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A class of 10 students at Indiana University Maurer School of Law - Bloomington has been getting hands-on experience helping an intellectual property lawyer who works with musicians, actors, and other entertainers on contract and intellectual property issues.

"Intellectual Property Practicum: Legal Aspects of the Music Industry," is a capstone course for students with an interest in practicing intellectual property and entertainment law.

"There's an underpinning of intellectual property law in most everything in this class, and it's tied to popular culture, it's tied to music," said Indianapolis attorney Robert Meitus, who teaches the course.

"The students listen to music and watch TV and read books," he said. "So when they listen to the songs we're working on, or see a TV show a client is on, it's quite remarkable to have those opportunities to bring the law to life. A contract dealing with an actress on a primetime TV show is a much more effective teaching tool than a casebook might be about a principle out of a 19th century case."

The course started as an idea from an Internet law course Meitus taught in 2002, prior to teaching the practicum, during which students worked with him on a domain-name dispute involving pool champion Jeanette Lee, also known as "The Black Widow."

In that case, Lee, a resident of Indianapolis, asked for help with the issue and he suggested he could take her case pro bono if she would let him have students help; she agreed.

After Lee's registration of jeanettelee. com lapsed, someone in Armenia registered the site, according to a decision posted on the National Arbitration Forum's Web site, www.adrforum.com.

The entity that owned jeanettelee.com was using the site not to promote her, but to sell goods and services that were not relevant to Lee.

Ultimately, the students and Meitus helped Lee win the arbitration because she met the criteria of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers' policy regarding domain-name disputes.

"The students really reacted to working on a live legal dispute, a matter that was real as opposed to in a book," he said. "We go back and use that decision in work that we do in cases that are similar to that one."

Domain-name disputes and other types of cases the students work on have come through his firm, Meitus Gelbert & Rose, and through the Creative Arts Legal League, a low or nofee referral service for artists and musicians who need legal help.

Working with a number of musicians and entertainers also lets him choose and assign many smaller assignments. That way, students get the experience and will likely see some kind of result while they are still in the class and not months or years later, he said.

"Our practice allows the students to work on a variety of high-profile cases," he said. "If they're not actually doing the work, we have some where they're shadowing attorneys as clerks would."

In those cases, the reason is generally because the firm isn't representing the client pro bono, but the client must still give permission for students to shadow.

"Most lawyers have to deal with contracts ... but the students have never looked at a real legal contract so much as studied the concepts of contract law," he said. "Just looking at even boilerplate clauses and talking about why certain jurisdiction or venue clauses are important, warranties of representations and how they work, tends to be well received by the students."

While Meitus said most of what the students work on is confidential, he could say the students have been working on a contract for a music producer who is "a very real, well-known artist ... on a major label." Another client is "an actress on a major network television show. There was a contract with a management company that fell apart."

Students are also researching a copyright infringement case involving a song.

"Our client is the potential plaintiff alleging the infringement," he said. "The students get to listen to the music and decide whether it's substantially similar under the law. They get to think strategically about how to solve that, whether to file suit, and of course you'd try to negotiate a settlement beforehand if possible."

"This class presents unique challenges that other classes don't," Josh Radicke, a 2L in the class, said via e-mail. "While we do have a less strict format, we also have more responsibility. If you fail to prepare for a normal class or forget an assignment, you're going to be embarrassed or you're going to hurt your grade. In this class, if you fail to do something that you're supposed to, you're going to hurt not only yourself and possibly your grade, but you're going to fail your client and your fellow students who are working with you on a project."

Meitus added that confidentiality is first and foremost with the students.

"I tell my students if they ever want to talk about the cases, they need to have a reunion or call me," he said.

"I'm sure you can imagine the 'juicy' information that passes through an entertainment lawyer's office; a lot of it sounds like something from TMZ," Radicke said.

"There's a strong impulse to want to share information with friends and family about the goings on of famous clients, but confidentiality is ... perhaps the most important part of practicing law. A normal class can't prepare you in the same way this one does to be a mature professional who carefully keeps confidentiality and abides by our standards and ethical code," he added.

As tough as confidentiality might be, Meitus said some former students have used the class to get careers in entertainment law, including former students who've landed at Paramount Pictures and Sony/BMG.

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  1. I have been on this program while on parole from 2011-2013. No person should be forced mentally to share private details of their personal life with total strangers. Also giving permission for a mental therapist to report to your parole agent that your not participating in group therapy because you don't have the financial mean to be in the group therapy. I was personally singled out and sent back three times for not having money and also sent back within the six month when you aren't to be sent according to state law. I will work to het this INSOMM's removed from this state. I also had twelve or thirteen parole agents with a fifteen month period. Thanks for your time.

