27
Jun 13

Find that thing that makes you special …

In the past, workers with average skills, doing an average job, could earn an average lifestyle. But, today, average is officially over. Being average just won’t earn you what it used to. It can’t when so many more employers have so much more access to so much more above average cheap foreign labor, cheap robotics, cheap software, cheap automation and cheap genius. Therefore, everyone needs to find their extra — their unique value contribution that makes them stand out in whatever is their field of employment. Average is over.

via the NY Times

Permalink: Average Is Over

18
Jun 12

Here’s exactly why Comic Book Men is so bad for the comics industry…

Nick: Since [Comic Book Men] has received almost universally poor to mediocre reviews, it’s easier to go after it for ideological reasons….

Comic Book Men, a poorly made show about comic retailers is scheduled right after The Walking Dead a comic book adaptation that is the most successful cable show of all time…

…It creates an extremely jarring contrast… [The Walking Dead] represents the possibilities of comics that mainstream audiences had likely never thought of before… [this leads into the pandering Comic Book Men, a show] that confirms every suspicion that same mainstream audience has about the medium.

via Comics Bulletin – Comic Book Men: Geek Enemy No. 1?

Permalink: Why Comic Book Men is bad for men who retail comics

13
Jun 12

My friend, the super-talented Adam Bowers, talks about how he digitally distributed his Sundance screened film New Low

My first feature, New Low, was released about a month ago digitally and on DVD. You’re about to get insightful analysis on the success of our distribution model by someone who got a D in Microeconomics. If this were the old Back to the Future ride at Universal Studios, Doc Brown would be telling you to strap in right about now… But it isn’t, so if you’re reading this while driving, please pull over.

He also has a fun, semi-regular column at IPF, and is about to shoot a new movie I’ve been told.

Permalink: Digital distribution: New Low

21
May 12

Although, I’m not trying to turn this site into a Tumblr. A friend did link me to this quote by Ira Glass about the creative process that should be posted on the wall of every person interested in creating something.

Permalink: Keep failing toward success

06
Mar 12

Another of the many reasons you’re not getting your money’s worth when you hire a large firm.

How would you react as a client if you knew that 10%-15% of the money you pay to your firm is going to someone who isn’t even working at the firm any more.

Partners at some elite firms are often entitled to between 20% to 30% of their peak pay after retirement—in many cases, for life, according to partners and law firm consultants. For the most profitable firms, that could mean payments of $400,000 to $600,000 a year per retired lawyer…

“It’s a real problem in this environment for a law firm to pay 10 or 15 cents out of every dollar of revenue to partners who have retired from the law firm,” says a senior partner at one firm with a generous pension plan…

At Gibson Dunn, partners who serve there for 20 years get a retirement benefit at age 60 that pays out 20% of their top compensation. At current profits, that could amount to $500,000 a year for eight years or life—whichever is longer…

When considering where to get your legal services, consider whether or not you want to pay a 10% finders fee to a retired millionaire.

via The Wall Street Journal – Next Pension Clash: Law Firms

Permalink: Paying 10% of your money to retired millionaires

25
Feb 12

When is an advertisment not an ad? When it’s a “unofficial, non-commercial congratulation to a celebrity for a job well-done.”

In the layout published in a special 2009 edition of Sports Illustrated on Jordan, Jewel-Osco congratulated the six-time NBA champion on his induction into the Basketball Hall of Fame, and it included a large Jewel-Osco logo under the text.

“The page does not propose any kind of commercial transaction, as readers would be at a loss to explain what they have been invited to buy,” U.S. District Judge Gary Feinerman said in an opinion posted late Wednesday on Jordan’s lawsuit against the company.

Celebrities such as Jordon meticulously guard their images, and others have successfully sued companies for appearing to employ praise as a way to slip in references to a public figure into an advertisement.

via Washington Post – Judge rules layout featuring Michael Jordan shoes, number was free speech, not ad

Permalink: Well Done, Michael Jordan

20
Feb 12

In-house corporate lawyers know the best way to never get caught is to eliminate your paper trail in subtle enough way to avoid the appearance that you’re eliminating your paper trail. This is where a corporate email archive deletion policy comes in.

