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.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Financial Valuations of Largest U.K. Law Firms

Sunday, February 26, 2012

What Will Apple Do With Its $100 Billion Cash Stash?

Pressures mount to do something. Could a dividend be far away?

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970203918304577241483831347356.html

Friday, February 24, 2012

Who Needs Divorce Lawyers?

Another commoditized area of legal services ripe for the taking. Not surprisingly the Texas Bar is digging in their heels. Perhaps the most droll (funny) line in all of this was the last sentence in the full article in today's WSJ (don't know if it appears on this blog link). In any case it read as follows:

"In Texas, divorce lawyers contend that the divorce forms likely will be used by many people of means, who can afford a lawyer and be better served by paying one."

Let me see. I have money. Let's say a lot of money. Instead of flying economy I should be compelled to fly business and first class. Because I will be better served? What if I don't want it or need it? Doesn't that count for something?

http://blogs.wsj.com/law/2012/02/24/are-divorce-lawyers-necessary/

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Lawyers Sue Westlaw and Lexis for Copyright Infringement of Case briefs

It is an interesting theory, but not at all clear that a lawyer has a copyrightable interest in their briefs. Indeed, the better argument is that ethically and otherwise, it is the property of the client. A stronger case for asserting copyrightable interests is perhaps in the creation of legal forms.

http://blogs.wsj.com/law/2012/02/22/keep-your-hands-off-my-briefs-lawyers-sue-westlaw-lexis/

Michael Jordan Sues Chinese Sportswear Chain


Qiaodan Sports Company Ltd. has been profiting by illegally using “Qiaodan,” Mr. Jordan’s Chinese alias, on its marketing materials and products since the 1980s, Mr. Jordan said in a prepared statement Thursday.
Qiaodan Sports, based in China’s coastal province of Fujian, sells athlete-branded basketball shoes and jerseys in its 5,715 retail outlets in China and is preparing to raise nearly 1.1 billion yuan ($175 million) in a public listing in Shanghai.
The company said it has the exclusive right to the Qiaodan trademark and is operating “in accordance with Chinese laws.” A Qiaodan Sports spokesman declined to comment further.
“I feel the need to protect my name, my identity, and the Chinese consumers,” Mr. Jordan said in a video on a website devoted to his claims against Qiaodan Sports. “It’s not about the money. It’s about principle — protecting my identity and my name,” he said, adding that any awards would be invested in promoting basketball in China.



http://blogs.wsj.com/law/2012/02/23/michael-jordan-sues-chinese-sportswear-chain/

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Remarkable: Crowd Funding Website Raises $1 Million for Self-Published Web Comic Book

The author of a self-published webcomic about a band of heroes in a fantasy role-playing world has raised more than $1m (£600,000) from fans on "crowdfunding" website Kickstarter to bring his stories back into print, making The Order of the Stick the richest creative work in the crowdfunding site's history.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2012/feb/22/author-raises-1m-self-publish-webcomic?newsfeed=true

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Mobile Apps for Kids Often Lack Adequate Consents and Disclosures According to the FTC

The Federal Trade Commission today issued a staff report showing the results of a survey of mobile apps for children. The survey shows that neither the app stores nor the app developers provide the information parents need to determine what data is being collected from their children, how it is being shared, or who will have access to it.

http://www.ftc.gov/opa/2012/02/mobileapps_kids.shtm

Social Networks Cannot Be Required to Monitor or Filter Users' Communications to Prevent Copyright Infringement, European High Court Says


The highest court in Europe ruled yesterday that social networks cannot be required to monitor and filter their users’ communications to prevent copyright infringement of music and movies.  The European Court of Justice (ECJ) found that imposing a broad filtering obligation on social networks would require active monitoring of users’ files in violation of EU law and could undermine citizens’ freedom of expression.

https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2012/02/eu-court-justice-social-networks

Friday, February 17, 2012

Meltwater News Has Parasitic Business Model, AP Says

The Associated Press claims an Internet-based news aggregator uses a "parasitic business model" based on "willful exploitation and copying of the AP's and other publishers' news articles for profit," in violation of copyright.
     Meltwater News "copies and delivers to paying customers substantial infringing excerpts from AP stories" without paying licensing fees, stealing AP's work and violating copyright, the AP says in its federal complaint against Meltwater News U.S. and Meltwater affiliates.


