This past month, Governor Schwarzenegger signed SB94 into law, which criminalizes certain behavior involved in performing loan modifications. The bill is aimed at loan mod scam artists. However, some attorney groups are concerned, because the bill may be overly broad, in criminalizing the acceptance of up-front fees. While this provision is sound as against non-attorneys, it nevertheless punishes attorneys, who do take money up front but are already required both by the law and by the California State Bar to maintain the money in a client trust account known as an IOLTA. This practice protects the lawyer from free-loading clients, and protects clients from lawyers who might otherwise take the money and run.
Thursday, October 29, 2009
In these tight economic times (and sometimes even before), everyone's trying to milk everything for more money. The American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers brought a case trying to get royalties whenever a cell phone went off, on the argument that ring tones are protected works of art, and that when they ring, particularly in public, they are a "public performance" within the meaning of the Copyright Act.
They lost that argument this month. The trial court ruled that "when a ringtone plays on a cellular telephone, even when that occurs in public, the user is exempt from copyright liability, and [the cellular carrier] is not liable either secondarily or directly." The Electronic Frontier Foundation has more.