Ernie the Attorney : searching for truth & justice (in an unjust world)
Updated: 6/5/2003; 10:30:14 PM.


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Tuesday, March 26, 2002

Can Conservatives Favor limited Copyright Protection?

James Boyle, Professor of Law at Duke, discusses the snowballing expansion of intellectual property rights.  He notes as follows: The viewpoint that

we should only give intellectual property protection when it is clearly necessary in order to encourage future innovation -- has been transformed from the boringly centrist view it should be, into an extreme, marginalized view, attributed to a bunch of "info-commies" and haters of private property. I object to this, because I want to earn my extremism rather than having it thrust upon me.

I can't give you the direct link to Boyle's paper, but it is on his site, and is called "Conservatives and Intellectual Property," and is from a speech he gave to the National Federalist Society, which is a conservative legal group to say the least (think: Antonin Scalia).

3:11:38 PM    

Jenny Levine asks:

"How long will it be until we start seeing judges who have at least some passing knowledge about technology?"

The answer is they exist already.  "They" being judges who have at least "passing knowledge."  The real question is: when are there going to be enough of them so that a modicum of knowledge about how technology works becomes the norm.  I don't know.  I'm still waiting for it to be the norm for judges to use common sense in deciding cases. 

But that raises an interesting point.  If you have no basic understanding of how technology really works then what sort of "common sense" would you, as a judge, apply?  The world is changing at an ever increasing rate [see this], and law's speciality has never been to keep up with change. Rather, its time-honored role has been to formalize rules that represent a consensus solution (i.e. one that a significant part of the population can agree is correct).  Consensus solutions obviously take time.  Lots of time.  In short: as the pace of change picks up, our justice system (as it is presently constituted) will pose an ever-increasing barrier to meaningful change.  And groups and organizations that exploit the entrenched resitance to  change have a significant advantage.

1:48:54 PM    

No dismissal for Ford & Firestone; at least one court says the foreign cases will be tried in the U.S.

Citizens of foreign countries have filed suit in the U.S. for harm they supposedly received from using Ford/Firestone products.  One reason: typically their countries do not have liberal damage awards, or they are more restrictive in the sorts of damages that can be claimed.  So the U.S. is not only making its artistic culture available to people in other countries, it's also making its litigation-frenzied legal system available as well.  Should U.S. courts be available to provide redress for foreign citizens harmed by actions of U.S. companies?  Depends on who you ask. [See article]. 

1:13:18 PM    

Want truth?  Well "it's all in how you phrase the question..."

Sometimes you have to ask people about their sex lives (if they are making a claim for what's known as "loss of consortium").   It's never easy to ask those questions, although sometimes the answer you get contains more truth than you were looking for, as this exchange (which actually happened) demonstrates:

ATTORNEY: "Ma'am, are you sexually active?"

WOMAN: "No, I just lie there."

11:06:31 AM    

© Copyright 2003 Ernest Svenson.

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