(via Mike Lynch Cartoons: Jack Kirby v. Goliath: Family of Comic-Book Icon Jack Kirby Seeks Supreme Court Intervention)

NEW YORK, Sept. 23, 2014 /PRNewswire/ — On September 29th, the Supreme Court will decide whether to hear Kirby v. Marvel, an extraordinary copyright case with enormous implications for authors, artists and creators.  
Jack Kirby had a modest upbringing and no formal training, but his insatiable mind and passion for storytelling made him the most prolific comic-book creator/illustrator of all time.  From a beat-up desk in his basement studio, Kirby created characters like X-Men, Thor, Captain America, The Avengers, Fantastic Four, Hulk—even the tree-hero Groot featured in Marvel’s hit movie Guardians of the Galaxy. 
Marvel, or “the House that Jack built” to comic-book buffs, was bought by Disney in 2009 for $4.24 billion and its value has since doubled.  Kirby played an immeasurable role, yet received negligible sums for his work and not even a simple royalty.
In the 1976 Copyright Act, Congress sought to remedy these imbalances by permitting artists and their families to recapture their copyrights by statutorily terminating prior grants. This allows artists to negotiate new grants which reflect their works’ true value.  The sole exception is for “work-for-hire.”
In 2009, Kirby’s children thus served Marvel/Disney with termination notices.  Marvel sued claiming everything was “work-for-hire,” despite wide acknowledgment that Kirby worked purely as a freelancer, and that Marvel had avoided any contractual commitment to Kirby.  Nonetheless, the district court and Second Circuit summarily ruled for Marvel under a vague and presumptive “instance and expense” test roundly criticized by leading copyright experts as effectively overruled by Supreme Court precedent. 
The Kirbys, represented by attorney Marc Toberoff, thus petitioned the Supreme Court for certiorari.  And they have real momentum.  SCOTUSblog named it "Petition of the Day."  On May 14, the Supreme Court expressed interest in the case and ordered Marvel to respond.  On June 13, amicus briefs supporting the Kirbys were filed by all the Hollywood Guilds, the former Register of Copyrights, the former USPTO Commissioner, scores of artists associations, and hundreds of artists, including several Pulitzer-prize winners.  
There hasn’t been a copyright case with such far-reaching implications in three decades.  Should the Kirbys prevail, their victory would be shared by creators everywhere insofar as all pre-1978 works could no longer be deemed “work-for-hire” outside of conventional employment.  Jack Kirby revolutionized the world of comics and entertainment, but the Supreme Court will write the ending of his story.
For further inquiries, contact Theodore Feder, The Artists Rights Society; (212) 420-9160; tfeder@arsny.com.


SOURCE Artists Rights Society

(via Mike Lynch Cartoons: Jack Kirby v. Goliath: Family of Comic-Book Icon Jack Kirby Seeks Supreme Court Intervention)

NEW YORKSept. 23, 2014 /PRNewswire/ — On September 29th, the Supreme Court will decide whether to hear Kirby v. Marvel, an extraordinary copyright case with enormous implications for authors, artists and creators.  
Jack Kirby had a modest upbringing and no formal training, but his insatiable mind and passion for storytelling made him the most prolific comic-book creator/illustrator of all time.  From a beat-up desk in his basement studio, Kirby created characters like X-Men, Thor, Captain America, The Avengers, Fantastic Four, Hulk—even the tree-hero Groot featured in Marvel’s hit movie Guardians of the Galaxy
Marvel, or “the House that Jack built” to comic-book buffs, was bought by Disney in 2009 for $4.24 billion and its value has since doubled.  Kirby played an immeasurable role, yet received negligible sums for his work and not even a simple royalty.
In the 1976 Copyright Act, Congress sought to remedy these imbalances by permitting artists and their families to recapture their copyrights by statutorily terminating prior grants. This allows artists to negotiate new grants which reflect their works’ true value.  The sole exception is for “work-for-hire.”
In 2009, Kirby’s children thus served Marvel/Disney with termination notices.  Marvel sued claiming everything was “work-for-hire,” despite wide acknowledgment that Kirby worked purely as a freelancer, and that Marvel had avoided any contractual commitment to Kirby.  Nonetheless, the district court and Second Circuit summarily ruled for Marvel under a vague and presumptive “instance and expense” test roundly criticized by leading copyright experts as effectively overruled by Supreme Court precedent. 
The Kirbys, represented by attorney Marc Toberoff, thus petitioned the Supreme Court for certiorari.  And they have real momentum.  SCOTUSblog named it "Petition of the Day."  On May 14, the Supreme Court expressed interest in the case and ordered Marvel to respond.  On June 13, amicus briefs supporting the Kirbys were filed by all the Hollywood Guildsthe former Register of Copyrights, the former USPTO Commissioner, scores of artists associations, and hundreds of artists, including several Pulitzer-prize winners.  
There hasn’t been a copyright case with such far-reaching implications in three decades.  Should the Kirbys prevail, their victory would be shared by creators everywhere insofar as all pre-1978 works could no longer be deemed “work-for-hire” outside of conventional employment.  Jack Kirby revolutionized the world of comics and entertainment, but the Supreme Court will write the ending of his story.
For further inquiries, contact Theodore FederThe Artists Rights Society; (212) 420-9160; tfeder@arsny.com.
SOURCE Artists Rights Society
muddypolitics:

