Law Law Land

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


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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’sRequiem 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.”)


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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:

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c_zU8QPFQ7Y

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 whichalso 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:
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This has been Law Law Land’s first year, and while we already love you, we feel like we’re still getting to know you. (Maybe it’s time you introduced us to your parents, no?) So, like many people experiencing their first holiday season with that special someone, we just weren’t sure what to get you for Christmahanukwanzakah (we’re a “big tent” blog). Then, it hit us: we should just get you something that we would like! That way, even if it’s not your favorite, at least someone will get to enjoy it!

Well, one of our readers was nice enough to send us a ShoeDini after all, so no point in getting that again. The Jon Worley Aloysius Wiggle-WormFlip-A-BabyDemonCleanChop Wow, and Twist-O-Matic all remain tragically fictional. And by the time we got to Things Remembered at the mall, the engraving desk was closed, so we couldn’t give you a bowling ball with our name engraved on it (umm, so you’d always know who gave it to you?). But then we thought back to Thanksgiving, and all those lovely legal turkeys we were thankful for, and all at once it hit us: bizarre legal curiosities!

If you look closely enough, dockets around this country are filled with delightful little stocking stuffer-sized nuggets of legal comedy genius. Whenever we lawyers trudge exhaustedlybound energetically out of bed in the morning, the thing that keeps us going is the hope that maybe, someday, we can be responsible for creating something as wonderful as one of these masterpieces (advance warning — legal mastery can sometimes involve “colorful” language). We can’t be sure, but we think this might be the most comprehensive array of legal humor ever assembled in one place:
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