Blawg Review #222
I can feel Spring approaching in Melbourne. There are buds on the Ash outside my window and the mornings are gloriously sunny, but frosty. Of course, Melbourne is well-known for its ability to turn on four seasons in a day so you may experience a few hours of Spring weather on any given day but there has been sufficient consistency in the weather over the past week to turn my thoughts towards Spring and all the fun that comes with it.
One of the treats that Spring brings in this part of the world is the Royal Melbourne Show (and plenty of festivals and shows across regional Victoria as well) but oh, the wait! What to do? What to do? While I wait for the buzz of local activity and excitement that comes with Spring, what could be better fun that partaking in the blawgosphere carnival, the Blawg Review? It’s perfect for my predicament. A fun celebration, globally shared in a space where it feels like it is always Spring – the legal blogosphere where there is no hint of Winter dormancy to be seen, new blawgs are continually sprouting and thriving and the atmosphere is ever vibrant and colourful. So without further ado, I bring you Blawg Review #222, with all the fun of a town show…
Let’s start by following Andrew Moshirnia’s ‘trip to the buffet of wrong’ a brilliant and very funny post brought to us by the Citizen Media Law Project Blog covering the broad choice of rather dodgy aspects involved in the dispute between Platinum Equity and San Diego Reader involving, amongst other things, Platinum’s attempt to copyright a cease-and-desist letter.
Mediator blah… blah… has a brilliantly brief and thought provoking post on the mediator’s role as ‘sponsor of communication and not constructor of outcomes’.
Fresno Criminal Defense has a fantastic post on a disturbing ‘trend away from the individualisation of guilt’ in the American justice system. Simple Justice has a couple of posts on ‘GateGate’, a recent situation in which a police officer investigating a possible home robbery went on to arrest a black Harvard professor in his own home for disorderly conduct. The first post explores the racial implications of the case and police perception of their own power. In a second post Scott Greenfield clears up some misconceptions about the charge circulating in the non-lawyer community. Above the Law’s Elie Mystal also posts on the case posing a radical and shaky hypothetical that criminal liability might attach to the woman who reported a possible robbery only to be shot down by David Lat – a highly entertaining read.
Legally Unbound posts on the debate in Nevada over judicial appointments vs judicial elections, suggesting a very sensible three prong solution for removing bias from the judicial system.
Legal Blog Watch posts on some recent discussion on the blogosphere of the issue of anonymous commenting on blogs and the decision by Defending People not to publish any anonymous comments. Legal Blog Watch encourages readers to comment (preferably not anonymously) sharing their thoughts on the matter.
Photo credit: mecookie’s
Competitions and prizes
In the competition for claiming a place in Managing Intellectual Property’s most influential people in IP, bloggers score a win! Spicy IP reports that ‘the IP blogger’ was noted in the Top 50 for informing opinion (Mr Kurian’s great achievement is also reported by Spicy IP). For those inspired to join the growing ranks of bloggers, take a look at Real Lawyers Have Blogs for a rundown of what they include in their blogger training program for lawyers. Also, an encouraging post from Greatest American Lawyer that discusses the very positive impact blogs can have, in terms of making you more visible and connecting you more closely to the issues you care most about.
If you’re wanting to see new law then the blawgosphere will not disappoint. This week The Employment News Law Spot brought to our attention a fresh amendment to America’s Affordable Health Choices Act 2009 that will extend COBRA coverage. Downtown Lawyer blog brings us news of an Eighth Circuit decision explaining that the same project and contractual relationship do not make cases "parallel" for abstention purposes.
Opinio Juris celebrates the 40th anniversary of the Apollo moon landing with a look at the future of space law relevant to government space projects. E-legal asks will robo-ethicist become a new speciality for lawyers? If Legal Blog Watch’s proves to be correct in its suggestion that mandatory consumer arbitration is in its final days, then lawyer-turned-robo-ethicists might be just the ticket for those in this vanishing field.
So too, the blawgosphere exhibits plenty of fresh ideas and interesting discussion on the subject of legal practice. Law21 has a great post ‘Spend Wisely’ considering corporate legal spending on risk minimisation and how to match possible changes in future spending. Sam Glover at Lawyerist.com shares some valuable business guidance gleaned from Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon. Chorey, Taylor & Feil’s John L Watkins explains what golfer Tom Watson can teach about business and practising law.
Do you consider yourself a ‘legal rebel’? According to the ABA Journal’s Legal Rebels project website: ‘Dozens of lawyers nationwide aren’t waiting for change. Day by day, they’re remaking their corners of the profession. These mavericks are finding new ways to practice law, represent their clients, adjudicate cases and train the next generation of lawyers. Most are leveraging the power of the Internet to help them work better, faster and different’. Law21 presents us with a fabulous post discussing the revolution from within the legal profession.
For a look at new and exciting inventions and innovation around the globe Anticipate This! recommends a visit to CNN’s ‘Edge of Discovery’.
