• - Evan Brown, of InternetCases.com, posted a summary of the interesting case U.S. v. Millot. Millot worked for a large pharmaceutical company, but before he left he figured out a way to keep a backdoor to the servers. He used that access to cause about $20,000.00 of damage. Millot was sued under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act. The independent contractor hired to fix the damage was considered a “victim” under the Act and was therefore entitled to be compensated.
  • - Todd Lewis Mayover, blogging at the IP Counsel Blog, has a great post on whether in-house attorneys should sign noncompete agreements, entitled “Don’t Sign That Non-Compete Agreement, At least Not Yet Anyway”.
  • - Next week’s host of Blawg Review is Diane Levin. Of particular interest to me is her recent post on Julian Dibbell’s recent effort to figure out the tax implications of selling virtual goods on Ebay, in particular the items he won from playing Ultima Online, entitled “When Worlds Collide.” I agree with her – who wants to be the one to set that kind of precedent with tax officials?
  • - Be sure to check out Andrew Raff’s podcasts on the Senate indecency hearings, they’re really well done with great production values. At the time of this writing, only Parts 1 and Part 2 are online. Andrew, you’ve earned a spot in my podcatcher.
  • Babel Fish
    The most common problem in Science Fiction is how to get everybody to speak the same language? Douglas’ solution was, shall we say, unique. A fish called the Babel Fish goes into your ear and it translates for you. It’s such an endearing tribute to Douglas that Alta Vista’s free translation service is still called Babel Fish. Turning now to language in the Blawgosphere, there has been a great debate by linguists over the use of the word “Blawg” to describe a legal blog.

  • - Be sure to read Denise Howell’s response to the linguists that she calls “I, Sandwich Dominatrix.” (The title will make sense once you review the post she’s responding to.)
  • - Another post by Mark Lieberman, a linguist, is well worth reading.
  • - Dennis Kennedy has a good post providing an introductory list of legal blogs in Europe. Interestingly, he notes that the term “blawg” has taken hold there, so the genie may be out of the bottle.
  • Marvin the Paranoid Android
    Marvin is the ship’s robot from the Heart of Gold. Despite his name, he isn’t paranoid, he’s really just depressed and bored. Really, really depressed. Marvin has some of the best lines in the books, and certainly is a very popular character. Google is a company that depends on its robots, or bots, to carry out its searching. These bots scour the web for changes in web sites. In the last week, Google has received lots of press, some of it over its bots.

  • - A district court in Nevada ruled that Google’s web cache constitutes fair use under copyright law. A post by Fred Von Lohmann does a good job in summarizing the case. Further, Lawrence Lessig started an interesting discussion of the case in the comments to his post.
  • - Ron Coleman, at Likelihood of Confusion, posts an analysis and update regarding the Jews for Jesus v. Google case. He’s got a unique perspective since he was on the losing side of the last Jews for Jesus case.
  • - At the Video Game Law Blog, a recent post wonders what implications searching for items relating to a Navy Seals game using Google would have – Could the search and any identifying IP address be required to be turned over to the government?
  • - Michael Geist discusses the recent 9th Circuit Yahoo case and its implications on personal jurisdiction on the Internet here in this post.
  • - Colin Samuels, blogging at Infamy or Praise, looks at the recent announcement that Google News is no longer in beta. It’s only taken four years. He wonders if the reason there still is no advertising is due to copyright concerns.
  • - Chris Geidner, at Law Dork, and David Giacalone at f/k/a, both look at the Google suboena issue. David provides the text of the letter he intends to send to the Justice Department explaining how inadvertent searchers could be led to his content. Both are really interesting takes on the case.
  • - Rick Georges, the Futurelawyer, has a discussion of Google’s decision to censor searches in China. As a result, its help note statement that it doesn’t censor searches has been removed. Personally, I know Google had a hard choice to make, there were no easy answers. At least users in China will be told that their searches were censored.
  • Last Chance to See
    As mentioned above, although he joked about destroying the world, Douglas was a naturalist. He’d be interested, though, over the fight J. Craig Williams discussed in his post regarding cell phone towers disguised as trees. (Douglas’s interest would likely be in how to make a good joke out of it.) The city of La Cañada Flintridge in California disapproved some cell phone towers because of their lack of aesthetics. The 9th Circuit reversed, holding that the state law does not allow aesthetics to be taken into account.