  2. Our nation produces very few jurists of the caliber of Justice DOUGLAS and his peers these days. Here is that great civil libertarian, who recognized government as both a blessing and, when corrupted by ideological interests, a curse: "Once the investigator has only the conscience of government as a guide, the conscience can become ‘ravenous,’ as Cromwell, bent on destroying Thomas More, said in Bolt, A Man For All Seasons (1960), p. 120. The First Amendment mirrors many episodes where men, harried and harassed by government, sought refuge in their conscience, as these lines of Thomas More show: ‘MORE: And when we stand before God, and you are sent to Paradise for doing according to your conscience, *575 and I am damned for not doing according to mine, will you come with me, for fellowship? ‘CRANMER: So those of us whose names are there are damned, Sir Thomas? ‘MORE: I don't know, Your Grace. I have no window to look into another man's conscience. I condemn no one. ‘CRANMER: Then the matter is capable of question? ‘MORE: Certainly. ‘CRANMER: But that you owe obedience to your King is not capable of question. So weigh a doubt against a certainty—and sign. ‘MORE: Some men think the Earth is round, others think it flat; it is a matter capable of question. But if it is flat, will the King's command make it round? And if it is round, will the King's command flatten it? No, I will not sign.’ Id., pp. 132—133. DOUGLAS THEN WROTE: Where government is the Big Brother,11 privacy gives way to surveillance. **909 But our commitment is otherwise. *576 By the First Amendment we have staked our security on freedom to promote a multiplicity of ideas, to associate at will with kindred spirits, and to defy governmental intrusion into these precincts" Gibson v. Florida Legislative Investigation Comm., 372 U.S. 539, 574-76, 83 S. Ct. 889, 908-09, 9 L. Ed. 2d 929 (1963) Mr. Justice DOUGLAS, concurring. I write: Happy Memorial Day to all -- God please bless our fallen who lived and died to preserve constitutional governance in our wonderful series of Republics. And God open the eyes of those government officials who denounce the constitutions of these Republics by arbitrary actions arising out capricious motives.

  3. From back in the day before secularism got a stranglehold on Hoosier jurists comes this great excerpt via Indiana federal court judge Allan Sharp, dedicated to those many Indiana government attorneys (with whom I have dealt) who count the law as a mere tool, an optional tool that is not to be used when political correctness compels a more acceptable result than merely following the path that the law directs: ALLEN SHARP, District Judge. I. In a scene following a visit by Henry VIII to the home of Sir Thomas More, playwriter Robert Bolt puts the following words into the mouths of his characters: Margaret: Father, that man's bad. MORE: There is no law against that. ROPER: There is! God's law! MORE: Then God can arrest him. ROPER: Sophistication upon sophistication! MORE: No, sheer simplicity. The law, Roper, the law. I know what's legal not what's right. And I'll stick to what's legal. ROPER: Then you set man's law above God's! MORE: No, far below; but let me draw your attention to a fact I'm not God. The currents and eddies of right and wrong, which you find such plain sailing, I can't navigate. I'm no voyager. But in the thickets of law, oh, there I'm a forester. I doubt if there's a man alive who could follow me there, thank God... ALICE: (Exasperated, pointing after Rich) While you talk, he's gone! MORE: And go he should, if he was the Devil himself, until he broke the law! ROPER: So now you'd give the Devil benefit of law! MORE: Yes. What would you do? Cut a great road through the law to get after the Devil? ROPER: I'd cut down every law in England to do that! MORE: (Roused and excited) Oh? (Advances on Roper) And when the last law was down, and the Devil turned round on you where would you hide, Roper, the laws being flat? (He leaves *1257 him) This country's planted thick with laws from coast to coast man's laws, not God's and if you cut them down and you're just the man to do it d'you really think you would stand upright in the winds that would blow then? (Quietly) Yes, I'd give the Devil benefit of law, for my own safety's sake. ROPER: I have long suspected this; this is the golden calf; the law's your god. MORE: (Wearily) Oh, Roper, you're a fool, God's my god... (Rather bitterly) But I find him rather too (Very bitterly) subtle... I don't know where he is nor what he wants. ROPER: My God wants service, to the end and unremitting; nothing else! MORE: (Dryly) Are you sure that's God! He sounds like Moloch. But indeed it may be God And whoever hunts for me, Roper, God or Devil, will find me hiding in the thickets of the law! And I'll hide my daughter with me! Not hoist her up the mainmast of your seagoing principles! They put about too nimbly! (Exit More. They all look after him). Pgs. 65-67, A MAN FOR ALL SEASONS A Play in Two Acts, Robert Bolt, Random House, New York, 1960. Linley E. Pearson, Atty. Gen. of Indiana, Indianapolis, for defendants. Childs v. Duckworth, 509 F. Supp. 1254, 1256 (N.D. Ind. 1981) aff'd, 705 F.2d 915 (7th Cir. 1983)

  4. "Meanwhile small- and mid-size firms are getting squeezed and likely will not survive unless they become a boutique firm." I've been a business attorney in small, and now mid-size firm for over 30 years, and for over 30 years legal consultants have been preaching this exact same mantra of impending doom for small and mid-sized firms -- verbatim. This claim apparently helps them gin up merger opportunities from smaller firms who become convinced that they need to become larger overnight. The claim that large corporations are interested in cost-saving and efficiency has likewise been preached for decades, and is likewise bunk. If large corporations had any real interest in saving money they wouldn't use large law firms whose rates are substantially higher than those of high-quality mid-sized firms.

  5. The family is the foundation of all human government. That is the Grand Design. Modern governments throw off this Design and make bureaucratic war against the family, as does Hollywood and cultural elitists such as third wave feminists. Since WWII we have been on a ship of fools that way, with both the elite and government and their social engineering hacks relentlessly attacking the very foundation of social order. And their success? See it in the streets of Fergusson, on the food stamp doles (mostly broken families)and in the above article. Reject the Grand Design for true social function, enter the Glorious State to manage social dysfunction. Our Brave New World will be a prison camp, and we will welcome it as the only way to manage given the anarchy without it.

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