Bad Things Happen When Lawyers Stop Representing Clients, and Start Representing Causes – John Blaha Ordered to Pay Rightscorp Attorney’s Fees

May 10, 2015

An interesting development in the world of copyright litigation, as rights holders secured a major victory in California on Friday. A court has ordered Morgan Pietz’s client in John Blaha v. Rightscorp to pay attorney’s fees due to a successful anti-SLAPP motion filed by the defendants. It raises ethical issues about using clients to try and further an anti-copyright law agenda, and drum up business.

A little bit of background…

Rightscorp is an anti-piracy corporation. It monitors BitTorrent usage, and then sends out notices to pirates who are stealing and distributing copyrighted content. From there, the company requests that pirates stop stealing the content, and pay the rights holder a reasonable fee of about $20. In this instance, Rightscorp was contacting people who stole and distributed films like The Shawshank Redemption and The Lord of The Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, two of my favorite movies. Notably, Lord of the Rings is available on for $9.99, and Shawshank Redemption is available for the same price. If you’re that hard up for cash but really want to watch the movies, you can even rent them for a whopping $2.99.

Surprisingly, people routinely steal movies using BitTorrent, even though they are available for immediate purchase on Amazon and iTunes. People on the internet say it’s unfair when they get caught and sent a notice from Rightscorp, or sued. Of course, if you were caught stealing the same movie in Target, you would be arrested, prosecuted, forced to spend a lot of money on lawyer fees and restitution, and then at the end of the day you would have a criminal record for the rest of your life. So in the grand scheme of things, Rightscorp’s approach seems pretty reasonable.

Read the rest of this entry »

Differentiating Attorney Advertising and Blogging – The California Bar Thinks People Are Too Stupid to Use the Internet

February 25, 2015


I’m an attorney. I have a blog. What do I write about? Whatever I feel like writing about. Sometimes I write about cats. Sometimes I write about cheesesteaks. Sometimes I write about law stuff. I don’t wake up in the morning and say “I should write an article about such and such topic because it will generate more clients.”

Do I get clients from writing this blog? Indirectly. I get very few calls that go like this:

“Hey, I read that post about cheesesteaks on Philly Law Blog.”
“Oh yeah? Did you like it?”
“Yeah, it was great! By the way, my son got sick from a cheesesteak and we need someone to represent us. Clearly, you are a cheesesteak lawyer and an expert in your field. I also hear you like cats. Can you help us?”

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Why I Hope You Get Sued For Copyright Infringement – A Response to the EFF on Maximum Statutory Damages

February 23, 2015

It’s Monday morning. Time to get pumped for the day. I click on my Pandora icon and a song comes on. I love Pandora One. It costs me about $50 a year, but I can stream music all day. At the gym, my living room, anywhere.

This song sounds good… Geometer by Slidecamp. Never heard of these guys before, but I can dig it. Let’s see if they’re on iTunes. Awesome. The entire album is available for exactly $7.92. That’s about two cups of coffee. I’ll bite.

BOOM – now the entire album is now on my iPad, my iPod, and my computer. I can listen to the song I want on repeat. Sweet. Gonna be a good day at the gym today.

For a second, I can’t help but think back to when I was a kid. There were two ways to listen to music – tapes and CDs. CDs sounded better, but you couldn’t take them into the gym because it skips. So you had to use tapes for any type of workout, and then listen to CDs in your house. After awhile, the CDs would get banged up, scratched, and useless. I think I bought Pearl Jam – Ten about ten times. To get a CD, you had to drive to Sam Goody and buy the entire album when all you wanted was one song. My bedroom had CDs spewed all over the place at any given time. And damn, I left my tape player on the bus again. Hopefully Ms. Gomez found it. It’s got my Green Day tape in there.

My how things have changed since then. Now any content I want is available at the click of a finger through Amazon, iTunes, or often directly from the producer’s website. It’s backed up in the cloud. MP3s don’t skip, and all the music goes to all your devices. And it gets better – movies, software, games, you name it, available in one click. No more braving the mall, no more Sam Goody, no more Electronics Boutique. Everything you want is available right here, right now, and for a fraction of what it used to cost. and if I break my computer I just buy a new one and all my music is back.

Welcome to the new millennium.

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The Break Up

January 29, 2015

tombstoneIt was a good run.

But ultimately, Jordan and I have decided our practices are taking us in different directions.