    Pan-Galactic Gargle Blaster
    According to the Guide, the best drink in existence is the Pan-Galactic Gargle Blaster, the effect of which is “like having your brain smashed out with a slice of lemon… wrapped ’round a large gold brick.” Speaking of drinks, I was hoping this week to find out more details about Lexthink’s next event, a “Salon in a Saloon,” as Matt Homann has hinted at here. As a happy attendee of Blawgthink 2005, I’m curious to see what’s up next for them.

    In the Hitchhikers universe, a good example of branding is the planet Magrathea. Everybody has heard of it, but nobody knows where to find it. Accordingly, I’ve put posts dealing with marketing, client development, and customer service here.

  • - Patrick Lamb, at In Search of Perfect Client Service, discusses law firm branding in his recent post. The gist is that bad branding doesn’t work, but good branding is the key to a successful business. Read the article for more insights and links to others on the topic.
  • - David Swanner, at the South Carolina Trial Law Blog, has a great post this week entitled “What cases do you refuse?” David is also notable for one of his marketing ideas, putting together a CD with over 100 Powerpoint examples, see here how to get one.
  • - Check out Wankettes, written by the Editor of Blawg Review, looking at the current job of David Lat, now a writer with Wonkette. Curiously, some of the guest writers on Wonkette have been lawyers. [Is this a good place to mention that I'm not the anonymous Editor, either?]
  • - Another similar post written by Andrew Raff also looks at the self-outing of Melissa Lafsky of Opinionista fame. Book deals are in place! In this case, it’s well deserved – I can attest that Lafsky writes well, I’ve been following her blog for a while wondering how long it would be before she outed herself.
  • - At Concurring Opinions, a recent post looks at the current use of the original Blogpsot address used for the Volokh Conspiracy in a post called “Being Eugene Volokh.” Eugene Volokh may have some claims for the use of his name!
  • - Rob Hyndman has an interesting post here on the democratization of advertising.
  • The Vogons
    Douglas liked to poke fun at management and bureaucracy wherever he could. The Vogons were a race of the ultimate bureaucrats, refusing to do anything unless the orders were signed in triplicate, cross referenced, returned three times for corrections, and so forth. Oh, and a word of advice – avoid their poetry whenever possible. Keeping with the theme, I’ve put posts relating to management here. Keep in mind that the category name may be silly, but these are seriously great articles.

  • - Bruce MacEwen’s Adam Smith, Esq. has an insightful look at a consensus survey of 6,000 top executives that led to an article listing thirty “top trends.” Bruce does a good job of summarizing and condensing the survey into a truly insightful article. Bruce is skeptical of the value of most articles that put forth “top trends”, and rightfully so. He also describes the problems of implementing knowledge management. I would hope regular readers of my blog would also read Adam Smith – I certainly do.
  • - David Maister, an authority on management for professional services firms, blogs at Passion, People and Principles. In his recent post entitled Warlords and Dickensian Factory Owners, he compares the practice of law to those two bleak examples. It’s really thought provoking, especially this part:

    “Why do law firms find it so hard to understand that a feudal warlord system forcing everyone to work harder is not the height of mankind’s achievement in civilization? I have spent twenty years trying to say all professions look similar and can learn from each other, but I’m finally prepared to concede that lawyers are different – and it has nothing to do with economics.”

  • - Patrick Cormier, who normally blogs at Information Management Now, has an article at Slaw entitled “The Uneasy Lawyer and IT Dialogue.” In the article, Patrick makes a great argument for having a buffer between lawyers and IT personnel, an IM (Information Management) person.
  • Ford Prefect
    Ford is Arthur’s best friend who happens to be from the planet Betelgeuse. He serves as Arthur’s guide to the wacky universe around him. In that vein, there are two great posts by Charley Foster at The State of the Beehive in which he discusses and explains the fourth and the ninth amendments to the U.S. Constitution.

    The Ravenous Bug Blatter Beast of Traal
    The Ravenous Bug Blatter Beast of Traal is the most ferocious carnivore in the galaxy, but it’s also the stupidest animal around. It thinks if you can’t see it, then it can’t see you, which is why the smartest hitchhikers carry a towel to wrap around their heads just in case they come across the beast. Our fellow bloggers have found some outstanding examples of stupidity in action this week.

