Archive for the government Category

X-Men’s Wolverine is the latest target of pirates

Posted in Breaking News, editorial, Education, entertainment, government, Law School, Legal, News, Politics with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 4, 2009 by thehiphopentertainmentlawproject

In recent weeks, the attacks of overseas ‘pirates’ has been one of the top news story on every international media source. Unfortunately, the latest victim of these vicious pirate attacks is Hollywood. X-Men Origins: Wolverine, was leaked online a month before its official release. ”It’s a serious crime and there’s no doubt it’s very disappointing – I was heartbroken by it,” says Hugh Jackman, star of the leaked movie. Jackman continues voicing his displeasure by saying, “Obviously people are seeing an unfinished film. It’s like a Ferrari without a paint job.”

Hugh Jackman’s words and displeasure did not unnoticed the perpetrators of this crime, the founders of Pirate Bay (an illegal file sharing site), are on their way to prison for copyright infringement.

For years there has been disagreement between copyright enforcement agencies, artists, legislatures, and consumers as to the root cause of copyright infringement, how to stop copyright infringement, and whether violation of U.S. Copyright Law infringement should be punished the same as any other violation of federal law.

This case does nothing to swing the pendulum to one side or another.  If anything it deepens the rift between the consumers, and the creators of intellectual property, their respective enforcement organizations, and the legal community. Peter Sunde’s (one of the founders of Pirate Bay) lawyer describes the judge’s decision to send his client to prison for copyright infringement as “a battle between the corporate world and a generation of young people who want to take part in new technology…”

Although Mr. Sunde’s lawyer’s statement may be true for some of the past cases in recent years where private individuals have been convicted for copyright infringement or because they owned the computer the copyright infringement occurred on, it is not true for this particular case.

In this case, the statement made by Sunde’s lawyer reiterating the rift between corporate America and the younger generation and using it to defend his client’s actions is a reckless statement…at best. I believe that the younger generation should be able to learn about technology and have the opportunity to advance it; however, not at the expense of the law.

Mr. Sunde’s lawyer fails to mention the doctrine ‘fair use’ in his statement. A doctrine which was created to allow the limited use of copyrighted material for scholarship or review without permission from the copyright owner. Under the doctrine of ‘fair use’ young adults or anyone for that matter who wishes to learn more about technology, and be included in the development of new technology may do so, legally.

It seems to me that Mr. Sunde along with his Pirate Bay co-founders, Fredrik Neij, Gottfrid Svartholm and Carl Lundström did not create Pirate Bay for the sole purpose of  ensuring youth inclusion in new technology, or for purposes covered under the doctrine of ‘fair use’. Instead, The Pirate Bay boasts that it is “the world’s largest Bit Torrent tracker.” It is funded by advertisements shown next to torrent listings; therefore, it is a for-profit enterprise.

More importantly, the LA Times reports that The Pirate Bay is “one of the world’s largest facilitators of illegal downloading.” The aforementioned facts do not do much to support Mr. Sunde’s lawyer’s assertion the decision to send his client and his business partners to jail is politically motivated and initiated by Corporate America. Much of this is because Mr. Sunde and his business partners are a part of Corporate America…that is the illegal members of Corporate America.

Additionally, The Pirate Bay does not publicize a mission statement of being created to include young adults in new technology. In fact, it does not state the age range of the majority of its’ members anywhere. I would think if Mr. Sunde were truly passionate about the inclusion of youth in new technology The Pirate Bay would closely monitor the age of its’ users, and ensure that the audience it is reaching is the younger generation.

The unfortunate thing about both sides’ arguments is that neither side offers a sustainable plan on how to include young adults in new technology while educating and promoting respect for the law. It is true that a large amount of online copyright infringers are members of the younger generations. However, it is my belief that the infringement arises because of a lack of education on copyright law; as opposed to the infringement being a malicious intent to illegally obtain and share copyrighted material. Therefore, I believe moving forward the focus of both sides should not be recovering lost profits and damages or the right to operate file sharing websites. Instead, the focus should be copyright law education along with the inclusion of young adults in the development of new technology.