So after much discussion, a bit of Sarah McLachlan, a few boxes of tissues, some Crossfit (I hated it), and a brief custody dispute over our awesome furniture, Jordan and I decided to part ways effective Jan 1, 2015.

I’m continuing with a new entity, “Mulvihill LLC”, where I’m going to keep doing what I do, namely, defend my clients and be a thorn in the side of prosecutors (by the way, got another Not Guilty verdict today).

Jordan’s continuing to practice as “A. Jordan Rushie, Attorney at Law“, where he’s going to keep doing whatever it is he does (namely, wiping the floor with opposing counsel in poorly considered lawsuits against his clients. See, e.g. this).

But don’t cry for us, blawgosphere, as we both are going to continue to write here for PhillyLawBlog and be general pains in the ass. We still have a lot to say, whether you want to hear it or not. Don’t be strangers.

Hugs and Kisses. XOXO,

-Leo & Jordan

A Tale of Honey and Vinegar

January 9, 2015
Oh I'm just a little black rain cloud…

Oh, I’m just a little black rain cloud…

It was 11.30 am. I was standing behind defense table, arguing to have my client’s case dismissed.

I was also really pissed off. You see, I’d been waiting in court for the DA to be ready to put on their preliminary hearing.

Around 8.30 that morning, while the Court staff statused the cases for the day,  the District Attorney said “Your Honor, I have good contact with my witness, and they are on their way in”.

“Ok”, said the judge. “Witness hold”. She turned to me “Counsel, please come back at 10 for a status of witness”.

“Of Course, Your Honor” I said. The witness already hadn’t shown twice, and the case was marked “Must-be-Tried Commonwealth”—e.g., if the witness didn’t show up, the case would be dismissed. My client had been arrested five months prior and had been sitting in custody ever since on $100,000.00 bail. He was anxious to get out. I was anxious to get him out. I wanted to get this case over with. “I’ll be back around 10.00 Your Honor, thank you”, I said before I left the courtroom, off to the number of other courtrooms that commanded my attention that morning.

That was three hours ago. I’d taken care of my other cases in my other rooms, and I had been waiting since 10 for the District Attorney to come back. He’d walked in the room at 11.29.

The first words out of his mouth: “Your Honor, my witness can’t make it in today”.

Perfect. Read the rest of this entry »

Planet Fitness for Lawyers

January 7, 2015
I judge the way they spell "judgment".

I judge the way they spell “judgment”.

I just got back from my workout at Planet Fitness and I feel great.

I’ve been going for about 6 months regularly now, and I’ve dropped excess weight, toned my muscles, and have shaved my 5k down to just over 20 minutes. Not too shabby.

A disclaimer.

I don’t do Crossfit. I’m not paleo. I am lactose intolerant, but I can keep that under control with Lactaid.

Otherwise, I drink and eat whatever I want, in moderation, though my diet is admittedly heavy in rice, beans, and vegetables. When I go to brunch, you can be sure as shit I’m ordering Eggs Benedict or something else with hollandaise along with my Bloody Maria. Delicious. Read the rest of this entry »

Crossfit for Lawyers

January 4, 2015


It was mid-2013. I ran into a friend of mine who I hadn’t seen in awhile. Except now he was all jacked.

“Dude, don’t take this the wrong way, but you look amazing…” I said to my buddy Ryan. “What have you been doing?” Ryan was once a little bit chubby and not muscular. Now he looked like an action hero.

“Crossfit” he replied, grinning.

“I’ve heard about that. Seems cool. But don’t you need to be super jacked to do that stuff? I can’t even do a pullup.”

“No. Not at all. Just try it out and see if you like it. The workouts are scalable, so anyone can do it. Not well, but you’ll get into shape fast if you stick with it. I was super out of shape when I started. You remember…”

“But isn’t Crossfit just some stupid fad like Zoomba or Tae Boe?” I asked.

“No. Basically, they play the music real loud, you just do what the coaches tell you, and if you do it a few times a week you’ll get in good shape. It’s a mix of cardio and heavy weight lifting. Fun as hell, sort of like playing outside with your friends. Some of the dudes at my gym even compete and get real serious about it. I’ve seen some guy lift over like 300lbs. I’m working to get there…” he said. “You can take it as far as you want to go.”

“…are you trying to get me to join a cult?” I asked skeptically.

“Nah. But you’ll definitely meet some cool people, and the girls are all hot. I met my girlfriend there, and picked up some decent clients. Call it whatever you want, but it’s the best money I spend all month.”

Hmmmm…. I could just give it a try to shut him up, I guess…

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