Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Is Your Favorite Football Team Infringing on a Spread Offense Patent or Copyright? The Confluence of Law and Sport Teaches Some Lessons in Patents

Freakonomics teaches us a a nice lesson about copyrights and patents and discusses Intellectual Property and Football.

Justice Breyer of SCOTUS and the U.S. Constitution: History is Too Uncertain for Originalism

See The Volokh Conspiracy on Breyer’s Approach to the Constitution

Patent Reform Act of 2010 Receives IPO Support

James DeGiulio at diffbot.com Patent Law reports that IPO Announces Support for Patent Reform Act of 2010.

Digital Evidence Cases and the Plain View Doctrine: A New Judicial Twist at the 9th Circuit Rehearing of the MLB (Major League Baseball) Drug Case

At Wired.com, David Kravets at Threat Level reports in Appeals Court Guts Landmark Computer-Privacy Ruling that the 9th Circuit rehearing of the Major League Baseball (MLB) drug case has resulted in a substantial legal shift from the ridiculous standard that court had pronounced a year ago concerning law enforcement rights to make computer searches under a search warrant.

That original opinion would have required federal officers to perhaps use "independent" third parties to comb through computer hard drives for the information sought, rather than for the feds to go on "fishing" expeditions on computer hard drives themselves. The new ruling still excludes the evidence in question in the MLB case, but "omits detailed guidance" on how judicial officers are to strike the right balance of reasonableness in their searches.

Cloud Computing Limited in the European Union (EU) by Privacy Laws regarding Movement of Information

Kevin J. O'Brien reports at the New York Times that Cloud Computing Hits Snag in Europe as privacy laws put strict limits on movement of information beyond European Union (EU) borders.

Hat tip to GigaLaw.com

YouTube Liable in Germany for Copyright Infringement by Users via Uploaded Content

At the Huffington Post see German Court Rules Against YouTube Over Copyright

The "onMouseOver" Incident at Twitter is Fixed: No Need to Change Passwords

We can NOT warrant that this is true - just in case it is not - but here is the info:

Twitter Blog: All about the "onMouseOver" incident

Twitter writes at its TwitterBlog that the matter has been fixed and that more importantly:

"there is no need to change passwords because user account information was not compromised through this exploit."

Caveat Emptor. Everyone is at his or her own risk. Always be prudent and careful.

U.S. News Ranks Best Law Firms in the United States by Practice Areas Based on Answers to Questions in a Mailed Survey

U.S. News, based primarily on a mailed survey, ranked the best law firms in the United States:
"A client survey was sent to 52,480 clients; a lawyer survey was sent to 43,900 lawyers, including every U.S. lawyer listed in Best Lawyers; surveys were sent to 2,314 marketing officers and 2,322 recruiting officers as well as to 8,597 firms without marketing- or recruiting-office contacts; and associate surveys were sent to 2,322 firm associates and 1,775 summer associates. The marketing-officer, recruiting-officer, associate, and summer-associate surveys included a total of 724 questions.

The level of response from this vast group exceeded our most optimistic expectations: 1,859 firms participated in the marketing-officer and recruiting-officer surveys; 9,514 clients – including every Fortune 100 company and 587 of the Fortune 1000 companies – provided 194,370 firm practice-area evaluations; 6,190 clients provided 11,181 comments about law firm practice areas and individual lawyers; and 8,842 lawyers provided 594,012 firm practice-area evaluations. "
 The firms are ranked by Tiers, e.g. Tier 1, Tier 2, Tier 3.

Rankings by Practice Area

University of Chicago Law Professor Makes Ineffective Arguments Against Higher Taxes

There is an old saying that it is a fool who is his or her own lawyer. The logic behind that old saw is the answer to the question of "Who among us is objective about ourselves?"

No one that I know.

That is why it is foolish to argue on one's own behalf viz-a-viz society, because we simply do not view our situation the way that the rest of the world views us. (Aside: Sigmund Freud in this regard wrote nicely about the conflict between the individual and society in Civilization and its Discontents.)

