Intellectual property law roundup

  • The law should not accord the state of Georgia a copyright over its code of law, even if the code has annotations [Trevor Burrus and Sam Spiegelman on Cato amicus certiorari brief in State of Georgia v. Public.Resource.Org, earlier here and here] And a transcript of today’s oral argument before the Supreme Court;
  • Update: federal judge Kaplan imposes sanctions on alleged “copyright troll” Richard Liebowitz, further complications ensue [Eugene Volokh, more, ABA Journal, earlier]
  • How Coca-Cola responds to flavor suggestions from fans on Twitter [Mike Masnick]
  • “California Man Gets Sued After Trying To Trademark Bully A Theme Park’ [Timothy Geigner, TechDirt]
  • “Like Righthaven before it, the Higbee firm has been taking advantage of hosts who failed to take the proper registration steps to perfect their DMCA immunity from copyright claims” [Paul Alan Levy and more, earlier here and here] And yet more;
  • “A root beer start-up, an energy drink company and an ugly trademark battle” [Andrew Yarrow, Washington Post/Keene Sentinel]

Happy Thanksgiving

I’ll be taking a few days off for the holiday and to finish a writing project, so I don’t expect there will be any further posting until Monday or thereabouts.

Public health roundup

  • After a crackdown on saloon drinking backed by Theodore Roosevelt and others, creative New Yorkers opened 1500 new “hotels” and complied with rules linking alcohol to food by serving desiccated sandwiches meant not to be eaten [Darrell Hartman, Atlas Obscura on Raines Law]
  • “‘The evidence is very, very strong that there’s a powerful potential health benefit if you can’t get people to quit entirely, to get them to switch from cigarette smoking to vaping,’ Olson said.” [Scott McClallen, Center Square] Here comes Massachusetts to make things worse [Jeffrey Singer]
  • If you suppose that transcontinental air travel is worsening the risk of global pandemics, then you may suppose erroneously [Johan Norberg “Dead Wrong” video]
  • Zoning will not bring slimness: “Fast-Food Bans Are a Dumb Idea That Won’t Die” [Baylen Linnekin] Having a supermarket enter a food desert has at best a minor effect on healthy eating [Hunt Allcott et al., Quarterly Journal of Economics, earlier]
  • The imperialism of public health: wealth inequality, affordable housing declared topics for action by the public health profession [Petrie-Flom]
  • “From the 1910s through the 1950s, and in some places into the 1960s and 1970s, tens of thousands — perhaps hundreds of thousands — of American women were detained and forcibly examined for STIs…. If the women tested positive, U.S. officials locked them away in penal institutions with no due process….. During World War II, the American Civil Liberties Union not only failed to oppose the Plan; its founder, Roger Baldwin, sent a memorandum encouraging its local branches to cooperate with officials enforcing it.” [Scott W. Stern, History.com]
  • Public health campaign against arsenic-tainted wells in Bangladesh appears to have inadvertently increased child mortality in places where alternative was surface water, which is more likely to carry microbial contamination [Nina Buchmann, Erica M. Field, Rachel Glennerster, & Reshmaan N. Hussam, Cato Research Briefs in Economic Policy No. 180]

“Is This The World’s Most Self-Important Email Signature?”

A Charleston, South Carolina attorney is attracting attention for the rather inflexible conditions he sets on opposing lawyers’ wish to contact him. He offers a choice of two ways.

(1) Call my cell any day between 4:00 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. If I am not already on the phone with another opposing counsel, I will answer and spend up to five minutes on the phone with you. At the end of our five-minute talk, I may instruct my staff to schedule a longer meeting with you if you satisfy the criteria set forth in #2 below. Please note that I spend just five minutes on each call, so if I don’t answer when you call, wait a few minutes and try again. My cell is XXX-XXXX. Call only between 4:00 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. as I spend the rest of my day focused solely on achieving my clients’ goals.

The second way to reach him might prove even less appealing — check it out. [FITSNews]

Opioids roundup

  • Central planning meets the Drug War: Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) presumes to know and decree “just how many prescription opioids of all classifications and in all situations will be needed in the coming year for a nation of 325 million people.” Paging Dr. Hayek [Jeffrey Singer]
  • Mysteries of the “negotiating class”: National Association of Attorneys General questions novel procedural device used by federal judge Dan Polster in Cleveland [Daniel Fisher, Legal Newsline, more; Amanda Bronstad, Law.com (Sixth Circuit review)]
  • “All of these are drug-seeking behaviors. But I maintain that none of these patients were addicted.” Scott Alexander talks back to a U.S. Senator, the WSJ, and others [Slate Star Codex] “How Stigma Against Addiction Devastates Pain Patients” [Elizabeth Brico at Filter, a recent launch on drug policy]
  • “Why Opioid Pharma Hatred Is Overblown and Harmful” [Alison Knopf, Filter] A Washington Post series on pill distribution fueled a false narrative [Singer, Jacob Sullum, and they’re just getting started]
  • “Patients, Privacy, and PDMPs: Exploring the Impact of Prescription Drug Monitoring Programs,” Cato policy forum with David S. Fink, Kate M. Nicholson, Nathan Freed Wessler, and Patience Moyo, moderated by Jeff Singer;
  • Oklahoma U. law prof says “improper” opioid nuisance suit by state’s attorney general could “create a monster” [Karen Kidd, Legal Newsline; earlier here, here, etc.] If judge can essentially rewrite public nuisance law, ramifications “are huge” for other industries that might be targeted in future, “such as the environmental, chemical, vaping, firearms manufacturing, and energy industries.” [John Shu, Federalist Society]

Expensive windshields in Florida

Florida’s overdue insurance-law reform on the “assignment of benefits” issue had a carve-out excluding auto claims, and Sunshine State lawyers continue to ride auto-glass cases for automatic fee entitlements. A report from the Florida Justice Reform Institute “shows nearly all auto glass lawsuits come from just 15 law firms — one firm, Malik Law, accounts for nearly 30 percent of all such lawsuits filed this year. Additionally, the vast majority of auto glass lawsuits are in Hillsborough and Orange counties. FJRI speculates that’s due to higher attorney fee awards in those counties.” [Drew Wilson, Florida Politics, earlier]

Regulation and administrative law roundup