http://www.courthousenews.com/2012/02/15/43906.htm

Meltwa

The Associated Press claims an Internet-based news aggregator uses a "parasitic business model" based on "willful exploitation and copying of the AP's and other publishers' news articles for profit," in violation of copyright.
     Meltwater News "copies and delivers to paying customers substantial infringing excerpts from AP stories" without paying licensing fees, stealing AP's work and violating copyright, the AP says in its federal complaint against Meltwater News U.S. and Meltwater affiliates.

http://www.courthousenews.com/2012/02/15/43906.htm

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Owner of Tarzan Sues for Trademark Infringement and Unfair Competition


A family-owned company that owns the copyright and trademark rights to author Edgar Rice Burroughs’s works has sued comic-book distributor Dynamic Forces and publisher Dynamite Entertainment over books based on Burroughs’s most-famous characters Tarzan and John Carter of Mars.
The lawsuit, filed by Edgar Rice Burroughs Inc., claims that Dynamite’s “Lord of the Jungle” and “Warlord of Mars” series constitute trademark infringement and unfair competition.



http://blogs.wsj.com/law/2012/02/16/owner-of-tarzan-sues-comics-companies-for-infringement/

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Right of Publicity Class Action Lawsuit Against Facebook


A class of Facebook users who take issue with one of the site’s advertising methods — the “Sponsored Story,” which is created when a Facebook user “likes” a product or service and is shown to that user’s friends. In essence, if a user “likes” a brand, she becomes a spokeswoman for it.
The lawsui was first filed in California state court and removed to federal court in San Jose in March 2011. The named plaintiff didn’t want Facebook using her image and name to advertise products to her Facebook connections without her permission, she said in court documents filed Monday.



http://blogs.wsj.com/law/2012/02/14/suing-facebook-kind-of-sucks-plaintiff-says/

Monday, February 13, 2012

Will Tort Lawsuits Be the Downfall of the National Football League?

An interesting posting from the Volokh Conspiracy.

http://volokh.com/2012/02/12/will-tort-lawsuits-be-the-downfall-of-the-nfl/

The Saga of Jammie Thomas-Rasset and Copyright Statutory Damages


When Jammie Thomas-Rasset illegally shared 24 songs she downloaded from the Internet more than five years ago, little did she know that the act would launch her on a roller coaster ride through the courts. In three trials and two appeals, she's been hit with damage awards of $222,000, $1.92 million, $54,000, $1.5 million, and $54,000 again.
That last award was too low, argues Capitol Records, which has appealed the case and is seeking restoration of the $1.5 million award against the Native American mother of four from Brainerd, Minnesota, who works as a natural resources coordinator for the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe Indians



http://www.pcworld.com/article/249821/eff_defends_54000_award_against_music_sharer.html

Demand for Legal Services Sagging, Citi Report says

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Litigation Financing and Conflicts of Interest: A New Report on the Experience from Land Down Under


Since Australia’s high court in 2006 gave litigation funding its stamp of approval, the industry has grown significantly.
In a new report sponsored by the U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform, an Australian law professor takes a look at how the practice — where businesses invest in high-stakes legal disputes, sharing the risks and potential rewards — creates conflicts of interest.
The conflict argument has been made in the U.S., which is still feeling its way in the field, but Australia’s track record is longer. And the report concludes that the country’s experience should be a lesson to the legal community here.



http://blogs.wsj.com/law/2012/02/10/australia-a-cautionary-tale-of-litigation-financing/

Digital Espionage in China Requires Some Business Travelers to take Extraordinary Measures

As reported in the New York Times, when Kenneth Lieberthal of the Brookings Institute, travels to China he takes the following steps:


"He leaves his cellphone and laptop at home and instead brings “loaner” devices, which he erases before he leaves the United States and wipes clean the minute he returns. In China, he disables Bluetooth and Wi-Fi, never lets his phone out of his sight and, in meetings, not only turns off his phone but also removes the battery, for fear his microphone could be turned on remotely. He connects to the Internet only through an encrypted, password-protected channel, and copies and pastes his password from a USB thumb drive. He never types in a password directly, because, he said, “the Chinese are very good at installing key-logging software on your laptop."