(via U.S. patent office cancels Redskins trademark registration, says name is disparaging - The Washington Post)

The United States Patent and Trademark Office has canceled the Washington Redskins trademark registration, calling the football team’s name “disparaging to Native Americans.”
The landmark case, which appeared before the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board, was filed on behalf of five Native Americans. It was the second time such a case was filed…


and the legal process provides the right answer…

muddypolitics:

(via U.S. patent office cancels Redskins trademark registration, says name is disparaging - The Washington Post)

The United States Patent and Trademark Office has canceled the Washington Redskins trademark registration, calling the football team’s name “disparaging to Native Americans.”

The landmark case, which appeared before the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board, was filed on behalf of five Native Americans. It was the second time such a case was filed…

and the legal process provides the right answer…

(via “Revenge porn” site creators hit with $385,000 judgment | Ars Technica)
A federal district court judge in Ohio has ordered Eric Chason and Kevin Bollaert, the founders of the “revenge porn” site You Got Posted, to pay a woman $385,000 for posting sexually explicit images of her on their website.
The suit, filed by a “Jane Doe” plaintiff in May 2013, involved photos that were taken of the plaintiff when she was underage. After finding several sexually explicit images of herself as a minor on the site, which were distributed without her knowledge or consent, the plaintiff sued the site’s operators.

Defendant Kevin Bollaert.
The default judgment included a $150,000 award to the plaintiff for each of the two child pornography counts and $10,000 for the right of publicity count. It also included a $75,000 punitive damages award, a penalty that is typically used to deter others from engaging in similar conduct.
The precedent set by this case could serve as a deterrent against other would-be child porn and revenge porn site operators. It could also enable other exploited individuals to similarly pursue child pornography and right of publicity claims in combination, as well as request the court to issue a punitive damages award.
While money damages certainly do not make such plaintiffs “whole,” as the civil system is designed to do, they nevertheless provide a means of recourse when the criminal system does not provide for a just result. Marc Randazza, the plaintiff’s attorney in this case, who has referred to the defendants as “scumbags,” commented:

The message this $385,000 judgment sends to people who run revenge porn sites is unambiguous. These sites irreparably harm their victims, and often without any criminal action against them. In this case, a civil suit allowed our client to obtain justice against the people who exploited her.

good news everyone…

(via “Revenge porn” site creators hit with $385,000 judgment | Ars Technica)

A federal district court judge in Ohio has ordered Eric Chason and Kevin Bollaert, the founders of the “revenge porn” site You Got Posted, to pay a woman $385,000 for posting sexually explicit images of her on their website.

The suit, filed by a “Jane Doe” plaintiff in May 2013, involved photos that were taken of the plaintiff when she was underage. After finding several sexually explicit images of herself as a minor on the site, which were distributed without her knowledge or consent, the plaintiff sued the site’s operators.

image

Defendant Kevin Bollaert.

The default judgment included a $150,000 award to the plaintiff for each of the two child pornography counts and $10,000 for the right of publicity count. It also included a $75,000 punitive damages award, a penalty that is typically used to deter others from engaging in similar conduct.

The precedent set by this case could serve as a deterrent against other would-be child porn and revenge porn site operators. It could also enable other exploited individuals to similarly pursue child pornography and right of publicity claims in combination, as well as request the court to issue a punitive damages award.

While money damages certainly do not make such plaintiffs “whole,” as the civil system is designed to do, they nevertheless provide a means of recourse when the criminal system does not provide for a just result. Marc Randazza, the plaintiff’s attorney in this case, who has referred to the defendants as “scumbags,” commented:

The message this $385,000 judgment sends to people who run revenge porn sites is unambiguous. These sites irreparably harm their victims, and often without any criminal action against them. In this case, a civil suit allowed our client to obtain justice against the people who exploited her.

good news everyone…

muddypolitics:

(via Montana Teacher Gets 30 Days in Rape of Student — Daily Intelligencer)


Stacey Dean Rambold was a 49-year-old teacher when he repeatedly raped a 14-year-old student at a Montana high school in 2008. With the case against him still pending, his victim, Cherice Morales, committed suicide before her 17th birthday, leading Rambold to plead guilty to one felony charge. He agreed to complete a sex offender treatment program, thus avoiding jail time, but found himself back in court this week after he was booted from treatment for visiting with minor family members unsupervised and not informing counselors about his sexual relationships. Prosecutors requested twenty years for violations to the agreement; a judge decided on 30 days.




