May It Please The Court: Weblog of legal news and observations, including a quote of the day and daily updates

Skip To Content

MIPTC Author:

Bookstore:


Listed in Latino Who's Who, June 2014
 Attorney
Locations of visitors to this page

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.


Quote of the Day - Part of the secret of success in life is to eat what you like and let the food fight it out inside. - Mark Twain
Adjust font size: A A+ A++
Claim Your Profile on Avvo
There are 2033 Journal Items on 255 page(s) and you are on page number 205

Food Fight From New York to Dallas

You open a new, $1.5 million restaurant, and wait for the food critics. You figure all will go well. You've invested a lot of money, and you have a string of successful chains. chains and more chains.

Then, the dreaded moment arrives. Food critic Dotty Griffith arrives unannounced, and renders her opinion in the Dallas Morning News.

And the verdict is .... four out of five stars. Not bad.

Well, actually, not good enough in Phil Romano's mind. So not good enough that he had his lawyers, Fish & Richardson of Boston sue Ms. Griffith.

Typically, defamation suits that involve opinions lose. But, Mr. Romano thinks he can win. He alleges that Ms. Griffith brought a friend, Janet Cobb, to the restaurant. Ms. Cobb's family owns two competing Italian restaurants, Mi Piaci and Il Sole, in Dallas. Mr. Romano thinks that the two conspired to defame his restaurant and benefit Ms. Cobb's family restaurants.

If true, we may have a real food fight on our hands.

These restaurants compete with one another? Right. I suspect that you and I are now going to have to decide whether to get on a plane to eat at Il Mulino in New York or Il Sole / Mi Piaci in Dallas.

Maybe they'll bring back the Concorde, too.

Printer friendly page Permalink Email to a friend Posted by J. Craig Williams on Tuesday, August 24, 2004 at 11:20. Comments Closed (2) |

Hacking the Hackers

What's wrong with this picture? There's a sponsored Hacker's Contest in Singapore.

With prizes!

Luckily, the hackers are prohibited from using the internet. They're limited to each other's computers and a modem. Thankfully, someone had a little foresight.

The competition was held on Friday, and was officially called “BlackOPS: HackAttack Challenge 2004, organized by National Infocomm Competency Center,” a government-funded agency. Now there's a shocker. The government invited hackers to a contest and awarded them prizes.

Typically in Singapore, hackers can be jailed for up to three years or fined up to $5,810 (U.S.) under Singapore’s Computer Misuse Act. While the dollar amount is of little consequence, the jail term might make the hackers blink, but apparently not enough to vie for prizes.

Prizes, you say? Yep, a DVD burner and computer classes.

Great. Just what they need. More training how to hack. Brilliant.

Want to know the reason for the contest, according to the Singapore government? "Organizers hoped the contest would help shed light on ways to prevent actual computer attacks," according to news reports. Not that it would teach them new ways to hack, of course.

Printer friendly page Permalink Email to a friend Posted by J. Craig Williams on Monday, August 23, 2004 at 11:53. Comments Closed (0) |

Martha Graham, Martha Graham, Martha Graham

Martha Graham's dance troupe wants the rights to her dances. One of Martha Graham's heirs, Ronald Protas does, too. He's not a relative, but a friend who upon her death in 1991, inherited her estate, including rights and interests in her work.

And you know that dispute led to litigation. Add to that this little drama: after her death, Protas became artistic director of the Martha Graham Center. He later got into a dispute with the Center's board of trustees, and then during a period of financial difficulty when the Center had suspended operations, Protas founded the competing Martha Graham School and Dance Foundation.

To add insult to injury, he claimed the Foundation had exclusive rights to teach and perform Martha's work. Not to be outdone, the original Center claimed that all of Martha's choreography during her 96 years was "work for hire," entitling the Center to ownership.

The artistic world held its breath. Some went down the litigation path and filed an amicus brief, signed by the heads of other major dance groups. They urged the court to exercise caution in applying the "work for hire" doctrine where not-for-profit corporations were created to foster and support creative artists.

The Second Circuit heard the case, and decided in favor of the original Center, ruling that because the Center paid Martha, her work there was "for hire" and belonged to the Center, and not to Martha. So, Protas did not inherit the works Martha Graham created, except for perhaps eight dances created between 1956 and 1966, when her primary role at the Center was not choreography. A lower court has to decide who owns seven of those. So far, Protas has one dance, and ten are in the public domain. The original Center got 45 ballets.

In case you're wondering, you can read the entire 113-page opinion here.

Printer friendly page Permalink Email to a friend Posted by J. Craig Williams on Sunday, August 22, 2004 at 12:40. Comments Closed (0) |

Andrew and Jonathan Visit From Baltimore

Sometimes, it's not about the law. Sometimes, it's about two of your four nephews visiting from Baltimore. They visited briefly yesterday and went swimming in our community pool. Yes, we all had a great time, thank you very much.

