New York Times threatens to sue publisher of an art book critical of the paper's war coverage

war-is-beautiful

The critically acclaimed War Is Beautiful: The New York Times Pictorial Guide to the Glamour of Armed Conflict examines the ways in which the newspaper happily propagated the Bush Administration's lies about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq that resulted in a senseless war that hurt millions of people and immensely enriched Halliburton, Blackwater, the Carlyle Group and other companies with close ties to the Bush and the Cheney families.

As Ben Collins of the Daily Beast writes, "The book makes an artful, journalistic point: Photography on the front page of the paper of record depicted the conflict in rosy, gorgeous, cinematic ways, like the first scene in Apocalypse Now." And the book's author, David Shields bought the rights to use all the photos in the book. Why then, is the The New York Times suing the publisher for $19,000? Because the inside back cover of the book is decorated with 64 thumbnail photos from the front pages of the NYT.

“We didn’t expect we’d have a First Amendment fight,” Daniel Power, owner of Powerhouse Books told The Daily Beast. “Plus, we licensed the damn images and compensated these photographers for their work.”

Now, the paper contends, they’re just trying to collect an invoice for $19,000, even though this is almost definitively a textbook case of fair use. Thumbnails of copyrighted materials were protected speech, dating back to a very specific case just like this one about Grateful Dead posters ten years ago.

“Licensing content is not ‘quelling speech,’” said Rhoades Ha.

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Wolf of Wall Street production assistants say they were forced to pee in bottles, sue studio

wolf_a

Four production assistants are suing Paramount because they say the studio did not pay them minimum wage, forced them to work "round-the-clock," and didn't provide a toilet during the shooting of big budget movies like Wolf of Wall Street, so they had to use bottles instead.

From Los Angeles Times:

The workers acted as parking production assistants to keep filming sites clear of pedestrians and cars, and to protect the production vehicles and equipment on set, according to the suit.

Paramount and the other defendants paid the workers $140 to $160 for each 12-hour shift, the suit says. However, the plaintiffs routinely worked 60 to 100 hours a week without receiving overtime compensation, according to the complaint.

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Gentleman is suing a lot of people because a 16-pound pine cone fell on his head

bunya

A 16-pound pine cone fell on Sean Mace's head in San Francisco, and crushed his skull.

He is suing the U.S. government, the National Park Service, the Department of the Interior, and the San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park for $5 million.

(Image: Rodmunch99/Wikimedia. Bunya cone from Cumberland State Forest, Sydney, NSW, Australia on 28th January 2012)

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Monster Cable founder sad about getting $0 from Apple's $3 billion purchase of Beats By Dr. Dre

famous-monsters

Noel Lee says he invented the headphones that are marketed by Beats by Dr. Dre. In May 2014, Apple paid $3 billion to buy Beats by Dr. Dre.

Dr. Dre and music producer Jimmy Iovine got most of the proceeds of the sale and Lee got $0

. Now Lee is suing for at least $150 million. Lee is the founder of Monster Cable, a company with an obnoxious reputation for threatening to sue any company that uses the word "Monster." I can't help feeling a bit of schadenfreude towards Lee, who has made many people miserable by hitting them with time- and money-wasting legal threats. Read the rest

Toy company that made beads coated with date-rape drug loses lawsuit

aquadots

In 2007 a 16-month-old toddler swallowed candy-colored Aqua Dots beads and lapsed into a coma. It turned out the beads were manufactured with a coating that dissolves into GHB, an illegal drug in many countries. The child's family sued the companies that designed distributed the toys, and was awarded $435,000.

Spin Master and Moose’s lawyers blamed a Chinese company that made the toy on an outsource basis for secretly spraying the beads with a chemical that metabolizes into GHB. That Hong Kong-based manufacturer wasn’t named as a defendant in the case because it doesn’t do business in the U.S.

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Anti-gadget flight attendants lose in court

crash

A lawsuit, filed by the Association of Flight Attendants claiming that the Federal Aviation Administration acted improperly in allowing passengers to use gadgets during takeoff and landing, was killed by a DC appeals court.

If it seems odd that flight attendants would hate passenger-mollifying entertainment boxes, Ars Technica's Cyrus Farivar explains that it was really about how much leeway the FAA has to change fight rules without consultation. From the AFA's filing:

"When an agency proposes a controversial change in a rule that affects public safety, it must be made through the proper rule-making process, with the opportunity for public notice and comment. In this instance, Respondent circumvented the rule-making process and in doing so, failed to provide clear policyor guidance for securing and stowing [personal electronic devices] and failed to provide a study showing that PEDs held in hand or held in a seat back pocket would remain secure." Read the rest

More in US die from prescription narcotics than car crashes, guns, suicide

More than 100 Americans die each day from prescription drug overdoses, mostly painkillers. That's more daily deaths than from car accidents, gunshot wounds, or suicides. In California, two county District Attorneys are suing five of the biggest drug companies in the world, and the lawsuits include the same kind of arguments once used against big tobacco industry, demanding "public protection."

Warren Olney's "To the Point" radio show has a segment on the topic today:

The companies are accused of a "campaign of deception" to persuade doctors that narcotic painkillers are safer than they really are. But the narcotic painkillers involved have been approved by the FDA. Is a government agency helping create a "population of addicts?" What's the role of physicians who write the prescriptions? Are they ill-informed, poorly trained or trying to make money?
More on the case at advocacy group harmreduction.org, and there's a Los Angeles Times writeup here. Read the rest

Police sued after horse drools on protestor

So goes the story, as Australia's tabloids have it, in their outrage-fueled denunciation of a frivolous lawsuit. Turns out, though, that the horse also crushed the guy's foot and kept him out of work for six weeks. How about that! [Adelaide Now] Read the rest

Three Friends, a Breakdown, and a Lawsuit

Two and a half years ago, James Siddle moved to London for a new job; in two weeks time, he'll be moving out to a small town in the country, defeated.