Welcome to "On the 50 Yard Line" The Blog of Stuart L. Pardau, Attorney, Professor and Observer of Political Economy; It’s not just about football.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Two Major Regional Banks Retract Policy of Debit Card Fee Charges

A wise marketing and business decision. Customers had being nickeled and dimed, espeically when there are no visible value adds. In fact, excuse my French, the customer service of the Too Big To Fail Banks in particular are notably sucky. Indeed, in my last magnanimous moments, I wish they would fail since the market needs to punish poor service and incompetence. I have had much better success (both personally and in business banking) with regional and local banks -- less red tape, more innovative products, far better service.


Trading for Judgments: An Exchange Where Sellers and Buyers of Judgments Can Transact

An interesting business model, but my instinct is that the vast majority of the judgments are not just"dogs" but the dogs no one else wanted (otherwise at a minimum an enterprising attorney could take it on a contingency). But again, much like Alternative Litigation Financing ("ALF"), for the party wishing to monetize the judgment, the play is on spreading the risk over a broad portfolio. The inference here therefore is: 1) buying judgments at very steep discounts (like 5-10% and under) and; 2) having a lot of them.


Sunday, October 30, 2011

The Future of Stock Trading

 Fascinating profile in 10/29/11 WSJ, Barry Silbert, founder and CEO of SecondMarket, an online trading platform that pairs buyers and sellers of such financial assets as mortgage-backed securities and especially the stock of companies that haven't gone public.


Why A Cyber Security Treaty is Not Going to Happen

Friday, October 28, 2011

RightHaven Gets Slammed -- Again

As just reported in the Las Vegas Sun:

"Newspaper copyright infringement lawsuit filer Righthaven LLC of Las Vegas was hit Wednesday with an order to pay $119,488 in attorney's fees and costs in its failed lawsuit against former federal prosecutor Thomas DiBiase.
This was by far the largest fee award against Righthaven, but likely will be dwarfed by an upcoming award in Righthaven's failed suit against the Democratic Underground. Before Wednesday the largest fee award against Righthaven was for $34,045 — an amount Righthaven says it's having trouble paying or even posting a bond to cover."


Samsung Rising -- Surpasses Apple in Smart Phone Sales

With all the hype around Apple -- most of which in my view is justifiable -- one must never forget about how competition can drive massive change in the marketplace. I don't think anyone is going to see innovation out of Samsung in the same way we saw it in Steve Jobs' Apple. But maybe 70% to 80% of that level/quality is good enough for the vast majority of people and while being first market is important does waiting for similar functionalities six months or a year down the road make that much of a difference?

Note however that Samsung and Apple have been going at it for some time, with several pending patent infringement suits.


En Masse Defection of 15 lawyers from Wilkie Farr - To A Client!

I have never seen anything quite like this before. We see lawyers going from private practice to supposedly greener pastures of in-house land all the time, with sometimes a partner brining on an associate or other colleague for good measure. But 15 lawyers? This is significant and is indicative (on steroids) of the "in-sourcing" movement, corporations doing more of the legal work by their own employees as opposed to traditional use of high priced law firms.


Avon: The Subject of An SEC Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) Probe

A lengthier article on AVON CEO, Andrea Jung, also profiles many of the travails affecting this iconic brand.


Thursday, October 27, 2011

Arianna Huffington Loses Motion To Dismiss in Idea Submission Case

These idea submissions cases can be very tricky, largely because the facts surrounding them are almost always very slippery. Even if not much is there, but a judge and jury "bite" on at least some of the legal bait, the end results can be significant, even catastrophic for the defendant. Here, plaintiffs claim that they came up with the idea of a liberal blog and that Huffington stole the idea. Even if true, I fail to see how meaningful or original this would be, unless there are a lot more details around its execution that we are unaware of. Now, it seems,  there is at least a decent chance a jury will get to hear all the evidence and decide for themselves.


Governor Jerry Brown takes on California State Pension Reform

Perhaps much like only the staunch anti-communist Richard Nixon could open the door to "Red China", by analogy it seems that only a liberal, yet admittedly idiosyncratic, Democrat like Jerry Brown can reform the current state pension system in California.  Of course he has to work with the very Democratic, pro-state employees union legislature in California.


Wednesday, October 26, 2011

CBS Sued for Copyright Infringement in Connection with Photos of John Edwards' Mistress and Love Child

CBS has been sued by a celebrity photographer who claims the network's The Insider and The Early Show featured without license his images of Reille Hunter, the mistress of former presidential candidate John Edwards, and her child.