Printer friendly page Permalink Email to a friend Posted by J. Craig Williams on Sunday, August 22, 2004 at 12:13. Comments Closed (0) |

If a Tree Falls In A Forest, Who Hears It?

Did you ever think that loggers would oppose logging? In certain circumstances, it happens. Here, we have small commercial tree farmers against big logging.

And, interestingly enough, the Sierra Club. But you already know whose side they're on. That environmental organization, as well as the Southern Environmental Law Center are engaging small loggers to oppose the Bush administration is reversing the Roadless Area Conservation Rule, a 2001 executive order by President Clinton, that prohibits road construction on nearly 60 million acres of federal forests. No roads meant no logging, mining or oil and gas development.

It also had the effect of doubling the price of wood, and helping small loggers. They can't compete against big loggers, who if they could put roads into the forests, would put many small loggers out of business.

Just as an example, here's a roadless area in California, so you can get an idea what this issue is about. You can submit your comments by email and be heard.

Printer friendly page Permalink Email to a friend Posted by J. Craig Williams on Saturday, August 21, 2004 at 10:21. Comments Closed (0) |

PA Students Not Required to Pledge Allegiance

Pennsylvania elementary through high school students can no longer be forced to recite the Pledge of Allegiance. In a stunning, but perhaps legally correct decision, the Third Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the requirement violates students' free-speech rights and the right of private schools to "free expressive association."

Just last year the Pennsylvania legislature passed a law requiring all students to start the day with the Pledge of Allegiance or the national anthem. Act 157 went into law in late 2002, as a reaction to September 11.

You probably won't be surprised to learn that there are 29 states (free registration required to access link) that have similar laws, although PA's may be the most stringent. The plaintiff in the case, a coalition of public and private schools, complained in oral argument, "The Pledge of Allegiance is exactly what it says: a pledge, an oath" ... and it was an example of "compelled speech" that violates the First Amendment rights of students.

Does this mean witnesses in court can't be required to swear an oath to tell the truth?

Printer friendly page Permalink Email to a friend Posted by J. Craig Williams on Friday, August 20, 2004 at 10:21. Comments Closed (2) |

File-swapping Cleared from Infringement

The Ninth Circuit has further clarified contributory and vicarious liability for copyright infringement. This time, they ruled that file-swapping software doesn't violate copyrights of music artists. Quite like the argument over banning guns - gunmakers aren't responsible for murder, criminals are.

The Court reasoned that since software developers can't directly control the actions of the people that use the software, we essentially have to assume the software will be used for legitimate means.

It's a not-too-unexpected setback for the record companies. But never fear, the record companies have their lobbyists, so they've got a bill in place to ban peer-to-peer networks. Funny enough, supposedly "secret" government documents are available for download on a P2P network.

It appears that Morpheus won't be going the way of the old Napster.

Printer friendly page Permalink Email to a friend Posted by J. Craig Williams on Thursday, August 19, 2004 at 14:35. Comments Closed (0) |

Blackfaced Judge Ends Up Redfaced

Judge Timothy Ellender of Louisana's Terrebonne Parish, just southwest of New Orleans, ran into trouble last Halloween. He went to a private party with blackface makeup, an afro wig and bound in shackles.

His wife was dressed as a police officer.

Not everyone was amused with the Judge's costume, and some called for an apology (scroll down to the bottom - they've had a lot a judicial problems in the South lately).

Judge Ellender could be suspended for a year without pay, which is the recommendation of the Judiciary Commission of Louisiana.

At least he wasn't wearing a robe.

Printer friendly page Permalink Email to a friend Posted by J. Craig Williams on Wednesday, August 18, 2004 at 10:45. Comments Closed (0) |



Page:  << Prev  1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10  11  12  13  14  15  16  17  18  19  20  21  22  23  24  25  26  27  28  29  30  31  32  33  34  35  36  37  38  39  40  41  42  43  44  45  46  47  48  49  50  51  52  53  54  55  56  57  58  59  60  61  62  63  64  65  66  67  68  69  70  71  72  73  74  75  76  77  78  79  80  81  82  83  84  85  86  87  88  89  90  91  92  93  94  95  96  97  98  99  100  101  102  103  104  105  106  107  108  109  110  111  112  113  114  115  116  117  118  119  120  121  122  123  124  125  126  127  128  129  130  131  132  133  134  135  136  137  138  139  140  141  142  143  144  145  146  147  148  149  150  151  152  153  154  155  156  157  158  159  160  161  162  163  164  165  166  167  168  169  170  171  172  173  174  175  176  177  178  179  180  181  182  183  184  185  186  187  188  189  190  191  192  193  194  195  196  197  198  199  200  201  202  203  204  205 206  207  208  209  210  211  212  213  214  215  216  217  218  219  220  221  222  223  224  225  226  227  228  229  230  231  232  233  234  235  236  237  238  239  240  241  242  243  244  245  246  247  248  249  250  251  252  253  254  255  Next >>

Back to top.