). Other jurisdictions may differ.

If my blog is HR compliant, but I link to unsanitary places (Rageboy with offensive language, for example), is that creating a hostile workplace?

Cathy: This is another very fact-specific inquiry. For a purely personal blog, it seems like a real stretch, but one could probably come up with a set of facts where it might. Among the factors to consider are:

  1. were the linked comments sufficiently severe and pervasive to rise to the level of a hostile environment under the applicable state's law?
  2. how was the person claiming a hostile environment exposed to these offensive comments? Did it arise out of, implicate or effect their job?

Denise: Can a personal blog, not on a company site, create a hostile work environment for an employee? (Say there's a manager with an S&M fetish who links to such material from a personal, non-company blog.) I could certainly see someone bringing it up in a harassment claim. Could it form the primary basis for one? I could see someone giving it a shot, but I'm skeptical about the chances of success for such a claim. See generally Professor Eugene Volokh, Freedom of Speech vs. Workplace Harassment Law—A Growing Conflict. I'd be interested to hear from employment lawyers out there—which I'm not—about whether there is precedent for this sort of thing in the non-blog context.

"The best soy latte that you ever had, and [us]."

For anyone interested in reading the blogged accounts of our panel at the conference, my About page now includes links to those I found. If I missed any, let me know. And thanks again for your patience as I post these responses about a month after the questions initially were asked!

[Update]: Dr. Karl-Friedrich Lenz supplies a European perspective.

Thursday, July 10, 2003

Possible Baby Names: Hammerhead?

From Babycenter: "'And then one day I had this feeling of a goldfish swimming around my belly, and immediately I was certain that it was my baby.' Be warned that as the fetus grows, that goldfish may start to feel more like a shark attacking your rib cage."

It's official, too much of this in the past two days to ignore. A regular chip off the old dorsal fin!

Positively Keebleresque

One of copyright's bestest little elves is headed West! This calls for a cookie.

Wednesday, July 09, 2003

Deck Chair Shuffle

Here's the EFF's take on why the revised Kelly v. Arriba Soft (PDF) decision issued Monday is good for the development of link law. Fred von Lohmann: "By revising its ruling, the court removed a copyright iceberg from the main shipping lanes of the World Wide Web." [Via JD Lasica, who is looking for examples of participatory journalism.]

From The "It Had To Happen" Department

Or did it?

"This week on Fresh Gear, we'll examine the Brava, a high tech, non-surgical breast enhancement system promising increased bust size in a matter of weeks." (Another non-surgical breast enhancement system? Pregnancy. But it has, um, side effects.)

The earliest edge: "BabyPlus children have an intellectual, developmental, creative, and emotional advantage from the time they are born." (By the way, better brush up on your survival skills if you're the jokester who subscribed me to Fit Pregnancy. I don't so much mind the magazine, but you never stopped to think about the direct mail lists you'd be subjecting me to as a subscriber, now did you?)

I'm working tonight and tomorrow on finishing the legal panel's responses to Phil Wolff's good questions from the Weblog Business Strategies Conference, the first of which—"Does the blogspace axiom 'You Own Your Words' make any legal sense?"— will include my take on how Batzel shades this. Thanks for bearing with.

Tuesday, July 08, 2003

Lawlor Wants You (LazyBlawg)

John Lawlor is conducting research on blogging lawyers, and if that's you he would love 15-20 minutes of your time for an interview. He tells me he plans to use the material for surveys, seminars, books and other educational material about blogging. Shoot him an email if you can lend a hand.

Headline Screws

Mark Glaser has an article in today's Online Journalism Review, "Libel Ruling Provides Protection for Forums, Not Individual Bloggers:" "Putting a word such as 'Weblog,' 'blog' or 'blogger' into your news story's headline seems to do strange things to people. First, every Weblog known to humanity has to link to your story...."

In addition to succumbing to the inexorable link compulsion Mark notes, I mention it because the article assesses headlines relating to the Ninth Circuit's recent Batzel decision and finds them to have been a little hasty and overzealous in suggesting the case might afford blanket libel protection for bloggers: "What really happened in this ruling is much more complex than that and only protects third-party content that's being passed along to an e-mail listserv, a forum or perhaps a Weblog's comments section. When a blogger starts making original commentary, he/she is liable for these comments."