  • - Overlawyered reports on the third class action lawsuit from readers of the James Frey memoir ‘A Million Little Pieces.’ The claim? Lost time from reading the book.
  • - Madeleine Kane gets some jabs in on the Republicans involved in the Alito nomination in her satirical look at the nomination process.
  • - William Patry, at his Copyright Blog, points out some really bad judicial reasoning by a Tennesee appellate court in the recent case over Hank Williams Sr’s recordings, in a post entitled “There’s Hole in Your Opinion, Partner.
  • Douglas Adams and 42

    Zaphod Beeblebrox
    Zaphod Beeblebrox is the coolest, slickest dude in the galaxy. He’s got two heads, three arms, and his title is President of the Galaxy until he steals the ship the Heart of Gold with its infinite improbability drive. He can sweet talk anybody out of anything. Speaking of mouths, the Greatest American Lawyer brags that he can speak faster than he can type in his post called “Leveraging a Lawyers Greatest Asset, Their Mouth.” By his logic, Zaphod would make the ultimate lawyer because he’s got twice as many mouths!

    Trillian is the really smart woman that Arthur once met at a costume party, but lost to a mysterious slick talking stranger with a birdcage on one shoulder. (Zaphod’s idea of a good costume.) Arthur is reunited with her on the Heart of Gold. She’s the only one who really understands how to work the ship and its infinite improbability drive.

  • - Patent Barristas (Host of last week’s Carnival of the Capitalists #120) has a post by Stephen Albainy-Jenei on the proper way of documenting inventions using a laboratory notebook.
  • - Russ Krajec, author of the Anything Under the Sun Made by Man blog, has a good post on inventing while writing patent applications that I found quite interesting.
  • - From the world of Knowledge Management, Jack Vinson blogs at Knowledge Jolt with Jack. He’s got a great post called “Why Most Published Research Findings are False.” If you get data from data mining, you should find out a way to confirm its validity before depending on it.
  • The Restaurant at the End of the Universe
    A restaurant that can only be visited by means of time travel, guests can watch the universe ending all around them as they finish their meal. Bills are paid by depositing one penny in the diner’s real time, by the time of the meal compound interest will be enough to pay the extremely large bill. Speaking of endings, some miscellaneous entries are listed here as we finish our Review.

  • - George Lenard, at George’s Employment Blawg, has written a detailed review of the software product, Thompson’s Employee Handbook Builder.
  • - An attorney named Mark blogs about the business and law of sports at Sportsbiz. In his post entitled “Is ‘So What?’ a defense?” he summarizes recent action in the court case over the naming of the Angels.
  • Blawg Review has information about next week’s host, and instructions how to get your blawg posts reviewed in upcoming issues.

    Thanks for reading! So long, and thanks for all the fish!

    Blawg Review #93

    Welcome to Blawg Review #93, the sub rosa, hidden, and subversive Illuminati edition!

    1993 was an important year for the development of Internet and computer law. A seminal case that led to the creation of the Electronic Frontier Foundation (the “EFF“)was decided. That case was Steve Jackson Games, Inc. v. United States Secret Service and United States of America, Western District of Texas, 1993. The EFF still maintains a case archive here.

    In order to understand the case, you need to think pre-modern-Internet. In those days, most computer systems were not wired together. Instead, administrators (known as sysops) operated bulletin board systems (a “BBS”) that users dialed up to over ordinary phone lines using that antiquated device known as a 2400 baud modem. (I remember mine fondly as the “2400 Baud Modem For The Deaf”, as it only had one volume setting, *LOUD*.)

    In 1990, the Secret Service believed that two individuals had access to a guide to the 911 phone system, and that document was being disseminated on different BBS’s. These individuals also happened to be sysops on the BBS operated by Steve Jackson Games, a publisher of popular role-playing and game systems. This BBS was called Illuminati, in honor of its popular conspiracy game of the same name, and which this Blawg Review is in tribute to.

    The Secret Service obtained a warrant and seized computers and documents from Steve Jackson Games, including the full text of a new game that was within days or weeks of publication. (GURPS Cyberpunk). Even though the agents were advised that Steve Jackson Games was a publisher, it took several months for computers to be returned. In the process of being held, some files and systems were lost and/or damaged. Steve Jackson Games sued the Secret Service for the wrongful seizure of its computer systems.

    The district court held for Steve Jackson Games, and proceeded to read the agents the riot act for their failure to perform any sort of rudimentary investigation of Steve Jackson Games prior to obtaining the warrant, and for their resulting failure to return the computers and documents in any sort of a timely fashion.

