|Legal Blog Watch|
Copyright Ruling Sounds the Death of 'Net Radio
Will the March 2 decision of the U.S. Copyright Royalty Board raising royalty rates for Webcasts 30 percent mean the death of Internet radio? U.S. Rep. Edward Markey, D-Mass., thinks so. As CNET News reports, he testified yesterday before the House Subcommittee on Telecommunications and the Internet that the CRB's decision "represents a body blow to many nascent Internet radio broadcasters." That is also the conclusion of the Radio and Internet Newsletter, which did the math and found that the royalties an Internet radio station would pay would easily exceed any revenues the station might bring in.
Among bloggers, the decision likewise won no fans. Here is a sampling of what they are saying:
The rate-setting authority of the Copyright Royalty Board is governed by 17 U.S.C. section 112.
Are Noncompetes the New SOX?
A Financial Week article on the rise of noncompete litigation directed at top executives piqued Jay Shepherd of the blog Gruntled Employees to do some research. What he found was that, over the last decade, the number of published noncompete decisions in state and federal courts nationwide has doubled. In just the last two years, the number of decisions surged 37 percent. If that many noncompete cases are being decided in written opinions, he notes, then the number being filed has to be significantly greater.
Why this surge in noncompete cases? One reason, Shepherd says, is the increasing number of employees who are signing noncompete agreements. Another is the fiercer competition for top-level talent. Whatever the reason, there is irony in these numbers, as Shepherd sees it. Many in-house counsel view their biggest employment-law concern as the rise in Sarbanes-Oxley whistleblower lawsuits. But given the numbers, perhaps they should reconsider, Shepherd suggests.
For Shepherd, the conclusion is this: "Maybe noncompetes are the new Sarbanes-Oxley whistleblower bogeyman."
Software Cited for Unauthorized Law Practice
A recent decision from the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals may be the first to cite a software program for the unauthorized practice of law. Entrepreneur Henry Ihejirika offered the so-called bankruptcy expert system through his company Frankfort Digital Services and a series of Web sites operating under the names 700law.com, Ziinet.com and others. Ziinet described the bankruptcy service this way:
In 2002, Jayson Reynoso visited Ziinet, plunked down $219 and used the program to generate a complete set of Chapter 7 bankruptcy forms. But when he filed them, the trustee noticed errors in the petition. Upon questing Reynoso, he learned that the debtor had paid for the assistance of the artificial-intelligence program. The trustee brought an adversary proceeding against Ihejirika and his companies, alleging that the Web-based program had acted as a "bankruptcy petition preparer" in violation of the law and had engaged in the unauthorized practice of law. The bankruptcy court agreed, and the 9th Circuit, in a Feb. 27 decision, affirmed.
As the Wired blog 27B Stroke 6 notes about the case, Ihejirika used a flesh-and-bones attorney for his defense. But Seth at QuizLaw raises an intriguing question: What if the software had first taken and passed the California bar exam?
RODRIGO GONZALEZ FERNANDEZ
Renato Sánchez 3586 dep 10