Why Insider Trading is Illegal

Timely recap, particularly in light of high-profile Rajat Gupta convictions.

Nurse in California earns $270,000 in salary with Overtime

I don't begrudge this nurse who works in the CA prison system. There is no suggestion that she did anything untoward or improper. What is improper is a system which allows state employees, through a "generous" availing of overtime get anywhere near to a point where they earn anywhere near this type of money at taxpayer expense. California's anti-competitive wage/hour laws don't help matters. Hopefully this egregious case will spur a deeper examination of current practices resulting in reform down the road.


Tuesday, October 25, 2011

The Future of Law Teaching

Autozone CEO Pay Spikes Up

But maybe is warranted due to a diluted EPS of $19.47 in 2011 up from $14.97 in 2010. AZ's stock is up 40% YOY. Sounds like "pay for performance" is alive and well to me.


Are Law Schools and Bar Exams Even Necessary?

An op-ed piece in the NYT from Brookings' Clifford Winston, author of "The First Thing Let's Do, Let's Deregulate All the Lawyers".  Winston argues that the market needs less regulation and more market-oriented information, including the entry of the likes of credible third party sources like a Consumer Reports, J.D. Power, etc. to rate attorneys.


Monday, October 24, 2011

The Right Stuff: Whatever "it" is, Tim Tebow has it

I do not know if Tebow will have a career as successful as Joe Montana or Johnny Unitas (actually I kind of hope he does), but there is no question he has a set of winning qualities that sets him apart from most athletes.


FTC Settles with Frostwire re Privacy Violations -- Compliance Monitoring/Reporting Part of Settlement

 Frostwire agreed to a stipulated final order resulting from the FTC’s complaintalleging that (a) users of FrostWire’s Android mobile file-sharing application were likely to unwittingly share personal files stored on their mobile devices with other P2P users after installing and running the application, and (b) FrostWire misrepresented to users of FrostWire’s desktop file-sharing application that certain files they downloaded would not be shared with other P2P users.  
The FTC also noted that there was no notice that adequately informed users of the consequences of the mobile application’s default settings, which amounted to unfair acts or practices in violation of Section 5 of the FTC Act.  With regard to the FrostWire desktop application, the FTC alleged that, by not clearly disclosing that items downloaded and saved by a user would be automatically shared in addition to the items in another folder specifically designated for sharing, FrostWire violated Section 5(a) of the FTC Act which prohibits deceptive acts or practices.  
The settlement stipulates that Frostwire:
  • is prohibited from misrepresenting its file-sharing settings and must clearly and prominently disclose to the user which user-generated files and which downloaded files will be shared and with whom; 
  • must modify its applications so that the user must affirmatively select which user-generated and downloaded content to share with other P2P users (as opposed to a default setting which allows for sharing);
  • must update older versions of the mobile and desktop applications to reflect the terms of the settlement; and
  • is subject to standard compliance monitoring and reporting obligations.


Excellent 60 Minutes interview last night of Steve Jobs biographer, Walter Isaacson

Insights into Jobs' world views, his personal and family life (including how he handled and responded to the cancer which afflicted him), and his singular drive and purpose. Excellent stuff all around.


Per Recent Survey, "Skilled and experienced" lawyers still in high demand

This recent Robert Half survey seems to validate what many of us see in the marketplace; demand is still high for skilled and experienced attorneys who work at affordable rates; a very different story however for more recent graduates.


A Path for An American Resurgence

Energy independence, world-leading universities, transparent markets, free flowing capital, reducing wage differentials with BRIC countries,and a growing birth rate, all point to a promising economic future for this last best hope of mankind.


Sunday, October 23, 2011

Is another Ratings Downgrade for the U.S. in the Cards?

At least one leading analyst seems to think another downgrade is a distinct possibility by the end of this year, especially if the bi-partisan Congressional debt reduction committee is unable to reach consensus in the coming weeks. Between this and the uncertainty in Europe in advance of the coming G-20 meeting, makes me think we should be thankful for the exceptional market recovery of the past couple of weeks and take any gains off the table.


Talk About Killing the Messenger: More Challenges for the Ratings Agencies

European Internal Market Commissioner Michel Barnier is considering a move to ban the agencies from publishing outlook reports on EU countries entangled in a crisis.

