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Where's The Juice? Commercial Speech versus Truth in Advertising

In June of this year, POM Wonderful won "a round in a food fight with Coca-Cola" in the case about how a fruit juice blend is labeled. It's a case of commercial speech, to which John Oliver opined that "in Coke's defense, they only mislead us about what was in their juice. For years, POM Wonderful has mislead us about what is in pomegranates". Generally speaking, as long as the labeling isn't incorrect or harmful, it can make bold claims, to a point. For instance, you can't claim your cereal could improve kids' attentiveness and memory when it doesn't. Whatever you do, you shouldn't add new labeling to existing, even if it is to clarify that the product sucks less, or is asbestos-free. [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief on Aug 1, 2014 - 37 comments

It's Not Time to Worry Yet

To Steal A Mockingbird The notoriously private author Harper Lee is now waging a public courtroom battle. Her lawsuit charges that in 2007 her agent, Samuel Pinkus, duped the frail 80-year-old Lee into assigning him the copyright to her only book, To Kill a Mockingbird—then diverted royalties from the beloved 1960 classic. (SLVF)
posted by box on Aug 2, 2013 - 38 comments

Without Nick Fury, will the SHIELD Act Still Pass?

SHIELD Act introduced a second time to combat patent lawsuits that rely on those being sued going for settlements because the cost of defensive can be prohibitive. Though still a gamble, if SHIELD were in place and the defendant victorious, the patent holder would have to pay the legal costs. The bill is being reintroduced by Peter DeFazio (D-OR) and Jason Chaffetz (R-UT). Arstechnica interviews DeFazio.
posted by juiceCake on Feb 28, 2013 - 19 comments

I Am Not A Mouse

"Escape From Tomorrow" is playing at the Sundance 2013 Film Festival. The black and white movie describes one family man's mental disintegration over a day at Disney's Orlando park. Randy Moore directed the film on-site without the knowledge of Disney. Reviews are generally good, with comparisons to The Truman Show and Eraserhead, though people who have seen it wonder how this will play out legally. [more inside]
posted by Wordshore on Jan 20, 2013 - 33 comments

The man in your picture is almost unrecognizable

Former all pro NFL running back, 38 year old Priest Holmes feels that all NFL players suffer from the violence of the game, but believes running backs are at an increased risk if they average dozens of carries a game for years at a time. Holmes recalled how hits changed the color of the sky. Another former NFL running back, 32 year old Jamal Lewis talked about his memory losses and head trauma. Both men could encounter the cognitive decline lesser known former Chargers running back 45 year old Steve Hendrickson has experienced. [more inside]
posted by cashman on Jul 8, 2012 - 68 comments

Tom is no longer my friend.

It's official, Myspace has been sold to Specific Media with News Corporation will taking a minority equity stake in Specific Media. Specific Media touts itself as an innovative global interactive media company that enables advertisers to connect with consumers in meaningful, impactful [sic] and relevant ways. Once the crown jewel of News Corps online empire, it had faded into a quick decline selling for only $35 Million after being purchased for $580 Million in 2005. Specific Media, fueled by investment capitol have been acquiring various media platforms and faced a privacy lawsuit for re-creating deleted cookies. What this means for Myspace for now is a significant reduction in our workforce. A former employee gave some insight MySpace in their previous round of layoffs in January of this year.
posted by wcfields on Jun 29, 2011 - 106 comments

Will There Be Actual Seals in the Movie?

Walt Disney Co. has filed an application to trademark the name "Seal Team 6", the Navy Seal team that killed OBL in Pakistan earlier in May. [more inside]
posted by jeanmari on May 20, 2011 - 68 comments

I was worried there for a second.

Today a California appeals court ruled that free online porn is not unfair competition to pay sites.
posted by Faint of Butt on Feb 2, 2011 - 73 comments

"We allow you to read one article for free - this one that you're on."

