May It Please The Court

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May It Please The Court
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There are 2034 Journal Items on 255 page(s) and you are on page number 209

Editing DVDs - Pornography Controls Gone Mad

There are already parental controls for television, and now a company has come up with a way to filter DVDs and remove objectionable content.

If they put that on the Chris Rock special, you'd be watching a blank screen. ClearPlay has made possible the technology to essentially edit DVDs.

The Family Movie Act may allow parents to buy DVD filters that screen out material they deem objectionable.

The Director's Guild is upset. "You're getting a doctored, reinterpretation of the product," said Dan McGinn, a spokesman for the Directors Guild of America. "What they [ClearPlay] have is a new version of the product. It should be licensed."

This technology may also be able to automatically remove commercials from cable and network television programs.

Where do I sign up?

Printer friendly page Posted by J. Craig Williams on Monday, July 26, 2004 at 09:21 Comments (0) |

Most Important Legal News Today - The Top Chip

Never, never, insult a local. Especially if you're an out-of-towner. U.S. District Court Judge Samuel Der-Yeghiayan saw it clearly in favor of local potato-chip maker, Jays Foods.

Frito-Lay, a Texas-based company, claimed that Chicagoans favored Frito-Lay chips over rival Jays Foods chips 51-44%. Jays, a Chicago company sued.

In Chicago, not Texas.

Jays accused Frito-Lay testers of failing to screen out participants who were not from Chicago. Jays also faulted Frito-Lay for labeling Jays chips as "unflavored" during the tests and instead labeling Lay's as "classic." The judge agreed, and called those tactics "clearly derogatory."

That wasn't the last of it, though. The Judge told Frito-Lay to prove it, but the company couldn't. According to the Chicago Sun-Times, Frito-Lay representatives told the newspaper last Monday that they would not turn over the research. However, Frito-Lay attorney Roger Pascal said Wednesday the company offered the research a week ago.

The opinion's not posted yet, but you can run a search here to find it later this week. The AP, however, reports that Judge Der-Yeghiayan said, "Lay's appears to be motivated by greed in displaying and airing advertisements which are not only damaging to Jays but are deceiving to the public."

Reports also indicate that Frito-Lay was using the same tactics against Cape Cod potato chips and Pennsylvania's Utz potato chips.

Of course, we all know that there's no comparison. Sepasang Naga Squid Cracker is the worst chip of all time and, according to this unbiased reporter, Cape Cod potato chips rule. Of course, there are other opinions, and admittedly, Cape Cod is where I spent my summers as a kid.

Go figure.

Printer friendly page Posted by J. Craig Williams on Sunday, July 25, 2004 at 12:02 Comments (0) |

Trading Lightning Bolts With Federal Judges

Have you ever tried to correct a federal court judge? You know, the ones with the lifetime appointment, and who are not subject to losing their job for anything other than perhaps their own mistakes? After grabbing a lightning bolt and tossing it at you, their response is something akin to, "if you don't like it, you know where to go" - and they're usually referring to up, not down.

In other works, accountable to virtually no one except the various circuits. And who holds them accountable?

Anyway, enough with my soapbox. Besides, not all federal judges are cantankerous. Some are actually nice (or hot).

My objection is not so much the lack of supervision over the federal judiciary, but more about a pair of cases from the Third Circuit.

Now, we lawyers are required to correct mistakes in the trial court. Sure, we can object, and argue the point, but I wasn't aware that Congress suddenly endowed us lawyers with the ability to actually tell a federal judge what to do.

That's like trying to herd cats, except these cats have big teeth.

I already speak up when I'm in court. Maybe now, I'll start throwing those lightning bolts back.

Printer friendly page Posted by J. Craig Williams on Saturday, July 24, 2004 at 10:17 Comments (0) |

TiVo Tackles Football

I finally got TiVo for my birthday, and have been enjoying skipping through commercials. I believe that I'm probably watching more television than I used to because of it. Before, I just didn't watch, because I wasn't home when the TV shows I wanted to watch were on. I will admit that it was difficult to hook up to a broadband connection.

TiVo, though, is now going one step further. It applied to the FCC to allow viewers to transfer TV shows to other devices (i.e. computers).

Hollywood movie studios are up in arms. So is the NFL. They're both concerned that TV shows and football will end up all over the internet.

Nah. Who would do that?

But if the FCC has anything to say about it, God's machine can't do anything wrong. I'm guessing it will get approved.

Watch your computer for NFL bloopers coming your way soon.