    So, in honor of this case, this Blawg Review is dedicated to Steve Jackson Games and its Illuminati game. Illuminati is a wonderfully fun card game with a wicked sense of humor. Each party plays a different group intent on world domination (like the Illuminati, the UFO’s or the Gnomes of Zurich) that each has a different goal. The players battle for domination of other groups (like the Boy Sprouts, the C.I.A, and the Congressional Wives), using such tools as Orbital Mind Control Lasers, Junk Mail, and Video Games. When one party meets its goal, and thus world domination, the game is over. For more on the game, the rules can be found here.


    Gnomes of Zurich
    The Gnomes of Zurich are after world domination through cold, hard currency. This is the old nickname of the Swiss bankers. Accordingly, I’ve put posts relating to the billable hour, and the pursuit of the almighty dollar, here.

    Eric Turkewitz presents Simpson Thacher First Year Associates To Be Paid Like Federal Judges. It surely is a travesty that first year associates are being paid more than federal judges, and Eric points out that it will be hard to keep good judges on the bench if that remains the case.

    Charles H. Green presents his post entitled “Leading Lawyers” posted at Trust Matters. He writes, “How can someone who bills 3,300 hours legitimately be described as managing, much less leading, a 550-lawyer firm? The issue isn’t integrity of billings—it’s seriousness of leadership.” I agree, Charles. Being focused on the almighty billable hour to that extent cannot result in good leadership, IMHO.

    Did you know that Judge Judy makes $25 million a year?
    That’s more than all of the Supreme Court justices combined.

    The Bavarian Illuminati
    The Bavarian Illuminati is the prototype of all other subversive groups. Its symbol, a pyramid with an all-seeing eye, later also became a Freemason symbol. Some say the Illuminati infiltrated the Freemasons, which partially explains that quirk. Its goal is simply raw power. Since the symbol appears on our U.S. Currency, I’ve placed posts relating to government and its laws here.

    For those doing research on the Internet about the U.S. government, you can stay current by following beSpacific, and reading the articles over at llrx.com. Neil Squillante at TechnoLawyer Blog points to Law Practice Magazine’s profile of Sabrina Pacifici, the hardest working woman in legal research, and the publisher of both sites. I cannot recommend both resources highly enough, I read beSpacific every day. I have also had the distinct pleasure of meeting Sabrina on several occasions, and can personally attest to her wonderful spirit and dedication to helping others.

    Lyle Denniston of the SCOTUSblog has a great post discussing the recent Supreme Court case that overturned California’s determinate sentencing law.

    Professor Bainbridge refutes an argument that a Senate ethics reform bill would treat bloggers as lobbyists.

    Walter Olson of the pointoflaw.com blog discusses in this post how employment attorneys nationwide say the FMLA is resulting in mounting litigation and uncertainty.

    Jack Balkin analyzes the Attorney General’s position that there is no Constitutionally-guaranteed right to habeas corpus in his post entitled “Habeas Corpus and the Tyranny Gap.

    In his post entitled “Computers, the Fourth Amendment and the Analogy Game”, Orin Kerr discusses the problems with applying the fourth amendment to computers.

    David Fischer, of the Antitrust Review, asks a really good question about why interest groups don’t publish their amicus briefs online.

    The Servants of Cthulhu
    The Servants of Cthulhu are the servants of unspeakable powers (think H.P. Lovecraft aka The Dunwich Horror). They are out to destroy other groups through the exercise of powers that Man was not meant to know. Accordingly, with tongue firmly planted in cheek, I’ve placed posts dealing with lawyer advertising and marketing here.

    Nate Oman at Concurring Opinions has a great post on the mysterious logic of lawyer advertising, specifically a local lawyer who illogically is using a picture of the lawyer with his big happy family to sell divorce services.

    Did you know that 4 of the top 25 Web Celebrities (per a list published at Forbes magazine) are lawyers? Bob Ambrogi discusses the phenomenon here.

    Fred Faulkner, publisher of From the 21st Floor, shares a post that originally appeared on llrx.com entitled “BIG in 2007: How the web will continue to change how we do business.

    Bill Gratsch at Blawg’s Blog has a good post entitled “When the World Searches for You, What Do They Find?” His point is that lawyers should be active on the web as well as in other media, as you never know if opposing counsel, or a judge, or a potential client might be searching for you.

    Kevin O’Keefe at LexBlog writes about the future of lawyers using video for marketing.
    For an example of a non-blogger lawyer using video, see Eric Sinrod’s videos here. Kevin was on a roll this week, be sure to also check out his post about the value of linking to your competition. I can’t agree more with his post, I’ve gotten more out of fellowship with fellow bloggers in my practice area than any other tangible benefit of blogging.

