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Articles Posted in General

It is anticipated that the U.S. Department of Justice will file suit today against Apple, as well as several publishing companies. The reason? A scheme to fix e-book prices.

In 2010, when the iPad was released, and the iBookstore was new, Apple reached an agreement with five publishers to release books on the iBookstore. Before the release of the iPad, Amazon’s Kindle was the preeminent e-book reader. Amazon forced publishers to sell most books at $9.99, a price that came in below the cost of the books. Apple’s agreement placed many books on the market for approximately $12.99, and gave Apple a 30% cut, resulting in Amazon raising its prices.

The European Commission, in an investigation similar to the DOJ, is probing whether Apple conspired to raise the price of e-books with CBS’s Simon & Schuster, News Corp.’s HarperCollins; Hachette Book Group; Pearson’s Penguin unit and Macmillan.

Facebook yet again finds itself involved in another lawsuit. The social-networking service is being sued by people claiming that showing ads that network friends can “like,” violates a California law regarding commercial endorsements. Goodness, being big sure does generate a lot of lawsuits.

Facebook’s bid to dismiss the lawsuit was rejected this week, and it was ruled that the plaintiffs may pursue claims that the company’s sponsored ads violate state law and are fraudulent. The court found that “plaintiffs have articulated a coherent theory of how they were economically injured by the misappropriation of their names, photographs, and likeness.” According to the plaintiffs, a sponsored story is a paid ad consisting of another friend’s name and profile picture and claiming the person likes the advertiser, and they further feel that it’s unauthorized use of their names and likenesses and they feel they deserve compensation. Raise your hand if you think this sounds ridiculous.

Facebook’s argument is that this case should be dismissed by the court before it is dismissed by a jury because Facebook is immune under the law’s “newsworthiness” exemption, which doesn’t require consent, and that the plaintiffs are public figures to their friends, and expressions of consumer opinion are generally newsworthy.

Senate voted to confirm Justice Elena Kagan (little premature use of “Justice”) as the 112th Supreme Court justice largely 63-37, pretty much along party lines (one Democrat against and five Republicans for).

I’m impressed by the five Republicans who clearly would not have chosen soon-to-be Justice Kagan but deferred to the president’s choice under the theory that elections have consequences and the president should be able to largely choose any qualified candidate he wants. How many Democrats will agree with this one day when the shoe is on the other foot? I predict five.

Everyone should take jury duty seriously, and there should be no exceptions. Rudy Giuliani served on a jury in 1999 while he was mayor. John Kerry was the foreman in a personal injury trial after his loss to President Bush in 2005. Good for them.

A few weeks ago, President Obama received a summons from the Cook County in his home state of Illinois. President Obama notified the court he had more important things to do.

Well. The President is too important for jury duty? Does he think he is above the law? Incredibly, this is President Obama’s quote, “I have better things to do than serve on a jury. Do you have any idea who I am? I’m the President of the United States. Please.”

Miller & Zois has just created a Twitter page that links to all Miller & Zois blogs, including the Maryland Lawyer Blog.

I think the best path is to follow our blogs on an RSS feed. But here is another easy way to do it.

We have a lot of lawyers writing a lot of really good, substantive legal blogs. Check them out.

If you are in a moot court competition in high school, college, or law school, you may want to consider our sample trial materials which provide good examples of witness examinations, opening statements, jury instructions, etc.

This may not be Maryland law-related, but I don’t care: Sally Thorner is retiring. She has been doing the news in Baltimore for 20 years. It feels like it was yesterday. The 54-year-old anchorwoman said that her last day at the station will be December 18, 2009.

She’s 54 and there are not a lot of female anchors past 50. It certainly makes you wonder if she is retiring or whether she is being forced out by WJZ. If the Baltimore Sun were still alive, we might find out.

This is a funny blog post from Above the Law.

Speaking of funny lawyer blogs, have you ever seen Anonymous Lawyer? I’m not a huge fan of recent posts. I think the author, Jeremy Blachman, had his heart in it when he was in law school. He quit for over a year and didn’t exactly come back to it with the same edge. But he’s obviously a talented writer and the archives are hysterical.