Mark's right on when he points out that bloggers—and anyone passing along third party comments—who care about accuracy and credibility would do well to take a page from the "real" journalists: "In the end, the real onus is on [defendant] Cremers and the individual publisher/writer/editor. Under this ruling, the publisher would be protected from libel for reprinting e-mails intended for publication—even if the content is libelous. But that publisher would be setting a poor example for online journalists by not making the most basic checks of the material to make sure they're not injuring someone by disseminating the story." I assume Mark would include in those basic checks affording the subject the opportunity to address and respond to the assertion. According to the Batzel opinion, Ellen Batzel did not learn of the allegation that she owned looted art until several months after the posting.

(Of course it's always fun to tweak IBM. The courts just might not be there for you whenever Big (B)Lou comes a knockin'.)

Bound, Gagged And Precedential

It took no time at all for various Slashdotters to correct their original tipster on the Kelly v. Arriba Soft decision, concerning the fact that most decisions of the United States Courts of Appeal are resolved by three judge panels and nothing about such a resolution deprives an opinion of binding and precedential effect. Several commenters quickly jumped in, and self-flagellation ensued scarcely three hours after the posting.

It's Quiet—It's Too Quiet

Oral argument today, back soon. (You haven't lived until you've tried finding something appropriate to wear to the Court of Appeal when you're pregnant...)

Meanwhile, I see from Marty that the Kelly v. Arriba Soft (PDF) decision has just come down, approving use of copyrighted images as thumbnails in image search results (although the holding likely is broader than that). There were also some interesting linking analyses in this case (see my posts from 2/12/02 and 4/9/02). It's definitely on my reading list for the afternoon. From the intro: "This case involves the application of copyright law to the vast world of the internet and internet search engines."

Sunday, July 06, 2003

"Controlled Breathing, In The Extreme"

Vanessa Grigoriadis reports on the latest in the Bikram yoga copyright wars. From the article—

Dana Flynn (owner of the Laughing Lotus Yoga Center in New York): "Bikram is a bit of a pirate."

Bikram Choudhury (referring to the owners of the studio where I practice, whom he sued): "They are on the street today. They are closing their school. They cannot say my name. She cannot teach my yoga anymore, because she lost her license."

While I can't debunk the first quote I can debunk part of the second, having just come from an excellent class taught by Kim Morrison, the "she" in question. And no, it wasn't taught in the street but in their comfortable studio, which seems to be doing just fine.

Saturday, July 05, 2003


Laguna Roses
Laguna Roses

Friday, July 04, 2003

Reversed In Part

Stephanie Tai is still with us, but in a lower res version dictated by her (government) employers. Wish I could say we weren't likely to see more of this sort of thing, which only equates to (1) missed opportunities for the organization/institution, and (2) more anonymous/psuedonymous writers. *Sigh.* Thesis 29: "Elvis said it best: 'We can't go on together with suspicious minds.'" Thesis 87: "We'd like it if you got what's going on here. That'd be real nice. But it would be a big mistake to think we're holding our breath."

No Axis Of Bleevil (—uh, blame Doc)

Jeff Jarvis has an interesting and encouraging report on a session held yesterday to preview AOL's forthcoming blogging tools. Among other things, Jeff details signs of intelligent life and cautions against knee jerk reactions: "If we are eager for Iraqis and Iranians to blog, we certainly should be eager for AOLers to blog." In the comments, Dave Sifry is good to go.


Very, very cool—Jerry "OYEZ" Goldman's interview with Laura Lynch of Creative Commons:

This month the OYEZ mission takes a new step forward with the release of hundreds of hours of MP3 versions of their archived audio under a Creative Commons license.

Imagine having all your favorite hits by The Supremes tucked away in your tote for a leisurely beach listen. Ok, so it's not for everyone...but it's still sicknasty. Here's more information, and the initial MP3s available for download. Here also is Glenn Otis Brown's June 25 post about Creative Commons' new strategy for helping people associate license information with MP3s.

Jerry Goldman Rocks
OYEZ presents: the Portable Court

[Update] Joe Germuska has more, including links to OYEZ RSS feeds, its iCalendar for the Supreme Court (!!), and this: "I used to work with Jerry at Northwestern University, and he always liked to be on the 'bleeding edge.' So far he's the only person who turns up in my iChat AV buddy list with an AV-enabled icon." (See also the OYEZ Features page.)

