Sunday, October 08, 2006

RIP Audioblogger

Well, while killing off Small Firm Life, I found this notice which related to one of my first posts about putting audio on a blog. Goodbye again!

As of November 1, 2006, Audioblogger will no longer accept phone calls. MP3s made with the service will continue to be hosted and served but you will no longer be able to use Audioblogger to post new audio.
Audioblogger is an independent product, run by Odeo, Inc., a small startup company in San Francisco, CA. We are not affiliated with Google or Blogger except that we operate and provide the Audioblogger service.
Given our limited resources, we have to make tough decisions about what projects to focus on. And we've come to the difficult decision that Audioblogger demands too many resources, time, and money for us to continue its operation.
However, there are several other services that offer similar functionality. Odeo is not affiliated with any of these services, we only suggest them only in hopes that one or the other will be a good alternative for you. is a free service for recording by phone has a seven day free trial and lots of features is another free service for phone recording
All of the phone posting services listed above are compatible with Odeo in that they produce podcast feeds, which can be imported to Odeo. Any audio file at Odeo can be posted on a blog by copying and pasting some embed code.
Odeo would like to extend a huge thank you to everyone who has tried Audioblogger. If you are interested in keeping up with our other blog-friendly projects, please have a look at and our customizable audio players.
The Odeo Team
Gabcast -
Hipcast -
Gcast -
Odeo Importing -
Twitter -
Players -

Goodbye Small Firm Life

If anyone's read this blog from the beginning, they'll remember that it was started to explore the possibilities of blogging and to support my column "Small Firm Life" for the New York Law Journal. Well, I've had a couple of life changes that have led me to conclude that I won't be continuing to blog under this title.

Most significantly, I joined a firm. I am partner number 14 in Dunnington Bartholow & Miller LLP. My offices are now on the rather swanky Madison Avenue and feature plush conference rooms, the largest of which has a great view of St. Patrick's Cathedral. And while arguably we are a small firm in the cosmic mix of things, my point of view no longer quite fits the title.

In recognition of the change, the title of my New York Law Journal column will be changing to "Trial and Error". I think I'll probably just write the column, rather than blog about writing it. That may change, but for now it's how I feel.

Another change is that my book, Copyright Litigation Handbook has been published by West. They've put a rather nice author profile of me on their website. The first edition of these books is like a Beta version of software. I need to write next year's update by March 15, 2007. So the race is on to try to get comments, criticism and to follow new developments in the law. I have some ideas on how I'd like to expand the work, but rather than wait until the last minute, I'd like to set myself the regular task of taking it in bite sizes. A blog seems the perfect way of doing that while it's all fresh.

So you'll find me at Copyright Litigation. I won't try to cover every late-breaking development in copyright law or new controversy that arises. But I will be looking for lessons in little-noticed decisions or little-noticed procedural goodies in famous cases that people are discussing for other reasons.

If you're a lawyer new to blogging, I recommend reading this blog (Small Firm Life) from the beginning - following my mistakes and frustrations should help you avoid a few of your own!

Monday, October 02, 2006

Copyright Litigation Handbook

Well, my first book is on its way to the printer. The process, from proposal to finish took 3.5 years. It was a full year of waiting for the proposal to be approved, then two years to write it, then six months of the editing and additional writing process.

If you would like to order it, please use the OFFER NUMBER 523571. You can find it on West's website here If you use the offer Number, it helps West to track the sales and tell what strategies are working. Obviously people who live in the blogosphere will want to indicate to the company and the publishing world that a mention on a blog is just as important, if not more important, than a mention in the conventional media.

West's web site has a description of the book's contents. I think the book will be very helpful to anyone who needs to litigate (or oversee the litigation of) a copyright case. On the one hand, the book's approach is very nuts and bolts in terms of how to put together pleadings (checklists). On the other hand, I think I really take on some big substantive difficult procedural issues and make them accessible to both the beginning and advanced practitioners.