If you delete relevant emails, after you have been sued, that is spoliation and it will get everyone down the line, especially you as an in-house lawyer, in a lot of trouble. BUT if you have a regular corporate policy of periodically deleting emails, and you happen to delete crucial evidence even on the day before a suit is anticipated, then it’s not spoliation.

While general counsel will claim publicly that these policies are in place to streamline their email systems, everyone knows they are really there to delete potentially incriminating evidence in future lawsuits.

Companies know that incriminating evidence always exists in emails because emails document the conversations and decision-making that goes on in all organizations. But they need a justification other than “We don’t want to get caught.” So that’s how you get corporate doublespeak like “e-mail stabilization and modernization” programs, with its vague suggestion that there is a technical reason to delete old emails, as if a company’s entire email system might crash under the weight of old emails stored on a server.

via Tech Crunch – The Only Reason Companies Delete Emails Is To Destroy Evidence

Permalink: Corporate Email Vanishing Act

16
Feb 12

In an amazing display of legal kung fu, a man adopts his 42 year old long-time girlfriend in order to insulate his money from a civil wrongful death judgment.

Goodman, who founded the International Polo Club Palm Beach in Wellington, legally adopted 42-year-old Heather Laruso Hutchins, as his daughter on Oct. 13 in Miami-Dade County, according to court documents….

[T]he trust set up for Goodman’s two minor children could not be considered as part of Goodman’s financial worth if a jury awarded damages to the Wilsons. According to the adoption papers, Hutchins is immediately entitled to at least a third of the trust’s assets as his legal daughter since she is over the age of 35.

The reasoning behind his explanation as to why he did this shows a lawyer with an outrageous display of cognitive dissonance trying to zealously represent his client

Dan Bachi, Goodman’s civil attorney, said Hutchins’ adoption was done to ensure the future stability of his children and family investments.

“It has nothing to do with the lawsuit currently pending against him,” Bachi said.

Can anyone seriously say that with a straight face?

via Sun Sentinel – Polo club founder Goodman adopts his adult girlfriend

Permalink: Man adopts his 42 year old girlfriend to evade judgment

11
Feb 12

Two cases in 2008 involving Ebay and Tiffany (the jewelry company) show how the law of different jurisdictions can create completely opposite results under the same facts. One Ebay is an innocent online forum. The other is a guilty online counterfeiter. When learning how to anticipate and prevent problems for your clients, you should keep this in mind…

So your competitors and others with a vested interest in the status quo will continue to rely on conflicting legal systems and antique precedents to hold you back. You may not be able to avoid lawsuits, but most companies can do a much better job of anticipating them.

via CIO Insight – eBay and the Legal Problems with Online Marketplaces

Permalink: A Tale of Two Ebays

24
Jan 12

A lot of “preventative” law in the online space is about understanding the way the business on the internet works. Where I work, we regularly counsel people that one of the best things they can do to prevent a legal issue is to “avoid making people angry.”

The internet has created so many reasons for businesses to spend a little extra money and time to do the right thing…

One broken guitar (and a lack of empathetic customer service) resulted in over 11 million views on YouTube of the catchy jingle United Breaks Guitars. A decision by GoDaddy to support the Stop Online Privacy Act led to an online petition on Reddit (and partially instigated by Tamar) that got thousands of domain owners to transfer their domains off GoDaddy, a revenue loss of around $370,000 a year. NetFlix’s sudden and dramatic increase in prices led to massive consumer backlash, including 67,000 negative comments on their Facebook page. Need I go on? How about Verizon’s decision (and quick retraction) to add a $2 convenience fee, or Bank of America charging $5 to consumers to use debit cards.

Social media makes it easy for like-minded consumers to band together and amplify their message, it spreads rapidly, and it always feels more genuine than the talking heads from a corporate PR team. As a result, we’re seeing large corporations closely monitoring any complaints on social media, and addressing them in hours, instead of weeks or months.

via Techipedia – Attack of the Consumer! The Many Ways Consumers Can Put You Out of Business Online

Permalink: It Pays to Do the Right Thing

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As a law-student legal clerk at New Media Rights, Shaun Spalding provides pro-bono legal assistance to artists, filmmakers, entrepreneurs and anyone else who creates or shares their work online. If you have any legal questions, you can direct them to Shaun’s supervising attorney. You can tap into what he's thinking via Tumblr, or figure out what he's doing via Twitter: @SASpalding


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