Hoping to discover worthwhile online resources or grab some sound take home advice? Look no further.
Real Lawyers Have Blogs brings us Twitter 101 for law firms and other businesses. Let’sTalk Turkey introduces their readers to VisualCV complete with MAC/PC ad campaign knock-off clip comparing paper and visual CVs.
Popehat gives some sage advice on crisis management in its post ‘Crisis Management: It’s Like Being Arrested’. J D Hacker advises on ‘things a professional should never do on Facebook’ and the ‘perils of multitasking’ in context of legal practice. Check out Adams Drafting for some advice on developing a house style for contract drafting.
Also, worth a quick stop is Family Lore and GeekLawyer’s Blog reviews generously praising Tim Kevan’s comical new novel ‘BabyBarista and The Art of War’. If a humorous look at the legal profession pleases you, then visit ‘Behind Belittling Associates’ at LawComix for a hearty laugh.
Carnival fun and games
For some of the twists and turns in litigation, case law and legislative reform there are a number of good blogs posts to visit. This week Drug and Device Law and PointofLaw.com posted excellent reporting and analysis of recent US Supreme Court cases Twombly and Iqbal likely impact on federal pleadings requirements.
In Melendez-Diaz the US Supreme Court held that information in laboratory technician reports may only be introduced against a criminal defendant if there is opportunity to cross-examine the technican responsible. Matt Kaiser at The Kaiser Blog explains his view that Melendez-Diaz is good policy.
Across the pond concern is mounting about plaintiff-friendly libel laws. Citizen Media Law Project explains why ‘UK libel law may be hazardous to your health’. Also on the subject of UK defamation law, in a landmark decision, the UK High Court rules Google not liable for defamation in search results, reports the California Defamation Law Blog.
In Canada, the debate on copyright law reform is going strong. This week Michael Geist launched SpeakOutOnCopyright.ca to help facilitate greater participation throughout the consultation process – a highly commendable initiative!
PrawfsBlawg draws on the recent IP Colloquium and continues discussion of the copyright battle between Associated Press and Shepard Fairey, now joined also by freelance photographer Mannie Garcia. In the post Prof Dave Fagundes shares his thoughts on the fourth fair use factor and why he remains to be convinced that it weighs in favour of the photo owners.
Judge Sotomayor’s confirmation hearings are still generating much discussion in the blawgosphere. At The Volokh Conspiracy James L Gibson sets out ‘the dangers of politicised campaigns for and against nominees’. At Unsilent Partners, Mike Semple Piggot and Colin Samuelson discuss the hearings and new UK Supreme Court. At The Faculty Lounge, Alfred Brophy ponders the likely scholarship on the Sotomayor hearings. At Marqette University Law School Faculty Blog, Edward Fallone assesses some of the metaphors used to describe the role of judge and adds his own suggestion to the mix.
For a quick trip through the House of Mirrors, where distortion and confusion abound check out a post at Popehat on Florida Clearwater Council’s decision to make playing catch or similar activities at the beach or parks illegal. On the upside Ken reports ‘badminton-related deaths have dropped dramatically’ – a most amusing read about a serious issue.
Michigan Long Term Disability Insurance Lawyer Blog reports that Michigan Supreme Court Justice Young ‘places such a "high value" on child-rearing that he would adopt a legal rule that awards no compensation for such services’. Ok, now this House of Mirrors is getting a little creepy.
Phew, back into the real world where fun is good and parenting has great value, economic and otherwise. Also, while on the subject of parents, The Trademark Blog provides a brief and amusing post covering a trade mark infringement matter in which the court doesn’t buy the ‘my Mum did it’ defence.
Photo credit: Paul Keleher
And to usher in the end of this Blawg Review #222 let’s look at some of the fireworks that knocked us back in seats, and dropped our jaws in sheer amazement this week. Firstly, the reporting on copyright holder trade group, BREIN’s Dutch copyright suit against The Pirate Bay site, operators and future owners and the operator’s subsequent filing of a Swedish defamation suit against BREIN’s Tim Kuik. Nate Andersen of Ars Technica comments that ‘the entire saga could only get stranger if Ewoks were somehow involved’. TorrentFreak also provides some excellent coverage.
Reporting on Amazon’s remote deletions of George Orwell’s ‘1984’ and ‘Animal Farm’ ebooks from Kindle readers also sent many imaginations racing and attracted lots of colourful commentary as the background facts slowly came to light. There are countless great posts on the topic. I recommend posts at 1709 Copyright Blog, Copyfight, The Volokh Conspiracy, Ars Technica and Excess Copyright for some the most enjoyable and informative coverage of the remarkable tale.
And on that note, it is time to close this celebration of all the fun, folly and serious food for thought that was brought to us by the blawgosphere this week. Good night from me. Go well, blog well!
Blawg Review has information about next week’s host, and instructions how to get your blawg posts reviewed in upcoming issues.
Photo credit: **Maurice**