    The Mummering Blawg Review editor, Ed, discusses the lawyer blogs nominated for the 2007 weblog awards, the Bloggies.

    J. Craig Williams of May It Please The Court presents a podcast from the Marketing Partner Forum that sounds like fun to listen to. I’ve added this to my Mp3 player for my commute!

    The Discordian Society
    The Discordian Society seeks to dominate through sowing discord and strife. They worship Eris, the Roman goddess of Strife and Chaos. Accordingly, I’ve placed posts dealing with politics and other controversies here.

    John Balkin at Balkinization has a great post on the 34th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, and the political future of abortion rights. The debate continues in the comments to that post as well.

    David Kopel discusses the stances of the current Presidential candidates on the 2nd amendment here.

    Ken Adams presents “Warranty” posted at AdamsDrafting. In this post, Ken examines the word Warrants and takes issue with its use in legal drafting. Good reading before drafting your next contract.

    Mike at Crime & Federalism discusses Duke President Richard Brodhead and his misunderstanding of the presumption of innocence.

    David Maister writes about Client Politics posted at Passion, People and Principles. He writes “Do you have the mediation skills to be a good advisor to you clients? And how do you deal with the ethical issues around client-site politics?” Be sure to also check out his continuing podcast Business Masterclass series here.

    Brett Trout discusses clawback procedures under the newly-revised FRCP here.

    Ted Frank presents Sen. Schumer and Mayor Bloomberg call for reform posted at PointOfLaw Forum.

    Stephanie West Allen presents Not on the same legal writing page: George Gopen of Duke responds to Wayne Schiess of University of Texas posted at idealawg. These professors are having an ongoing dialogue on the nature of language. How’s that for a controversy, eh?

    So, how do you end discord and strife? Mediation is one solution. Next week’s host is Diane Levin of the Online Guide to Mediation. She has two posts about bridging the gap between lawyers and mediators.

    The Network

    Nobody knows whether The Network consists of a group of computer hackers, or the computers themselves that have become sentient. Either way, they’re powerful, and they know everything about you. I’ve placed posts dealing with Internet, intellectual property, and computer issues here.

    20th Century Fox served YouTube with a subpoena last week, asking the site to identify a user who uploaded several episodes of “24″ and “The Simpsons.” Peter Black, an associate lecturer at the Queensland University of Technology, discusses that case here.

    Peter Black also pointed out a clever “Second Life” parody site and the noteworthy response thereto by the makers of “Second Life” — a “proceed and permitted” letter (rather than a “cease and desist letter).

    Nick Holmes of Binary Law talks about one of my favorite authors, Douglas Adams, and his impact on technology. You may recall that my Blawg Review #42 was dedicated to Douglas Adams.

    Ann Bartow of the Feminist Law Professors Blog wrote “The Copyrighted Anne Frank”, which explores how copyright law affected a miniseries on Anne Frank, as well as letters written by her father, Otto Frank.

    The Patent Baristas wonder whether it is worth it for Generics to challenge Branded Drugs.

    The Bermuda Triangle
    This group seeks power by collecting groups and adding them to its organization. Sinking ships is just a hobby. Due to this focus on growth through acquisition, I couldn’t help but think of the modern day huge international law firm, so I’ve put posts on law practice management here, as well as quality of life issues.

    Bruce Macewen of Adam Smith, Esq. believes that a large law firm issuing an IPO is going to happen sooner than you think.

    Susan Cartier Liebel, of Build a Solo Practice LLC, points out how one of her students is graduating with $165,000.00 in debt, yet he still has the entrepreneurial spirit and wants to hang out his own shingle as a solo.

    Nicole L. Black, of the Sui Generis blog, writes about the life balance of a woman litigator, between family and litigation itself. Interesting reading. Be sure to also check out her post about the hazards of being a female lawyer in a criminal court.

    The Basquette Case blog has an interesting post, entitled “Putting the Lie to Work/Life Balance.

    Mike Dillon, General Counsel of Sun, asks the question “Where do you work?” He doesn’t have an office, perhaps you should think about not having one at all, either.


    The UFO’s
    Nobody knows much about the UFO’s, are they extra-terrestrials, or the result of Air Force experiments in Roswell, NM after World War II? They are the most elusive group, since nobody knows what they are after. I’ve therefore placed posts dealing with the strange, the quirky, the sad and the funny sides of the law here.

