March, 2020

A new look at the old standard: “Force Majeure” clauses

Gordon P. Firemark

With Covid-19/Coronavirus causing cancellation of events and transactions around the globe, people are naturally looking at whether they must still perform their contractual obligations and whether they are entitled to refunds of deposits and advance payments they've made. Most contracts do include a so-called “force majeure” clause as part of what's usually considered the boilerplate. Contract language that's fairly universal and non-negotiatiable.

MLC Metadata Showdown: What’s in a Name? Your money.

Music Technology Policy

There is an unsurprising discussion going on about song titles in the metadata deliberations regarding the regulations mandating the conduct of the Mechanical Licensing Collective quango. The least surprising part of the discussion is that the services change song titles as it suits them. This explains why you can get your song metadata all nice and pristine and yet your payments are still screwed up because somehow the titles got changed.

Sullivan and Tilley on Supreme Court Journalism @IowaLawSchool @LoyolaLaw

Media Law Prof Blog

Barry Sullivan, Loyola University (Chicago) School of Law, and Cristina Tilley, University of Iowa College of Law, have published Supreme Court Journalism: From Law to Spectacle? at 77 Washington & Lee Law Review 343 (2020). Here is the abstract.

Keith Lee, LawyerSmack Founder, Joins Case Status as Chief Marketing Officer

Media Law

Case Status , a client communications management and marketing platform for law firms that earlier this month raised $1.5 million in seed funding, is today announcing that it has hired Keith Lee , founder of the LawyerSmack online legal community, as chief marketing officer, tasked with directing the company’s continued growth and expansion across the industry. A former practicing attorney in Birmingham, Ala.,

Protecting against Cybersecurity Threats when Working from Home

New Media and Technology Law

With the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), many organizations are requiring or permitting employees to work remotely. This post is intended to remind employers and employees that in the haste to implement widespread work-from-home strategies, data security concerns cannot be forgotten. Employers and employees alike should remain vigilant of increased cybersecurity threats, some of which specifically target remote access strategies.

Utilitarianism, The Coronavirus and Healthcare

Communications And Entertainment Law Blog

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Blackbeard’s Revenge!

Gordon P. Firemark

The Latest episode of my Entertainment Law podcast, Entertainment Law Update, is now available for your enjoyment. Listen here, or subscribe and download in your favorite podcast listening app. Show notes are located at www.entertainmentlawupdate.com/119. BREAKING: STATES CANNOT BE SUED FOR COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT- YES NORTH CAROLINA, YOU CAN BE A PIRATE.

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Turner on Limits to Terror Speech in the UK and USA @DrIanTurner

Media Law Prof Blog

Ian Turner, University of Central Lancashire Law School, has published Limits to Terror Speech in the UK and USA: Balancing Freedom of Expression With National Security at 2 Amicus Curiae 201 (2020). Here is the abstract. Article 10(1) of the

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Clio Commits $1 Million To Help Legal Community Through Coronavirus Crisis

Media Law

The practice management company Clio is announcing today that it is committing $1 million to a disaster relief fund to help the legal community successfully navigate the challenges and hurdles brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. “We want to ensure lawyers are set up to succeed as well as ensuring their their clients can continue to get the legal help they need,” Jack Newton , the company’s cofounder and CEO, told me during an interview on Friday.

Facebook Brings Suit against Mobile Marketing Firm for Siphoning User Data without Authorization

New Media and Technology Law

In continuing its push to enforce its terms and policies against developers that engage in unauthorized collection or scraping of user data, Facebook brought suit last month against mobile marketing and data analytics firm OneAudience LLC. Facebook, Inc. OneAudience LLC , No. 20-01461 (N.D. Complaint filed Feb. 27, 2020)). Facebook alleges that OneAudience harvested Facebook users’ profile data and device data in contravention of Facebook’s terms and developer policies.

Coronavirus numbers are going to skyrocket doctors say

Communications And Entertainment Law Blog

Coronavirus numbers are going to skyrocket doctors say

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Google’s Charm Offensive Comes to Senate IP Subcommittee

Music Technology Policy

[This is a version of a letter I sent to the Senate Subcommittee on Intellectual Property today to call attention to various discrepancies in the proposed witness list, especially the presence of the Pirate Party at a hearing at the world’s greatest deliberative body. And typically, Julia Reda never disclosed her affiliation. Why so secretive?). I want to thank the Subcommittee on Intellectual Property for holding the referenced hearing.

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Pandemic: Force Majeure Contracts and Insurance in the Music Business

Music Technology Policy

[ This post first appeared on MusicTech.Solutions ]. After the cancellation of SXSW, we need to think about those “force majeure” clauses that everyone skips over in contractual boilerplate. Force majeure” or the less secular “Act of God” clause is a species of the “impossibility of performance” defense to a breach of contract claim that excuses the liability of a nonperforming party.