Judge G. Todd Baugh technically sentenced Rambold to fifteen years in prison, the Billings Gazette reports, but suspended “all but 31 days” and then gave a day’s credit for time served. “It’s not probably the kind of rape most people think about,” Baugh said. “It was not a violent, forcible, beat-the-victim rape, like you see in the movies. But it was nonetheless a rape. It was a troubled young girl, and he was a teacher. And this should not have occurred.”


Baugh went on: “She seemed older than her chronological age,” he said. “Basically what we had was a troubled young girl.” (Baugh later told CNN ”that was not the best choice of words.”) In court, he said, “I simply did not have the evidence to conclude that her taking her life was because of her sexual offense by Mr. Rambold.” To CNN, he added that Rambold is “treatable” and a “low risk to re-offend.”




"I think this sentence is a joke, a travesty," said the victim’s mother, Auliea Hanlon. "People will lose faith in our justice system. I have." As the judge read the sentence, she screamed, "You people suck!"


what the actual fuck?!?!?!…

muddypolitics:

(via Montana Teacher Gets 30 Days in Rape of Student — Daily Intelligencer)

Stacey Dean Rambold was a 49-year-old teacher when he repeatedly raped a 14-year-old student at a Montana high school in 2008. With the case against him still pending, his victim, Cherice Morales, committed suicide before her 17th birthday, leading Rambold to plead guilty to one felony charge. He agreed to complete a sex offender treatment program, thus avoiding jail time, but found himself back in court this week after he was booted from treatment for visiting with minor family members unsupervised and not informing counselors about his sexual relationships. Prosecutors requested twenty years for violations to the agreement; a judge decided on 30 days.

Judge G. Todd Baugh technically sentenced Rambold to fifteen years in prison, the Billings Gazette reports, but suspended “all but 31 days” and then gave a day’s credit for time served. “It’s not probably the kind of rape most people think about,” Baugh said. “It was not a violent, forcible, beat-the-victim rape, like you see in the movies. But it was nonetheless a rape. It was a troubled young girl, and he was a teacher. And this should not have occurred.”

Baugh went on: “She seemed older than her chronological age,” he said. “Basically what we had was a troubled young girl.” (Baugh later told CNN ”that was not the best choice of words.”) In court, he said, “I simply did not have the evidence to conclude that her taking her life was because of her sexual offense by Mr. Rambold.” To CNN, he added that Rambold is “treatable” and a “low risk to re-offend.”

"I think this sentence is a joke, a travesty," said the victim’s mother, Auliea Hanlon. "People will lose faith in our justice system. I have." As the judge read the sentence, she screamed, "You people suck!"

what the actual fuck?!?!?!…

Hollingsworth v. Perry.

  • JUSTICE BREYER: Assume that you could distinguish California. Assume that we accept your argument -- or Mr. Scalia's version of your argument. And that distinguishes California. Now, let's look at California: what precisely is the way in which allowing gay couples to marry would interfere with the vision of marriage as the procreation of children, that allowing sterile couples of different sexes to marry would not? I mean, there are lots of people who get married that can't have children. So take a state that does allow adoption and say, there -- what's the justification for saying "no gay marriage"? Certainly not the one you said, is it?
  • COOPER: Uh, y-y-y-you --
  • BREYER (interjecting): Am I not clear? Look: you said that the problem is marriage, as an institution that furthers procreation --
  • COOPER: Yes, Your Honor.
  • BREYER: And the reason there was adoption. But that doesn't apply to California. So imagine I wall off California, and I'm looking just there, where you say that doesn't apply. Now, what happens to your argument -- about the institution of marriage as a tool towards procreation? Given the fact that in California too, couples that aren't gay but can't have children get married all the time?
  • COOPER: Yes, Your Honor. The concern is that redefining marriage as a genderless institution will sever its abiding connection to its historic, traditional procreative purposes. And it will re-focus, re-focus the purpose of marriage a-and the definition of marriage away from the, uh, uh, raising of children and to the emotional needs and desires of adults, of adult couples.
  • (Crosstalk.)
  • KAGAN: Well, suppose a State said, "Because we think that the focus of marriage really should be on procreation, we're not going to give marriage licenses any more to any couple where both people are over the age of 55." Would that be constitutional?
  • COOPER: No, Your Honor. It would not be constitutional.
  • KAGAN: Because that's the same State interest, I would think. You know? If you're over the age of 55, you don't help us serve the government's interest in protecting procreation through marriage. So why is that different?
  • COOPER: You, you, Your Honor, even with respect to couples over the age of 55, it is very rare that both couples -- both parties to the couple -- are infertile.
  • (Laughter from the gallery.)
  • KAGAN (interjecting): No really, because the couple -- I can just assure you if both the woman and the man are over the age of 55, there are not a lot of children coming out of that marriage.
  • (More laughter.)