New York-based North Country Gazette has taken an interesting approach to monetizing its content: Threatening to sue people that read more than one article without buying a membership. [via]
posted by jbickers on Oct 29, 2010 - 39 comments

How to keep from being sued

How to avoid visiting any Stephens Group publications even by accident, if you use FireFox. The Stephens Group (AKA Righthaven) has been suing bloggers who link to and quote any of their publications' web sites. (Such as.) So now there's a FireFox plugin you can use to make sure you don't visit any of them. Use it in good health.
posted by Chocolate Pickle on Aug 18, 2010 - 32 comments

"I’m Yertle the Turtle! Oh, marvelous me! For I am the ruler of all that I see!” "He's made our case for us, your honor, you see. And so prosecution rests our case, don't we?"

"Your responsibility is to defend Yertle. You may argue that Yertle is the king and, as protector of the realm, has a right to order his subjects to do whatever he thinks is necessary. He thought it was necessary to see what was beyond his pond and pressed other turtles into service so that he could see that far. They were hurt in the line of duty, so he wasn't personally liable for Sadie's injury. He did not realize how young she was, or he wouldn't have ordered her to join the stack of turtles." Turtle on Trial, a lesson from the ABA for Law Day, May 1.
posted by ocherdraco on Feb 7, 2010 - 17 comments

Transgender library worker files lawsuit

Bobbie E. Burnett is suing her employers, the Free Library of Philadelphia, for discrimination. She's been employed there for nearly 20 years, but transitioned to a female gender identity in 2001, at which point she says discrimination set in. "Slurs hurled at Burnett by some staffers include 'freak,' 'man in woman’s clothing' and 'nigger,' according to the suit. On one occasion, when Burnett expressed wishes for a nice weekend to a coworker, the employee responded with, 'Burn in hell,' according to the lawsuit." [more inside]
posted by booknerd on Nov 5, 2009 - 63 comments

“What's with these people?” he asked. “They've even sued my cancer research company.”

Hank Asher, billionaire eccentric philanthropist/data miner, is being sued by publishing giant Elsevier. “What's with these people? They've even sued my cancer research company.” On the one hand, Asher used to smuggle cocaine. On the other hand, Elsevier has their own problems.
posted by booknerd on Jun 25, 2009 - 18 comments

Match.com Sued for Deception

Online dating site match.com is being sued for deception by a New York man who claims their practice of keeping up profiles of non-paying members who have no ability to respond to suitors "defrauds the consumer of his/her time, labor, and emotional investment"
posted by The Gooch on Jun 19, 2009 - 93 comments

Google settles suits

"The Authors Guild, the Association of American Publishers (AAP), and Google today announced a groundbreaking settlement agreement on behalf of a broad class of authors and publishers worldwide that would expand online access to millions of in-copyright books and other written materials in the U.S. from the collections of a number of major U.S. libraries participating in Google Book Search."
posted by Knappster on Oct 28, 2008 - 35 comments

Mr. Hollander's Opus: A Trilogy of Antifeminist Lawsuits

"Roy Den Hollander, a graduate of the Ivy League university’s business school, contends Columbia's Institute for Research on Women and Gender is discriminatory and unconstitutional because there is no equivalent 'men’s studies' programme." So Mr. Hollander is suing Columbia, thereby completing his "trilogy of antifeminist lawsuits." More at Gothamist.
posted by milquetoast on Aug 19, 2008 - 44 comments

Bible gets sued

As the gay marriage fight unfolds in California, some gays (and others) are fighting back: one gourp is boycotting a rich hotel owner, others are standing apart and one is suing the Bible (who gets subpoenaed for that one?). Meanwhile, a key opponent to gay marriage keeps its doors open (and its ballot committee going) despite being suspended. They say they're working on it, but no changes yet.
posted by nospecialfx on Jul 10, 2008 - 34 comments

When CyberSquatting Laws go bad....

Nissan vs Nissan, or David vs Goliath Nissan, who used to be Datsun is alledging cybersquatting and suing Nissan, who has always been Nissan, for $10 MILLION in damages...
posted by Mr_Chips on May 10, 2008 - 38 comments

Ach, those damn 110 year old kids!

