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Saturday, August 23, 2003

Monday Will Be A Bunner Day

Howard Bashman: "The Supreme Court of California has announced that on Monday, August 25, 2003 it will issue its decision in DVD Copy Control Assoc. v. Bunner." Here are Alex MacGillvray's impressions of the 5/29/03 oral argument. Mike McKee's report in the Recorder concludes with this from Andrew Bunner: "'This case is more important to other people,' he said, 'than me.'" Google underscores his point.

Today's New Blawg

J. Craig Williams writes the May it Please the Court weblog for The Williams Law Firm, here in my adopted home town of Newport Beach (star of the dubious yet undeniably campy Fox drama, The OC). [Via the Blawg Ring] Craig's bio has more, including the fact he represented plaintiff-appellant Fonavisa in the Ninth Circuit's Fonavisa, Inc. v. Cherry Auction, Inc. case, subsequently relied on in the court's Napster decision.

Friday, August 22, 2003

Friday Pot Luck

Some sundry good stuff:

Kevin Heller's Tech Law Advisor turned one last week, and as a present it has a new look and some great current posts (permalinks not working but these are topmost now; Kev, there's the opposite of a "honeydo" for the weekend –fixed):

IPKat continues to put the I in IP: "GIRLS JUST WANT TO HAVE FUN — WITH SHOES."

The eminently cool John Battelle (of the U.C. Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism and bIPblog) will be moderating a panel on "Developing Successful E-Communities," November 3, 2003, at AD:TECH, New York.

The Sophorist, "Turning Consumers Into Slaves?:" "I'm not proposing we do away with capitalism. Capitalism is great. Let's just think about what we're doing when we hear talk of reforming all these laws that protect individuals."

Price-free, ad-free (for now, says Chad; text ads maybe further down the road, but nothing graphical or popup-ical) aggregation of AP top headlines, as well as legal, business, and technology news, at detod news. (Weather too.)

Board The Wi-Fi Train

Starting in September, passengers will be able to ride and surf on the Altamont Commuter Express and Capitol Corridor train services in northern California. "'I think I'm going to cry, it's just so beautiful!' Web developer Sasha Akhavi of Oakland wrote on Traintalk, an Internet forum frequented by Capitol Corridor riders, after he heard the news." [Contra Costa Times, "Wi-Fi trial lets train riders log on from comfort of seats;" more from the AP; c | net] According to these reports the service is expected to be free for the first three months, around $10/month thereafter.

Today's New Blawg

Matthew Stein writes Schteino, the Blog. [Via] Matthew just started law school at the University of Miami, armed with a tablet PC and, hopefully, considerable powers of concentration. (Ah, don't count on it: "I get the sense that if my liver wasn't already damaged, it will be by the time I graduate." Lucky cuss, what I wouldn't give for a beer about now. And a tablet PC would be fun to mess around with too...) Matthew's About page fills in some additional details.

Baby's First Gift From Mom

Watch me pull a rabbit outa my hat
(Ok, it's really for me.)

Thursday, August 21, 2003


A colleague of mine recently sent an accidentally blank email to all our southern California attorneys, i.e., he hit send before typing in his text. It seemed a colossal waste of time to recall the blank message, so he didn't. The responses, of course, rolled immediately in:

  • "Your e-mails have become too brief."
  • "I agree completely."
  • "You have my vote."
  • "I recommend this person."
  • "I'll attend."

And my personal favorite,

  • "No, I don't know this proposed mediator."

Technology: funny whether it knows it or not.

[Unrelatedly related]: Dennis Kennedy has "a few thought questions about virtual law firms." [Via Ernie Svenson]

Today's New Blawg

A "criminology and criminal justice undergrad student and self-admitted law junkie still deciding about law school & the future" writes [Via the Blawg Ring] Kelly attends the University of Maryland, which received some hardware largesse from alumnus Sergey Brin: "Brin's alma mater is the first to benefit from [the gift of a Google search appliance] through the newly established Google Search Appliance Donations Program."

"I'm An Attorney, But What I Really Want To Do Is Spam"

You may have steered clear of this week's Sobig.F worm but still not emerged unscathed. This is because the worm uses addresses—maybe yours—it finds on infected machines to propagate itself. The comet tail of this effect is the slew email you might be receiving from spam or virus blocking software, alerting you that "your" send was intercepted because it failed filtering tests.

