L.A. Law



UPDATE: There is now a strip associated with this entry.

I spent last week in Los Angeles, my initial foray into my six weeks at Law Firm #2. It was a week-long mock trial training thing, rendered somewhat superfluous for me by the fact that (1) I already took a much-bitched-about trial class at Boalt, and (2) I already encountered the exact same case file (Dixon v. Providential Life Insurance Co.) in Law Firm #1's mock trial program last month. Dixon is an old saw about a justice of the peace who offs himself with a shotgun while alone in his home office, and the dispute is over whether the death was an accident (entitling the grieving widow to half a million dollars) or a suicide (entitling the grieving widow to dick). I fake-represented the widow, so I began my closing argument with the classic line: "Now, I'm gonna go ahead and assume that you all hate insurance companies as much as I do."

But the most exciting part of the week was when I discovered that the L.A. office of Law Firm #2 is just a few doors down from Zanja Madre, the sculpture at the center of the seminal Ninth Circuit copyright case Leicester v. Warner Bros. (232 F.3d 1212). Andrew Leicester's incomprehensible sculpture about the history of water in Southern California is visible for a few seconds in the opening shots of the similarly incomprehensible Joel Schumacher abomination Batman Forever. Like many artists before him, Leicester feigned indignance when the movie became a hit and brought a copyright suit against Warner Bros. The Ninth Circuit ultimately held that the sculpture was part of an architectural work rather than a standalone piece of art, and therefore could be photographed with impunity, even by shit-ass filmmakers like Joel Schumacher.

But the really aggravating thing about the Leicester case is learning which part of the sculpture was actually featured in the film. If you look at the pyramid thing, the upside-down orange pyramid kind of looks like Batman (the thing on top of it has pointy things on it that look like bat ears). So you hear about the case, you see the sculpture, and you assume that Schumacher chose it based on its resemblance to the movie's main character. But, if you see the actual film, the only visible piece of the sculpture are the two pillar things out front, which bear no resemblance whatsoever to Batman.

Okay, on closer inspection the other Batman-looking thing between the pillars is marginally visible in the movie clip, but I still think that if Schumacher was going to go to all the trouble of getting Warner Bros. sued for copyright infringement he could have at least spelled out the connection to the movie. I mean, the man isn't known for his subtlety.

Anyway, once I discovered that all of the summer associates were in such close proximity to such an important piece of Copyright History, I quickly headed into the building, had the security guard buzz me up to the tenth floor, then had the receptionist buzz me down to the second floor, and told everyone how excited they should be. Everybody categorically refused to be excited or even acknowledge that they had heard of the Leicester case. By the time I had finished telling everyone about the unauthorized use of Ex Nihilo in Devil's Advocate most of them had left.

In other news, Elliott Gould was behind me in the Southwest baggage check line at LAX on Friday. I wanted to tell him that he had one of my favorite lines in one of my favorite movies ("I never loved your mother" in Kicking and Screaming), but he was busy telling the guy behind him how he had five gifts for his grandson with him and they all contained metal.


Elliot Gould! He's awesome!

That's way cooler than seeing MTV News' own John Norris at a layover in the international terminal of JFK.

Ask Matt about how Sean Penn is stalking us.

It makes me sad when famous people fly on southwest. Like Boback's famous brush with Snoop Dogg (sp?). Shouldn't he have his own plane? I know why I fly southwest... because I can't afford otherwise. And I assume that's why *everyone* else does too. It's not for the stellar service. Although, now, maybe they fly so they can get on that airline show.

Southwest's service actually isn't all that bad. Sure, on long-haul flights you get those crackers with the cheeze that's turning to chalk, but the cabin staff usually seems weird/friendly enough - certainly compared to some of the other airlines (like United, or God forbid, TWA, back when it was around.) At least Southwest doesn't seem to hate its passengers.

As for the "art", it looks to me like crappy art that was in a crappy movie. As such, the universe is properly aligned, and there can be no copyright infringement.

When we flew SW for our honeymoon, they gave us a bottle of champaign on the flight!

Of course, we were also detained and prodded at the gate (one-way ticket and all,) but that wasn't really SW's fault.

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This page contains a single entry by hb published on July 18, 2004 9:05 PM.

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