Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Fw: Law.com blog: Court Protects Law Firm's Work Product

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Court Protects Law Firm's Work Product
Bill Heinze reports today on an important opinion from the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals, In re EchoStar Communications Corp., protecting a law firm in a patent dispute from disclosing work product it has never provided to its client.

Posted by Robert J. Ambrogi on May 9, 2006 at 08:08 AM | Permalink

Sex, Weddings and Baseball
With a headline like that, we could be referring to only one thing: Blawg Review #56, from the legal pundits at PointofLaw.com.

Posted by Robert J. Ambrogi on May 9, 2006 at 07:58 AM | Permalink

On Trial in Chicago: Nigeria's Legal System
The 1998 death of a prominent Nigerian politician is playing out in a Chicago courtroom, and with it, the legitimacy of Nigeria's justice system. That is the premise of an article today by Funke Aboyade in the African newspaper This Day. The politician, Chief MKO Abiola, died in government detention five years after claiming victory in the presidential election. His daughter, relying on the Alien Tort Claims Act, is seeking damages in federal court in Chicago for his death. Defense lawyers claim the suit should be heard by Nigerian courts, and, as the article explains, that is the issue now to be decided by U.S. District Judge Matthew F. Kennelly.

Meanwhile, in a side article, Aboyade, the reporter covering the case, shares his views on how the U.S. legal system differs from Nigeria's. One major difference: Court stenography.

"What I found incredible was the fact that the gadget had been around since the turn of the 20th century! More, it had undergone little or no changes or modifications, save that it was now electronic. It didn't look to me to be expensive, so innocuous looking and portable is it. Is there a reason we can't get this wonderful little device for all our courts?"

Another difference Aboyade observed: Unlike in Nigeria, he was not required to bow every time he left or entered the courtroom. His observations provide a fresh perspective on a process that, to most of us, seems all too familiar.

Posted by Robert J. Ambrogi on May 9, 2006 at 07:52 AM | Permalink

Tales of Two Judicial Nominees
Headlines this morning carried the news that the American Bar Association downgraded its rating of Brett Kavanaugh, President Bush's nominee for the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals. But on the op-ed page of the Hartford Courant, Norm Pattis urges an end to the whispering campaign about another federal judicial nominee, Vanessa Bryant to the U.S. district court in Connecticut, who received a "not qualified" rating from the ABA earlier this week.

Pattis, who co-authors the blog Crime & Federalism, argues that the debate over Bryant's qualifications has been characterized by "plenty of horse whisperers afraid to speak publicly." He writes:

"We have a very clubby federal bar in Connecticut. Vanessa Bryant may not be a member of that club, but that's not a reason to hide behind 'off the record' comments and seek to derail her candidacy. If we're going to debate her candidacy, let's name names. This cloak and dagger whispering campaign is juvenile and petty."

On his blog, Pattis notes that Bryant is the second judicial nominee tapped by Connecticut Gov. Jodi Rell to suffer setbacks. He calls it Jodi's Jinx.

Posted by Robert J. Ambrogi on May 9, 2006 at 07:17 AM | Permalink

Webcasts Safe From WIPO, for Now
Bloggers breathed a collective sigh of relief this week when the United States dropped its insistence that an international broadcast treaty extend to webcasts and podcasts. But the World International Property Organization is not abandoning the proposal. Instead, it will take it up as a separate proposal on a slower discussion track.

To say the proposal has been controversial would be an understatement. Michael Geist says the treaty is "a solution in search of a problem." James Love at The Huffington Post put it this way:

"No one who is pushing these treaties can explain why anyone who would get the right actually needs it in the first place, and there is no assessment of how this will impact copyright owners, consumers or creative communities and innovative businesses."

Thus, "slowtracking" the webcasting proposal is welcome news for the Internet community, says the Electronic Frontier Foundation:

"Extending the draft treaty's 50 year intellectual property-based rights to webcasters ... was expressly opposed by the clear majority of countries this week, and has consistently been rejected by WIPO member states in the last two meetings of the Committee in 2004 and 2005."

But while webcasting is out of the treaty talks for now, the EFF notes, the bigger question is for how long. "The U.S. ... was not happy about the outcome." Cory Doctorow likewise suggests that the issue will come up again:

"The US was put up to this by Yahoo and Microsoft, who have giant databases of webcasts that other people have entrusted to them, which they wanted to get an ownership interest over. Over and over again, the world's nations have told the US that this wasn't an option, and over and over again, the Chairman of the committee snuck away between meetings and stuck it back into the treaty."

For Doctorow, the question now is: When WIPO does again take up the discussion, will podcasters get a seat at the table?

Posted by Robert J. Ambrogi on May 9, 2006 at 06:36 AM | Permalink

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