    At Overlawyered, this post discusses a teacher who has hired the ACLU to protest his firing. The reason? He moonlights as a “butt-printing artist.” And no, I am not making that up!

    Did you know that an RFID tattoo has been developed? One of the proposed applications is for soldiers. David T.S. Fraser, a Canadian privacy lawyer, discusses the proposal here, and points out how incredibly stupid (and dangerous!) it is to deploy a technology that could be hacked by the other side to pinpoint just where the soldiers are.

    Madeleine Begun Kane presents Ode To The Bar Exam posted at MAD KANE’S HUMOR BLOG.

    Evan Brown of InternetCases.com discusses a recent case where a 16-year old girl was prosecuted for sending explicit photos of herself to her 17-year old boyfriend. The charge? Trafficking in child pornography. This one is just bizarre enough to be classified here under the UFO’s.

    J. Craig Williams brings us the story from here in Chicago of a man who admitted to not being an attorney after filing a pleading to represent a criminal defendant. The judge noted there was no bar number on the pleading, and then he admitted he wasn’t an attorney!

    Dustin, at Quizlaw, points out an unusual interpretation of Michigan law that could mean life in prison for the crime of adultery.

    Here’s another post from Dustin, this sordid story is way more tangled than any one of my wife’s soap operas.

    Here’s a serious story, Eric Muller discusses what it’s like to grieve for someone you only met online.
    He calls it e-grieving.

    Alan Childress presents Another Gift From the Legal Profession: Bizarre Warning Labels posted at Legal Profession Blog.

    And, finally, Steve Nipper at The Invent Blog wrote “Diet Coke, Mentos and Lawyers.

    That’s it! I hope you enjoyed this special Illuminati edition.

    Blawg Review
    has information about next week’s host, and instructions how to get your blawg posts reviewed in upcoming issues.

    Blawg Review #144

    Welcome to Blawg Review #144! This review draws its theme from the number, as did my prior reviews, #42 with its Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy theme, and #93 with my tribute to Steve Jackson Games and its Illuminati game. Well, this one proves once again how much of a geek I am at heart.

    You see, 144 is the number of guests that Bilbo Baggins invited to his 111th birthday party, as it was the total age combined between him and his heir, Frodo Baggins, who was 33 at the time. This party, of course, is at the beginning of The Fellowship of the Ring, itself being the first book in The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien. Bilbo, who discovered the One Ring during The Hobbit, throws a grand party where he gives a grand speech, which ends with:
    “I regret to announce that – though, as I said, eleventy-one years is far too short a time to spend among you – this is the END. I am going. I am leaving NOW. GOOD-BYE!”

    Bilbo then disappears. Bilbo has actually put on his magic ring and slipped away. Back at his hobbit hole, Bag End, he has a frank talk with Gandalf the wizard before leaving the ring behind for Frodo. This sets up the rest of the three books, which tell of Frodo’s quest to destroy the ring and thereby save Middle Earth.

    As an aside, if all you’ve seen are the movies, you’re missing so much. For example, did you know there is a gap of 17 years between this party and Frodo’s discovering that the ring left behind by Bilbo is the One Ring, the one to rule all the other rings of power? That, and much, much, much more. Not to slam the movies, but they had to be trimmed. In the book, it’s an elf named Glorfindel who saves Frodo at the ford before Rivendell – not Arwen. I would’ve paid big bucks to see Glorfindel revealed in all his power as an Elf Lord. As he’s passing out, all Frodo can see is a glowing figure. Alas, it was not to be…

    The Shire Copyright John Howe

    All images used here are copyright by John Howe, frequent illustrator of Tolkien’s works and one of the artists who worked with the filmmakers, and used in accordance with the terms of his site. Visit www.john-howe.com for further details. I’ve always loved his artwork, as it truly brings the word pictures in Tolkien’s works to life. Still, I wanted to focus on Tolkien’s words, so there are quotes interspersed throughout from the books. What an amazing world it is that he labored to create. Tolkien didn’t create many books because he spent so much time creating the worlds in which those stories took place. It always irked him as his friend C.S. Lewis was able to churn out book after book, while he spent years perfecting each one. These books are a testament to his imagination, and they truly stand out as some of the greatest works of the twentieth century.

