Friday, April 28, 2006

...And All I Got Was This Lousy Lawsuit

The Maine tourism board hits a blogger with a lawsuit, claiming his posts, critical of the board, constitute defamation, libel and copyright infringement. The blogger himself provides details at, where else, his blog. He's got some heavy-duty representation, which I expect will defend against the copyright claim with a heaping helping of fair use.


Half a Million Little Pieces

Little, Brown & Co. have decided to pull Viswanathan's book, averting a repeat of the kabuki show of denial, defense, grudging acceptance and shame put on by James Frey's publisher.


Wednesday, April 26, 2006

There Are No Secret Identities

Still more on the Viswanathan situation. This time, yet another example of why you should not ever, ever, ever say anything on the Internet you wouldn't want anybody to know you said. Ever.


Not Sorry Enough

The publisher of the plagiarized book doesn't accept Viswanathan's apology. Two interesting nuggets in this article. First, the publisher calls Viswanathan's copying "literary identity theft," which as far as I can tell from a Lexis search isn't a cause of action. Perhaps the publisher was simply being hyperbolic. Second, the plagiarized author, McCafferty, is apparently "not sleeping, not eating." Hints of an emotional distress claim? We shall see.


Inappropriate Similarities

Better check those representations and warranties.


Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Raytheon CEO borrowed aphorisms

Now it seems to have crept out to 128. What next, Worcester? And another reference to "striking similarity."


Monday, April 24, 2006

Kaavya Viswanatha admits copying

Second Helpings, indeed. Interesting that the phrase "strikingly similar" is used in the article.


Saturday, April 22, 2006

Citing Wikipedia as authority

And yet Trademark Office Examining Attorneys continue to cite Wikipedia in office actions and TTAB appeals.


April 27, 2006 Copyright Office Off-Site in Boston. Orphan Works and Section 1201

On Thursday, April 27, David O. Carson, General Counsel to the Copyright Office, will be speaking at Suffolk Law. He will be addressing recent Copyright Office developments, including Section 1201 (anticircumvention) rulemaking and the controversial orphan works proposal. See the BBA calendar for more details.


Luxury vehicle brands move from words to letters

S,Z, and X, good. O,P,U,Y,B,F, and N, bad. Words out, letters in for luxury vehicles. (second link via Marty Schwimmer


Friday, April 21, 2006


Looks like I might have to change that "about us" description over on the right soon, if this article is correct and the Red Sox go with WBOS over WEEI for their new radio deal. This would be a huge, huge deal here in the Boston area, as WEEI is a powerhouse built primarily on the back of their Sox coverage and associated discussion (and I use the word "discussion" judiciously). I don't imagine they'd lose too many listeners -- we'll all hop back to the AM dial once the game is over to complain about how many steps Francona took to walk to the mound or what have you. But the loss of advertising revenue could have some interesting repercusssions.


Wednesday, April 19, 2006

The Three Percenters

Michael McCann at the Sports Law Blog has an interesting post about the recently-reestablished 3 percent cap on sports agent fees. Actually, what's more interesting than the topic itself is the discussion in the comments, where, perhaps unsurprisingly, a few have taken potshots at the irony of "trial lawyers" complaining about overly generous percentages.


The Bar Exam Alternative

The Concord Monitor reports on Pierce Law's plan to offer students a method of gaining admission to the New Hampshire Bar without taking the exam. Instead, those students who qualify for the program spend their second and third years taking some required courses, participating in clinics and externships, and having a mentor helping them along the way. The student then presents and defends his or her "portfolio," and, if successful, is admitted.

An excellent idea to be sure, and one I wish I could have taken advantage of when I was at Pierce. I went down a very similar path anyway, interning and externing and participating in clinics, eschewing the standard route toward gainful employment. Still had to take the Bar exam, of course. This program is surely far more fulfilling and useful than endless cramming and pouring over thousands of practice multistate questions.

I expect it will take some time to determine just how successful this program is, and I wonder how that success will be measured. We'd have to look at not simply how many have achieved bar admission through the program, but where they end up and how effective they are as attorneys, and somehow compare that to those who take the Bar exam. And it will be interesting to see if employers in New Hampshire, Vermont and Maine get on board and hire these grads.

Whatever the result, Pierce Law should be commended for innovating in a field that seems mired in the practices of the past.


Friday, April 14, 2006

Away we go

Yes, we've finally caught up to the law blog bandwagon and managed to hop on board. As the description indicates, we'll be covering a number of bases here, generally IP-related (excluding patents) but frequently touching on the whys, hows and wherefores of getting our firm up and running. So if all goes well, you'll find this a good source of substantive legal commentary as well as useful practice tips. And if we can figure out a way to fold some humor into the mix as well, we'll go ahead and do that too.

As a bit of background, we started the firm in January of this year after I (Matt) finally convinced Aaron through a strategic flood of "let's start a firm!" emails and IMs. So we bought The Book, pooled our resources, thanked our families for believing in us, and found ourselves an office in beautiful, historic downtown Newburyport.

Which leads me to our first practice tip for those of you considering hanging your shingle: the Chamber of Commerce is your friend. Or at least it could be, if it's an active one. Our is very active indeed, with weekly breakfast meet-and-greets, monthly informational seminars, and numerous other very well-attended events. We've met lots of interesting people, some of whom may be potential clients, and -- perhaps more importantly at this stage -- some of whom are very useful resources to keep in our back pockets for the future. The contacts we're making are sure to pay off far more than the membership fee cost us.

And as an added bonus, as neither of us live in Newburyport, attending these events makes us feel like we're becoming a part of the community here. We chose to locate here not only because it's a relatively short commute from both our homes and is convenient to Boston, but because it's a vibrant, culture-rich city. It's very important to us, particularly given the nature of our practice, that we get as involved as possible with that cultural community, and being a chamber member is one step down that path.

So to sum up: Chamber membership = full Rolodex + warm fuzzies.

Now for your substantive law fix, go read this excellent summary of a recent trademark infringement suit involving a fancy kitchen store in Portsmouth New Hampshire and the company with the very lonely repairman.