The Katzenjammer Kids* are 110 years old this month, the world's longest running comic. Watch 1918's Policy & Pie (pt. 2), rare animation by creator Rudolph Dirks who lost the strip to William Randolph Hearst in a court case. The strip was taken over by Harold H. Knerr, but Dirks retained rights to the characters and produced a rival cartoon under The Captain & the Kids for Pulitzer papers for several decades. Five artists followed Dirks and Knerr creating the strip for Hearst.
posted by madamjujujive on Dec 27, 2007 - 14 comments

Pro Se Poetry

It's common for pro se prisoners to sue unusual defendants, but never before have I seen a list of defendants [pdf] so awe-inspiring. Francois Rabelais would truly be proud. Unfortunately, this particular prisoner's follow up lawsuit against Atlanta Falcons Quarterback Michael Vick isn't nearly so entertaining.
posted by saslett on Jul 28, 2007 - 58 comments

Tube Wars. Get your hose.

Tube Wars: A new front opens as the IFPI [think global RIAA] threatens imminent legal war with ISP's.
posted by trinarian on Jan 17, 2007 - 30 comments

At home he still plays with his organ from time to time

Procol Harum organist wins battle over joint authorship of A Whiter Shade of Pale. Gary Brooker is not amused, but then again it was a Bach ripoff anyway.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane on Dec 20, 2006 - 31 comments

"Suing our fans is destructive and hypocritical"

Canadian musicians protest file-sharing lawsuits. The Barenaked Ladies, Broken Social Scene, Sloan, Avril Lavigne, Sarah McLachlan, and many other Canadian artists have formed a coalition to protest the hard line taken by the recording industry against file-sharers, and call for copyright reform. Is there a better way to protect intellectual property rights than suing file-sharers?
posted by Johnny Assay on May 5, 2006 - 35 comments

"What if a person felt their religious view was that African Americans shouldn't mingle with Caucasians, or that women shouldn't work?"

...a growing campaign to force public schools, state colleges and private workplaces to eliminate policies protecting gays and lesbians from harassment....Christian activist Gregory S. Baylor responds to such criticism angrily. He says he supports policies that protect people from discrimination based on race and gender. But he draws a distinction that infuriates gay rights activists when he argues that sexual orientation is different — a lifestyle choice, not an inborn trait. By equating homosexuality with race, Baylor said, tolerance policies put conservative evangelicals in the same category as racists. ... "Think how marginalized racists are," said Baylor, who directs the Christian Legal Society's Center for Law and Religious Freedom. "If we don't address this now, it will only get worse." Should Christians be able to sue for the right to not tolerate or abide by anti-discrimination and anti-harassment policies meant to apply to all? Should they still be able to get school activity funding?
posted by amberglow on Apr 10, 2006 - 95 comments

Who Looses? Nerds Do!

Ever thought about the economics of nerd sex? If this guy's "men's rights" lawsuit succeeds will the real losers be "risk-loving, sex-crazed nerds who like to sleep with strange women and are willing to chance paternity". Why date a nerd in the first place? Ask Craigslist, of course.
posted by Jos Bleau on Mar 16, 2006 - 30 comments

Information wants to be free.

Wikipedia wrangling once more: the entire German edition was shut down this week over the contents of a single entry. The parents of the article's subject, a German hacker who died in 1998 under mysterious circumstances, are displeased with his real name being disclosed in the encyclopedia. It is now back online; however, the future of the family's efforts is currently unclear, not only due to the German order's debatable validity in the US - but also because the order was, initially at least, mistakenly addressed to St. Petersburg, Russia, instead of St. Petersburg, Florida.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane on Jan 20, 2006 - 18 comments

doctors suing patients

Doctors suing patients Are you angry and upset because of what a doctor did or did not do during a medical procedure? Did you express your anger online? Now doctors are suing patients for expressing their anger online.
posted by halekon on Sep 17, 2005 - 31 comments

J'accuse!

