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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.”

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.

Getting ready to take the July 2009 Maryland bar exam in a few days? Great! But why are you surfing for information on the bar exam? Probably because anything that you are doing for the first time that is important makes you unnecessarily nervous. It just means you are a human being.

Anyway, you can find on Above the Law reader tips on what to do in these last days. But just relax, okay? It is all going to be good.

If this question was asked six months ago, I think we would guess John Edwards would be the next Attorney General. Absolutely no chance now. Arizona Governor Janet Napolitano seems to be the most obvious choice. Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick is also a real possibility. Reportedly, Patrick and Obama are close friends. Former deputy attorney general Eric Holder, the co-chair of Barack Obama’s presidential campaign, is also a possibility, but he does not seem to want the job nor does it sound like his wife, a doctor, wants him to take the Attorney General job if it was offered to him. I would also include Hillary Clinton’s name in there somewhere, although I don’t think she would take the job either.

For my money, I think being a governor sounds like a better job than Attorney General but, reportedly, both Patrick and Napolitano would take the job if offered.

Interesting days ahead…