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Blawg Review #148

Last week’s superb Blawg Review #147 by the world’s foremost authority on North American badger law left me rather intimidated. Realizing the challenge of following my good friend Rushwith a post of similar caliber, I nearly threw in the towel and moved to French Polynesia. Fortunately, Rush talked me down from the precipice and convince me to give it a try.

While considering a theme for this week’s Blawg Review, it struck me that lawyers do not spend as much time aimlessly meandering the web as would, for instance, a typical air traffic controller. As a result, most lawyers are woefully detached from the Zeitgeist embodied in the lowly Internet meme. An Internet meme is any amusing video, email, picture, audio clip or other material that spreads virally across the internet. Unlike computer viruses, which spread based upon how many paint chips the people opening them consumed in their youth, Internet memes spread based upon how entertaining viewers find them.

Although blawgers are more aware of Internet memes than your average lawyer, blawgers still find there are not enough hours to stay up to date with each new version of someone reenacting the Thriller video at a wedding. To save you from this critical legal research, I assiduously complied several of the most popular memes for you. While the list might not necessarily “make” your day, at least it might maintain your work/life balance in sufficient equilibrium to stave off the rubber room for another week. The list is not comprehensive, but it is the best I can muster without being served pre-marital divorce papers. For those of you true professional Internet slackers, swing by memelabs and test your meme IQ.

Without further ado, the Blawg Review List of Internet Memes:

As Cool as Intellectual Property – You’ve Been Rick Rolled

One of the most interesting recent online intellectual property events was Eric “Wile E. Coyote Cybergenius” Menhart capitulating his quixotic attempt to trademark the term “cyberlaw” out of the public domain. Admittedly, as that is also the title of my latest book, I had a little skin in the game. Thankfully, many seasoned cyberlawyers joined Eric Goldman and Ron Coleman in gang-tackling Mr. Menhart before he scored his trademark registration. Tricia Bishop of The Baltimore Sun even quoted your humble narrator in her documentation of Mr. Menhart’s online implosion. Now what was that about no publicity being bad publicity?

The last decade and a half of my days have been filled with providing clients patent advice. Strangely, one suggestion I never considered giving a client was to donate a large sum of money to their Senator to avoid liability for patent infringement. Michael Gorman of the Tech Law Forum reports that Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions is sponsoring a bill to make his donors immune from the repercussions of a pending patent infringement lawsuit. A hundred grand or so (plus any last vestige of your integrity) seems like a small price to pay for several billion dollars worth of immunity.

For those of you juris doctorates looking to get in on a little of this political largess, check out Robert Ambrogi’s post on how the practice of law prepares you for public office.

Looking for another lawyer to do the heavy lifting for you? Check out the manonfyre’s diary over at the Daily Kos, highlighting copyright guru Lawrence Lessig’s potential run for Congress. Don’t worry; this is not all some sort of master plan by intellectual property attorneys to take over the world. But then again, would I tell you if it was?

Growing Lack of Civility – Don’t Tase Me Bro

According to The Word on Employment Law with John Phillips, bullying in the workplace is not against the law. Well, that is unless the bullying is tied to race, sex, national origin, religion, age or disability. I think they call this the you-can-only-bully-Brett-Trout rule. Apparently, several states are considering making all workplace bullying illegal. That despite the fact that such laws would extinguish the sole morsel of joy my legal assistant currently extracts from her current employment.

Al Brophy of The Faculty Lounge has an interesting post on what appears to be a shift in sympathy of first year law students. For the first time ever, male students appear inclined to award higher damages to female victims than do female first years. I guess the question remains whether this portends warmer, fuzzier male attorneys down the road, or merely more female juris doctorates entering the political arena.

There could be hundreds of reasons why someone would be riding a bike at 3am carrying an axe or bringing a gun to a deposition. Kevin Underhill of Lowering the Bar argues otherwise, but then again, I am a glass half full kind of guy.

Just in time for the latest crop of graduating law students, Ted Frank of Overlawyered has complied a list of things not to do after you pass the bar. Oh Ted. If only you had been blogging back in 1992. You could have saved me a whole lot of grief.

Geek Celebrity – Star Wars Kid

Dan Solove, Deven Desai and David Hoffman of Concurring Opinions landed an interview with Battlestar Galactica creators Ron Moore and David Eick. The interview covers how legal systems morph as extreme military pressures begin to stress our civilization. Now you can get your USRDA of bloggers, lawyers, politics and science fiction all in one convenient location.

Jack Balkin offers kudos to those niche academic legal bloggers who actually add to the collegiality, professionalism and collective knowledge base of the legal community. Balkin notes that the most popular law prof blogs drive readership through political punditry, gossip, entertainment, blog scraping and cultural commentary, basically everything short of actual legal scholarship. Balkin salutes niche bloggers for conveying interesting and important legal concepts to an audience which extends beyond the traditional “legal academy.”

The Beat of a Different Drummer – I Like Turtles

Andrew Scott-Howman of Life at Work lets us in on a little secret about flatulence in the UK. According to an English Employment Tribunal, excessive flatulence does not qualify as a disability. Apparently, they are not talking to the same people I am talking to.

Susan Cartier Liebel of Build a Solo Practice explains that the best way to stay competitive is not to try to beat your competition at their own game, but to attract clients by differentiating your practice. For example, if there are several large firms in your area offering badger law services, try promoting your one-on-one service, rather than simply trying to undercut them on price.

Carolyn Elefant at Legal Blog Watch takes a look at what lawyers envision as the law practice of the future? Strangely, it looks a lot like my practice right now. Only with more robots.