In an internal draft of a reform to an EU law applying to ratings agencies obtained by the paper, Barnier proposes providing the new EU securities authority, the European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA), with the right to "temporarily prohibit" the publication of forecasts of a country's liquidity.


Ever Wonder Why Baseball is the only Sport Where Coaches (Managers) Wear Uniforms?

Well, there was Connie Mack, but that was an awful long time ago. According to this Bob Greene piece in CNN, it seems the main reason is that in earlier years the person making the decisions on the field (then called the "captain") was also a player. (Manager's in those days apparently running the business side of baseball.)


Saturday, October 22, 2011

A Scathing Letter from an unhappy 2009 Loyola Law School Grad-- Ouch!

The pain is real and the problem is not going away. Law School education in America must change.


New Law to Take Effect in California on January 1, 2012 Limiting Use of Credit Reports in Connection with Employment Hiring Decisions

California now joins a handful of other states which have passed similar laws (including Connecticut and Hawaii). Based on the new CA law, certain exceptions apply, including for managerial positions and those jobs which require the handling of money.


Privacy Protection Holes in Skype and other related services

Researchers at Polytechnic Institute of New York University (NYU-Poly) and in France and Germany will soon notify Internet scholars of flaws in Skype and other Internet-based phone systems that could potentially disclose the identities, locations and even digital files of the hundreds of millions of users of these systems


Friday, October 21, 2011

Nigerian Village Brings Environmental Tort Case Against Shell Oil

Billion Dollar claim against Shell brought under Alien Tort statute.


TaxiCab Medallions in New York

The cost of a taxicab medallion in New York City (and with it, of course, the right to own and operate a taxi) is now an incredible $1 million. Multiplied by the number of estimated taxis in the city, this results in a present value of rents (as reflected by the medallion costs) of over a staggering $13 billion. Again, this seems to be an example of over-regulation, needlessly restricting the supply of a service or product (in this case, taxis), inuring to the benefit of a few (taxi owners and regulators) and detriment to many. Let the market work. Or at least let it work more.


Thursday, October 20, 2011

The SEC's new guidance regarding disclosure obligations concerning Cybers ecurity and Cyber breaches

 The Division of Corporation Finance of the SEC issues guidance regarding disclosure obligations relating to cybersecurity risks and cyber incidents.


The new "Flexible Purpose Corporation" in California

A new interesting development in California, a new corporate structure hybrid has been born: the flexible-purpose corporation, which makes it easier for companies to include social and environmental goals in their business plans alongside the pursuit of profits as reported in the Wall Street Journal Law Blog. As of Jan. 1, 2012, these companies can draft articles of incorporation in such a way that puts a desired social mission alongside financial growth. In particular, questions exist on how these social goals might be measured, but I could see this spawning any number of new approaches and businesses. The key is a regime with empirical information and transparency. 


Putting Things in their Proper Perspective

Looks like planet earth came close to extinction in the late 19th Century.


Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Who says government jobs don't pay?

With Federal employees whose compensation averages more than $126,000 a year and the nation’s greatest concentration of lawyers (many of whom do government related work),   Washington DC edges out San Jose as the wealthiest U.S. metropolitan area, government data shows. I can think of no better example of the arrogation of power to the central government and its distasteful consequences.  The message should be to young people to take risk and start businesses and try new things. An increasingly Leviathan state is antithetical to those very notions.


More on Student Debt

As I previously posted, student loan debt now exceeds credit card in the United States. In terms of future default rates, this is a coming tsunami. As USA Today reports:

"Full-time undergraduate students borrowed an average $4,963 in 2010, up 63% from a decade earlier after adjusting for inflation, the College Board reports. What's happening:
•Defaults. The portion of borrowers in default — more than nine months behind on payments — rose from 6.7% in 2007 to 8.8% in 2009, according to the most recent federal data."


Inflation Hits 3 year High in U.K.

The official data showed consumer price inflation rose more than expected to 5.2% in September from 4.5% in August – the highest since September 2008 – as household energy bills soared. Americans take note.


Tuesday, October 18, 2011

New Jersey Courts Issue Conflicting Rulings in Zip Code Information Collection Cases

Last month, two New Jersey judges issued opposing decisions in class action lawsuits regarding merchants’ point-of-sale ZIP code collection practices. The question of whether New Jersey retailers are prohibited from requiring and recording customers’ ZIP codes at the point of sale during credit card transactions is now up in the air, at least in New Jersey.
In February, the California Supreme Court ruled in Pineda v. Williams-Sonoma Stores, Inc. Pineda v. Williams-Sonoma Stores, Inc. that ZIP codes are  indeed “personal identification information” under the  California Song-Beverly Credit Card Act. This has resulted in several class actions in CA where merchants had been collecting such information.

