Las Tortugas

1.  slow-moving reptiles, enclosed in scaly or leathery domed shells into which they often retract their heads and legs.
2.  slow-moving mammals who sleep until noon and bathe infrequently, but who turtalised Sirius XM in Ca. District Court.

Here is a picture of each in their native environment:

Turtle          Musician

When you hear a song played on radio, you are hearing two copyrights: one for the composition, another for the recording of the composition. The latter is the sound recording copyright, and sound recordings created since 1972 are protected by federal copyright law.

The Turtles were a band with hits prior to 1972, most notably “Happy Together.”  Sirius has broadcast these sound recordings for years without paying royalties to the Turtles. Sirius claimed that no copyright arose for a pre-1972 sound recording, and no state law to the contrary trumped the federal statute.

So, the Turtles pulled an end-around and sued Sirius  in a California state court. After removal to the U.S. District Court, the Turtles were awarded summary judgment. The Court found that Sirius violated the public performance right for the sound recordings under California law. Whether Sirius unlawfully reproduced the sound recordings was left for the trier of fact.

This could start of a tidal wave of litigation. Here’s the opinion: Flo & Eddie v. Sirius XM.


If You Build It…….(update)

The Nashville Sounds signed an affiliation deal last week with the Oakland Athletics. Billyball, baby!

Meanwhile, work on the new stadium continues—here are some pix from a recent Sunday morning bike wreck  ride:


I then rode over to LP Field to visit tailgaters drinking beer celebrating (at 8:00 a.m.) before the Titans-Cowboys game. This guy is from Bowling Green and arrives at the crack of dawn to build his shrine:


Picture of the Shelby Street Pedestrian Bridge. A Nashville classic; the city only had to build it twice:


And finally, public art that Sister Randy (google her) needs to comment upon:


Diver Down


Diver Down:
1.     A red and white flag that alerts vessels of a nearby submerged scuba diver.
2.    1982 album by America’s greatest rock band, Van Halen.

The only thing that would have made the Van Halen album better is if Sammy Hagar had sung on it.  Greatest rock singer ever; don’t EVEN argue with me. And no, I am not a narc.

But Sammy has his own Diver Down problems right now. Seems he had a tryst in the 80’s with a Playboy Bunny who allegedly became pregnant. Hagar entered a contract to pay the mother’s expenses in exchange for her silence (he was married at the time). The child allegedly died shortly after birth.

Move forward 30 years and 50 million albums sold. Sammy publishes his autobiography, Red, and writes that his 80’s baby-mama was a liar, was never pregnant, and extorted him. Ouch.

Those statements do not sit well with mother and she files suit in Iowa for numerous claims including defamation and breach of contract. The trial court granted Sammy summary judgment on all of them–clearly agreeing with me that Sammy is the greatest rock singer of all time. No reasonable juror could think otherwise.

Just when Sammy crossed the Iowa-Nebraska border going slightly faster than 55, the Iowa Court of Appeals slammed on the brakes. Sammy’s summary judgment is (for the most part) reversed, and it looks like the entire ugly drama will be a question of fact for an Iowa jury. Despite my Sammy man-crush, I think the Court got it right.

The appellate opinion is short, readable, and has a nice discussion of Iowa defamation law. Jane Doe v. Hagar.

Last Year at Greer

The Nashville Sounds have played their home games at Greer Stadium since 1978. Tonight is the final home game; the Sounds will begin playing at their new stadium next season.

Greer was built due to the efforts of a colorful Nashvillian, Larry Schmittou, and several country music personalities. It has an odd personality—kind of a dump, but OUR dump. It is in a weird part of town and is not easy to find ifn’s you ain’t from round here!

My wife and I attended a game recently, and it began pouring rain 15 minutes before the first pitch. The game was rescheduled for the following night.

Here’s a picture of the rain:


And, of course, the concession area flooded:


But, it gave the employees a chance to play with squeegees:


The next night, this guy was not too impressed:


But this little fellow was:


Goodnight, Greer.


When Pigs Fly


Translation: remanded to state court.

Law Judge

The jurisdiction of federal courts is limited. Do not handwrite “Other-Divorce” on the civil cover sheet unless you want  Judge Iamcranky to split your Wright & Miller with one bash of his federal gavel. Instead, make sure either diversity jurisdiction or a federal question exists before teeing up that complaint in U.S. District Court.

FlyingPigs LLC  v. RRAJ Franchising LLC is an interesting 4th Circuit case decided recently involving bankruptcy, trademark law, and federal question jurisdiction. Here are a few points discussed in the opinion:

  • The Lanham Act does not confer federal jurisdiction if the dispute is ownership of a trademark, not infringement;
  • A judgment creditor may attach an equitable lien upon a debtor’s federal trademarks in state court to collect a judgment; and
  • A federal court may only examine the complaint (and ignore defenses) when deciding whether a federal question arises under the U.S. Constitution, laws, or treaties.

Read the order here–it is only 4 pages and is a nice refresher for those who do not visit Judge Iamcranky frequently.

Make a federal case

1. A matter that falls within the jurisdiction of a federal court.
2. To exaggerate the importance of something trivial.