TOL Social

TOL Social

OK, we all use social media these days... even TalksOnLaw. These are select posts from TOL's social media platforms including, Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter.

The ideas shared by contributors represent the ideas of that individual only and in no way represent the views or position of TalksOnLaw.


De Minimis Copyright Infringement in Music

In the context of musical copyright infringement, the legal doctrine of “de minimis infringement” involves using parts of a song in such a small amount that it does not constitute a significant legal violation. The doctrine posits that the law will disregard copying where the copied material is too trivial to qualify as an infringement.  Under the theory, borrowing one chord from a song may be found to be too insubstantial to qualify as infringing. Courts, however, are split on the question of how to discern what constitutes an inconsequential, or trivial, use of copyrighted material. This article probes into this concept, known as “de minimis” testing, revealing a battleground ...

Published: June 6, 2023
Grandfather Clauses in Tobacco Laws

In an effort to cut down on the health costs of tobacco use, two countries are pioneering a new approach to tobacco policy, grandfather clauses in nicotine laws – preserving legal tobacco use only for today's adults and prohibiting sales to adults of the future.    In New Zealand, lawmakers are working to pass one of the world’s strictest tobacco laws, outlawing the sale of tobacco and other nicotine products to anyone born after 2008. As soon as 2027, the legal smoking age could increase every year, effectively banning anyone born after the 2008 cut-off from legally purchasing tobacco products. Similarly, Denmark has announced plans to ban the sale of tobacco products to ...

Published: March 17, 2022
Who was John Rock?

The First Black American Admitted to the SCOTUS Bar February 1st marks the beginning of Black History Month. On this day in 1865, the same day Lincoln sent out the Thirteenth Amendment, John S. Rock changed history to become the first black Supreme Court lawyer.    John Rock, JD, MD, DDS John Rock was a pioneer not only in the legal profession but also in teaching, medical, and the abolitionist movement. Rock first turned to dentistry after initially being denied entrance to medical school. He earned his medical degree in 1852 to become one of the first African Americans to do so. He set up his practice in the African American community of Beacon Hill in Boston, Mass...

Published: February 1, 2021
Embryo Wars

EMBRYO WARS LA couple Anni and Ashot Manukyan have filed suit against a fertility clinic after one of their embryos was carried to term by another woman in New York.  In a mind-twisting legal case filled with what must be incredible personal heartbreak, the baby boy has now been returned to his biological parents in California.  The Los Angeles Times reports that the woman who gave birth to the Manukyan's baby is of Korean descent and that she was “surprised” when “neither of the two baby boys [that she delivered]… were of her own ethnicity.”  Predictably, law suits have followed. The Manukyans have sued the clinic in LA. The New York City family, identified only as A.P. a...

Published: July 15, 2019
Should Sending Nude Pics Be Illegal?

A Texas state senator, backed by the founder of the popular dating app Bumble, is pushing to criminalize unsolicited nude or indecent photos in Texas. The law would apply to images sent over text, social media, and dating apps.   Bumble founder, Whitney Herd, argued before the Texas House Criminal Jurisprudence Committee, "If indecent exposure is a crime on the streets, then why is it not on your phone or computer?” The bill, drafted by State Rep. Morgan Meyer (R-Dallas) and co-authored by Rep Nicole Collier (D-Fort Worth), would criminalize sending photos of: "(A) a person engaging in sexual conduct or with the person's intimate parts exposed; or (B) covered genitals of a ma...

Published: April 1, 2019
Justice Thomas Speaks

#THOMASspeaks  Justice Thomas breaks a silence of over three years at the high court. The case involves racial bias in jury selections. Curtis Flowers, tried 6 times for the same murder charges, was convicted after the prosecutor was alleged to have repeatedly removed jurors for being black, violating the so-called Batson rule. What did he ask? He asked about whether jurors were excluded from the 6th trial by the defense and if they were white or black. They were white... Supreme Court Grant of Cert. {This is the Supreme Court's decision to hear the case.}

Published: March 21, 2019
Amazon's Tax Team Takes a Profit of $11B down to a $0 Tax Bill

Another reminder that our friends in tax law can do magic… This week we found out that Amazon, with 2018 profits of $11 billion, will pay $0 in federal tax. How? Well, we know the recent tax cut reduced the corporate tax rate from 35% to 21%, but, so far, we don’t know which particular loopholes their tax wizards used to drill down from 21% to 0%. In fact, according to reporting from Fortune Magazine, Amazon’s tax team may have moved past zero and are looking to receive a $129M rebate.