Pandemic: Digital music services should accelerate payments and liquidate any royalty minimums they are holding

Music Technology Policy

You may not have noticed, but many music services have a clause in their direct licenses that allows them to delay royalty payments if your accrued royalties are less than a certain amount, often $50. This is on top of paying quarterly in many cases (as opposed to the monthly payments required by the statutory mechanical license for example.).

Quick Spend Debit Cards: If You Have A Rainy Day Fund, Guess What? It’s raining!

Music Technology Policy

US GDP is 70% consumer driven. Demand collapse is what causes depressions, real depressions. Goldman Sachs estimates that the U.S. economy could contract by 24% in the second quarter (which starts next week). Say what you want about Goldman, money is something they’re fairly good at. That is a Great Depression level of contraction. If you have any living friends or family who lived through the Great Depression, ask them how that was.

You Can’t Call 911: @jyunger of @MillenniumFilms Tells Senate Why Piracy is Still a Problem and How U.S. has Failed to Lead

Music Technology Policy

The most powerful testimony to legislators is not from the approved academics and it’s not from the overfed lobbyists or wealthy campaign donors. Jonathan Yunger’s personal and powerful testimony on the March 10 hearing before the Senate Intellectual Property Subcommittee was very persuasive. I wish it were news, but as Mr. Yunger told the Senate, it’s really not.

Chen on Free Speech, Rational Deliberation, and some Truths about Lies @SturmCOL

Media Law Prof Blog

Alan K. Chen, University of Denver Sturm College of Law, has published Free Speech, Rational Deliberation, and some Truths about Lies as University of Denver Legal Studies Research Paper No. 20-07. Here is the abstract. Could “fake news” have First

ARW Poll Results: Facebook should pay independent artists and songwriters in cash

Music Technology Policy

It may come as a surprise but until a couple years ago, Facebook never licensed music or paid royalties. To my knowledge, Facebook paid huge payments to major labels and publishers and also made some deals with a handful of indie labels. These payments probably totaled around $500 million, or that’s the rumor. Rather than coming clean, Facebook has kept these deals a secret.

A Message from @TheBlakeMorgan:

Music Technology Policy

To my sisters and brothers in NYC music, and beyond…. The Irish tell the story of a man who arrives at the gates of heaven asking to be let in, and Saint Peter says, “Of course! Just show us your scars.” The man says, “But…I have no scars,” and Saint Peter answers, “What a pity. Was there nothing worth fighting for?”. We musicians are used to fighting. For our livelihoods, for our families, for our hopes and dreams, for our calling. For our profession.

Mostert on Free Speech and Internet Regulation @KCL_Law

Media Law Prof Blog

Frederick Mostert, King's College London, has published Free Speech and Internet Regulation at 14 Journal of Intellectual Property Law & Practice 607 (August 2019). Here is the abstract. The article analyses free speech and internet regulation. Governments have come up

Free Products and Resources for Legal Professionals During Coronavirus Crisis

Media Law

To help legal professionals who are having to work from home or make other adjustments during the coronavirus crisis, I have created a page where I will track offers of free products and services from legal technology companies and others. I have started it here: Coronavirus Resources. If you have something to add, email me (ambrogi-at-gmail.com) or tweet at me (@bobambrogi). Image by thedarknut from Pixabay

Amid Pandemic, Legaler Offers Its Video Meeting Service Free to Solo/Small Firms

Media Law

To help solo and small-firm lawyers during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Australia-based company Legaler is offering its secure online video chat platform free to firms of 10 lawyers or fewer. Legaler’s platform allows lawyers to schedule, host and archive secure video meetings with multiple participants and screen sharing. While Legaler’s starter package is already free, the company is now offering its paid version for free to firms of 10 or fewer lawyers.

Legal Tech Startup Case Status Raises $1.5 Million in Seed Funding

Media Law

Case Status , a Birmingham, Ala.-based based client relationship management and marketing platform for law firms, is announcing today that it has received Series Seed II investment funding of $1.5 million from Atlanta-based venture investment firm BIP Capital. The company says that the funds will be used to support its continued growth, including the hiring of additional personnel and the development of new feature sets for specific practice areas.

Here Are the Top Three Winners of the Startup Alley Pitch Competition at ABA TECHSHOW

Media Law

ABA Techshow kicked off last week with the Startup Alley Pitch Competition , in which 15 companies pitched their companies in three-minute presentations in front of an audience of Techshow attendees. At the conclusion of all the pitches, the audience got to vote for their favorites. Here were the top three winners: Billseye , an application for tracking, documenting and billing client calls on a mobile device.