    “Why, I feel all thin, sort of stretched, if you know what I mean: like butter that has been scraped over too much bread. That can’t be right. I need a change, or something.”
    – Bilbo Baggins, The Fellowship of the Ring

    Bilbo's Front Hall Copyright John Howe

    I’ll begin the review proper with my take on a recent issue of great interest to regular readers of this blog. A lawyer named Eric Menhart has taken an aggressive stance towards the highly descriptive, if not generic, term “Cyberlaw.” He’s filed a trademark application for the term and has sent a cease and desist letter to another blogger. Here’s the EFF’s take on the issue, written by Corynne McSherry. Others covering the issue include Peter Black, Groklaw, and Professor Eric Goldman.You can read Menhart’s reaction to the controversy here, which appears to prove that he simply does not understand the criticism.

    I aim to monitor the situation for my own personal reasons as another blogger with “Cyberlaw” in my blog title, and one who will defend vigorously my right to use the highly descriptive, if not generic term, in the highly descriptive if not generic sense of identifying the general topic area covered by my writings. Stay tuned!

    “I am Aragorn son of Arathorn; and if by life or death I can save you, I will.”
    — Strider, The Fellowship of the Ring

    Evan Brown, of Internet Cases, covers an interesting recent declaratory judgment case filed here in Chicago by BlueAir, Inc. against Apple over the mark AIRPOD. BlueAir’s product is a desktop air cleaner, which they argue is not likely to be confused with Apple’s iPod music player.

    For more on declaratory judgment actions, be sure to read what Larry Staton Jr. posted, entitled Declaratory Judgment Actions, which was posted at Dilution by Blurring.

    Marty Schwimmer of The Trademark Blog advises us that Lulu has settled its trademark case with Hulu.

    John Welch of the TTABlog posts his annual look at the ten worst TTAB decisions of 2007 here and here.

    R. David Donoghue of the Chicago IP Litigation Blog has undertaken an interesting project of statistically analyzing the IP Cases here in the Northern District of Illinois. This week, he looks at the trademark filings and determines that cases are down 9 percent.

    Virtually Blind examines the issues raised by the “SLART” trademark application. It has rightfully upset many “Second Life” artists.

    Gandalf Copyright John Howe

    “Do not give up hope! Gandalf is greater than you Shire-folk know — as a rule you can only see his jokes and toys. But this business of ours will be his greatest task.”
    — Strider, The Fellowship of the Ring

    Brett Trout, blogging at BlawgIT, discusses the thorny issue of cyberstalking. Brett’s the author of the book Cyberlaw, which is still on my to do list to post a review of.

    Stephen Albainy-Jenei of Patent Baristas examines the issue presented in a Petition for Cert before the U.S. Supreme Court. The issue? It’s whether it’s fair that the State of California can sue for patent infringement on one hand while using sovereign immunity to keep from being sued for patent infringement itself. Dennis Crouch of Patently-O discusses this case here as well.

    Leon Gettler of Sox First examines the fallout from the the US Supreme Court’s long-awaited decision in StoneRidge Investment Partners v Scientific Atlanta.

    The Citizen Media Law Project has put together a nice resource, a primer on copyright liability and fair use.

    “Do not meddle in the affairs of wizards, for they are subtle and quick to anger.”
    The Fellowship of the Ring

    Jeremy Phillips of IPKat discusses how Rambus is using its patents to maniupulate the market. I met Jeremy when he was in town for the INTA conference last year, and he was very gracious to spend a few minutes chatting with me. Nice fellow, and brilliant too.

    William Patry, another brilliant fellow who was here in Chicago recently to speak, has blogged about a 9th Circuit case discussing the copyright in a few scuptural works of real animals. As he says, the claim “croaks.”

    Ken Adams presents What the Heck Does “Best Efforts” Mean? posted at AdamsDrafting. I’ve linked to Ken’s writing before in previous reviews, I recommend adding his feed to your reader if you haven’t already. I always seem to gain some insight into legalese as a result.

    How well do you know your grammar? Set in Style examines the “Rule of Agreement.”

    Moria Copyright John Howe

    The Drug and Device Blog summarizes the facts, and speculates on the outcome, of Wyeth v. Levine, the case in which the Supreme Court will decide the availability of federal preemption as a defense to product liability cases brought against manufacturers of prescription drugs.

    So, what happens when lawyers stray from their normal fields of practice? Eric Turkewitz examines what happened when a criminal lawyer tried handling a medical malpractice case.

    John Phillips presents Lynch, Noose, Golf and Employment Law posted at The Word On Employment Law.

