Welcome to Blawg Review #144! This review draws its theme from the number, as did my prior reviews, #42 with its Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy theme, and #93 with my tribute to Steve Jackson Games and its Illuminati game. Well, this one proves once again how much of a geek I am at heart.
You see, 144 is the number of guests that Bilbo Baggins invited to his 111th birthday party, as it was the total age combined between him and his heir, Frodo Baggins, who was 33 at the time. This party, of course, is at the beginning of The Fellowship of the Ring, itself being the first book in The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien. Bilbo, who discovered the One Ring during The Hobbit, throws a grand party where he gives a grand speech, which ends with:
“I regret to announce that – though, as I said, eleventy-one years is far too short a time to spend among you – this is the END. I am going. I am leaving NOW. GOOD-BYE!”
Bilbo then disappears. Bilbo has actually put on his magic ring and slipped away. Back at his hobbit hole, Bag End, he has a frank talk with Gandalf the wizard before leaving the ring behind for Frodo. This sets up the rest of the three books, which tell of Frodo’s quest to destroy the ring and thereby save Middle Earth.
As an aside, if all you’ve seen are the movies, you’re missing so much. For example, did you know there is a gap of 17 years between this party and Frodo’s discovering that the ring left behind by Bilbo is the One Ring, the one to rule all the other rings of power? That, and much, much, much more. Not to slam the movies, but they had to be trimmed. In the book, it’s an elf named Glorfindel who saves Frodo at the ford before Rivendell – not Arwen. I would’ve paid big bucks to see Glorfindel revealed in all his power as an Elf Lord. As he’s passing out, all Frodo can see is a glowing figure. Alas, it was not to be…
All images used here are copyright by John Howe, frequent illustrator of Tolkien’s works and one of the artists who worked with the filmmakers, and used in accordance with the terms of his site. Visit www.john-howe.com for further details. I’ve always loved his artwork, as it truly brings the word pictures in Tolkien’s works to life. Still, I wanted to focus on Tolkien’s words, so there are quotes interspersed throughout from the books. What an amazing world it is that he labored to create. Tolkien didn’t create many books because he spent so much time creating the worlds in which those stories took place. It always irked him as his friend C.S. Lewis was able to churn out book after book, while he spent years perfecting each one. These books are a testament to his imagination, and they truly stand out as some of the greatest works of the twentieth century.
“Why, I feel all thin, sort of stretched, if you know what I mean: like butter that has been scraped over too much bread. That can’t be right. I need a change, or something.” – Bilbo Baggins, The Fellowship of the Ring
I’ll begin the review proper with my take on a recent issue of great interest to regular readers of this blog. A lawyer named Eric Menhart has taken an aggressive stance towards the highly descriptive, if not generic, term “Cyberlaw.” He’s filed a trademark application for the term and has sent a cease and desist letter to another blogger. Here’s the EFF’s take on the issue, written by Corynne McSherry. Others covering the issue include Peter Black, Groklaw, and Professor Eric Goldman.You can read Menhart’s reaction to the controversy here, which appears to prove that he simply does not understand the criticism.
I aim to monitor the situation for my own personal reasons as another blogger with “Cyberlaw” in my blog title, and one who will defend vigorously my right to use the highly descriptive, if not generic term, in the highly descriptive if not generic sense of identifying the general topic area covered by my writings. Stay tuned!
“I am Aragorn son of Arathorn; and if by life or death I can save you, I will.” — Strider, The Fellowship of the Ring
Evan Brown, of Internet Cases, covers an interesting recent declaratory judgment case filed here in Chicago by BlueAir, Inc. against Apple over the mark AIRPOD. BlueAir’s product is a desktop air cleaner, which they argue is not likely to be confused with Apple’s iPod music player.
Marty Schwimmer of The Trademark Blog advises us that Lulu has settled its trademark case with Hulu.
R. David Donoghue of the Chicago IP Litigation Blog has undertaken an interesting project of statistically analyzing the IP Cases here in the Northern District of Illinois. This week, he looks at the trademark filings and determines that cases are down 9 percent.
Virtually Blind examines the issues raised by the “SLART” trademark application. It has rightfully upset many “Second Life” artists.
“Do not give up hope! Gandalf is greater than you Shire-folk know — as a rule you can only see his jokes and toys. But this business of ours will be his greatest task.” — Strider, The Fellowship of the Ring
Stephen Albainy-Jenei of Patent Baristas examines the issue presented in a Petition for Cert before the U.S. Supreme Court. The issue? It’s whether it’s fair that the State of California can sue for patent infringement on one hand while using sovereign immunity to keep from being sued for patent infringement itself. Dennis Crouch of Patently-O discusses this case here as well.
The Citizen Media Law Project has put together a nice resource, a primer on copyright liability and fair use.
“Do not meddle in the affairs of wizards, for they are subtle and quick to anger.” — The Fellowship of the Ring
Jeremy Phillips of IPKat discusses how Rambus is using its patents to maniupulate the market. I met Jeremy when he was in town for the INTA conference last year, and he was very gracious to spend a few minutes chatting with me. Nice fellow, and brilliant too.
