10 June 2010

Last Chance Before the Cup

  • In a shocking, shocking development that nobody could possibly have anticipated, some agents are starting to realize that publishers' language on e-book rights (often non-negotiable) may be a rights grab. In similar news, there's gambling in Rick's casino.

    Of course, if literary agents were regulated — or even, as a routine practice, consulted counsel on contract language — this wouldn't be news as a suprise, but merely a reprise of Macmillan v. Amazon over e-book price terms. But they're not; and with alarmingly few exceptions they don't; so it is. I suppose it beats getting ripped off by phony contests and offers on the 'net, though.

  • The real purpose of "constitutional originalism" finally revealed to all:

    Non Sequitur, 10 Jun 2010

    Anyone who is surprised by this is also surprised by the gambling in Rick's casino.

  • As a followup to yesterday's item on COPPA and e-book readers, I've just seen an item at the Citizen Media Law Projection noting that e-book-reader "libraries" aren't well protected. Remember that one of the elements of "Borking" Robert Bork's nomination for the Supreme Court — almost a quarter of a century ago now! — was publicizing the videos he had rented. Too, this trend goes against the response of many libraries to the TRAITOR Act1: Since the TRAITOR Act allows the government to issue so-called "national security letters" to libraries and demand the borrowing records of individual libary patrons, many libraries have established a policy of not keeping those records.

    Yeah, I thoroughly believe that no business could ever create a threat to civil liberaties like the gummint does. I've also forgotten all about Marsh v. Alabama, and I would like to buy a bridge.

  • Professor Grimmelman offers his thoughts on the "elephantine" Google Books settlement, although I think he chose the wrong animal. The GBS is a camel (horse designed by a committee) or chimera (biologically, a non-evolutionarily sound blending of diverse species), not the product of evolution adapted to a specific environment by whatever longterm pressures there have been. That said, it's still a useful piece... even if it neglects many of the "who is the proper archivist" questions raised by the GBS (and implicated in the preceding item).
  • Here's a creative use of Facebook proposed by a US Magistrate Judge to resolve a discovery dispute. Now there's some thinking outside the Big Box Store!
  • The Perfessor comments on the rise in use of llcs instead of traditional corporations over the last few years. What I find interesting about the statistics he cites — of course, I was looking for it — is that there is a strong correlation between states with extensive pure-IP-business-formation activity and the continued use of the traditional corporate structure. For example, California continues to have standard corporations as nearly 60% of the "new business" structures, and Illinois and New York are both over 60%. This is not an accident: The uncertain treatment of llcs' IP assets in contested bankruptcy and other dissolution/merger proceedings remains a significant factor for determining the appropriate corporate structure, as do the problems raised by cross-jurisdictional close-hold control.

    That said, an llc is definitely a better choice than a sole proprietorship or improperly formed partnership in any jurisdiction for any kind of business. The right choice for any individual's business structure depends on a lot more than just immediate tax advantage...

  1. The USA Totalitarian Regime Activity Incitement To Obscure Reality Act, Pub. L. No. 107–56: they had to destroy representative democracy to save it.