Printer friendly page Posted by J. Craig Williams on Friday, July 23, 2004 at 18:31 Comments (0) |

Frampton Comes .... From Behind

Remember Peter Frampton? When you became a teenager in the 70's you were issued the Frampton Comes Alive! album, right after you got your bell bottom jeans. Yes, in those days, the albums were vinyl.

Well, Peter's back, in a way. Back behind some Billabong (site now without photos) bikini bottoms.

And he's none too happy about it. He claims it is a violation of his privacy rights (not to say what the women wearing the bikini bottoms think about it) and his copyright on his famous song, Baby, I love your way.

The bikini bottoms feature a Frampton head shot, and the words, "Baby I love your waves."

I could imagine worse places to have your picture.

Printer friendly page Posted by J. Craig Williams on Thursday, July 22, 2004 at 12:16 Comments (0) |

One Thing Missing From Jail? Beer.

After spending a lot of time in jail, what do you think you'd miss most? Give that one some thought, because four inmates have already answered it.

Beer. Plain and simple. No complicated tastes for these guys.

And surprisingly enough, no desire to run away from jail. They simply went on a beer run to a local liquor store, and went back to their cells.

Apparently, a door didn't lock, and no warning lights came on to tell the jailers that it was open. Open door, inmates. What do you think would happen next?

That's right, escape. But not in the minds of the inmates, since they returned to their cells. In the minds of the jailers, however - and perhaps more out of embarrassment- they're charging the inmates with escape.

The best part? The inmates used a bible to prop open the door while they were on their beer run.

The storekeeper did not raise alarm because the inmates were wearing street clothes borrowed from other prisoners. The crowded jail does not have enough orange jumpsuits to go around.

That jail has more than just escaping inmates for problems.

Printer friendly page Posted by J. Craig Williams on Wednesday, July 21, 2004 at 11:50 Comments (0) |

What's In A Name?

When I was a kid, Sloppy Joes meant a very sloppy type of meat and sauce-dripping sandwich. It means an awful lot more to two bars in Key West.

To Sloppy Joe's bar, it means that Hemingway used to drink there. He apparently did a lot of that.

To Captain Tony's bar it also means that Hemingway drank there.

Presumably, the tourists are attracted by where Hemingway drank. When I go to Key West, it's Margaritaville. Of course that also works for me in New Orleans and several other towns, but that's another story.

Apparently, there's a bar brawl between Sloppy Joe's and Captain Tony's over the use of the "Sloppy Joe's" name. See, Sloppy Joe was a friend of Hemingway's, and he ran the bar where Hemingway drank. Now, there's a federal case pending over who gets to use the name.

Sloppy Joe's has dropped the gauntlet in the lawsuit, claiming that "Captain Tony's products are not of Sloppy Joe's quality, and the condition of its premises does not meet Sloppy Joe's standards. As a result, Captain Tony's has sullied Sloppy Joe's distinctive style and decor," the suit said.

Captain Tony is out of town and had no immediate comment.

The rest of the story? Monroe County historian Tom Hambright said, when asked which bar Hemingway drank at: "Both, as far as I can determine."

Now there's a surprise.

Printer friendly page Posted by J. Craig Williams on Tuesday, July 20, 2004 at 12:38 Comments (0) |

Do You Need Toner For Your Fax Machine? Read This has gotten into some hot water, having been fined nearly $6,000,000 by the Federal Communications Commission. What is only slightly funny is that the FCC has a Fax-On-Demand (dial 202-418-2830) for the press release of its fine issued against What is even less funny is that has yet to pay the fine (watch out for the ads).

I'll be the first to admit it, I detest junk faxes almost as much as junk mail. At least with junk mail, it costs me only time, not new toner and increased maintenance on my fax machine.

But, has a public service of locating missing children. Admirable, but I suspect the number of missing children faxes pales in comparison to the number of commercial faxes it sends out. claims it is being hounded out of existence. Private Citizen's website lists its campaign against, and noted that the company may soon fold, but remerge under a different name to do the same thing.

Don't you just love it?

Apparently,'s fight isn't over yet, though, so don't get your fax machine's hopes up. Seems as though the company has started to fight back. It is suing those who sue it, and hounding lawyers who represent businesses that receive junk faxes by "turning them in" to the State Bar. For what, I'm not exactly sure. Last time I checked, it was who was in trouble, not the lawyers suing them.

There are a couple of crusaders out there, who post about their efforts.

Or, you can just hook your fax machine up to your computer, and turn on WinFax Pro to be your fax machine, and then set the software not to print out any faxes. Then, you just hit the delete button.


Printer friendly page Posted by J. Craig Williams on Monday, July 19, 2004 at 17:42 Comments (0) |

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