Business Schools see a decline in applications

Much like law schools, applications are down year over year. Some of this is attributable to the poor economy but part of it as well I suspect relates to the growing gap between cost (both in terms of tuition, but also of opportunity cost) and the actual or perceived value any of these higher degrees actually provide.


News Flash: Increased Regulation Translates into Increased Legal Work

So I guess this means GDP goes up.  It also means, assuming that the regulation in question serves some useful purpose that activities and behaviors are channeled in directions which perform some broader societal good. But that is a rather shaky assumption. Many regulations, though borne of good intention,  are ill-conceived serve little useful purpose.


Monday, October 17, 2011

Some cogent arguments for why the Legal Market May Not be Collapsing

Informative and thoughtful posting on the Volokh Conspiracy which makes the case that with median incomes of $113K, lawyers are still doing rather well relative to everyone else. Perhaps the operative phrase here -- and I am paraphrasing -- is "relative to everyone to else".


Government Spending Grows by 5%

For the first nine months of this year, federal spending was $120 billion higher than in the same period in 2010, the data show. That's an increase of almost 5%. And deficits during this time were $23.5 billion higher.


Sunday, October 16, 2011

Virginia Lawyer Charged with Misconduct by State Bar for Blogging

The Virginia state bar has gone after one of its lawyers for blogging on results and related commentary on his past cases. The state bar contends that this is tantamount to an "advertisement" and must therefore contain adequate disclosures and disclaimers and is otherwise required by Professional Rules of Conduct. While I have no doubt that blogging by law firms has the desired result of "business development",  this Virginia Bar disciplinary action appears over-reaching and certainly raises first Amendment concerns. I am sure this is far from the end of the story.


The U.S. Debt Clock -- An Update

Well, the numbers keep going up -- and in the wrong direction. A national debt of $15 trillion; unfunded longer-term liabilities (medicare, prescription drugs, social security) of $115 trillion, not to mention combined personal debt and those of all state, municipal and city governments. All in, it comes to over $1 million per taxpayer. And what exactly are our elected officials doing to address this?


The Coming Crisis of Student Loan Debt

Outstanding student loan debt, at $830 million, now exceeds total credit card debt. See the attached link for more of the particulars of this ticking time bomb.


Saturday, October 15, 2011

Google Buzz is Dead

The subject of a much maligned service and major privacy breaches which resulted in an FTC settlement agreement requiring regular privacy audits, Google Buzz is officially done. Google+ continues grow, however, and with lessons learned, I am sure.


California Shortfall Greater than Expected

Down $300 million for September, $700 million for the first three months' of this fiscal year in CA which started July 1st. Sacramento needs to focus on making the economic pie larger (less regulation, more friendly business environment).


Friday, October 14, 2011

The Tensions Between Copyright Law and The First Amendment

Text of interesting speech on the tensions (both historic and current) between the copyright law and the 1st Amendment. In particular, praise is heaped on the DMCA safe-harbor provisions, its enablement of technology and the dissemination of free speech (providing appropriate weight to 1st Amendment rights over those of copyright holders).


Rajaratnam gets 11 years -- May Serve Time with Madoff

Big questions of whether 11 years is "too much" or "too little" for insider trader Rajartnam.  His apparent health problems (a stroke, diabetes, among others) supposedly led to a reduction in his sentence.


Thursday, October 13, 2011

The Lawyer in the Machine

This dispute resolution mechanism, as reported by the WSJ, and as adopted by GE, substitutes a software program for lawyers in an effort to settle lower dollar amount disputes -- for now. I think it is an interesting an idea, though mildly creepy. A government legal dept in NY adopted a similar program but later found it was more efficient to use humans. That is comforting.


Tuesday, October 11, 2011

More from Above the Law Blog Regarding Law School Lawsuits

But, here, excerpts from the Deans of two law school defend current reporting practices.


Monday, October 10, 2011

Ever hear of Dexia?

Reduction in Legal Jobs in September

Looks like technology, particularly in e-discovery,  is a key driver in the disintermediation of these jobs. According statistics cited in the article, e-discovery tools can now do the job of what required 500 lawyers to do in years past. That may be true, but I do not know the empirical source or support for that assertion.