Copyright litigation is extraordinarily complex. My goal was to simplify it. I didn't succeed there, but I hope I succeeded in showing a few strategies for cutting through it all and saving time, energy and money.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Hitting Faux Cons Icons With a Calculator

A lot of people I respect describe themselves as "fiscal conservatives". By that they mean that they work hard for their money. They don't like to pay more than their fair share in taxes. And they think that government is wasteful. Before Ralph Nader got involved in politics, fiscal conservatives thought he was one of them. They were right. The big news is that most liberals share the same values as these self-described "fiscal conservatives". In the Reagan era, the American populist wrath was turned upon entitlement programs and welfare mothers.

For decades now, the war on welfare mothers has provided cover for corporate CEOs and those in the top 1% to dodge taxes, amass unthinkable fortunes, rip off their shareholders, and laugh at the rest of us. HMO's and health care are a national, systemic shame and single-payer health care is not even on the political agenda. Corporations went from paying 50% of the cost of government post WWII to 7% today. Who is getting the free ride?

Author Nomi Prins has just come out with a new book "Jacked: How 'Conservatives' Are Picking Your Pocket" (whether you voted for them or not). She travelled America and examined the wallets of average citizens. A former Managing Director at Goldman Sachs, she took out her calculator and showed how soi disant "conservatives" have used our money to enrich themselves, pocket our nation's resources and rip off the average person. Does Ann Coulter know how to use a calculator? In a political version of Celebrity Death Match, my money is on Prins over Coulter 10 to 1 odds. Is Jacked potent enough to scare Rush Limbaugh straight? Send Jacked to your friend who thinks he is "conservative". The numbers don't lie, and chances are your friend with the true conservative principles that we should all respect and honor - like conservation and hating waste -- is not really part of that club, which consists of people who can't face fiscal -- and other reality. Liberal is the new conservative. Go figure. God will not be angered if you learn how to use a calculator, Ms. Coulter.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Benedictine Marketing

While surfing around on a topic, I came across Eric Goldman's Technology & Marketing Law Blog. I'm not sure that the content fits the blog title, but I'm not sure that Small Firm Life's content does, either. Anyway, Eric's got a lot of interesting and intelligent posts, particularly in the copyright area. Highly recommended and very current, an excellent post on the Google Print controversy. He had a great link to the Copyright Website, a spot where Benedict O'Mahoney has collected examples of the works that were allegedly infringing and the originals from copyright cases. Smart and well-presented.

I thought it was very odd that the Google ad on Eric's blog had a link to, a site that predicts the current Pope is the last one the world is going to see. The crazy thing is that these Google ads are supposed to relate to the topic of your blog so that the advertiser gets views by persons interested. I've noticed ads on my blog for everything from personal injury lawyers to public service announcements.

Google should have a "no armaggedonist ad" filter. None of us really wants to disseminate hate speech, pornography or lunatic rantings, and I clicked on the link to figure out what it was through Eric's blog. Yuck!

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Privatizing Air Traffic Controllers

Last week I was participating in a CLE presentation in a federal courthouse in Central Islip New York. The topic was cease and desist letters in intellectual property cases and related issues of declaratory judgment actions, personal, general and specific jurisdiction and related professional responsibility issues. The CLE was sponsored and organized by the new Eastern District of New York Chapter of the Federal Bar Association.

I met a woman there who said that her husband is an air traffic controller. She said that the Bush Administration is privatizing air traffic controllers who will now be paid $8.50 per hour. Workers will be stripped of retirement benefits.

My law office, which was located at the corner of Broadway and Chambers Street was displaced by the attacks of 9/11. One of my close friends was blown up over Lockerbie, Scotland. One day on the beaches of Long Island, I saw a commercial airliner explode.