As Debra Cassens Weiss writes at the ABA Journal Law News Now in Law Prof’s Deleted Post: I’m Not ‘Super Rich’ Enough for Higher Taxes, a Chicago law professor has made the -- hard-to-believe -- judgment error of using his own high-income situation to point out -- essentially -- that personal expenses rise to match personal income and that high income earners adopt a lavish lifestyle that may find them living on the edge of what is possible for their wallet.

Some people find themselves in this situation no matter what they earn. You can always buy more real property than you can pay for -- the world is a large place. Part of the past financial crisis is exactly this problem.

That is nothing new as a matter of news. Many a rich man -- and also not so rich a man -- has wound up a pauper by squandering his assets and/or income and overextending himself by his purchases of things by no means necessities. Many people live from paycheck to paycheck, no matter what they earn.

Even a high-income earner who orders a couple of Bugatti Veyrons -- at a cost of over $1 million per car -- might have to dig a bit deeper than his pocketbook allows. High income does not equate with personal financial prudence.

But that human weakness is not the problem of the taxing authority.

The government is concerned with other matters.

As a matter of social justice, for example, for every gas-guzzling luxury car driven, how many citizens for the same money could be driving an economical low-priced car? So why allow ONE to have and NINE not to have when all TEN citizens could have?? I presume here TEN citizens all working solidly at their jobs.

Similarly, for every oversized mansion on a huge acreage occupied by one or two people, how many normal homes for families could be paid for?

SUCH are the essential questions of taxation -- they are questions of the equitable distribution of monies that are disproportionately earned only because the system is set up to enable that inequity.

There is no objective reason, for example, to permit a university law professor to earn far more than a high school, middle school, or grade school teacher. None. Each may work equally hard.

IF our system, however, is set up to permit such an earnings inequity, we can equally impose differential and progressive taxation. Frankly, that only is fair -- or better, ONLY that is fair. If society allows you to take more OUT of the pot, society can equally demand that you put more INTO the pot, otherwise, as the recent economic crisis proves, the pot can ultimately go empty.

It is also not true, as the Chicago law professor claims, that their family's biggest expense is "financing government" through taxes. It is quite the opposite. The fact is that government finances a great portion of the University of Chicago. As written by the University of Chicago at Recovery Act Funding:
"In (fiscal year) 2009, UChicago received a record $472 million in sponsored research funding from federal agencies—representing nearly 73 percent of the University's total awards."
Anyone who works at a major United States university and claims that THEY fund the government through their taxes just has the facts wrong.

Universities and their faculties and staff are one of the greatest benefactors of taxation everywhere. GOVERNMENT and BUSINESS finance the intelligensia viz. academia, not vice versa.

Travel News: RyanAir Flights Affected : Frankfurt-Hahn Runway Closed for 3 Days from September 20, 2010 5 p.m. until September 23, 2010 12:30 p.m.

There will be no RyanAir flights at Frankfurt/Hahn due to resurfacing of the runway from 5 p.m. September 20 to 12:30 p.m. on September 23, 2010.

The airport decided on this solution because the work could be done faster in the daylight hours of those days, rather than trying to do the job piecemeal at night over an extended period of time. This has turned out to be a brilliant solution weather-wise because Germany right now is enjoying a period of Indian Summer with clear skies, bright sun and balmy temperatures, so that one presumes that the runway will be resurfaced under optimal conditions. News reports indicate the new runway should be good then for the next 15 years.

The Official website of the airport Frankfurt-Hahn reports as follows:
"Closure of the runway

There´s no air traffic due to building measures between 20.09.10, 5 p.m. and 23.09.10, 12:30 p.m.
Affected passengers are already informed from their airlines.

The passenger terminal is closed from 20.09.10, 6 p.m. till 23.09.10, 09:30 a.m.

We want to ask for you understanding. Thank you!"

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