Boing Boing 

One weird legal trick that makes patent trolls cry

The Judicial Conference of the US has approved the elimination of Rule 84, a court procedure designed to help small patent-holders streamline their lawsuits, but which has been weaponized by patent trolls, who use it to indiscriminately file lawsuits on a mass scale in the hopes of bullying quick settlements out of their victims.

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Buzz Lightyear cited in legal brief


From a motion related to the Speedy Trial Act: "The government cannot simply fail or refuse to respond to a motion and toll the Act 'to infinity and beyond.'"

BC Pastafarian fights for right to wear colander in Driver's License photo

Obi Canuel is an ordained Pastafarian minister from British Columbia who's fighting for the right to wear his religious headgear -- a pasta colander -- in his driver's license photo.

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Larry "Wide Stance" Craig busted (again)

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The former conservative GOP senator from Idaho illegally used his campaign funds to defend himself on charges of soliciting sex in a men's toilet in the Minneapolis airport.

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CEO of stalkerware company arrested

Hammad Akbar, a Pakistani national and CEO of Invocode, marketers of Stealthgenie, was arrested in LA on Saturday and charged with a variety of offenses related to making, marketing and selling "interception devices."

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Roca Labs threatens suit against customers who helped website it is also suing


Roca makes a dubious weight-loss product whose fine-print makes you promise not to complain, and the customers were cited by Pissedconsumer.com, whom Roca is suing for providing a place where dissatisfied customers could air their grievances.

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US Forestry Service wages war on photography in national forests


The new, stupid ban on "professional" photography violates the First Amendment, the Service admits that there's no actual need for it, and it will undermine the visibility of the national forests at a time when they are under unprecedented threat from developers, the energy sector, and mining.

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Weight-loss company sues customer for posting negative review to Better Business Bureau

Roca Labs makes the "Non Surgical Gastric Bypass" (which one expert says is mostly industrial food thickeners) with terms-of-sale that prohibit complaining if you get sick, or don't like the product, or feel like you were ripped off.

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Arrestee eats through patrol car seat

An Idaho resident collared on felony charges managed to chew through the seat of a police car while en route to the county jail. Combative during her arrest, Staci Anne Spence allegedly caused $2,127 worth of damage to the vehicle.

Here's Keith Kinnaird of the Bonner County Daily Bee:

While being taken into custody, she allegedly pulled away from the two deputies who were holding her arms and kicked a third deputy before being subdued. She was put in leg restraints and placed on her stomach in the back of a deputy’s sport utility vehicle.

Upon arriving at the Bonner County Jail, deputies discovered that Spence had chewed through the seat’s upholstery and into the foam cushioning, the affidavit said. Replacing the Chevrolet Tahoe’s seat was estimated at more than $2,000.

An allegedly combative Spence was arrested by Sandpoint Police in July for battery at the Panida Theater. A police report said Spence produced a beer after she was put in the back of the patrol vehicle and consumed it en route to the jail.

Bill to ban terms of service that say you're not allowed to complain

Introduced by Eric Swalwell (D-CA), the draft Consumer Review Freedom Act bans the "un-American" practice of making people agree not to complain as a condition of using websites.

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Secret Law is Not Law

The Electronic Frontier Foundation's Cindy Cohn is on fire: "Let’s be clear: Under international human rights law, secret “law” doesn’t even qualify as 'law' at all."

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Not one Republican Senator voted for campaign finance reform


The entire GOP Senate caucus voted against Tom Udall's proposed Constitutional amendment that would have allowed states to set rules limiting campaign contributions, overturning the notorious Citizens United Supreme Court decision that found that money was a form of protected speech.

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Dietary supplement company sues website for providing a forum for dissatisfied customers

Roca Labs sells dubious snake-oil like a "Gastric Bypass Alternative," and their terms of service forbid their customers from ever complaining; they say that Pissedconsumer.com committed "tortious interference" by providing a place where disgruntled buyers could air their grievances.

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Being physically unable to commit a crime is no defense against a system that has been fine tuned for prosecution

Techdirt's Tim Cushing highlights some of the more Kafkaesque moments in modern American justice -- handcuffed men who shoot themselves in the back, men who are arraigned for crimes they allegedly committed while in jail, and comes to this conclusion:

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Keurig's K-Cup coffee DRM cracked


When they unveiled the stupid idea of locking out competitors' coffee-pods, I predicted this would happen, and I still wonder if Keurig will be dumb enough to bring a test-case that makes some good law; after all, they are a good candidate for Battle Station Most Likely to Have a Convenient Thermal Exhaust Port.