METHOD MAN: I HAVEN’T PAID MY TAXES FOR THE LAST 7 YEARS BECAUSE I’VE BEEN CONTINUOUSLY HIGH ON WEED … AND I FORGOT!!!

Posted in Breaking News, editorial, Education, entertainment, government, hip hop, Legal, Music, News, Politics, rap with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 27, 2009 by thehiphopentertainmentlawproject

Taken from Mediatakeout.com

Add me on Twitter

March 27, 2009. MediaTakeOut.com told you a few days ago that the tax man paid a visit to rapper Method Man’s house and repo’d his brand new Lincoln Navigator. Well according to the NY rapper there’s a perfectly good explanation for what happened.

Meth claims that he would have paid the tax money … but he was consistently high for the last 5 years … and so he forgot.

Here’s what he told the NY Daily News:

“Myself, I’m a pothead … It’s no secret. Everyone knows that. I go on the road and forget everything else. Sure, [the tax department] sent letters to my house saying, ‘We need this money.’ They started sending them in 2002.

Here it is, 2009, and I never paid this s— because I don’t think like that!

I could have easily just written them a check for whatever amount, but no — I waited until they knocked on this door and were like, ‘We got your truck and we outta here,’ ”

And he continued:

I’ve found checks from 2005 that have never been opened yet. And we’re talking a significant amount of money! But I never opened [the tax department’s] letters … so this is how the tax man came to Meth’s house and took his truck. Not because I was broke! I got plenty of money!”

Sounds like a good defense to us ….

Wow….isn’t that what accountants, lawyers and business managers are for? Kids pay attention….first, drugs are bad. However, if you know that you plan on partaking in a little herbal relaxation on the regular…GET A LAWYER or a business manager! Better yet get both!!!!!!! Let this be a lesson in what NOT to do!

T.I. Upbeat As He Enters Atlanta Courtroom For Sentencing

Posted in Breaking News, editorial, Education, entertainment, government, hip hop, Legal, Music, News, Politics, rap with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 27, 2009 by thehiphopentertainmentlawproject

Tip smiles and waves to people in courtroom.

Tip

Tip

ATLANTA — It was a dreary, warm and wet morning in Atlanta as T.I. prepared for his sentencing on felony weapons charges at the Richard B. Russell Federal Courthouse Friday morning (March 27).

Shortly before 9:30 a.m., the rapper arrived at the 23rd-floor chamber, where he would appear before Judge Charles Pannell Jr. His manager, Jason Geter, was present beforehand. The sterile building was largely quiet as federal workers, lawyers and citizens slowly filed in. In the courtroom, there was a mix of teens, curious employees from the building, and the rapper’s family, including his longtime partner, Tameka “Tiny” Cottle. A hushed tone overtook the room with T.I.’s entrance. Lawyers were still entering.

T.I. was greeted warmly by his legal team. He was wearing a charcoal gray suit, dark dress shirt and matching tie. His spirits appeared up as he flashed a smile to different people as he scanned the room. Outside, a number of media outlets awaited word, just like T.I., on whether the rapper’s plea deal would be honored or not.

The rapper, who was arrested in 2007 after trying to illegally purchase firearms, had previously worked out a plea deal that significantly cut down his jail time. T.I. — who will discuss how he feels about his upcoming jail time on “T.I.’s Road to Redemption: The Reckoning,” airing Tuesday at 9 p.m. ET on MTV — made a plea deal last March that suggested if he completed 1,000 hours of community service before sentencing, paid a $100,000 fine and agreed to complete another 500 hours of community service after his time behind bars, he would be sentenced to a year and a day in prison.

The sentence is notable, according to legal experts, because of the specific length. If T.I. were to be sentenced to one year in prison, for example, he would be required to complete the entire sentence. The sentence of one year and one day could allow T.I. to be released earlier for good behavior, if warranted.

