Ernie the Attorney : searching for truth & justice (in an unjust world)
Updated: 6/5/2003; 10:49:20 PM.


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Tuesday, July 30, 2002

State Law Tort Rankings - Sam Heldman, an Alabama attorney, has a fair analysis of the 2002 Chamber of Commerce study on how fair each state is with respect to tort case.  Bill Altreuter has a response too, but you'll have to scroll down to find the relevant post because his site doesn't support "permalinks."

10:48:56 PM    

Alas, we hardly knew ye - and baseball is the poorer for it.  Oh, well the imminent strike will wipe out fan enthusiam on a much broader scale.   When they do strike, drop by what's left of his site and read the description of what happened.  Bryan Hoch made almost no money off of the site, although he admits that he shouldn't have used CafePress to sell the few "MetsOnline" trinkets that he sold.  According to him, that was a big reason for his getting the cease-and-desist letter:

"A main sticking point of the order is the since-discontinued line of products (including t-shirts, sweatshirts, etc.) that were offered for a brief period on this site, produced by and featuring the name but not the logo or writings of the New York Mets or Major League Baseball. While we recognize that this legal claim may have some independent legal merit, it is notable that revenues from such merchandise sales totaled just $16.00 (four orders), $12.00 of which was to Hoch's girlfriend."

I suppose he'll have to disgorge those profits, and perhaps his girlfriend will have to return the merchandise that she bought.  Sheesh!  What a way to treat a fan.

9:32:56 PM    

Uniform Law Commissioners debate model laws related to software - this article is worth reading if you care about laws and software.  A couple of points worth noting.  First, this group does not pass laws, but decides what model legislation should look like (still most States wind up adopting the proposed legislation).  Second, like so many areas of the law, the big boys sit down at the table first.  Microsoft, Gateway etc. all work closely to make sure the proposed legislation is acceptable to them.

For example, the "self-help" provision was put in because software companies wanted the right to "pull the plug" on their software under certain conditions.  Initially, this was conceived to be, say, if the customer didn't pay.  I assume now that would mean that Microsoft would be immune from "tweaking" your operating system to render it non-functional if you engaged in file-sharing of the verbotten kind, as defined by Rep. Berman.

One of the interesting things about "self-help" is that in the physical world the law has an extreme prejudice against it.  Funny how, in the digital world, the attitude is not so laissez faire (It's in the digital sphere where you often hear people say things like "well let's just use the laws we have, we don't need special laws to, say, limit the monopoly term of software... Let's just make it the same as other stuff - life of the author plus 70 years.")  But, now you don't see a big concern about "self-help."  Oh, well.  Apparently the self-help provision is going to be thrown out.  But, I'm sure it will surface in some other incarnation.
8:32:04 PM    

Metsonline Web Controversy - I asked Marty if he was interested in posting a brief blurb explaining the legal concepts involved in the dispute about the fan site called, which has been given notice that it is acting illegally.  His post is informative, and I agree with his cautious analysis.  I think this is one of those deals where if both sides tried to work toward a sensible goal they could help each other.  Once lawyers get involved it is hard to see the element of mutual benefit in a disute like this. 

It's the old saying: "when all you have is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail."
2:52:36 PM    

Hey Moses, got a possible pick-up for you in Austin - lawsuit in Texas seeks to remove 10 Commandments from the Capitol. (Thanks to Steve Cohen).

1:38:37 PM    

Legal Headlines - available here.  Limit 3 per customer.
12:41:46 PM    

Major League Baseball Strikes - a Mets fan website, that is. site administrator Bryan Hoch -- a 20-year-old college student at the State University of New York at Rockland -- received a cease-and-desist order from Major League Baseball Properties dated July 25, 2002. The e-mail ordered Hoch to deactivate and transfer its domain name, as well as all information regarding its operations, to MLBP effective 5 p.m. July 30. [Story Link] (courtesy of Dean Peters).

The Major League claims that the website violates the Anticybersquatting Consumer Protection Act (15 U.S.C. § 1125(d))   Perhaps Marty (a native New Yorker and Trademark law specialist) will weigh in.  I wonder if he's a Mets fan. 

Later:  well it appears that Dave Winer is a Mets fan, and he's going to be sore because he apparently just found out about

In some ways this is like the dispute about LSU law student's site, but in other ways it isn't.  I'm not going to opine as to the "legality" of this one.  I will say this: it's not a slam-dunk for either side.
11:54:39 AM    

© Copyright 2003 Ernest Svenson.

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