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A Law Law Land Correction (and a Litigant Speaks!)

An interesting footnote to last week’s post, revisiting our “5 Cases to Watch” for 2012.

Last week, I wrote that while talent manager Rick Siegel’s legal war with his former client — which had since morphed into a crusade against California’s Talent Agencies Act writ large — was over, the fight had been taken up by Siegel’s colleagues at the National Conference of Personal Managers, which, in November 2012, brought a direct constitutional challenge against the Talent Agencies Act in federal court.  As part of my preview of the case, I noted that the case “may still be a long shot — anytime someone tries to claim that a law violates the Thirteenth Amendment’s prohibition on slavery, you have to raise your eyebrows a little.”  But this week, I received a reader correction from Mr. Siegel himself, who writes:

Ken,

The 13th Amendment claim isn’t about slavery.

The 13th Amendment of the United States Constitution states in part:  “Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.”

So to be constitutionally compliant, the benefit of one’s labor can only be voided should there exist: (1) a statute stating that such labor was criminal; and (2) a finding been forfeited must have been found duly convicted of that crime.  Every other California occupational licensing scheme where one loses the right to contract has statutory notice that the unlicensed engagement of activity is a criminal offense and makes that engagement either misdemeanor or felony, the TAA expressly states that per § 1700.44(b) that no TAA violation can be considered criminal.  As the action can’t be seen as criminal, the penalty violates the 13th Amendment.

The original post has been revised to refer to “involuntary servitude” instead of slavery.  Lawyers for the State of California, the Association of Talent Agencies, and celebrities who just like being able to not pay their estranged personal managers may, of course, disagree with Mr. Siegel’s interpretation of the Thirteenth Amendment, but let it never be said that Law Law Land doesn’t strive to be fair and precise in its snark.

As for me, I’m just psyched to have gotten (politely) called out by a celebrity of recent history in California law.  Can’t wait for Kim Kardashian to email the blog next!




The Scariest Day of the Year…for Legal Claims Too

We here at Law Law Land are big fans of Halloween, the drunkest, sluttiest, most creative and fun-loving holiday of the year.  Law Law Land HQ itself is awash in cat ears and warlock coats today, and your editor is looking forward to a heaven-vs.-hell, angel-vs.-devil ping pong grudge match of epic proportions tonight.  But if you’re looking for a real fright on Halloween night, just consider some of the following truly scary cases and claims.

If the Past Is Never Dead, Does That Mean the Past Is Undead?

William Faulkner famously wrote, “The past is never dead.  It’s not even past.”  Woody Allen-mouthpiece Owen Wilson less-famously said, in 2011’s Midnight in Paris, “The past is not dead!  Actually, it’s not even past.  You know who said that?  Faulkner.  And he was right.  And I met him, too.  I ran into him at a dinner party.”  And Faulkner’s estate is now infamously saying that, if you use Faulkner’s line (ish) in a movie, with attribution, you have broken the law.

Faulkner’s estate is suing Sony Pictures Classics for copyright infringement and trademark infringement, claiming that Midnight in Paris’s misquote of Faulkner’s famous aphorism from 1950’s Requiem for a Nun not only infringes their copyright, but also violates the federal trademark statute by deceiving viewers into believing that the movie was affiliated, endorsed, or authorized by the Faulkner estate.  So are Sony’s lawyers running scared into the night?  Not likely.  But the distant howls you might be hearing are actually the pained wails of frustrated intellectual property law professors everywhere.

(Special kudos to the usually-dry-as-a-skeleton Courthouse News Service for observing, “at risk of offending the shade, or estate, of Charles Dickens:  This is a far, far weirder thing than Sony has ever done.”) Continue reading the full story . . . »




Welcome to the New Law Law Land: Same Same But Different!

“We can rebuild him.  We have the technology.” – Richard Anderson, as Oscar Goldman, The Six Million Dollar Man

“You know, let’s put it this way:  if all the people in Hollywood who have had plastic surgery, if they went on vacation, there wouldn’t be a person left in town.” – Michael Jackson

Dear readers, our first holiday gift to you of the season has arrived:  it’s the new us.  Do you like it?  We hope you do.

Like any self-respecting residents of Hollywood, we decided it was time to get a little work done.  We’ll admit it:  as we started approaching our second birthday — positively geriatric by Hollywood standards! — all those little wrinkles and pockets of flab started getting to us.  (And did you see the drop shadow on those border lines?  So 2009.)  Of course, we like to keep it tasteful here at Law Law Land, and we’re firm believers that, when you go under the knife, you want to look refreshed, not redone.  Just a little nip and tuck.  That’s why our new site retains all the classic Law Law Land charm (not to mention the “awesomely bad” humor you know and love), just in a cleaner, more contemporary format.

But as your mom always told you (probably while obsessing over her appearance), it’s what’s inside that counts, and that’s where the new site truly shines.  A more powerful and effective search engine.  Easier shareability in any social media platform you could ask for.  Smart recommendations on related content you might be interested in.  A better subscription and notification system.  A built-in barista.*  It’s like going in for a face lift, and coming out with a new and improved brain.  You know, since they were in there already.

So thanks to all of you for sticking with us long enough to make it to Law Law Land Version 2.0.  We can’t make any promises for what Version 3.0 will someday bring, but we think it’s safe to say it will involve providing each and every one of our readers with the secret to inner peace.**

 

*  Built-in barista not available on all any computer systems.