Florida Supreme Court Asks Bar to Study Lawyer Regulation and Access to Justice

Media Law

The Florida Supreme Court has asked The Florida Bar to undertake a study of the rules governing the practice of law in order to determine whether revisions are needed to improve the delivery of legal services within that state. In so doing, Florida joins a growing number of states — including Arizona, California, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah and Washington — that are studying changes in lawyer regulation with the goal of enhancing access to justice.

Women of Legal Tech Find Strength in Numbers When Battling Imposter Syndrome

Media Law

A special guest post by legal affairs writer and editor Molly McDonough , former editor and publisher of the ABA’s flagship magazine, the ABA Journal. The last thing I expected to hear at the 2020 Women of Legal Tech Summit was this: I don’t feel like I deserve to be here. A version of this self-deprecating sentence repeated a few times as speakers and honorees took the stage for the third-annual summit at Chicago-Kent College of Law to focus on ways to close the legal tech gender gap.

Happy Birthday Michael Caine

Music Technology Policy

Isn’t your uncle Stalky a great man? Stalky & Co. by Rudyard Kipling

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Now is the time to buy local

Music Technology Policy

Don't forget to stop buying records from Amazon and start buying from your local record store either in-store or online–but not Amazon. Assuming you want the store to still be there when this is over. We do. Ours is the resilient @WaterlooRecords [link]. — Editor Baker (@MusicTechPolicy) March 14, 2020. Stay at Home Nation Waterloo Records

Chafetz on Congressional Overspeech @joshchafetz

Media Law Prof Blog

Josh Chafetz, Cornell Law School, is publishing Congressional Overspeech in volume 89 of Fordham Law Review. Here is the abstract. Political theater. Spectacle. Circus. Reality show. We are constantly told that, whatever good congressional oversight is, it certainly isn’t those

Rocket Matter to Stage ‘Rocket Aid,’ A Charitable Virtual Conference for Lawyers

Media Law

As countless face-to-face legal conferences have been cancelled or postponed, the legal practice management company Rocket Matter has unveiled plans to hold a two-day virtual conference, with all proceeds going to charities to help people impacted by the COVID-19 crisis.

Marmor on Privacy in Social Media @CornellLaw

Media Law Prof Blog

Andrei Marmor, Cornell Law School, has published Privacy in Social Media as Cornell Legal Studies Research Paper No. 20-10. Here is the abstract. This paper is about the state of privacy in social media. Most people’s immediate concern about privacy

Green on Candidate Privacy @WMLawSchool

Media Law Prof Blog

Rebecca Green, William & Mary Law School, is publishing Candidate Privacy in the Washington Law Review. Here is the abstract. In the United States, we have long accepted that candidates for public office who have voluntarily stepped into the public

Atrium, $75M Company that Vowed to ‘Revolutionize’ Law, Shuts Down

Media Law

On Jan. 12, this blog broke the news that Atrium , the company that said it would “revolutionize legal services” through its dual-entity model of a law firm and a technology company, was letting go most of its legal staff and would pivot towards “building a professional services network dedicated to founders.”

Free Legal Tool Helps Businesses Create Key COVID-19 Employment Policies

Media Law

As many businesses across the United States struggle to deal with the employment issues arising out of the COVID-19 pandemic, SixFifty , the technology subsidiary of the law firm Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati , today released a free automated tool to help them develop essential policies on working from home, sick leave, and other critical issues.

PerfectIt, An ‘Eagle-Eyed Proofreader’ for Your Documents, Gets Even Better

Media Law

Four years ago, I reviewed the proofreading software PerfectIt , an add-in for Microsoft Word, writing that using it was “like having a virtual, eagle-eyed proofreader on your staff.” ” Last June, PerfectIt released a major update, PerfectIt 4, that promised faster checking, a new user interface to streamline review and correction of errors, and a major update to its legal stylesheet.

@RachelRascoe: Faster than Sound: Music Industry Workers Face Uncertainty Around Unemployment Benefits

Music Technology Policy

[This is an informative post from Rachel Rascoe at the Austin Chronicle about independent contractors filing for unemployment insurance. Although it focuses on Texas, it’s probably pretty much replicated process across all states. h/t Nikki Rowling for spotting it, big thanks to Rachel for her post and as always to the Chronicle for being the Chronicle.].

Yablon on Political Advertising, Digital Platforms, and the Democratic Deficiencies of Self-Regulation @UWMadison @WisconsinLaw

Media Law Prof Blog

Robert Yablon, University of Wisconsin Law School, has published Political Advertising, Digital Platforms, and the Democratic Deficiencies of Self-Regulation at 104 Minn. Headnotes 13 (2020). Here is the abstract. Amid ongoing concerns about foreign electoral interference and fake