You thought the US had all the frivolous lawsuits? You thought that Russian astrologer had the "stupidest lawsuit ever" award all sewn up? Think again. French bus service Transports Schiocchet Excursions is suing a group of ten women who carpool to work every day, alleging unfair competition with their bus line. Among TSE's demands: confiscation of the defendants' cars. Groklaw has more, including excerpts from an interview in French which tosses around the delicious term "covoiturage".
posted by ubernostrum on Jul 12, 2005 - 41 comments

The Inconsiderate Cellphone Company

Ringtones are a growing concern and not just when people don't shut them off. Jamster is a weekly ringtone subscription that advertises to kids on channels like Nick and MTV. Kids are attracted to crazy frogs like a magnet and are using the service without parental permission. Now Britain is launching a new inquiry into Jamster's business practices. And lawyers in California filed a class action lawsuit against the company. But Jamster isn't just some fly-by-night operation trying to milk as much money from kids as they can before regulators crack down. Jamster is owned by VeriSign.

It's also a fair question whether it's worth paying 3 bucks for a few seconds of a song that sounds like a player piano, when it costs less than a buck to get the whole thing on the web (especially now that that crazy frog is a single). Why can't you just pay the 99 cents or whatever to get the song on your phone?
posted by kenneth on Jun 29, 2005 - 77 comments

10 most bizarre employment cases of 2004

10 most bizarre employment cases of 2004 - At least two of these cases were previously discussed on Mefi. (1), (2)
posted by madamjujujive on Apr 30, 2005 - 8 comments

Personal responsibility? What's that?

Little Timmy's fallen off the parking garage? Forget Lassie, call the lawyers! He didn't choose to jump between the eight-story buildings. The inanimate object made him.
posted by schroedinger on Mar 3, 2005 - 54 comments

Goooooood coffee.

He was the Taster's Choice model for 16 years and he never even knew it. A jury awards $15.6 million to a man whose face was used on the Taster's Choice coffee jar without his permission.
posted by braun_richard on Feb 2, 2005 - 36 comments

If you're hit by lightning, don't take it lying down!

Opportunists and Self-Described Victims vs. Any Available Deep Pockets For the stupid and the dead, there's the Darwin Awards. For the opportunistic and the alive, there's the Stella Awards. The Stella Awards were inspired by Stella Liebeck. In 1992, Stella, then 79, spilled a cup of McDonald's coffee onto her lap, burning herself. A New Mexico jury awarded her $2.9 million in damages. And of course it wasn't that simple, but the brief descriptions of the various cases make for entertaining reading. Serious legal geeks can have full case reports mailed to them, or check out and post to the site forum.
posted by orange swan on Dec 22, 2004 - 47 comments

U.S.Businesses File Four Times More Lawsuits Than Private Citizens

U.S.Businesses File Four Times More Lawsuits Than Private Citizens [...]The report also found that businesses and their attorneys were 69 percent more likely than individual tort plaintiffs and their attorneys to be sanctioned by federal judges for filing frivolous claims or defenses. The report, Frequent Filers: Corporate Hypocrisy in Accessing the Courts, is available by clicking here. “Corporations think America is too litigious only when they are on the receiving end of a lawsuit,” said Joan Claybrook, president of Public Citizen. “But when they feel aggrieved, businesses are far more likely to take their beef to court than are consumers.”[...] more
posted by Postroad on Oct 10, 2004 - 19 comments

California bill to ease move aways by custodial parents pulled.

California bill to ease "move aways" by custodial parents pulled. Until a recent CA Supreme Court decision, it was easy for custodial parents to move themselves and their children far from their ex-spouse. The Court reversed the old rule and held that the move could be blocked if the non-custodial parent could show that it would interfere with his/her relationship with the kids. Legislation to reimpose the old permissive standard passed through the State Senate, but has now been pulled off the legislative calendar after an outcry by father's rights groups.
posted by MattD on Aug 18, 2004 - 17 comments

Fox News: imbalanced, unfair, and now the defendant

Fox sued for trademarked slogan. Outfoxed has taken the rumblings you've heard online for ages mainstream: that Fox News claims fairness, but is grinding a sharp ax for one team. Now the battle ticks up a notch as alt-newspaper service Altnet takes them to court.
posted by mathowie on Aug 11, 2004 - 8 comments

Friends, with Joey as a serial rapist?