On an infected system, the worm scans various documents for email addresses. The worm then distributes itself to other inboxes using a built-in SMTP engine. When it distributes itself, it "spoofs" in the "From:" field an email address it finds on the infected machine instead of using the infected user's address. Because the address doesn't match that of the infected machine, it's difficult to trace the string of infected computers. [The Screen Savers]

Mikko Hypponen, manager of anti-virus firm F-Secure, said Sobig F had been written by a spammer looking for ways to get past spam filters.
He said: "For once, we have a clear motive for a virus – money." [BBC News, via Dave Winer]

Thus, even non-Windows users are feeling this one, albeit indirectly.

[Update] Kevin O'Donovan's "thinking jail isn't enough. I'm thinking something involving of a pair of pliers and a blowtorch..."

Wednesday, August 20, 2003

"A bit of analysis"

Rick Hasen follows up on this afternoon's district court determination not to delay the California gubernatorial election, and plans to submit an amicus curiae brief in the inevitable appeal.

Worth A Few Showers

The final Alpha Male is Halley's Jackson: "The girls love this." Indeed they do.

Slow Vote To China? Up To The Ninth

Rick Hasen (1:01 p.m. PT): "Judge Wilson has denied TRO request in ACLU case."

CNN (4:07 p.m. ET): "Judge refuses to delay California recall."

Howard Bashman (4:08 p.m. ET): "I was on the phone a bit earlier with a reporter for a nationwide television news outlet, and the reporter was very interested in learning all about the Ninth Circuit, the federal appellate court with jurisdiction over California."

A CNN reporter earlier today called the Ninth Circuit "unpredictable"—granted I practice primarily in California, but the Ninth Circuit has no corner on the unpredictability market. Much more coverage of this afternoon's ruling by Central District Judge Stephen Wilson is available at Google News, and Rick Hasen (above) is an election law professor at Loyola Law School here in L.A. When he says "more later" in a situation like this, it's worth coming back for.

It's Not Nice To Fool (With) Mother Nature!

Apparently, giant sequoias and SUVs don't mix. (More.)

Today's New Blawg

Dave Stratton writes the Insurance Defense Weblog [via Ernie Svenson], a blog focusing "on civil litigation defense in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area." Dave is a partner in his firm, has been webmastering its site for several years, and is checking out the whole weblog thang. More about Dave's expertise, which includes civil defense and appellate work, is available on the Jordan Coyne & Savits site.

Marty Schwimmer, Handbag King

Marty's recent posts about Jelly Kellys and Murakamis have been cracking me up, not because of the trademark issues, but because of how the bargain hunting shoppers are destined to start camping out on his virtual lawn, waiting for the garage door to open and the deals to begin! Marty's right to wonder whether luxury goods manufacturers are leaving something on the table; that Jelly Kelly looks less like a cheap substitute than it does an improvement on the original.

Tuesday, August 19, 2003

Distrifringement, Part II

When I shared my August 11 "Distrifringement" post with Joe Rosenbaum, one of my colleagues in New York and the head of our e-commerce practice there, he took it as the jumping off point for the lead story in his monthly newsletter, Legal Bytes. In addition to discussing the recent Lowry's Reports, Inc. v. Legg Mason, Inc. case, Joe provides further background on the development of the fair use doctrine and its application in other situations involving the copying and redistribution of copyrighted works. See the current issue (108 KB PDF) for Joe's thoughts, and if you would like to subscribe to Legal Bytes—may as well, it's free, no need to redistribute!—please email Joe (tell him I sent ya).

Today's New Blawg

A lawyer in Melbourne writes Courting Disaster [via Wrong Side of Happiness], and explores the connections between such things as Lara Croft and the Legal Fraternity, and coffee liqueur and little umbrellas. The author of Courting Disaster also writes Naylor's Canberra, a blogged crime serial, which kicked off in February.

I'm Yours, Body And Soul—But Not Blog (LazyBlawg)

Phil Wolff observes that "One in 4 or 5 bloggers will start a new job this year. Maybe 750 thousand. They and their blogs are at risk." Phil is interested in developing some form language for use in employment agreements that would govern "my blog, my rights to blog, my ownership of my blog, and explicit freedom from retaliation for anything I post."

Justin Hitt offers an excellent comment in response to Phil's post, discussing employee/independent contractor distinctions and his own experiences in negotiating similar issues with employers. Justin's comment helps emphasize how a "one size fits all" approach might not be the best solution to this problem. The same thing can be said about licensing, but that doesn't make Creative Commons any less valuable, or, on the other hand, any guarantee against potential litigation. Could a Creative Commons-type system nevertheless be implemented for this situation? Of course, in theory, but Creative Commons represents a unique combination of expertise, commitment, and funding, and unfortunately I don't think it's realistic to expect such programs to spring up wherever a legal powderkeg awaits a match.