Sunday, October 9, 2011

Governor Brown signs bill into law that bans tanning salon use of people ages 18 and under

I have never been to a tanning salon myself, nor, frankly, do I ever have  any desire to set foot in one. Furthermore, if any of my children told me they planned to go to one, I would try to talk them out of it. But passing a law actually prohibiting it for all people 18 and under? Why stop there? If the supposed harmful effects of UV rays are so bad, then why not just ban it outright? Or is it that, much like tobacco and alcohol, it is considered harmful activity, but not harmful enough (say compared to heroin use) to completely declare illegal. Frankly, I am puzzled by Sacramento's decision. It will kill jobs but even more insidious it has that corrosive effect on the body politic, conveying the message that our political leaders in Sacramento are in the most charitable interpretation, utterly clueless and out of touch.

Just the other day, Governor Brown ridiculed the "stuffed mountain lion" bill (I kid you not) as one of the few areas where there was bi-partisan support. I am afraid that this new tanning law is equally deserved of his -- and our -- ridicule.


Problems at Sprint

Looks like problems at Sprint, both in terms of product development and in financial performance (draw downs on credit lines are expected). Check out this detailed piece from CNN Money.


Saturday, October 8, 2011

Senator Boxer Looks Into Law School Reporting of Employment Statistics

I had posted earlier in the week about new lawsuits against a new set of Law Schools around employment statistics reporting. Now, Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) is looking further into this as well, especially the connections between ABA and LSAC and what appears to be conflicts of interest of the ABA in particular in terms of its traditional oversight functions.


Friday, October 7, 2011

Legal Zoom Sues North Carolina State Bar

Legal Zoom, the licensor of legal forms and "do it yourself" legal services, has filed suit against the North Carolina state bar challenging allegations that, as a non-attorney firm,  it is engaged in the "unauthorized practice of law".  Recently, Legal Zoom was sued in Missouri (class action) based on an unauthorized practice of law claims, and they settled.


Privacy Impact Assessments Frameworks: A European Perspective

A privacy impact assessment framework for data protection and privacy rights prepared for the European Commission Directorate General Justice detailed in this lengthy report. 


Thursday, October 6, 2011

Forbes List of 400 Wealthiest Americans: 38 of them have law degrees

Impressive, but the real punch line is that none of them (I think with the exception of Joe Jamail from Texas who is or recently was on this list) are practicing lawyers.


Deregulation of the Legal Market in the United Kingdom

It's official: The deregulation of the legal services market is starting today in the United Kingdom. The Legal Services Act, which allows for the creation of non-attorney ownership of law firms, through enterprises known as Alternative Business Structures (ABS), now creates the possibility of a Harrods or Mark & Spencer's or Barclays Bank offering legal services. It will change everything. Much like the deregulation of the financial services market in the U.K. in the 80s (the "Big Bang") echoed across the pond to precipitate deregulation of financial services in the United States, it is only a matter of time before similar impacts take place in the legal context.


Wednesday, October 5, 2011

More Law Schools About to be Sued Over Employment Statistics?

I have previously posted about lawsuits against certain law schools, including Thomas Jefferson in San Diego and the Cooley Law School in Michigan around allegedly suspect employment data for their recent graduates. As reported in the Above the Law Blog, it looks like the field of defendants will be expanding.
Above the Law Reports that:
Strauss Law PLLC and the Law Offices of David Anziska are planning to sue not one, not two, but FIFTEEN more law schools to challenge their post-graduate employment rates.
The schools facing lawsuits (including Strauss’s own alma mater, Brooklyn Law School), and their reported post-graduate employment rates, are as follows:
  • Albany Law School (reports rates of between 91% and 97%);
  • Brooklyn Law School (reports rates of between 91% and 98%);
  • California Western School of Law (reports rates of between 90% and 93%);
  • Chicago-Kent College of Law (reports rates of between 90% and 97%);
  • DePaul University College of Law (reports rates of between 93% and 98%);
  • Florida Coastal School of Law (reports rates of between 80% and 95%);
  • Hofstra Law School (reports rates of between 94% and 97%);
  • John Marshall School of Law (Chicago) (reports rates of between 90% and 100%);
  • Pace University School of Law (reports rates of between 90% and 95%);
  • Southwestern Law School (reports rates of between 97% and 98%);
  • St. John’s University School of Law (reports rates of between 88% and 96%);
  • University of Baltimore School of Law (reports rates of between 93% and 95%);
  • University of San Francisco School of Law (reports rates of between 90% and 95% percent);
  • Villanova University School of Law (reports rates of between 93% and 98%); and
  • Widener University School of Law (reports rates of between 90% and 96%).