**  Law Law Land Version 3.0 will not provide any of our readers with the secret to inner peace.




BREAKING NEWS: Law Law Land Nominated for Award We’ve Totally Heard of This Time

For the second year in a row, the editors of the ABA Journal have nominated Law Law Land to their Blawg 100, the nation’s most prestigious annual list of legal blogs, which beats out such other, only slightly less prestigious annual lists of legal blogs as…okay, we are not aware of any other annual lists of legal blogs. This year, the ABA Journal says it received 1,300 nominations for the Blawg 100, so we would like to thank the 1,201 of you who nominated Law Law Land for this year’s list. As for the remaining 99 Blawg 100 nominators…really, what are you doing with your time on the Internet?

Yet again, Law Law Land has been nominated in the “For Fun” category, where we are joined by some beloved comrades from last year’s list (CorporotteLowering the BarThe Namby Pamby Attorney at LawThe Prime-Time Crime Review), our arch-enemies from last year’s list (the incorrigible rogues at That’s What She Said), and a couple of distinguished newcomers, who we just can’t wait to subject to the annual Blawg 100 rookie hazing (Law and the MultiverseConstitutional Daily). We are not, on the other hand, joined by the roughly 3,400 legal blogs we already defeated just to make it this far. (Take, that, Fordham University School of Law Intellectual Property, Media, & Entertainment Law Journal Blog!)

The way this normally works, we invite you to head over to the ABA Journal website, register, and vote for us. And those of you who followed last year’s race closely may recall how we unceremoniously crushed the competition, ringing up more votes than any other blog on the list, in any category. You may expect that we’re gearing up for a repeat run, or that we’d be out for vengeance against the ABA Journal editors, who have deemed our unique brand of humor “awesomely bad” (we prefer to think of ourselves as “badly awesome”; anyhow, the ABA editors can’t even imagine the jokes that don’t make it onto the blog).

But we’re strong believers in term limits, and besides, mailing out all those 20% off Bed Bath & Beyond coupons as bribes is exhausting. (Plus, last year, we couldn’t get a lousy ShoeDini for Hanukkah, while this year, we’re rolling in ill-begotten bounty from companies who don’t bother to check on the content of blogs before sending free samples to their editors — thanks, Clinique, my skin has never looked more rejuvenated!). So we heartily encourage you to find your favorite underdog and hack into the ABA Journal’s website so that you can spend all 12 of your votes on them. That way, some happy newcomer can experience the joy of victory, while we lean back and bask in our past glories. Don’t worry about us. We just discovered this video on YouTube…

 

…so we’ll be just fine.




And Now for Some Shameless Self-Promotion

Last year, you, our dear and faithful readers, not only catapulted Law Law Land to victory (not to mention glory and legend) in the “For Fun” category of the ABA Journal’s 4th Annual “Blawg 100″ awards, you made us the highest vote-getter among 100 beloved legal blogs nominated across 12 largely arbitrary categories. Remember when that happened? That was awesome.

If you want to relive the glory days of Law Law Land’s victorious 2010 Blawg 100 campaign (and if you’ve seen what the stock market, American political climate, and general quality of television programming have looked like over the last month, why wouldn’t you?), the ABA Journal is currently taking nominations for its 2011 “Blawg 100.” If you’re a lawyer or law student who enjoys our shtick and/or thinks that the site looks great with these festive-looking ABA Journal badges on the page, we would be honored by your nomination. So-called “friend-of-the-blawg briefs” are due no later than Sept. 9, 2011.

 




A Law Law Land Thank You, and the Top 10 of Twenty 10

Well folks, the votes are in, the results are tallied, and the dead voters have been quietly returned to their graves. Thanks to the tireless efforts of you, our faithful readers — as well as our own shameless and relentless self-promotion — we are the winners of the 4th Annual ABA Journal Blawg 100, in the “For Fun” category. In fact, we’re proud to report that Law Law Land was the highest vote-getter among all 100 legal blogs nominated across 12 categories, a group which included such luminaries (if you’re into this sort of thing) as Above the LawSCOTUSblog, and, in our own category, Hollywood Reporter Esq. In other words, by this imposingly scientific measure — obviously more significant than readership, Web traffic, longevity, or general cultural relevance — we are evidently the most popular, important, beloved legal blog in America. If you’re wondering what is the appropriate reaction, as in most matters, just let Corey Haim be your guide:

 

The battle was long and hard-fought, even if at the beginning, we weren’t exactly sure what we were fighting for. (When we heard “ABA,” we thought that anesthesiologists might be involved. And while we were intrigued by the nitrous oxide prospects, this diagram was so disturbing that we were relieved to learn of our mistake.) But we’re proud and grateful to you, our readers, for sticking with us through our first year. And we must extend our sincerest congratulations to our arch-nemeses at That’s What She Said, a “For Fun” nominee which also received more votes than any other blog in the Blawg 100, except for one. TWSS: we don’t mind that you called us “dratted” behind our backs (you should have heard the things we were saying about you). And we dig your work. See you at next year’s polls.

So with all that said, we’d like to take this opportunity to thank someone without whom none of this would have been possible: ourselves. If it wasn’t for our unstinting commitment to using legal analysis as a basis for relentlessly mocking the newsmakers of the entertainment world, you, our wonderful readers, would have had no one to vote for in the Blawg 100. You might have even been forced to go outside. As we assume that many of you are lawyers, this might have proven fatal.

To celebrate our victory, and to mark the end of our first (calendar) year, we’d like to highlight our Top 10 of Twenty 10: the ten most popular Law Law Land posts of 2010, as chosen by you, the readers, with your browser clicks. In reverse order: Continue reading the full story . . . »




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