Marc Randazza of the The Legal Satyricon analyzes the ethics of 800lb intellectual property gorillas slapping around the little guy. Instead of a rock, Professor Randazza points out, the David in this case appears to have his sling brim full of intellectual property insurance.

The Other Side of the Argument – Britney Rant

Cathy Gellis of Statements of Interest examines the newly claimed Kosovo independence. Not since the Beckhams’ move to Los Angeles has a single issue polarized more countries on opposing sides of a single issue.

The Situationist takes up the issue of Lawyers using brain scans to argue defects in their clients’ brains means the clients are not liable for their crimes. I wonder if that argument works with forgetting anniversaries.

Women’s Bioethics Project examines the ethics of prenatal testing for known genetic defects. I will withhold my own thoughts on this issue, at least until I know whether the tests can determine whether the embryo will develop into a tax attorney.

Unexpected Results – Candy Mountain

Eric Turkewitz of the New York Personal Injury Law Blog discusses Lawyers litigating their way out of a job. Sure beats malpracticing your way out of a job.

Lyle Denniston of SCOTUSBLOG walks us through the Supreme Court’s recent ruling allowing individual states to determine the retroactive applicability of Supreme Court rulings on criminal procedure. For more on this, check out Kent Scheidegger on Crime and Consequences and Doug Berman on Sentencing Law and Policy. Just something you might want to discuss with some of your less savory clients prior to their next criminal enterprise.

I Hear You But . . .- Numa Numa

Stephanie Allen West of idealawg talks about the universality, or rather lack thereof, in cross cultural mediation. The anonymous author of The Greatest American Lawyer explains how to leverage an extranet like Basecamp to avoid the ethical ramifications of failing to communicate with our clients.

From the “It’s only unconstitutional when YOU do it” category, Marc Edelman form Above the Law discusses Florida Marlin Owner Jeffery Loria’s threat to take his team to Vegas if Miami-Dade County does not cough up around $300M for a new stadium. While such an outlay appears to be unconstitutional under Florida law, that does not seem to be the problem. The problem is convincing Florida taxpayers to line the pockets of much maligned Mr. Loria with their hard-earned moolah. On the bright side, it appears Miami-Dade County residents are getting the shaft either way. From that vantage, it is clearly a win-win. Another bright note is that the Marlins have provided a loophole which the selfless captain of our new Iowa Volunteer Lawyer’s for the Arts Project and I may just be able to exploit to finally take the field for a Major League Baseball team next year.

Binary Law discusses delving into your own navel to answer the age old question of “What Makes a Great Blawg.” While I did not necessarily find that answer, I did locate a lintbunny the size of a Weeble.

Tasty – Icanhazcheezeburger

Enrico Schaefer of Traverse Legal hails the Demise of Domain Name Tasting.
Plans are to have all of those pre-chewed domains will be back on the buffet line in no time at all.

Don’t Let Things Get Out of Hand – Australian Kid

Leon Gettler covers the case of a federal judge ordering the shutdown of a whistle blower website. Who would have guessed that telling the entire Internet community not to look at these documents would cause them to displace the Asian kid singing Hey Jude as the hottest ticket on the net. Dan Slater and Bruce Boyden also covered this story admirably.

PrawfsBlawg is holding a contest no one wants to win. They are looking for the “Most Screwed Victims in Caselaw History.” For those of you practicing outside your area of expertise, I believe the rules allow submitting your own clients for this admittedly dubious distinction.

For the avoidance of doubt when drafting contracts, check out this post on the strange language of lawyers over at Naked Law. Sorry Rush, no pics on this one.

Give Them a Hand – Daft Hands

Scott Greenfield of Simple Justice takes issue with trolls and complainers griping about blawgs just to hear themselves gripe. Scott also has a nice take on one of my particular pet peeves, anonymous bloggers. I appreciate those anonymous bloggers who merely collect and collate the latest news for my lazy perusal, but I give anonymous blogs and comments very short shrift. I guess I just demand a little more principle behind my blogs. Plus, how do you expect me to argue your point online if I can’t track you down and physically assault you when I lose?

This week, the anonymous intellectual property Patent Troll Tracker unmasked his alter ego, Rick Frenkel. Crime fighter by night, mild mannered in-house counsel at Cisco by day. Apparently, the $15,000 bounty on Rick’s head was simply too much for someone to resist. Although I don’t particularly care for anonymous bloggers, I really do not care for anyone who would serve up a blogger on a plate like this for money. Perhaps someone should put a bounty on that guy’s head. In keeping with the tone of this post, and as a special prize for all you Blawg Reviewers, I have decided to reveal the true identity of Blawg Review’s Ed. Out of respect for those of you who do not wish to know his real identity, I have posted the details at this link.

Small Business Trends’ Anita Campbell had a former embezzler on her show to explain to her listeners how to avoid being the victim of embezzlement. Now that authorities have charged the guest with conducting a new embezzlement scheme, Ms. Campbell wants your input on whether she should take that particular show off of her website. Perhaps the brain surgeon that hired this guy to watch the corporate finances years AFTER he had already served time for embezzlement, may want to consider subscribing to Ms. Campbell’s blog feed to prevent these kinds of things happening in the future.

Finally, if you ever wondered why you seem to be working more, but enjoying it less, these sock puppets over at Balkinization spell it out in no uncertain terms. Oh yeah, there will be a quiz over this material on Friday.

And while we are on the subject, I would like to ask you all to give a hand to Colin Samuels, Eric Turkewitz, Diane Levin and the Ed of Blawg Review for sending me such great links.

Blawg Review has information about next week’s host, Antitrust Review, and instructions how to get your blawg posts reviewed in upcoming issues.

Brett Trout

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