Don’t miss “T.I.’s Road to Redemption: The Reckoning,” airing Tuesday at 9 p.m. ET/PT on MTV.

Russell Simmons Rallies for Drug Sentencing Reform @livesteez.com

Posted in Breaking News, editorial, Education, entertainment, government, hip hop, Law School, Legal, Music, News, Politics, rap with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 26, 2009 by thehiphopentertainmentlawproject

Hip-hop mogul, Russell Simmons, joined hundreds of protesters outside the Manhattan office of Governor David Paterson in hopes to end the controversial Rockefeller Drug Law.

Simmons marched alongside a mass of local community organizations such as Families Rally for Emancipation and Empowerment (also known as FREE), the New York Civil Liberties Union, and the Correctional Association of New York. Director of the board of directors for the Correctional Association of New York and granddaughter of Nelson D. Rockefeller, Meile Rockefeller, is also planning to rally.

According to Legislativegazzette.com, Paterson, then a state senator, and Meile were arrested in 2002 for civil disobedience for their involvement in the “Drop the Rock” crusade disputing the same Rockefeller Drug Laws that are presently under scrutiny.

Executive Director to the Corrections Association of New York, Bob Gangi, argues that Paterson has abandoned his position on drug reform since he was elected Governor. “He is not exercising his power; we urge him to embrace his better political self, restate past issues, and help the legislature to move toward the drug law reform,” Gangi said.

Simmons told Allhiphop.com, “We are at the pivotal point where our hard work pays off. But we can’t let up now. The fact is the Governor and State Senator both fought for the changes that the assembly has proposed to them. But both the Governor Patterson and the State Senate Majority Leader Malcolm Smith need to hear your voices. They are being pushed by forces that are not interested in changing this horrible law which has devastated black and brown communities for two generations.”

In 1973, the Rockefeller Drug Law was passed and initiated extreme mandatory sentencing of 15 to 25 years imprisonment for anyone attempting to sell more than 56 grams of narcotics or marijuana. The bill sparked criticism by those who have been affected claiming that law unfairly imprisons non-violent, minority offenders mostly in possession of small amounts of crack cocaine. It is estimated that 90% of the 12,000 offenders convicted under Rockefeller laws are African American and Latino.

Simmons also urged the community and anyone who has been a witness to unjust imprisonment to get involved and inspire change. He concluded, “Call or write Governor Paterson or State Senate Majority Leader Smith and push them to be true to the communities that made them. Tell them now that they are in power they can make the difference.”

DX News Bits: Ryan Leslie, Wyclef Jean

Posted in Breaking News, Education, entertainment, government, hip hop, Law School, Legal, Music, News, rap with tags , , , , , , , , on March 13, 2009 by thehiphopentertainmentlawproject

March 12th, 2009 | Author: Andres Tardio

Harvard Law School ’s Black Law Student Association (BLSA) and The Hip Hop Entertainment Law Project (HHELP) will be hosting an event with Ryan Leslie [click to read]. The event will be a mini-music seminar entitled “The Bizness behind The Business!” This event is slated for March 14, 2009 from 11:30am to 1:30pm at Harvard Law School in Austin Hall.

In addition to Leslie, panel members will include Conrad Dimanche, Senior Director for A&R, Bad Boy Entertainment and President of pmpworldwide.com and Tone Capone, Executive Vice President of Universal Motown/CMG, and creator of the New Music Seminar.

The event will be a part of “The Fierce Urgency of Now: Effecting Change at Home and Across the Globe” which is set to take place March 13, 2009-March 15, 2009. Visit http://www.thehhelp.com for more information on the seminar.