Published: March 7, 2019
Will Smith Slapped Rock – What Laws Are Implicated?

Legal Liability for the Slap At this year’s Academy Awards (March 27, 2022), the surprise of the evening was a literal hit. During the ceremony, and very much on camera, Will Smith walked onto the stage and slapped Chris Rock after Rock (one of the evening’s presenters) made a joke about Smith’s wife’s haircut  — “Jada, can’t wait for G.I. Jane 2.” In this post, we’ll take a quick look at the criminal and civil liability that this raises.  (video published by The Guardian, YouTube)   Will Smith hitting Chris Rock — what crime was committed?  Can Will Smith be held criminally liable for slapping Chris Rock? In California, slapping another person is a form of cr...

Published: March 31, 2022
Can You Inherit an Instagram Account?

For many, Instagram or IG has become a part of our lives, a place to collect memories and to connect with friends. For others, Instagram can provide a source of income, allowing the account holder to monetize their social media account. But what happens to our accounts after we die? Are our IG accounts digital assets that can be bequested or inherited? The short answer is no. Transferring an IG account after death can be complicated.To get to the bottom of this legal conundrum, we need to understand two things: 1) the contract between Instagram and its users known as the Terms of Use and 2) some basic information about digital assets and how they are transferred.     INSTA...

Published: July 22, 2021
Joe Biden, the 27th Lawyer President

Inauguration Day: A Tale of Two ESQs On January 20th, 2021, Joe Biden took office as the 46th POTUS, but he also added his name to a long list of attorney predecessors––26, to be exact. He earned his J.D. degree from the College of Law at Syracuse University in 1968. His Vice President, Kamala Harris, a long-time prosecutor, graduated from UC Hastings Law in 1989.    Lawyer Presidents: A Brief History In all, Biden became the 27th attorney out of 45 presidents (not out of 46 because Grover Cleveland took office for two non-consecutive terms as both the 22nd and 24th president). For those who are counting along, the following presidents were lawyers:  John Adams (1...

Published: January 20, 2021
What Is “Reading the Law,” Kim Kardashian's Law Study Apprenticeship?

When media personality Kim Kardashian-West announced to her loyal following that she was studying to become a lawyer without attending law school, many of you asked "HOW?" (and some asked "why," but that’s for another day). How can you become a lawyer without attending law school or, in Kardashian’s case, without a college degree? We are here to explain. Kardashian’s path to lawyerdom is sometimes called “reading the law,” which, while exceptionally rare today, was once the norm.   WHAT IS READING THE LAW? So first, what is “reading the law?” Basically, it’s a JD via apprenticeship but without the actual degree. In her case, Kardashian will need to spend at least four yea...

Published: June 21, 2019
Parents Charged with Mail Fraud for Cheating on College Admissions

Federal prosecutors have brought charges against dozens in a high profile admissions fraud case involving purchasing access to the nation’s top universities.  Parents, school coaches, and facilitators who profited from the fraud scheme face charges.  Notable parents include famous lawyers, celebrities (e.g. Aunt Becky from Full House 📸), and prominent CEOs.  The charges against the parents are particularly interesting; they're brought mostly under the broad federal mail fraud laws that ban fraudulent or illegal activities through the US mail systems or carriers and wire fraud, a similar crime that makes use of telecommunications or information technology. For the DOJ's press ...

Published: March 23, 2019
Heroes of Law

Celebrating the women of SCOTUS on International Women's Day!

Published: March 8, 2019