We all know that copyright law means you shouldn’t download copies of movies from shady torrent sites, and that you should pay for the music you listen to. We know it means people and companies have rights to stuff they make, like photos and music and books, and that there are legal and illegal ways of sharing those things.
In every common-sense, everyday way, a corporation is not a person. Corporations don’t date, don’t have families, don’t go catch a movie on Friday night. They also don’t go to jail when they do something criminal. But in the eyes of the law, corporations enjoy many of the same rights — including free speech and religious expression — and protections afforded to individuals.
People who call their vehicles home in Los Angeles no longer have to worry about being cited or arrested, now that a federal appeals court stuck down a 31-year-old law. [More]
Yesterday, we shared the news that people have started to receive their settlement checks from the class action lawsuit that accused diamond merchants De Beers of price-fixing. (Gasp!) The first reader we heard from, Sean, was upset that he only received $48 back on a $3,000 claim, or about 1.6%. Other readers are happier with their settlements…but, to point out the obvious here, people with larger settlements are a lot happier, and people who spent more on shiny rocks in the first place received larger checks. [More]
Your cellphone rings from a number you don’t recognize. You pick it up. At first there’s silence. Then the sound of a call center kicks in and a person asks, “Hello, can I speak to Karen?” It’s a telemarketer, or a debt collector, using an autodialer. And they just broke the law. And just for funsies, you can collect $500 or $1500 with just a few hours of work if you go after them.
Many airlines have inserted “checked baggage limitations of liability” into their contracts which try to act like it’s not their fault if jewelry or gadgets somehow go missing during transit from your luggage. They’re bunkum.
A Kentucky judge’s order in a tense malpractice suit went viral this week after folks were amused by the corn-pone humor and mixed metaphors that he used to enliven a normally straight-forward legal document. Among the colorful phrases, the judge wrote that he was glad the case was settled as he would have preferred to “have jumped naked off of a 12-foot step ladder into a 5 gallon bucket of porcupines” than to preside over it.
Rick is the Gandhi of receipt-check deniers. He writes in with a story of how he bought a 37 inch TV from Walmart and was able to successfully say no to the receipt checker blocking his way with his body. Rick did this by calmly and reasonably explaining his position to the assistant manager who showed up and by ignoring everyone around him who was trying to provoke him. Sometimes the quietest voice speaks the loudest.
A student describes how he was able to get out a speeding ticket by whipping out his Android.
There’s a bunch of terms and provisions that keep showing up in the contracts you sign throughout life, but do you know what they mean? Who exactly are these “Heirs, Successors, and Assigns” coming over for the contract party? Do they have dietary restrictions? What is “separability?” Will it hurt? Well, we’ll tell ya!
A year ago, the Supreme Court ruled that corporations could not be banned from political spending during elections through either independent expenditures from corporations’ general funds or “electioneering communications,” i.e. political ads. Detractors cried out that it would let loose a flood of corporate cash into elections, and they were right. A new Public Citizen report shows that outside groups quadrupled their contributions during the last mid-term election from the previous, and we will never know exactly where a good deal of the money came from.
A judge has set an interesting precedent, allowing a pack of skeevy debt collectors get sued under the RICO act, the Racketeer Influenced Corrupt Organization law.
Repossessing a car or mobile home is one thing, but a furnace?
Do you rent? Better know your rights. Here’s a state-by-state guide with links to statutes for both landlords and tenants. If you want to negotiate down your rent, get a drippy ceiling fixed, fight an eviction, or squelch a noisy neighbor, first bone up on your renter law.
There’s no such thing as “pure chocolate,” says a European Union high court, and the phrase cannot appear on the front of candy packages.
Instead of a few bucks and some gift cards, Lowe’s has amended its stinky Chinese drywall settlement so that plaintiffs can get up to $100,000 – money that will come in a lot more handy for people whose entire houses and most of their possessions were ruined by the sulphuric fumes.
Instead of bricking over the drive-thru window when they set up shop inside a former Kenny Rogers Roasters, one law firm decided to keep it and offer its clients drive thru service.
A law implemented in 1968 to protect would-be swampland purchasers is now the best friend of home buyers who went into contract at the height of the bubble and are now trying to escape paying well-above market value and get back their deposits.