Articles Posted in March, 2012


Martha Davis, a founding member of the ’80s rock band The Motels, filed a class action lawsuit today against the EMI record label.

Davis and her group are known for their 1980’s chart topping hits, “Only the Lonely” and “Suddenly Last Summer.”

The legendary songstress accuses the label that she and The Motels originally signed with of shorting her out of music royalties due under the parties’ original contract (read the lawsuit below).


We have some interesting cases from our daily summary writers this week. At the intersection of reality TV and the law comes Edmonds v. Oktibbeha County (5th Cir.). In this case, the Court upheld the denial of a 42 USC 1983 claim of a coerced confession from a minor, after the minor went on the Dr. Phil show and told a national television audience that deputies did not coerce him into confession.

The Maryland Court of Appeals issued an interesting decision in a child custody case that involved a conflict of laws with Japanese family courts. In Toland v. Futagi, the Court upheld the Japanese decision to award custody of the minor to her maternal grandmother, a Japanese national. The child grew up in Japan and spent her whole life there. When her mother died, the grandmother took custody. The Maryland Court found that this decision did not infringe on the due process rights of the American father, and that the lower court properly declined to exercise jurisdiction over the child, who had no connection to the state.

Posted in: Legal News


East Bay soul funk legend Tower of Power filed a class-action lawsuit against Warner Music on Tuesday, charging that the record label Warner Music, Inc. stiffed them out of music royalties by mischaracterizing digital downloads as sales, instead of licenses that pay artists a much higher premium.

Tower of Power co-founders Emilio Castillo and Stephen “Doc” Kupka’s breach of contract case charges that their 1972 agreement (the ‘Agreement’) with Warner Music entitles the band to 50% of gross receipts for Warner’s redistribution by digital downloads download via third parties.

Warner, the band contends, intentionally mischaracterizes these digital downloads as sales to pay them at a ten-percent (10%) royalty rate under the ‘sold’ equation of the parties’ original 1972 Agreement.


The South African holder of a U.S. patent for a Data Vending System (No. 6,799,084) sued Apple yesterday, alleging that the company’s iTunes Store infringes his patent for a system that stores a digital media database, processes payments, and calculates royalties that are due to copyright holders for downloads of their music and videos.

The USPTO issued the patent to Benjamin Grobler in 2004.


In an outrageous misunderstanding of students’ off-campus free speech rights, an Indiana school district expelled a high school senior just three months shy of his graduation for tweeting an F-bomb from home at 2:30 AM.

Austin Carroll says that he sent the offending F-bomb tweet from home, from his own computer. He concedes that he agrees with the district that his tweet was inappropriate, but says he “just did it to be funny.” The Garrett-Keyser-Butler Community School District (the ‘District’) was not amused, claiming that he tweeted from school.

The school says that it reportedly learned about Austin’s tweet when he was online in school.

Even if the tweet was made off campus, it still doesn’t appear to have violated the school district’s “Responsible Use Policy” (the ‘Policy’) that is largely focused on integrating technology into classroom instruction, and making students pay for repairing damaged school notebooks and iPads (read it below).


Carl Malamud of has a guest post on Boing Boing: Liberating America’s Secret, for-pay Laws. In it, he discusses the problem of laws that incorporate copyrighted technical standards by reference. Because the standards bodies that issue them are in the private sector, anyone who wants to view the standards (to comply with the law) must pay for a copy. Those copies can be very expensive; spent over $7,000 for copies of the corpus.

Posted in: Legal Research


Watch out, Facebook users. Mark Zuckerberg’s social network giant recently modified the company’s Statement of Rights and Responsibilities (i.e., Terms of Service [‘TOS’]) to now allege that Facebook claims trademark rights to the word ‘Book.’ (Read it below)

Oh, and in case you forgot, Facebook also claims intellectual property rights to the words ‘Face,’ Poke, and ‘Wall’

Take a look for yourself:

Tagged: book, face


An 83-year-old iPhone user sued Apple this week, claiming that she injured herself during prime winter holiday shopping season last December by walking “directly into the clear glass doors” at the company’s Manhasset, Long Island Apple retail store in New York.


Who was at fault here? Plaintiff Evelyn Paswell maintains that her “injuries were due solely to the negligence of” Apple.

Posted in: Apple, Personal Injury


Our Daily Caselaw Summary writers have served up some interesting cases this week:

In Colorado, the Supreme Court issued Air Wisconsin Airlines v. Hoeper, which found an airline was not immune from a defamation claim by an employee under the Aviation Transportation Safety Act. In that case, the employee was authorized to carry a firearem on the planes he flew, but was reported by a trainer to be “disgruntled” and that he posed a threat with a gun. The Colorado Supreme Court upheld the defamation victory, adding that the airline was not immune from suit or defamation under the ATSA and that the record supported the jury’s finding of clear and convincing evidence of actual malice.

Posted in: Justia News, Legal News


Yahoo! Mail user Albert Rudgayzer sued the Silicon Valley web portal yesterday, charging that Yahoo’s revelation of users first and last names when they send email violates the portal’s own Terms of Service (‘TOS’), constituting a breach of contract. He seeks relief under federal and California state law.

Rudgayzer, a New York lawyer, alleges that he began using Yahoo email around October 2011. He filed the lawsuit in a pro se capacity in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California (read the lawsuit below).

Tagged: email, privacy, TOS, Yahoo