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  • Aug 5th, 2017 @ 9:07am

    Geographic Name Trademarks

    Things could be worse. There is a lot of grifters out in California who trademarked the name of Hollywood, a city between Miami and Palm Beach, and now attempt to prevent people from using that name to denote origins of goods and services.

  • Aug 5th, 2017 @ 8:31am

    Re: Golden Goose Eggs

    Butthurt Cases - funding a new generation of lawyers looking for a golden goose to shake down

    It is better than that. Remember that there is also a defendant, who may well need to lawyer up as Google did. So not only is the lawyer filing the silly suit eating, but he is providing a necessity for another lawyer to eat.

    And yes, it probably is turtles all the way down.

  • Aug 3rd, 2017 @ 4:51am

    Proper Response to Bumptious Threats

    Occasionally, there is a real possibility of infringement or confusion. While those appear to be the few golden needles among a hay-rack full of straw, I understand that the sample here may be selected.

    With al that disclaimed, then, let us take the opportunity to cheer for the Hometown Committee. They did the right thing. The received bumptious threat, and decided to have the matter properly sorted.

    By doing this, the Hometown Committee get the advantage of venue. It's in their district, not out in Indiana. The evidence is close at hand; they need not ferry witnesses and exhibits across three states.

    Ultimately it may be an expensive mistake for the Whiting chamber. And perhaps it will get them some publicity, to serve as a caution for the others.

    I have to admit that I have thought someone should do this in many of the previous cases mentioned here in Techdirt. It's easy for me to say this, as I am not licensed in the relevant courts and states.

  • Aug 3rd, 2017 @ 4:28am

    Maybe He Should "Lawyer Up"

    I am not familiar with the laws of Mass, or even how to spell the entire state name, and am certainly not licensed there.

    It follows that I should not offer legal advice on the matter. None the less, I can offer something similar. After this time and trouble, he ought to talk to a lawyer. The local bar assn will likely have someone in the area who is familiar with that area of law.

    There may be a fee-shifting provision, or there may not be. Someone more familiar with that area would likely know.

  • Jul 9th, 2017 @ 2:24pm

    So, What Happens When...

    some web-based service receives the National Security Letter via some electronic maildrop which is automatically published? The NSL shows up, and if the right person is busy it may be up for a considerable amount of time.

    Of course there also remains the question of how one would prosecute a defendant. You probably have to explain to a jury how the publication was wrong, and the basis for the classification.

  • Jul 9th, 2017 @ 1:45pm

    Re: Preliminary v. Permanent Injunction

    If Bob Murray won the case, he could constitutionally seek a permanent injunction prohibiting John Oliver from repeating the statements found to be defamatory

    You may want further information. Willing v. Mazzocone, 393 A.2d 1155 is the case they teach in school, but of course you should probably not forget Near v. Minnesota, 283 U.S. 697.

  • Jun 7th, 2017 @ 1:58am


    Have shrink-wrap licenses ever held up in court?

    Sure. Pro-CD v. Zeidenberg, 86 F.3d 1447 (US 7th Cir. 1996). Possibly wrongly decided and unconvincing to the rational, but there it is.

  • May 27th, 2017 @ 1:09pm

    Re: Re:

    with Leaking of Classified Materials, which is treason

    We may all be getting dumber just from being exposed to folks crying that leaking classified reports of government misdeeds is ``treason''. Treason is defined as (1) levying war against the country or (2) adhering, giving aid and comfort to the enemies.

    Exposing official crimes may make officials uncomfortable, but it does not appear to rise to the level of waging war.

    We may also be made a bit dumber by exposure to whoever came up with this silly ``markdown'' idea as some sort of unreliable replacement for HTML. Get used to it, being competent in the language of the web is so old-fashioned and stupid is the new orange spray-tan.

  • May 9th, 2017 @ 8:36pm

    Interesting Problem

    In some areas, evidence collected by the state, such as these recordings, is discoverable. If you are representing the defendant, you have a right to the evidence.

    If the state has, for whatever reason, entrusted the evidence to some third party, then it will be up to the state to retrieve it and furnish it. Otherwise, having put potentially exculpatory evidence out of reach, you have a fairly bad <i>Brady</p> [373 U.S. 83] problem.

    I do not normally do criminal, I am not licensed in your state, and I am not your lawyer.

  • May 9th, 2017 @ 8:28pm

    Re: There but for the grace of God go I.

    <blockquote> you could so easily be kidnapped and murdered (through negligence) </blockquote>
    Nope. Negligence requires a lack of intent. Murder requires intent to kill, which may be formed in advance and expressed as ``Motherfucker, I'm going to kill you.'' but need not be.

    Normally intentional police killings are not prosecuted because it would make the officers feel bad.

    (No, I do not know who thought of this silly ``markdown'' stuff. Sorry about that. Just pretend the HTML is working.)

  • Apr 16th, 2017 @ 7:01pm

    Re: Review link

    <blockquote> WHy not link to the actual review? </blockquote>
    Perhaps because the actual review (per your link) has gone away. There is a review mentioning the history: company got sore, disabled device; conclusion is that you are the mercy of an unreliable start-up.

    I do not have a powered garage door opener. My garage is downtown and has huge, old wooden doors sliding horizontally. Had I such a thing, however, I am sure that I would not deal with a company which has demonstrated that it and its devices operate on whim.