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Customer fined $250 for complaining, told "You are playing games with the wrong people"

Public Citizen is helping Cindy Cox sue Accessory Outlet for charging her $250 when she complained that an Iphone case hadn't shipped when promised; the company's rep told her that he'd fine her even more for emailing him to protest, adding an ominous "You are playing games with the wrong people and have made a very bad mistake."

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Dashcam nails cops who beat man while shouting "Stop resisting arrest"

Two cops from Bloomfield, NJ's police department have been indicted, and another plead guilty after a suppressed dashcam video showed them beating a man who was facing years in prison for "resisting arrest" (the DA dropped his charges right away).

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Twelve triple three: Secret history of Reagan's exec order that spawned mass surveillance


Ronald Reagan issued Executive Order 12333 in 1981, reversing the Carter and Ford reforms of government surveillance (sparked by the Church Commission, convened in the wake of Nixon's wiretapping scandal); GWB expanded it twice more, once during each term.

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Open Intellectual Property Casebook: free, superior alternative to $160 textbook


James Boyle and Jennifer Jenkins, eminent copyright scholars at the Duke Center for the Public Domain, have released their 788-page Open Intellectual Property Casebook as a free, open, CC-licensed download, replacing textbooks that normally sell for $160 (you can get a hardcopy is $24); it's not just a cheaper alternative, either -- it's a better one, enlivened with sprightly writing, excellent illustrations (including comics in the vein of Boyle and Jenkins's Bound By Law).

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As Office of US Courts withdraws records for five top benches, can we make them open?


Rogue archivist Carl Malamud writes, "The Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts has announced that they are removing the archives for 5 important courts from their infamous PACER system. PACER is the ten-cent-per-page access to U.S. District and Appeals courts dockets and opinions."

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Republican FCC commish defends states' rights to ban municipal ISPs


Ajit Pai's chief of staff says that the FCC shouldn't allow cities to set up public ISPs where state law prohibits it, even when no other broadband is available, and warns Democratic commissioners that they shouldn't do things that future Republican administrations might object to.

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Ferguson's "free speech zone" is a padlocked no-man's-land


Man arrested for briefly failing to keep moving #Ferguson/Jon Swaine/@jonswaine

The ACLU was denied an emergency injunction against Ferguson's cops' illegal "no standing on the sidewalk" rule because Ferguson promised to erect a "free speech zone," but the only thing on that site is a fenced-off, locked-up pen that no one is allowed to use.

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Fictional products don't violate trademark laws


The makers of Clean Slate, a drive-wiping program, sued Warner over a fictional product with the same name in The Dark Knight Rises; the judge quite sensibly told them that trademark protects you from unfair competition -- it doesn't let you own words.

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NYPD arrest NY gubernatorial challenger for videoing street-arrest

Randy Credico is challenging Cuomo in the primary; so much for the NYPD's vaunted stop arresting photographers memo.

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EFF guide to cell phone use for US protesters

It's a timely update to their 2011 edition, incorporating new Supreme Court precedents that give additional protection to protesters who face arrest while video-recording or otherwise documenting protests -- required reading in a world of #Ferguson.

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Brooklyn Law Clinic students scare away patent trolls

The school's clinic is run like a law office and offers free counsel based both on need and on the interestingness of the cases for law students.

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EU wants Google to extend "right to be forgotten" to global users


Right now, Google blocks "forgotten" articles on EU versions of its site.

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Comcast retention rep's network boasts expose company to liability

When the Comcast Rep From Hell insisted that Comcast had the "fastest network in the USA," he was speaking on behalf of the company -- and it was a lie.

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Fewer than 10% of UK families opt into "parental" filters

But they're going to be on-by-default, opt-out-only in the near future anyway, because the Great Firewall of Cameron is based on lazy populism, not evidence.

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Ocala, FL criminalizes sagging pants

If you're on city property and your pants hang more than 2" below your "natural waistline," you face a $500 fine, and for repeat offenders, jail.

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