Andy on the Road

11 January 2010

Five Hours Away and I’m Already Playing Catchup

It’s been a busy day for legal geeks. Over Justice Breyer dissent, the Supreme Court has stayed the simultaneous webcasting of the  the highly anticipated Prop 8 challenge, pending further review (Wired | Above the Law).  You may remember webcasting of trials being an issue in the Tenenbaum trial almost exactly a year ago (which went all the way up to Justice Souter in his capacity as Circuit Justice, and was denied).

Meanwhile, Billboard notes that a the Circuit Court of Appeals for DC on Friday displayed some skepticism over the FCC’s authority to regulate Internet service providers in the name of network neutrality. One of my friends was at the hearing, so I hope to hear more from him on this point. This also is probably a good time to note that the always excellent Future of Music Coalition has come out with a new tool for artists to comment FCC net neutrality regulation. There’s an interesting tension in the music industry here, as Billboard seems to hint at net neutrality being a bad thing (as it hinders the ability of P2P filtering and other ideas record companies and some artists support), while the FMC has come out strongly in support of neutrality as an equalizing force in the industry.

Billboard also has a music-centered rundown of CES for the curious. Billboard notes an increased use of music celebrities (Ms. Gaga, Mr. Dre, Mr. Diddy, Mr. Rock, and Ms. Swift) to promote consumer electronics from Monster Cable, Qualcomm, Sony. Billboard treats this as an indication that consumer products budgets are loosening up, which may be a good sign for the music economy (and the economy in general).

Techdirt is hosting an interesting discussion over the use of the Obamas to sell things and its implications under misappropriation law, after a billboard showing the President wearing a Weatherproof jacket was erected in Times Square and PETA circulated a picture of Michelle Obama as an anti-fur wearer, both without the Obamas’ consent. Long story short, as Paul Alan Levy puts it, the White House probably has no legal ground to complain, but that doesn’t mean the action is without risk: this presents be an opportunity for Michelle to complain about PETA’s more extreme elements, or for the President to comment on whether or not he though Weatherproof actually made a good jacket. So far, this one has been all sound and fury.

Oh, and on the Massachusetts front: a kid from my hometown learned a hard lesson about fire safety the Fourth Amendment, and Councilor Mike Ross (still) doesn’t care about college people. I have to dispute UHub’s tally on the Ross cases of taking hard anti-college student stances, however. I count three: the 2004-05 attempt to force all off campus students to register private information with the BPD as a matter of law, the now-infamous no-more-than-four-students-per-unit regulation, and this new attack on Northeastern for accepting 3.9% more students than anticipated (though it sounds like there may have been some form of agreement on that last one).

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