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/02/11/technology/electronic-security-a-worry-in-an-age-of-digital-espionage.html

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Federal Court Grants Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) Accelerated Briefing Schedule in case against FTC re Google

In response to EPIC's complaint and motion to compel the Federal Trade Commission to enforce a consent order against Google, a federal district court judge has ordered an accelerated briefing schedule. The FTC's Response to the EPIC briefs is due February 17, EPIC's reply is due February 21, 2012. The Court's deadlines reflect Google's imminent, substantial changes to the company's business practices. Google intends to consolidate the personal data of Google users across 60 services on March 1. EPIC contends that these changes constitute a violation of the consent order with the Federal Trade Commission. For more information, see EPIC v. FTC (Google Consent Order).


http://epic.org/2012/02/federal-court-grants-accelerat.html

LinkedIn Quarterly Results Beat Earlier Estimates

Very much in the shadow of social media giant Facebook, LinkedIn, I think, represents a great growth opportunity. In particular,  the ability to monetize all their data and dis-intermediate traditional search firms has only just begun, IMHO.

http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/02/09/us-linkedin-results-idUSTRE8182FU20120209

Is Obscene Material Copyrightable?

The split and uncertainty is actually more pronounced than I would have thought.
http://volokh.com/2012/02/09/can-obscene-materials-be-copyrighted/

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Mobile Apps May Violate FCRA, says FTC

Monday, February 6, 2012

Security Cameras Used for Studying Consumer Behaviors

The data is simply too valuable to ignore. Strictly speaking there is nothing overly problematic about it, so long as the cameras are visible, disclosures are proper and not misleading in any way.

http://www.technologyreview.com/computing/39552/?p1=A2

Arizona Whacks Amazon with Large Sales Tax Bill


Arizona hit Amazon.com with a $53 million bill for uncollected sales taxes, the latest attempt from a state to get revenue from the online retailer, Dow Jones Newswires reported.
In a filing with the SEC, Amazon disclosed the bill from Arizona — which the company received in November — saying the state “is alleging that we should have collected a transaction tax that is similar to a sales tax on applicable transactions” for the period March 2006 to December 2010. Amazon said the assessment is without merit and plans to defend itself.



http://blogs.wsj.com/law/2012/02/03/arizona-to-amazon-about-that-sales-tax/

Friday, February 3, 2012

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

What Actually Changed in Google's Privacy Policy?


Per the EFF, here’s what you need to know about the substantive changes in the new policy:
  1. Up until March 1, 2012, the data Google collected on you when you used YouTube was carefully cabined away from your other Google products. So, in effect, Google could use data they collected on YouTube to improve and customize the users’ YouTube experience, but couldn’t use the data to customize and improve user experience on, say, Google+.
  2. The same siloing took place for your search history. Previously, Google search data was kept separate from other products. Even when users were logged in, Google promised not to share the information they gathered about you from your Google search history when customizing their other products. Considering how uniquely sensitive user search history can be (indicating vital facts about your location, interests, age, sexual orientation, religion, health concerns, and much more), this was an important privacy protection. 



https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2012/02/what-actually-changed-google%27s-privacy-policy

Lawsuits Against Law Schools Regarding Misleading Employment Data Expands


Three complaints — against Thomas M. Cooley Law School in Michigan, New York Law School and Thomas Jefferson School of Law — were already out there. The schools have moved to dismiss the lawsuits, arguing that they strictly followed American Bar Association rules on job-placement data.
David Anziska, who filed the lawsuits in Michigan and New York, teamed with lawyers from seven other law firms to file a dozen more on Wednesday.
The list of schools includes Albany LawBrooklyn LawHofstra LawWidener LawFlorida CoastalChicago-KentDePaul Law,  John Marshall Law School, California Western, Southwestern, USF Law and Golden Gate. The lawsuits seek tuition refunds


http://blogs.wsj.com/law/2012/02/01/a-dozen-law-schools-hit-with-lawsuits-over-jobs-data/

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