    (Who had the brilliant idea for this "markdown" stuff, anyway?)

  • Mar 12th, 2017 @ 3:16am

    The VIP Tent for City Officials

    Leads to interesting speculation. It could be a legitimate city function where the officials are there to carry out city business. In that case, it needs to be open, pursuant to S:286.011; the consequences of violation could be noteworthy.

    It is also possible that the tentind and feeding of the officials serves no legitimate function, but that could then be deemed ``unauthorized compensation'' under Ch. 713.

    Fortunately, it's not my file, so I do not have to decide.

  • Feb 15th, 2017 @ 2:15am

    Re: Re:

    Isn't there a difference between copying and moving? I think I understand that a 'copy' may be made in RAM during the move process, but it is fleeting. Isn't it?

    Doesn't matter. MAI Systems v. Peak Computer, 991 F.2d 511 (US 9th Cir. 1993). Admittedly the court got it embarrassingly wrong, but that happens and you get to live with it.

    (and who came up with the dumb idea to use this ``use markdown'' cruft anyway?)

  • Jan 13th, 2017 @ 6:02am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: RFCs

    doesn't want to reference the RFC

    Certainly it would be hard for him to reference them without bringing himself into frivolous territory. My copy of RFC733 (format for ARPANET electronic mail) is dated 1977, which is somewhat prior to the plaintiff's publication.

    The problem is authentication. The authors have surely moved on from their institutions at the time of publication, and some may no longer be available at all.

  • Jan 13th, 2017 @ 5:53am

    Re: Time to get rid of Revisionist Historians

    opportunity for an anti-SLAPP suit

    If there were such a thing, then it would have to be brought in a state where the law supports it. Most states have fairly crummy anti-SLAPP laws, with the most common deficiency being that they only apply to things involving the government. See, for some foundation, Eastern Railroad Presidents Ass'n v. Noerr Motor Freight, Inc., 365 U.S. 127 (20-Feb-1961). While it does not deal with an anti-SLAPP motion, it does give some foundation for the run-of-the-mill statute.

    Unless you can show that the plaintiff is a government figure, your anti-SLAPP aspirations are probably doomed.

    His aspirations to have invented e-mail, which I was personally using before his ``invention'', well, that is a fact question which may have to go to trial. Not my case, I am not a lawyer in the state where venue appears to lie, and I cannot usefully discuss the parties' respective litigation strategies.

    If I were to have any views at all as to the merits of the case, they would probably lump the plaintiff's claim in with claims for goodness for this "markdown" mark-up intended to replace HTML with something less familiar but at the same time less useful.

  • Jan 11th, 2017 @ 9:04pm

    Re: Re: Re: Smithsonian

    [use Pine and unix mail]
    Yes. Pine post-dates Elm, which post-dates 1978.

    Interestingly enough, I have tarballs of old V6 and V7 unix sources, which contain e-mail back in the late 1970s. Which is no surprise, if you consider that even as an undergrad at that time, I expected e-mail to be provided on pretty much anything calling itself a computer system.

    I conclude that the plaintiff may be less than fully forthright in asserting a claim to have invented e-mail in late 1978.

  • Jan 11th, 2017 @ 8:59pm

    Re: Re: Re: [first amendment requirements]

    First Amendment does not require research, nowhere in its text will you find such a thing. The US Supremes, in Times v. Sullivan, 376 U.S. 254 (1964), said that an action by a public figure will only lie if there is what they term malice.

    Malice is either knowing falsehood or reckless disregard. In other words, you can repeat something you heard, even if it is false, so long as you do not believe it to be false or avoid finding out that it is false.

    There is a great body of work on this subject and I am summarizing, leaving out many nuances.

  • Jan 10th, 2017 @ 11:52am

    It Would Have Been Nice to Link the Ordinance

    When discussing such a thing, it is nice to have the text of the ordinance to hand so we can see what it actually says. Normally I would be fairly harshly critical of the original article and its writer for this omission.

    However, a quick search of the city web site does not produce it. The closest is that it is supposedly attached as `U' to the badly-scanned minutes, but in fact no such attachment is there.

    Neither does Municode have ordinances for Madison, MS.

    From this I can conclude that either (a) Madison's ordinance is so bad that it must be kept away from public view, or (b) Madison's officials are so incompetent that they expect people to know and obey a secret ordinance.

    You decide. Or you can come up with a nicer conclusion flowing from the same facts. Let us know if you do.

  • Oct 25th, 2016 @ 4:59am

    The Mayor May Well Be Correct

    The public records law [Ch. 119, generally] only applies to records made or received as part of the entity's business. Unless there is some action on the part of the city's governing board authorizing, or use of city resources supporting, the mayor's facebook page, I think he has a strong argument that it is his and not the city's.

    Officials do not lose all rights to act as themselves during their time in office. You do not get to review the mayor's personal check register, either, nor do you get to review his contributions to his church to see whether he tithes.

    I have not seen the suit, but presume that there are some allegations trying to tie the facebook account to the city. I am of the view that it will not be an easy case.

  • Oct 20th, 2016 @ 1:36am

    Just Waiting

    One of these days, someone whose video is subjected to a takedown notice is going to file suit for a declaration of non-infringement. The sender of the takedown notice is likely to feel sad as a result, especially if the court awards fees to the prevailing video author.

    One or two of these will probably not stem the tide of invalid notices, but it could start a trend.

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