When I lived in Halifax there was a case of a guy getting arrested in a donair shop late at night. I don't remember exactly what the charge was but there it was something similar: he was drunk and disorderly.
Sadly, I can't find a copy online, but the judge dismissed the case and talked about the need for context for these kind of charges, stating "Tony's Donair Shop at 2am is not the Vatican Library". (As anyone who has ever been to Tony's at 2am can attest to).
I'm frankly not entirely certain how the city's trademark was granted in the first place, since I'm not clear on how having a sign announcing what city the person reading it is in denotes any kind of commercial application.
Is commercial application an absolutely requirement for a trademark under US law? In Canada, all a government has to do is let the trademark office know that they have "adopted" a mark and then no one else is allowed to use it. The US might not go THAT far, but still, I'd be surprised if governments aren't allowed to register trademarks even when they aren't being used for "commercial" purposes.
I'm going to nitpick, because I think this is an important detail: in discussions of criminal law, motive and intention are not the same thing. Motive refers to your reason for doing a thing, and intention refers to whether you intended to do a thing. You might have had a very noble reason for doing a thing, but you still INTENTIONALLY did it.
The mens rea requirement in criminal law only looks at intention, not motivation. So while the Espionage Act might be unique in that it removes the requirement for the state to prove intention, the fact that motive doesn't matter isn't unusual. That's almost always the way it goes in criminal matters. (Though once guilt or innocence has been proved, motivation sometimes becomes a factor in sentencing).
The news reports I've read said that the two suspects were already known to police and were under surveillance. For example, this Reuters article states:
The fugitive suspects are French-born sons of Algerian-born parents, both in their early 30s, and already under police surveillance. One was jailed for 18 months for trying to travel to Iraq a decade ago to fight as part of an Islamist cell. Police said they were "armed and dangerous".
What kind of information was a broad, untargeted "mapping" program going to reveal that targeted surveillance hasn't?
Internet Explorer is fourth, though still with a fair bit of usage (who are you people?).
To suggest a serious answer to what was not a serious question: we are people whose corporate IT departments still love Internet Explorer because all the internal web-based corporate applications were designed 10 years ago to work on IE and nobody wants to devote the resources needed to confirm whether they work on any other platform, or to update them if they don't.
I notice in their Reasons For Watching Unofficial Copies of Movies or TV Shows slide, they don't have a figure for "An official version has never been released in my region".
Now, maybe that's because, if the survey was being done in Kansas City, that's not a problem for the people being surveyed. But I'd wager if you conducted a similar survey anywhere outside of the US, that would be a popular response.
As a Canadian, I can't even count the number of times I have been frustrated in my attempts to pay money for content. It makes me feel like yelling at the TV "ALL I WANT TO DO IS PAY YOU MONEY FOR YOUR CONTENT, ISN'T THAT YOUR F**KING BUSINESS MODEL?!"
I guess that should say "IF the heir sold something they didn't have the right to sell". The claim doesn't seem too sure about what exactly happened to the statute, and I'm not saying my argument is absolutely watertight. I just think that there's enough going on here that we can't just throw our hands up and say "PRIVITY OF CONTRACT" and be done with it.
Where are you getting this idea that the sole liability of the heirs will be to give back the statute? The claim alleges the statute has been sold on eBay. The heir sold something they didn't have the right to sell, they can absolutely be liable for monetary damages.
I'd argue that the bylaws create a limit on the rights that were transferred to the original recipient. It's not a matter of being bound by a contract; it's a matter of only being able to pass on the rights that you have. He only ever had the right to dispose of the statute AFTER giving the Academy a chance to buy it back. When he died and it transferred to his heirs, they inherited those same rights. It's a matter of property rights, not contractual obligations.
The argument would go: The estate didn't have the right to dispose of the statute without first giving the Academy the right of first refusal. So when they purported to transfer possession of the statute to the heirs, no actual rights to the statute were transferred. Then when the family disposed of the statute, without having any rights to it, there's a conversion claim there.
Besides, maybe an order for possession of the statute is all they want. If you look at the prayer for relief, one of the things they ask for is a chance to buy the statue for $10. To me, that means their real goal in this lawsuit is not getting money but recovering the statute.
Actually, the bylaws state it cannot be "disposed of", even by operation of law, so there's even an argument to be made that the Academy should have been offered the chance to purchase the statue even before it passed on to his heirs.
I'm not saying its definitely a winning argument, but it seems more plausible to me than this breach of contract approach.
I actually think they do have a case to be made here, although I'd have framed it as a property law issue. When the Academy gave Robert Surtees the statute, they didn't give it to him outright. They gave it to him subject to a right of first refusal. He can only pass on the rights he has, which means when he died and the statute passed on to his heirs, it passed on subject to that same right of first refusal.
But instead these lawyers have framed it as a contract law issue. That just seems odd to me. They may ultimately argue the property law issue but if that was their strategy, they certainly didn't make it clear in this claim.
This doesn't surprise me at all, but to some people, the idea that you would pay money for something you can get for free is mind-blowing, no matter how much convenient the experience was for you. It's just a matter of personal priorities.
I had a flight the other day and I realized while sitting in the departure lounge that I didn't have anything to read on the plane. I pulled out my Kobo eReader, got on the airport wireless network and bought a copy of Don Quixote for $2. Don Quixote is in the public domain and there are tons of free versions floating around. I could have pulled out my laptop, downloaded a PDF and then transferred it to my eReader. But for me it was worth spending $2 for the convenience of getting the book quickly and easily and in a format that displays nicely on my Kobo.
A few days later I happened to mention this to a friend and he was STUNNED.
"But it's free" "Yeah, but the version I got displays nicely on the Kobo and I didn't feel like pulling my laptop out of my bag and dicking around with USB cords in the departure lounge". "But...it's free! Look, you can get it from Project Gutenberg or the Google Play Store" "Yeah, but it was only $2 and it was more convenient to just get it from the Kobo store" "But... you could have got it for free!"