The One where the Writers Totally Got Themselves Uninvited from Any Parties at Courtney Cox or Jennifer Aniston's House. In the midst of all the dry-as-kindling "Friends" stories being published, there's been one spark: Amaani Lyle's sexual harassment suit against the show's writers. While it's easy to be distracted by the actual meat of her complaint — making Joey a serial rapist (#74), a fill-in-the-genitals coloring book (#56-#58), the importance of spelling "penis" (#59-#60), the twigs in Courtney Cox's uterus (#91), a missed opportunity to bugger Jennifer Aniston (#88-#90) — their defense is even more interesting: Such talk is a necessary creative element of their job. Writes Joanna Grossman: The defendants admitted that many of Lyle's allegations were true. They testified in deposition that they did many of the things she complained of, but argued that the conduct was justified by "creative necessity." The writers' job, defendants argued, was to come up with story lines, dialogue, and jokes for a sitcom with adult sexual themes. To do this, they needed to have "frank sexual discussions and tell colorful jokes and stories (and even make expressive gestures) as part of the creative process." An interesting new permutation in how we classify inappropriate workplace behavior with major ramifications for the creative class, or a big ol' weaselly dodge?
posted by blueshammer on May 5, 2004 - 75 comments

I just want what's mine!

The file-sharing fight continues.
Recording industry associations in Denmark, Germany, Italy and Canada have filed lawsuits or taken other legal action, aiming mainly at heavy users accused of offering a large number of songs online.

In other news, A study of file-sharing's effects on music sales says online music trading appears to have had little part in the recent slide in CD sales.
posted by ashbury on Mar 31, 2004 - 9 comments

RIAA sues... (again)

RIAA sues... (again): The RIAA has just issued a new lawsuit against 532 more "illegal filesharers" only this time, they're also using the "john doe" approach meaning that they dont have to have ascertain your name by strongarming ISPs, but by suing your IP address, they let the judicial system take care of that little detail.
posted by sixtwenty3dc on Jan 21, 2004 - 39 comments

Spam Rage

Penis Enlargement Web Ads Prompt Calif. Spam Rage
The guy lost his cool because the pop up spammers basically unleashed all their tricks on him and there was nothing he could do to stop it.
So he threatened to unleash anthrax on them, to use a power drill and an ice pick and to shoot them.
He doesn't own any guns nor did he have access to anthrax and yet he now faces up to 5 years in prison and $250,000 in fines.
Does this set a bad precedent for fighting back against spammers? Or did he get what he deserved for threatening them like this? The case raises some interesting issues about how hard you can fight back against spammers and pop up 'noids.
posted by fenriq on Nov 21, 2003 - 22 comments

Eyewitness News!

Caribou Coffee is smacked with a lawsuit for doing nothing when four employees complained of same-sex harassment from their boss. Among the allegations, one claims that the woman "[invited] one of the plaintiffs to her house to engage in some type of sexual activity with her dogs." You've gotta love the local tv news treatment of any given situation. Streaming video also available.
posted by Hammerikaner on Sep 24, 2003 - 6 comments

File this under barratry

A trademark infringement lawsuit has been filed by the owners of the Dewey Decimal System against New York's Library Hotel, which numbers and fills rooms based on the system: "Each of the 10 guestrooms floors honors one of the 10 categories of the DDC and each of the 60 rooms is uniquely adorned with a collection of books and art exploring a distinctive topic within the category or floor it belongs to." Call early to book Room 800.001.
posted by rcade on Sep 21, 2003 - 53 comments