William Patry, another brilliant fellow who was here in Chicago recently to speak, has blogged about a 9th Circuit case discussing the copyright in a few scuptural works of real animals. As he says, the claim “croaks.”
Ken Adams presents What the Heck Does “Best Efforts” Mean? posted at AdamsDrafting. I’ve linked to Ken’s writing before in previous reviews, I recommend adding his feed to your reader if you haven’t already. I always seem to gain some insight into legalese as a result.
How well do you know your grammar? Set in Style examines the “Rule of Agreement.”
The Drug and Device Blog summarizes the facts, and speculates on the outcome, of Wyeth v. Levine, the case in which the Supreme Court will decide the availability of federal preemption as a defense to product liability cases brought against manufacturers of prescription drugs.
So, what happens when lawyers stray from their normal fields of practice? Eric Turkewitz examines what happened when a criminal lawyer tried handling a medical malpractice case.
“Many of those trees were my friends, creatures I had known from nut and acorn; many had voices of their own that are lost for ever now. And there are wastes of stump and bramble where once there were singing groves. I have been idle. I have let things slip. It must stop!” — Treebeard, The Two Towers
Ed Poll, at the Law Biz blog, looks at the upcoming revolution in value billing.
Our esteemed Editor ‘N Chef of Blawg Review asks “What makes great blogwriting?”
Kevin O’Keefe asks again the question whether lawyers with blogs should link to each other. He’s posting the question as part of his “Blog Basics” answer series, as I imagine he gets it quite often. As a participant in the Blawg Review project, I guess you can figure out my feelings on the topic. Still, I do like his conference metaphor, so read it.
Likewise, be sure to read Peter Black’s post on what happens to a post after you hit publish.
So, is this a blog?
And, will this Blawg Review be blocked in China? Balkinization was.
“Shadowfax will have no harness. You do not ride Shadowfax: he is willing to carry you — or not. If he is willing, that is enough.” — Gandalf, The Two Towers
Fiona de Londras wonders how we will determine when the “war on terror” is ended and, when that occurs, what we will do with our prisoners of that war.
Diane Levin presents Send lawyers, guns and mediators: what songs would be on your mediation playlist? posted at Mediation Channel.
Similarly, Professor Marc Randazza spares no language when he brands Deborah Taylor Tate of the FCC as “A$$hat of the Week.”
Professor Randazza also had an interesting post discussing copyright in cease and desist letters.
Arnie Herz discusses “the ongoing inquiry into lawyer happiness” at Legal Sanity.
“Then Aragorn led the way, and such was the strength of his will in that hour that all the Dúnedain and their horses followed him.” — The Return of the King
Here’s a good question about assumption of risk. Aragorn led his men down the aptly-named Paths of the Dead, which, oddly enough, led to the dead. Here, Kevin Underhill tells the tale of a man who went into a bar called “Pissed off Pete’s” and get, well, beat up by Pete.
Orin Kerr is critical of a catch-and-release scheme of federal policing seemingly endorsed by some courts.
Steven Erickson highlights a troubling case which illustrates the need for some deep thought about our approach to sex criminal assessment and incapacitation.
“No living man am I! You look upon a woman.” Eowyn, The Return of the King
Cathy Gellis of Statements of Interest writes an interesting post entitled “I Need A Husband.” She discusses the legal privilege that husbands cannot be forced to testify against their wives, which she decides might be prudent at some point in the future.
Deliberations looks at “When Women Judge Women.” It’s an interesting take on how critical women jurors can be of female plaintiffs.
“’I'll get there, if I leave everything but my bones behind,’ said Sam. ‘And I’ll carry Mr. Frodo up myself, if it breaks my back and heart.’” — Samwise Gamgee, The Return of the King
I’ve always thought that Sam and Frodo could’ve used a GPS in their quest to find Mt. Doom, especially when traveling through the marshland outside of Mordor. From Spatial Law, here is a look at the liability of manufacturers of GPS devices when the directions are wrong.
Gollum, as shown in the above image, was brought to life in the movie version by Andy Serkis and the artists at WETA, who deserved some mention for their group efforts when award time came around. Biolaw examines another controversy over things brought to life, this time it’s synthetic life.
“It is said in old lore: The hands of the king are the hands of a healer. And so the rightful king could ever be known.” — The Return of the King
The White Collar Crime Prof Blog compares the different approaches taken in France and the United States to massive financial fraud. It’s truly a study in contrasts.
Jamie Spencer at Austin DWI Lawyer explains how Texas law handles the question of whether the police must disclose that the field sobriety test is optional.
“I will not say: do not weep; for not all tears are an evil.” — Gandalf, The Return of the King
Simple Justice reviews Carolyn Elefant’s “Solo By Choice.” The reviewer was blown away, which I am not surprised about. Nobody writes about opening a solo practice like Carolyn.
And, finally, from Human Rights in the Workplace, consider reading this post with thoughts on running a solo or small firm.