U.S. Job Growth Still Looks Weak

But, again, payroll figures from ADP -- which I still maintain are the most reliable out there -- show stronger figures than other indicators.


Tuesday, October 4, 2011

French Data Protection Authority Moves Forward with Privacy Seal Project

On September 22, 2011, new provisions under the French Data Protection Authority’s (“CNIL’s”) internal regulation came into force. The CNIL recently amended its regulations to incorporate a new chapter that sets forth a specific procedure for issuing privacy seals in accordance with the French Data Protection Act. The Act authorizes the CNIL to “issue a quality label to products or procedures intended to protect individuals with respect to processing of personal data, once [the CNIL] has recognized them as in compliance with the provisions of the Act.”
The new provisions create a labeling committee tasked with developing draft benchmarks for evaluating products or procedures and assessing privacy seal applications to determine whether the product or procedure complies with the relevant standards. Once the benchmarks have been published, applicants wishing to obtain a seal must fill out a form including a description of the relevant product or procedure and information on how it satisfies the requirements. The CNIL will have two months from the date it receives an application to test the product or procedure for compliance and make a decision about whether to grant a privacy seal.
I think this has the makings of an excellent program which will  enable consumers to determine whether a product or procedure comports with certain baseline privacy standards. As important, having a trusted filter will help privacy sensitive consumers to remain comfortable and confident with their choices without having to do an exhaustive due diligence in each and every instance.


A Sign of The Times

Diaper sales are down; interestingly, according to the WSJ article, rash cream sales however are up. No joke.


$100 Million Dollar Content Licensing for SkateBoarder Tony Hawk and YouTube

I am not a skateboard enthusiast myself, but I know of Tony Hawk and the amazing "brand" he has created for himself. YouTube would seem to be a brilliant channel for pushing out that type of content.


Monday, October 3, 2011

Former Minnesota Viking Quarterback, Fran Tarkenton Speaks out Against Teachers Unions

Excerpts from an interesting Op-Ed that appeared in the Wall Street Journal. I do detect some scrambling here, for which Fran was so famous. Expect an intense rush or even a blitz from his left side.


Morgan Stanley's Exposure to Greek Sovereign Debt

Investors are nervous, the stock price is jumpy and CNN is drawing superficial parallels to Lehman. Not good.


New Entrants into the Alternative Litigation Financing Market

I have entered previous postings about third party litigation financing (those situations where non-parties in interest) provide funding (usually to a claimant) in litigation, ordinarily through non-recourse financing (i.e., the financing firm only receives money if their client prevails). My sense is that the ALF market, as it is known, can only grow so much, with already some large players like Burford Capital, Juridica and Oasis.


Is the Chinese Economy About to Crash and Burn?

According to this commentator (see link below citing from a recent Economist magazine report), the answer is "yes" and what are some rather compelling arguments. Here is an excerpt from the Economist about growing hostility to foreigners:

The climate for foreign firms in China is starting to feel frosty. Costs are rising, regulations are growing more burdensome. Local competitors are playing rough. Some, like Cosco, a shipping giant, have brazenly tried to renege on contracts. Others have used their political allies to squeeze out foreign partners. One Westerner reveals that two foreign firms on whose boards he serves have recently been forced to leave the country shedding their assets in fire sales. China is much too big and booming for foreign firms to ignore, and plenty of multinationals are doing splendidly there. But this latest turn of the screw may not be the last.


Sunday, October 2, 2011

Go North Young Man?

The oil rich Bakken formation in North Dakota is driving the booming economy in the state to the best figures in the country. An unemployment rate that is 3.5%, jobs at fast food joints that pay $15 an hour and oil field related jobs that routinely pay in the six figures.


Seventh Circuit Upholds West Publishing's Motion to Dismiss in Challenge to Driver's Privacy Protection Act ("DPPA")

The Driver Privacy Protection Act ("DPPA"), passed as federal law in 1993 is designed to protect the personal information and privacy rights of drivers who register with the various state DMV's, which of course describes a pool of most Americans. DPPA does carve out certain exemptions, including for market analysis and research, which is the basis for how certain businesses, including, R.L Polk continue to stay in business. A challenge to West Publishing, which has also entered the business of reselling the DMV information, was dismissed at the trial court and now upheld by the 7th Circuit.


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