Fair and Balanced p2p uses

Don't kill p2p because of a few bad eggs Peer-to-peer networks can be used for legal or illegal purposes. So can the telephone, a newspaper or a church's bulletin board. People are responsible for their own actions and there are laws designed to prosecute people for illegal actions.
The legal uses of P2P are rarely heard, because they are not 'sexy' or political. P2P allows artists and listeners to connect directly. The proliferation of unique works created and distributed on the Internet is staggering.
(not the best letter to the editor, but the best I could find)
Ok, so in theory, p2p apps can be used for purposes other than downloading coprighted music and porn. But seriously, does anyone actually use it for legitimate purposes? What do you search for on Kazaa/Gnutella/BitTorrent that is useful, legal, and interesting?
posted by mecran01 on Sep 16, 2003 - 42 comments

RIAA meets the face of evil, and it's a 12-year-old disadvantaged girl

RIAA settles with a disadvantaged, now sick, 12-year-old girl. Read CNN's brief of the settlement and the feel-good synopsis by Gary Sherman, president of RIAA. OR, head over to the UK to learn that the 12-yr-old has been getting sick from anxiety, feels terrible for the fragile artists and lives in a rent control apartment with her family. I'd take the UK's cynicism over the US slant anyday.
posted by omidius on Sep 9, 2003 - 46 comments

Copyright a-go-go

Lessig and the RIAA's Matt Oppenheim This great Q&A between two very well spoken opponents in the copyright wars answers (very clearly) many of the questions that have stemmed from the ongoing erosion of the public domain by copyright law and the degradation of the music industry by file swappers. I was struck by how straight many of the answers were... a fascinating read
posted by dirtylittlemonkey on Jun 12, 2003 - 29 comments

RIAA sues college students

The RIAA has filed lawsuits against four college students who ran file search services on campus at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Michigan Technological University, and Princeton University. These "local area Napster networks," as the RIAA calls them, contained about 2.5 million files.
posted by oaf on Apr 3, 2003 - 60 comments

www.constitutionalsluts.com?

I believe this is a blow for the First Amendment. Today, the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals struck down the Child Online Protection Act. Also, read COPA's report online. In related news, the Supreme Court recently heard oral arguments regarding a law which requires "filters" to be placed on public library computers. Can any of these laws be written to satisfy constitutional requirements? Julie Hilden of Findlaw.con has already contemplated this issue. Will the U.S. follow Canada's lead by enacting similar anti-porn laws? Despite support in the U.S. for such laws, the Indianapolis model pornography law was struck down as unconstitutional nearly ten years ago. It seems even Canada is rejecting the Dworkin/MacKinnon point of view. Is there any middle ground in this showdown of liberty and equality? Which value should prevail? Are these values really at odds with each other?
posted by Bag Man on Mar 7, 2003 - 75 comments

A spammer has successfully been sued...

A spammer has successfully been sued, using anti-junk Fax laws in a Michigan small-claims court.
posted by o2b on Feb 24, 2003 - 12 comments

Royalties? don't they get those from the casinos?...

US Bureau of Indian Affairs 'misplaces' about $137 billion "...hundreds of thousands of Indians in the largest-ever class-action lawsuit against the government have put the cumulative total at $137.2 billion owed [royalties due from BIA leasing of Indian land for lucrative mineral, oil, logging, cattle grazing, and other concessions]....Sometimes the checks might arrive for hundreds or thousands of dollars, and sometimes those checks might only amount to pennies on the dollar. On Indian reservations, the problem has reached crisis levels; a check written out for a smaller amount than expected—or no check at all—can mean the difference between housing and homelessness. " ....but we don't have the money, I told you: it must have fallen out through that hole in my pants' pocket... Treaty, what treaty? Oh, that treaty....
posted by troutfishing on Feb 13, 2003 - 9 comments

Class Action Clearinghouse

Consumer Power! Not only can you register to join dozens of pending or proposed class action lawsuits, but you can try to convince an attorney to start a new one just for you. A welcome alternative to the Better Business Bureau or a sign of the approaching demise of Western civilization?
posted by boltman on Feb 4, 2003 - 1 comment

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