A daily look at legal news and the business of law:
Music Publishers Sue Just in Time for Damages
LimeWire, the peer-to-peer file sharing network that was recently found liable to recording artists for massive copyright piracy, now faces an additional threat to its existence: Music publishers are suing it too, alleging the same piracy. The eight publishers involved claim they're not trying to cash in on the four years of litigation the recording artists paid for. They say they're just protecting their interests, which aren't represented in the recording artists' suit.
Maybe so, but perhaps the Recording Industry Association of America should ask them to pay some of its legal bills. For its part, LimeWire said it's in the process of remaking itself into a legal service and hopes the publishers will cooperate in that effort. Yeah -- good luck with that.
Google Being Investigated by State Attorneys General
Two state attorneys general, Lisa Madigan of Illinois and Martha Coakley of Massachusetts, are investigating Google's allegedly inadvertent collection of personal wireless data over the last three years. However, they're not alone. As Bloombergnotes, 30 attorneys general participated in a conference call on the situation just last week. Google has denied any wrongdoing in the matter, and pledged its full cooperation in the investigation. But If Madigan and Coakley find any evidence against the search giant, expect other AGs to jump in.
Courts Upset Over Foreclosing Banks' Forgeries
American Banker reports that the massive securitization and sell-off of mortgages has left paper trails for individual loans in such disarray that banks, mortgage servicers and the lawyers representing them have resorted to forging documents. Courts have apparently caught on and aren't happy. So, if you're a homeowner facing foreclosure, make sure your lawyer insists the foreclosing bank proves it really has the right to foreclose on you, even if you think it does. If the lien holder can't come up with the correct paper trail, you could save your house.
Judges Dislike Mandatory Minimums for Vice
Some two-thirds of the roughly 600 judges responsible for approximately 80% of the criminal sentences in fiscal 2008 and 2009 said they disapproved of the mandatory minimum sentences for crack, marijuana, and receipt and possession of child pornography, and believed that judges should be able to order restitution to victims in all cases, according to the National Law Journal. However, strong majorities believed the rest of the federal sentencing guidelines were appropriate.
Could Justice Stevens Decide a Case Next Year?
Senate Judiciary Committee Chair Patrick Leahy is mulling introducing a bill to let retired justices participate in decisions when a sitting justice recuses himself or herself, in order to prevent 4-4 ties. It's unclear what the bill's chances would be if it is introduced.
And in the Business of Law...
Much has been written about the failure of law schools to do right by their students or students' future employers, but law professors have not yet been targets of the ire -- until now. A column in Above the Law scolds them soundly, quoting extensively from a Washington University law professor who urges his colleagues to help lead the fight to reduce graduates' debt and tuition.