Month: May 2011

Intriguing reads while our editors take finals

If things seem a little quiet on the blog, we’ll keep it that way — at least for a wee bit. Our current crop of editors, you see, are buried in their books as they make their way through spring Finals and even, for many, graduation and collecting their new juris doctor degrees before diving into the arduous task of studying for the California Bar. Meantime, for those who missed her lively and amusing piece, we’d call your attention to the entertaining report by Carol J Williams — the LA Times’ legal correspondent and a friend of the Biederman Blog who, among other things, has served on the ‘murder board,’ advising and judging student plans for this site — on the musician whose lyrics resonate most in legal opinions and briefs. Her fun read reminds that blog editor Leo Young tackled a similar topic in a post on movie references in legal writing. We’re also pleased to pat ourselves on the back and thank the Chronicle of Higher Education for its kind coverage of the student editors’ hard and innovative...

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For rapper Lil’ Wayne, an appellate slap down

A lawsuit by Dwayne Michael Carter Jr. (aka Lil’ Wayne), seeking, among other things, $50 million from the makers of The Carter, a documentary that premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in 2009, has taken a new turn: After a countersuit by entertainment company Digerati and a decision by the California Court of Appeals, it turns out Wayne could be found liable for breaching his oral contract with filmmakers by failing to promote the project. In short, his initial plan may have backfired. Wayne’s documentary reached the iTunes Top 10 and was called “one of the top-five greatest hip-hop documentaries of all time” by Brandon Perkins of the Huffington Post. The success of the film horrified Lil’ Wayne who claimed his approval rights were important so the film would not depict him in a way that would hurt him in his criminal court proceedings. “Wayne was arrested twice, in July, 2007, and January, 2008, on weapons and drug charges and ultimately served eight months in prison in 2010. He is currently serving three years probation,” reported Jeff Gordon of Courthouse News The film chronicles the life and times Lil’ Wayne, who objected to the film’s release prior to the removal of unapproved footage. In his suit, he asserted that Digerati had breached the agreement by failing to honor Carter’s final approval rights. In his complaint, he claims (according to...

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‘Public Domain,’ prof’s new book, wins praise

James Boyle, in his award-winning new book, The Public Domain: Enclosing the Commons of the Mind (Yale University Press), introduces readers to the idea of the public domain and describes how it is being greatly eroded by our out-of-touch and harsh copyright, patent, and trademark laws. “In the age of the Internet, what are lawmakers doing to protect the public from copyright? This is the central question Boyle considers as he explores the history, application and future of intellectual property laws to works of authorship using contemporary technologies,” wrote Julie Cromer Young, Thomas Jefferson School of Law in her review of this work. Boyle, a law professor and co-founder of the Center for the Study of the Public Domain at Duke University, embarks on a series of fascinating case studies in this literary work, explaining why basic business ideas and pairs of musical notes are now owned, why jazz might be illegal if it were invented today, and why most of 20th Century culture is legally unavailable to us. “Intellectual property laws have a significant impact on many important areas of human endeavor, including scientific innovation, digital creativity, cultural access and free speech. And so Boyle argues that, just as every informed citizen needs to know at least something about the environment or civil rights, every citizen in the information age should also have an understanding of intellectual property...

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Video games reexamined as new bar group rises

The Video Game Bar Association has launched with the goal of providing a dedicated forum for attorneys who specialize in video game transactions. Two of the group’s founding members, Patrick Sweeney and David Rosenbaum, teach at Southwestern Law School, which is one of the only law schools in the Los Angeles area with two dedicated video game law-related courses. At the request of Biederman Blog editor Leo Young, Sweeney recently sat down to discuss the new bar group and current trends he sees in the video game industry.  Gamasutra and the AmLaw Daily have provided great coverage of the group, founded in February, and its mission. To summarize, it is a forum for members all over the world to collaborate. It’s for experienced attorneys only and members must have practiced at least two years in the video game industry. Candidates must be sponsored by an existing member. The professor said a major trend in the industry has been the rise of mobile and social gaming. The growth of these, along with the lower cost of evolving distribution platforms, have permitted developers who previously were barred to enter the video game market. For major, AAA video game titles, the traditional relationships between developers and publishers tend to remain as they were; the lower entry cost, with the emergence of “app stores,” has allowed mobile game developers to reduce their reliance...

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