Saturday, January 29, 2005

You better back that "Azz" up counselor!

Here are some "actual quotes" from the oral arguments in Positive Black Talk Inc. v. Cash Money Records, No. 03-30702 (Dec. 17) being heard on appeal by the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals concerning a copyright dispute over the song "Back That Azz Up."

Lawyer: If it please the court, we contend that my client is the rightful owner of "Back That Azz Up."

Judge No. 1: It would please the court if counselor wouldn’t use such foul language.

Lawyer: Your honor, I’m afraid you misunderstand. "Back That Azz Up" is the name of a hit song that my client wrote and therefore is the rightful copyright owner thereof.

Judge No. 2: "Azz"? What’s an "azz"?

Lawyer: (nervously) Well, actually, your honor, it’s like … like …

Judge No. 2: Never mind. Just please tell me that this song is about farming or mining, right?

Lawyer: I don’t think so, your honor.

Judge No. 3: Counselor, are you telling this court that there is an audience for a song about people backing their "azzes" up?

Lawyer: Yes, your honor.

Judge No. 3: So counselor, if I understand you correctly, your client actually wants to take credit for this "creative endeavor"?

Lawyer: Well, actually, your honor, my client wants more than credit. He also wants to share in the millions the song grossed in worldwide sales.

Judge No. 3: Worldwide? Are you telling me that we exported this song to other countries? English-speaking countries?

Lawyer: Once again, yes. Not only that; non-English speakers, too.

Judge No. 3: Other languages have a word for "azz"?

Lawyer: Well, your honor.

Judge No. 2: Wait a minute, counselor. I think some members of this court are still a little confused about this particular piece of "intellectual" property. I know I am. Perhaps you could sing a little bit of this song so that we can get a better understanding of the work.

Lawyer: With all due respect, I don’t think that would be such a good idea. Quite frankly, I’m a terrible singer.

Judge No. 2: That’s OK. Our understanding is that this is a rap song. Just rap a few lines for us, will you?

Lawyer: Well, if you insist (rapping loudly and offbeat):

"Girl, you looks good, won’t you back that azz up

You’se a fine mother------, won’t you back that azz up

Call me Big Daddy when you back that azz up

Hoe, who is you playin’ wit’? Back that azz up."

(A long, awkward pause after these, the actual lyrics.)

Judge No. 1: Counselor, I think I speak for the rest of this court, particularly those judges who have been rendered permanently speechless, when I say that we are going to cut oral arguments short today.

Lawyer: But your honor! A grave miscarriage of justice has occurred! My client’s case deserves to be heard!

Judge No. 3: Counselor, I think we’ve heard more from your client already than we want to hear for the rest of our lives.

Lawyer: (stepping forward) If it pleases the court, I respectfully request that you reconsider your decision.

Judge No. 1: Counselor, it would please the court if you would "back that azz up." We are adjourned.
Via the ABA Journal eReport.

[UPDATE: a commenter has pointed out the very thing that anyone who reads this post obviously knows (or alternatively, can figure out immediately by looking at the source article)...this is a joke. So, just in case you didn't get it - the panel of appellate judges hearing the appeal didn't really tell the lawyer to back his azz up.]

Thursday, January 27, 2005

I've said it before and I'll say it again...

If you're getting songs from iTunes you're a fool. You're paying a premium for low quality (bit rate) music that comes with DRM (so you can't even play it on all machines). Go, and cheaply purchase thy music from write me a comment thanking me for the recommendation. Get while the getting is good. Russia is a member of international copyright treaties - Berne, TRIPS (and WIPO if I recall) so there will be international pressure on the Russian government to shut these guys down. If even the Wall Street Journal is picking up the story these sites may not be around too much longer.

Read this Journal article: - Russian Sites Sell Song Downloads For Pennies, But Are They Legal?

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

P2p operators go down in flames

Feds nail some p2p operators with criminal copyright infringement charges. Ouch.

William R. Trowbridge of Johnson City, New York, and Michael Chicoine of San Antonio, Texas, each pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit felony criminal copyright infringement. The pleas were entered Tuesday in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.

Trowbridge operated at P-to-P hub named Movie Room between August 2002 and August 2004, and Chicoine operated a P-to-P hub named Achenon's Alley TM, according to the DOJ. The two sites offered a wide variety of computer software, computer games, music, and movies in digital format, including some software titles that legitimately sell for thousands of dollars, the DOJ says.
The convictions came after a joint investigation dubbed Operation Digital Gridlock, conducted by the DOJ's Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Section, the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation and the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Columbia. The operation, announced in August 2004, targeted file-sharing of copyright materials over five P-to-P networks that belonged to an online group of hubs known as The Underground Network. - P-to-P Operators Plead Guilty

Sunday, January 16, 2005

Welcome back to me!

I am back from a three week vacation to the Seychelles and Switzerland. Got myself a little sun and a little snow. Good times were had by all. Posting to resume as usual.

Saturday, January 15, 2005

Dick and Jane publisher sues over copyright infringement

I didn't even realize that Dick and Jane were under copyright.

See Dick and Jane. See Dick and Jane get a lawyer. Pearson Education, the publishing company that owns the copyright to the single-named stars of countless reading primers, is suing a division of Time Warner for co-opting the characters in a book called "Yiddish With Dick and Jane," according to The New York Times. - Dick and Jane publisher sues over copyright infringement

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