Legal News Roundup: August 5th, 2016

5 August, 2016

Missie Frandsen

Missie Frandsen


Let’s take a look at this week in legal news.


Pants and Christ

Wu Liangshu, BBC

You know it’s going to be a weird week when the first stories you read are about pants – more specifically, the lack thereof.

Firstly, a defendant appeared in a Louisville, Kentucky court without any pants on. Judge Amber Wolf, as you can imagine, was perplexed, “Am I in the twilight zone?” she asked, “What is happening?” Turns out the defendant’s jailer refused to give the pantless woman a jumpsuit or hygiene products after her arrest, and sent her to Wolf’s court in a large shirt and tiny, tiny shorts. Outraged, Wolf hammered prison officials not only for denying the woman resources, but holding her longer than necessary. She apologized, stating, “The fact that you’re in custody is your fault, But once you were arrested, the rest of this is completely inhumane and unacceptable and I’m very sorry that you had to go through this. I want to extend my deepest apologies to you for the way that you’ve been treated while you’ve been in our jail. This is not normal.”

Secondly, a lawyer in Guangxi, China is pantless after court officers allegedly attacked him and tore nearly all of his clothes off, including his pants. Wu Liangshu was accused of illegally recording in court, and when he refused to give up his phone, he was “violently disrobed” and fled the courthouse, where he was photographed (above). Study the photograph and ask yourself, “Do I see a representation of Christ from the Middle Ages?” If the answer is yes, please read the BBC’s original report and enjoy it for the truly remarkable piece of journalism that it is. If the answer is no, read it anyway for such gems as “In particular, the photo is intensified when placed next to a 17th-Century painting, Christ before Pilate (1649-50), that was long thought to be by Rembrandt.”

Getty Images Battles Billion Dollar Lawsuit

The American stock photo giant reportedly will not back down from the billion dollar lawsuit brought by photographer Carol M. Highsmith. Highsmith alleges that Getty has been selling over 18,000 photos that she donated to the Library of Congress, “falsely and fraudulently holding themselves out as the exclusive copyright owner”, threatening litigation against individuals and companies using the photos, and claiming them with their watermark.

Highsmith only discovered that her photos were being sold after License Compliances Services, a proxy of Getty, requested she takedown her own photo off her website, accused her of copyright infringement, and threatened a fine. Highsmith stated that she was bewildered by the request, and then furious, as she donated the photos to the Library of Congress in order to make them accessible and free to the public.

Getty Images has stated that it’s within its rights to share Highsmith’s images, and has never claimed ownership. “We are reviewing the complaint. We believe it is based on a number of misconceptions, which we hope to rectify with the plaintiff as soon as possible. If that is not possible, we will defend ourselves vigorously.” In other words, here’s to hoping Highsmith settles fast.

Personal Injury Lawyer Sues Pokémon Go After Home “Invaded”

A New Jersey man has brought a class-action lawsuit against the creators of Pokémon Go, Google’s software development company Niantic, Inc.

Following the release and spectacular response to the Pokémon Go app, Jeffrey Marder noticed that people (gamers) were gathering outside his property, wandering around with their phones as one does when trying to catch the elusive Pokémon. Several people knocked on Marder’s door and asked if they could catch the Pokémon that spawned in his backyard. Marder alleges that the game has created a nuisance and has joined others in a class action lawsuit stating “The intentional, unauthorized placement of Pokestops and Pokémon gyms on or near the property of Plaintiff and other members of the proposed class constitutes a continuing invasion of the class members’ use and enjoyment of their land, committed by Niantic on an ongoing basis for Defendant’s profit. “

This isn’t the only lawsuit Niantic faces; it’s safe to say their counsel has their hands full. On the other end of the spectrum, Niantic and Go co-owners are threatening to sue the developers of third-party hacks that make the game easier for players. Cease and desist letters are threatening prosecution under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, and the gamer community was furious after beloved website Pokevision, a website that uses the game’s data to track Pokémon spawn, was the first to go. However, Niantic insists that hacks like Pokevision hurt the game overall by straining servers and slowing players.