I find it hard to understand how replacing qualified, quality labor with workers willing to accept $8.50 per hour will make us safer. Will these workers be based in Pakistan? The Connecticut Congressional delegation's take is here. The "Reason Foundation" kooks who cooked up this nonsense are found here. Richard Posner and his Chicago School fanatics would argue that a few crashes would increase the market's appetite for good air traffic controllers and increase consumer demand for an investment in quality. Richard Posner and his Chicago School fanatics are sociopaths. If and when even one person is injured due to an unqualified air traffic controller, the Bush Administration officials responsible should be tried for reckless endangerment homicide. Endangering our national security by selling off key defense strategic assets to the highest bidder is a collossally stupid idea.

They'll be auctioning off the Constitution next and charging user fees to benefit from its protections.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Occam's Razor in the Law

Occam's Razor is a tool of scientific and philosophic inquiry. Simply stated, it posits that the simplest theory is the best, or that the simplest explanation is the most likely to be true. Leonardo Da Vinci's riff on this theory was the aphorism: "Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication"

Clicking on the above link will take you to a terrific Wikipedia page on Razor theory. I ran across an interesting reference to it reading David Liss's "A Spectacle of Corruption" - a paperback historical fiction set in seventeenth century London that I found in an airport bookstore. The book is a great page-turner and I couldn't put it down.

For years, I've been subjected to the Razor by editors, judges and juries. My tendency to present complicated facts, suggest multiple alternative theories and to consider mixed motives has at times frustrated them all. When chopping away at an unwieldy brief, my Razor has left a few bleeding victims, too.

If I'm allowed to add another riff to Razor theory: "Where the truth is complicated, you must simplify it to be credible." The Wikipedia has references to the use of the Razor in science, statistics, religion, medicine and biology (among others), but none in law. Politics is missing, too. The Razor does help to explain why the natural human tendency is to distrust and dislike the complexity of democracy and constitutions and to be drawn to the simplicity of authoritarian systems. When sloganeers wielding the Razor make it to the U.S. Supreme Court, the Constitution and democracy suffer. "The Constitution is not a suicide pact" is the rallying cry for authoritarians wishing to eliminate the complexities and inefficiences of such democratic concepts as "due process of law".

The frightening thing is that these ideologues believe that stripping Americans of basic democratic freedoms will make the world safe for democracy.

Next time you're facing the Razor and getting cut to ribbons, pick up a simple piece of the puzzle. Fit it in, move to the next piece. After three convincing pieces, your audience will trust that the fourth piece will fit.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Federal Bar Association Annual Meeting in Vegas

I am sitting in McCarran Airport in Las Vegas typing away on my laptop. I am returning from the Federal Bar Association's annual meeting, which was held in a resort just outside of Las Vegas. The meeting was interesting and informative, with great CLE programs. Our chapter won an award for setting up the Second Circuit swearing-in ceremony.

The program on electronic discovery was terrrific - it was just enough information to scare the pants out of all of us. The duty to turn over native files (a file in Excel in Excel), digging through your client's computer systems before the first Rule 26(f) conference, and issued related to metadata will revolutionize the practice of law and put anyone who is not keeping up on technological issues at a further disadvantage. The presenter, George Paul, who authored The Discovery Revolution, was terrific. His thesis was that lawyers are the priests of information and that we'd all have to become technologists versed in computer systems and hire forensic experts even for run-of-the-mill cases. He also believes that much more diplomacy and statesmanship will be involved with the discovery process, since a lack of good faith can create such tremendous liabilities for both attorneys and clients.

Lots of carping about the costs of complying with Sarbanes-Oxley. A great appellate practice panel with four Ninth Circuit judges - highly entertaining and informative. I have a better insight into why Ninth Circuit decisions seem to be all over the place. Great panel on the FBI's programs involving private business.

I spent about 20 minutes talking to Bishop Pepe, whose diocese is the southern half of Nevada. He is a Canon lawyer, originally from Philadelphia. His church on the Las Vegas strip services 3.5 million visitors annually. The land is worth $11 million per acre.