D Broadcast, D Broadcast

An executive summary of D: All Things Digital is scheduled to air on CNBC starting today (7:00, 10:00, and 1:00 a.m. Eastern; 4:00, 7:00, and 10:00 p.m. Pacific). Check your local listings and set the TiVo so you can go off and watch the fireworks.

Thursday, July 03, 2003

Jack Balkin on Batzel (LazyBlawg)

Jack Balkin has a great summary of the 9th Circuit's recent Batzel decision (PDF) and its implications for bloggers:

This does not mean that bloggers are immune from libels they themselves write. It means that they are immune from (for example) libels published in their comments section (if they have one) because these comments are written by other people and the blogger is merely providing a space for them to be published. Congress wanted to treat operators of chatrooms and other interactive computer services differently from letters to the editor columns in a local newspaper.

So if bloggers defame somebody, they can still be sued for what they say, just not for what someone else who publishes on the blogger's site says. The Ninth Circuit extends this immunity to people who run e-mail lists and republish the e-mails they receive to the list, even if they edit the e-mails a bit or do not republish every e-mail they receive. That is different from the rules that apply to print journalism. A newspaper is responsible for defamation in letters to the editor or op-ed columns that are published in the newspaper.

Jeff Jarvis rightly tells blogging attorneys and law professors, "It would be a tremendous contribution to your community to put up on the web a guide to libel, defamation, copyright, and other legal highlights for bloggers." Too true. I'd be happy to take part in such a project, but fear that in order for it to truly shine we'd need to find a coordinator who works for someone like IBM (see Tim Bray's discussion of Sam Ruby's work on Echo). In the meantime, at least it now can be said there are hundreds of blawgers out there, with a broad range of legal expertise, who help shed light on these sorts of issues post by post. That wasn't the case just a couple of years ago.

Nailed It

Sally Field (as "Rep. Rudd") in Legally Blonde 2: "Never underestimate a woman with a French manicure and a Harvard law degree." Heh.*

A Netscape movie reviewer fears further sequels: "Please tell me this won't turn into a series like the 'Crocodile Dundee' movies, where she keeps doing the same shtick in different cities. I can see it now: 'Legally Blonde 3: The Blonde Apple' ... 'Legally Blonde 4: The Blonde Rose of Texas' ... "

Parlez vous?
*I can "heh" because
while my keratinized epithelial cells
routinely are Francophiles—sorry Halley
I didn't go to Hahvahd.

Revolutions, 2003

This e-greeting from "Everyone at Reed Smith (UK)" tickled the heck out of me (the "no hard feelings" part). But then, I'm easily entertained.

More Coverage Of The Batzel Decision

AP writer Juliana Barbassa, "Sites win blogger ruling:"

Other cases have said commercial service providers on the Internet are not responsible for information posted by a third party. And this decision says non-commercial Web site hosts are only liable when they post information that a reasonable person would have known wasn't meant to be published.

The decision is a relief for bloggers and other online publishers.

Good quotes from Jeralyn Merritt—who writes the excellent Talk Left blog— too, check it out.

Wednesday, July 02, 2003

Q&A with Ed Stoner about Gratz and Grutter

Ed Stoner, the head of my firm's higher education practice group, participated this afternoon in a live Web chat/colloquy hosted by the Chronicle of Higher Education, on the subject of the Michigan affirmative action decisions. Ed fielded a variety of questions from university representatives, students and others around the world about how the U.S. Supreme Court's reasoning and conclusions may affect issues such as faculty hiring, scholarships, recruitment, and much more. I know I'm tooting a colleague's horn here, but this is a wide-ranging exploration of issues you may not yet have thought of or seen addressed in the coverage about the cases. I found it very informative, and I recommend it. Ed wraps up with a reminder that he will have more along these lines at an upcoming seminar:

I will be talking about this on August 13 when Reed Smith does its complimentary Higher Education Law all day seminar in Warrendale, just north of Pittsburgh. If you'd like to attend, it is open to all higher ed administrators. You may find out more by e-mailing or visiting our website.

[links added]

Creative Commons LicenseUnless otherwise expressly stated, all original material of whatever nature created by Denise M. Howell and included in the Bag and Baggage weblog and any related pages, including the weblog's archives, is licensed under a Creative Commons License.