December 2008

Creative Commons Celebrates Its Sixth Anniversary

by Lee Gesmer on December 20, 2008

Creative Commons Celebrates Its Sixth Anniversary

My partners Andy Updegrove, Peter Moldave and I attended this celebration of the sixth anniversary of Creative Commons at Harvard the evening of Friday, December 13, 2008. We could have waited a few days and watched the event on YouTube, but then we would have missed the cold weather, the greatest ice storm in modern Massachusetts history, the difficult parking and, well ….

It was actually a great deal of fun, and looking around the room at the 150 or so people that attended there appeared to be relatively few lawyers, a fact that made us feel superior, as if we were really part of the Harvard cognoscenti, which of course we aren’t. (How could we tell there weren’t many lawyers there? – the number of people who had that useless, predatory look common to lawyers was minimal.)

Speakers were: Jonathan Zittrain, moderator, panelists James Boyle, Lawrence Lessig and Molly S.Read the full article

Really Judge Murphy. Really !?!

by Lee Gesmer on December 19, 2008

Really Judge Murphy. Really !?!

Massachusetts Superior Court Judge Ernest Murphy won a $2 million libel verdict against the Boston Herald after the Herald incorrectly reported that he had said that a 14 year old female rape victim should “get over it.”

Fair enough, but that was not the end of the story. The Herald appealed (ultimately losing), but during the appeal Judge Murphy sent two letters to Patrick J. Purcell, owner and publisher of the Herald, which led to today’s SJC decision publically reprimanding Judge Murphy for this incident.

Here are quotes from the letters, taken from the SJC reprimand. The letters proposed a meeting between Judge Murphy and Patrick Purcell, were hand-written on Superior Court stationery, and proposed a luncheon meeting between Murphy, Purcell and (presumably) the Herald’s insurer. The letter went on to tell Purcell –

to “have one person … at the meeting…. Under NO circumstances should you involve [counsel in the lawsuit] in this meeting….

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The Ten Weirdest Cases of 2008

by Lee Gesmer on December 18, 2008

Courtesy of the London Times online.

Here is number 1, which I assume even under the English version of “top ten” lists is the “winner.” –

What’s in a name? A nine-year-old girl involved in a custody hearing in New Zealand drew international attention for her name: “Talula Does The Hula From Hawaii”. The judge decided that the name was a form of abuse and ordered the girl placed under the guardianship of the court. The judge noted that it was part of a wider phenomenon; other eccentric names given to children in New Zealand in recent times included “Number 16 Bus Shelter” and, for twins, “Benson” and “Hedges” and “Fish” and “Chips”.

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Sarah Richmond's Advice to Start-Up Companies

by Lee Gesmer on December 13, 2008

My partner Sarah Richmond has published an article in the December 12, 2008 issue of Mass High Tech titled Startup Founders: Success Requires Risk and Sacrifice

In this time of economic uncertainty, what can a founder of a startup do to increase his chances of attracting an outside investment and maximize the likelihood of his ultimate financial success? The answer may be counterintuitive: founders should not try to “hedge” their commitment to their new business in an effort to minimize downside risk. Without the founders taking on some risk, making sacrifices and giving an unfettered commitment to their startup, they will have a much harder time attracting investors and achieving their ultimate goals. Continue reading ….

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