A few helpful tips for Michael Steele on his hip hop journey…

Posted in Breaking News, editorial, Education, entertainment, GOP, government, hip hop, Legal, Music, News, Politics, rap, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 10, 2009 by thehiphopentertainmentlawproject

Over the past few weeks to the present day, Michael Steele’s comments regarding his intent to lead a GOP ‘hip hop’ outreach campaign have been blogged, editorialized, and criticized. I would be lying if I said that I was not a bit taken aback by his use of phrases such as: “off-the-hook”, “word to yo motha”, and “How ya’ like me now?” to name a few. However seeing as this is a nonpartisan blog and organization I will not be joining in on the Michael Steele bashing, laughing, or criticism train. I would instead like to offer a few helpful tips I believe may help Mr. Steele achieve his goal of reaching the ‘hip hop’ community. I suggest the following:

1. Before announcing any new or radical GOP undertakings or excursions into uncharted outreach territory think about having an internal meeting.  I say this because although the personal intent behind Mr. Steele’s desire to reach out to the urban and hip hop communities may be genuine the sincerity of this desire has disintegrated  (along with the GOP ‘hip hop’ urban community welcome mat). This suggestion is a product of the many negative responses from GOP party members.  Everyday a new sarcastic and/or facetious remark emanates loudly from various GOP members. This alone does nothing except completely contradict Mr. Steele’s message that the GOP has a desire to reach out to ‘urban communities’!

2. Before making any sales pitch (because believe it or not trying to get the hip hop community to buy into the ideal that the GOP will not call the police if anyone of us shows up at a convention, and more unbelievably the GOP is pursuing us equals a sales pitch) the most important thing every salesman must do is research, research, and more research of your perspective client! The hip hop industry is a multi-billion dollar industry. It is run the way any multi-billion dollar corporation/industry is run. From what I have seen of Michael Steele I can confidently say I do not believe he would attempt to win Steve Jobs business/support by saying, ” Yo we’re gonna put together an off-the-hook pr campaign for your company! Word to ya motha!” Do you??? No offense but this was insulting to say the least!

The powerful leaders/internationally known artists of the hip hop community are some of the world’s most business savvy executives.  With that being said, Mr. Steele showed the hip hop community that he has no knowledge of the culture. IMO his statements also shows he has done very little research before making this announcement or he is unsure of how to convey it to his fellow GOP members while simultaneously communicating to the hip hop community (I might add the majority of hip hop community understands plain English just fine without the assistance of a translator, or the use of any outdated and misplaced slang terminology). Therefore, for research purposes I would suggest Mr. Steele check out the following important and powerful hip hop works; so that he may gain a better understanding of the hip hop community and culture:

1. T.I.:  Trap Muzik, Urban Legend, and Paper Trail (especially    ‘just doin’ my job’ and ‘Prayin’ for help’ )

2. Jay-z: Reasonable Doubt and The Blueprints

3. Tupac: Me Against the World and Strictly 4 my N$$$$$

4. Notorious B.I.G.: Ready to Die

5. Nas: Illmatic and Stillmatic

I would also recommend Mr. Steele study the business model of the hip hop industry;from the artists themselves, the clothing lines, and every other product targeted to the hip hop community.

Lastly, I would like to end this post by saying the most important advice I can give to Mr. Steele to assist him in his hip hop outreach campaign is to be real! It is okay that he is not from ‘the hood’ or ‘the projects’. The hip hop community identifies with people who exhibit common sense and an understanding of the desires of the members who make up the community. You never heard Barack Obama, Martin Luther King, or any other revered person in the hip hop and urban communities say, “word to yo motha!” This is especially important in the midst of a recession. During these difficult economic times people, no matter what culture or community, want someone who communicates empathy and a vision for the future eloquently.

I also ask that Mr. Steele remember the hip hop community’s demographic span are similar to the demographic span of the GOP.  Meaning, every member of the hip hop community is not from nor resides in ‘the hood’. The same as every member of the GOP is not wealthy or the CEO of a Fortune 500 corporation.

I hope Mr. Steele finds this advice helpful on his hip hop outreach journey.