    Treebeard Copyright John Howe

    “Many of those trees were my friends, creatures I had known from nut and acorn; many had voices of their own that are lost for ever now. And there are wastes of stump and bramble where once there were singing groves. I have been idle. I have let things slip. It must stop!” — Treebeard, The Two Towers

    Ed Poll, at the Law Biz blog, looks at the upcoming revolution in value billing.

    Our esteemed Editor ‘N Chef of Blawg Review asks “What makes great blogwriting?”

    Kevin O’Keefe asks again the question whether lawyers with blogs should link to each other. He’s posting the question as part of his “Blog Basics” answer series, as I imagine he gets it quite often. As a participant in the Blawg Review project, I guess you can figure out my feelings on the topic. :-) Still, I do like his conference metaphor, so read it.

    Likewise, be sure to read Peter Black’s post on what happens to a post after you hit publish.

    So, is this a blog?

    And, will this Blawg Review be blocked in China? Balkinization was.

    Gandalf on Shadowfax Copyright John Howe

    “Shadowfax will have no harness. You do not ride Shadowfax: he is willing to carry you — or not. If he is willing, that is enough.” — Gandalf, The Two Towers

    Fiona de Londras wonders how we will determine when the “war on terror” is ended and, when that occurs, what we will do with our prisoners of that war.

    Diane Levin presents Send lawyers, guns and mediators: what songs would be on your mediation playlist? posted at Mediation Channel.

    At China Law Blog, cultural awareness advice comes down to four, simple, slightly edited words: “Don’t Be an A$$h0le.”

    Similarly, Professor Marc Randazza spares no language when he brands Deborah Taylor Tate of the FCC as “A$$hat of the Week.”

    Professor Randazza also had an interesting post discussing copyright in cease and desist letters.

    Arnie Herz discusses “the ongoing inquiry into lawyer happiness” at Legal Sanity.

    “Then Aragorn led the way, and such was the strength of his will in that hour that all the Dúnedain and their horses followed him.”The Return of the King

    Here’s a good question about assumption of risk. Aragorn led his men down the aptly-named Paths of the Dead, which, oddly enough, led to the dead. Here, Kevin Underhill tells the tale of a man who went into a bar called “Pissed off Pete’s” and get, well, beat up by Pete.

    Orin Kerr is critical
    of a catch-and-release scheme of federal policing seemingly endorsed by some courts.

    Steven Erickson highlights a troubling case which illustrates the need for some deep thought about our approach to sex criminal assessment and incapacitation.

    Eowyn and the Nazgul Copyright John Howe

    “No living man am I! You look upon a woman.” Eowyn, The Return of the King

    Cathy Gellis of Statements of Interest writes an interesting post entitled “I Need A Husband.” She discusses the legal privilege that husbands cannot be forced to testify against their wives, which she decides might be prudent at some point in the future.

    Deliberations looks at “When Women Judge Women.” It’s an interesting take on how critical women jurors can be of female plaintiffs.

    Mount Doom Copyright John Howe

    “’I'll get there, if I leave everything but my bones behind,’ said Sam. ‘And I’ll carry Mr. Frodo up myself, if it breaks my back and heart.’”
    — Samwise Gamgee, The Return of the King

    I’ve always thought that Sam and Frodo could’ve used a GPS in their quest to find Mt. Doom, especially when traveling through the marshland outside of Mordor. From Spatial Law, here is a look at the liability of manufacturers of GPS devices when the directions are wrong.

    Gollum, as shown in the above image, was brought to life in the movie version by Andy Serkis and the artists at WETA, who deserved some mention for their group efforts when award time came around. Biolaw examines another controversy over things brought to life, this time it’s synthetic life.

    “It is said in old lore: The hands of the king are the hands of a healer. And so the rightful king could ever be known.” The Return of the King

    The White Collar Crime Prof Blog compares the different approaches taken in France and the United States to massive financial fraud. It’s truly a study in contrasts.

    Jamie Spencer at Austin DWI Lawyer explains
    how Texas law handles the question of whether the police must disclose that the field sobriety test is optional.

    Grey Havens Copyright John Howe

    “I will not say: do not weep; for not all tears are an evil.” — Gandalf, The Return of the King

    Simple Justice reviews Carolyn Elefant’s “Solo By Choice.” The reviewer was blown away, which I am not surprised about. Nobody writes about opening a solo practice like Carolyn.

    And, finally, from Human Rights in the Workplace, consider reading this post with thoughts on running a solo or small firm.

    Blawg Review has information about next week’s host, and instructions how to get your blawg posts reviewed in upcoming issues.

    Gate of Moria Copyright John Howe