As for Phil's hope that a boilerplate "Blogging Employee's" agreement could include a provision ensuring "explicit freedom from retaliation for anything I post?" If someone manages to negotiate such an arrangement, I want that person as my lawyer. I cannot imagine any employer willingly giving any employee carte blanche to potentially defame the company or its representatives, or to disclose its competitive confidential information. That said, there may be work-related subjects an employer would be happy, even eager, to have employees blog about, and there may be employers that would make a church-and-state distinction for employee writing that is purely non-work related. More reasons why it's smart to address such concerns up front, and not to take on employment terms and conditions without some trusted legal advice.

My panel at the Weblog Business Strategies conference touched on these kinds of issues, and I have linked to all the panel coverage I could locate from B&B's About page. The panel also took a stab at answering some of Phil's further and related questions after the conference ("Drops Of Jupiter").

Opportunity Knocks But Once

Howard Bashman (on a curious will dispute concerning the author's family): "A Google search indicates that no musical group yet exists named the 'Transgendered Hemingways.'"

Monday, August 18, 2003

Sweet Sixteen

My grandmother called to remind me that sixteen years ago today I started law school. At almost 94, she's still so sharp she scarcely needs to have such things written down. She does write them down though, in her now infamous, dog-eared "Little Plaid Book." Bag and Baggage is sort of like my Little Plaid Book—with somewhat less plaid, and scrawls only slightly more legible.

Plaid Power
"The great majority of men are bundles of beginnings." —Emerson
(Congratulations, JCA!)

Gimme Mick

Jon Healey with the Los Angeles Times provides first-rate technology coverage—but you knew that. Today, he has good news: t-minus two weeks until the Rolling Stones appear in the iTunes Music Store, and they're available now on Rhapsody ("Fans Can Get What They Want"):

Online music services backed by the major record labels are about to sweeten their offers with a little Brown Sugar. [...]

"I think it shows a level of trust and a level of partnership with our artists that says, this is the future, or a major part of the future of how music gets distributed, " [Ted] Cohen [senior vice president of digital development and distribution at EMI Music] said.

Seeping Serendipities

Come for the musings on email economics, stay for the Mullet Wigs. ;)

Today's New Blawg

Alexander Mackey writes The Securities Law Beacon [via Mike O'Sullivan]: "shared scholarship, commentary and news in securities law from a 3L."

Alexander is doing a great job keeping on top of developments concerning the maze of obligations imposed on public companies and their attorneys, with an emphasis on the many fraud and ethical issues so frequently in the news.

Sunday, August 17, 2003

Phoning Home 'Til The Bitter End—Then Spamming

David Streitfeld, in today's Los Angeles Times business section ("Hanging On After The Big Hang-Up"):

In coming weeks, households can expect to be deluged with phone solicitations as telemarketers try to establish relationships before the registry goes into effect. The FTC already is getting reports that telemarketing call volume has soared. And after Oct. 1, those who haven't signed up for the registry can expect a flood of calls as marketers zero in on them. [...]
[David] Surrey [call center manager for Grand Pacific Resorts, which places 10,000 calls per day] is hopeful that a lawsuit will stop the registry at the last minute. And if that doesn't happen, he expects other methods — e-mail, for example — to blossom. "It's not like we're passing out pink slips saying, 'On Oct. 1, half of you are gone.' " [...]
[T]he widespread presumption is that all those not on the registry will, as [Sterling] Edens [who runs the call center for Welk Resort Group] puts it, "get overwhelmed with every type of telemarketing call imaginable."
That will drive more people onto the list. Which in turn will increase the volume of calls to the dwindling number who aren't on it. [...]
If this industry is fated to disappear, the [American Teleservices Association] telemarketing association says, it will go down dialing.
'Until every man, woman and child in the United States signs up for a do-not-call list,' the ATA's [Tim] Searcy said, 'the opportunity still exists.'

Today's New Blawg

David Starkoff writes Inchoate: "Perhaps I need to start watching more professional wrestling and blogging about it." Most definitely.

The Shape Of Napster To Come

The New York Times ("It's Back. But Can the New Napster Survive?"):

At most, Napster's new agreements will produce a service similar to Rather than accept the tightest set of restrictions that music labels had to offer, chose to sell tracks for a range of prices, with varying degrees of access.

A result is that some songs move with iTunes-like ease, while others have as little mobility as Rapunzel.

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.