- New suits claim lack of web accessibility features in online employment applications violates California’s ADA equivalent law [Kristina M. Launey & Myra Villamor, Seyfarth Shaw]
- Sugar in candy? Who knew? [John O’Brien and John Breslin, Legal Newsline/Forbes] Slack-fill lawsuits reveal nonfunctional void within class-action industry [Baylen Linnekin]
- Musical instruments in court: the stories behind six famous gear disputes [Jay Laughton, Reverb last year]
- “Secret of David Copperfield’s signature trick revealed in slip-and-fall suit by audience volunteer” [ABA Journal]
- Given Congressional presence in area, California not entitled to use foie gras regulation to impose its views of duck and goose husbandry on producers outside state [Ilya Shapiro and Reilly Stephens on Cato cert amicus in Association des Eleveurs de Canards et d’Oies du Quebec v. Becerra]
- “The earliest versions of the “People’s Court” TV show used law professors as the judges. They were picked because they were articulate and looked like judges but weren’t state bar members; for bar members, being on the show was seen as unlawful advertising.” [@OrinKerr linking Roger M. Grace, Metropolitan News-Enterprise in 2003]
Noting that Britain’s 2006 Noise at Work Regulations “recognize no distinction as between a factory and an opera house,” a British judge has approved the claim of a violist for the Royal Opera House Covent Garden who says he suffered hearing loss from the loudness of the close-by brass section during a rehearsal of Die Walküre, part of Wagner’s Ring Cycle. Damages are yet to be determined; he is seeking £750,000. [Mark Savage, BBC] The opera house argued that it had gone as far as a reasonable employer to reduce the risks of loudness, including issuing ear protection which he was using, and that his condition “had in fact been the result of his coincidentally developing Meniere’s disease at around the same time.” [Damien Gayle, Guardian] Earlier on the United Kingdom regulations on sound in the workplace here (police dogs’ barking, with links to many other posts), etc., and related here and here on European orchestra noise regs.
“The Alabama Supreme Court says a man can’t go forward with his lawsuit against a company involved in booking a death metal concert where he was injured.” The plaintiff said he was thrown to the ground during the Mobile event and suffered serious spinal injuries. “The decision says ICM Partners received a $250 commission for booking the band but had no other involvement.” [Insurance Journal; compare successful claims against advertisers, broadcasters, and others following the 2003 Rhode Island Station Nightclub fire]
- New regulations on international movement of rosewood create major hassles and risks for musicians, instrument makers [Robert Benincasa, NPR, earlier on exotic woods]
- “Argentinian geoscientist faces criminal charges over glacier survey” [Jeff Tollefson and Emiliano Rodríguez Mega, Nature]
- “The Progressive Roots of Zoning” [Samuel Staley, Market Urbanism]
- “Water Rights, Water Fights in the American West” [Reed Watson and Caleb Brown, Cato podcast]
- “Los Angeles Wants to Make Housing Affordable by Making it More Expensive” [Christian Britschgi, Reason]
- “Private Property Rights Collide With Invisible Frog” [Chris Bennett, Farm Journal, on cert petition in Markle Interests v. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, U.S. Chamber, earlier]
Two years after the Blurred Lines copyright verdict, lawyerly caution is making itself felt: “According to a BBC report last week, recording artists are now being instructed not to talk publicly about their musical influences for fear of exposure to copyright infringement claims.” [Brink Lindsey, Cato] From the BBC report:
According to forensic musicologist Peter Oxendale “everyone’s concerned that inspiration can [now be interpreted as] a catalyst for infringement.
“All of these companies are worried that if a track is referenced on another at all, there may be a claim being brought,” he explains.
In a First Amendment win with many future implications — most immediately for the Washington Redskins football team — the Supreme Court has ruled that the First Amendment does not allow the Patent and Trademark Office to withhold trademark protection from a rock band because it considers its name to be possibly racially disparaging (or self-disparaging). The holding was unanimous, although the Justices divided on rationale. [Ilya Shapiro/Cato, Betsy Gomez/CBLDF, Eugene Volokh and more (“Supreme Court unanimously reaffirms: There is no ‘hate speech’ exception to the First Amendment”)] Earlier here (“Did Cato just file the most not-safe-for-work amicus brief in Supreme Court history?”), here, etc.
“The reason so many Americans own guitars today is thanks, in large part, to past trade agreements” [Vincent Caruso, Reason]
As I went walking I saw a sign there.
And on the sign it said “(C) — Guthrie estate”
But on the other side it didn’t say nothing,
That side was made for you and me.
“Following their successful actions to bring the songs ‘Happy Birthday’ and ‘We Shall Overcome’ into the public domain, New York law firm Wolf Haldenstein Adler Freeman & Herz are now taking on a similar action for the Woody Guthrie classic, ‘This Land Is Your Land.'” [IP Flow/Mimesis Law]
Back in 2004, when the successors in interest of Guthrie’s heirs threatened the writers of a politically oriented parody with copyright litigation, Fred von Lohmann of the Electronic Frontier Foundation wondered what Guthrie himself would have thought of the action, given that he once used a copyright notice that said:
This song is Copyrighted in U.S., under Seal of Copyright # 154085, for a period of 28 years, and anybody caught singin it without our permission, will be mighty good friends of ourn, cause we don’t give a dern. Publish it. Write it. Sing it. Swing to it. Yodel it. We wrote it, that’s all we wanted to do.
The lyrics of “My Land,” including the “No Trespassing” verse lightly altered above, are here, complete with copyright assertion.
In the aftermath of Prince’s death, lawyers representing the entertainer’s estate administrator have been pushing a posthumous right of publicity law in Minnesota. The proposed PRINCE Act (“Personal Rights In Names Can Endure”) would forbid the use of an individual’s name “in any medium in any manner” without consent, which critics say makes it a rare instance of a law that actually violates itself. [David Post/Volokh, Jacob Gershman/WSJ Law Blog]