Four legal mic drops
Three woodland animals and a cool little otter
A fat guy in a jer-sey
Gheorghe: The Blog makes no apology for our historical focus on whimsy and our generally self-serving editorial output. But lurking below the surface mix of filler, inaccuracy, and navel gazing is a consistent thread of professional and personal expertise. Put more simply, one of my favorite things about being a part of the G:TB community is the fact that I learn things on a regular basis.
In recognition of that, a big Gheorghemas huzzah (the official G:TB exclamation of the season, along with 'Hi, Gheorghies!') to zman, who staked his claim in 2013 as the internet's leading authority on the intersection of rap and the law.
To be sure, Z'd done good work on this topic previously, raising awareness of Jack Urbont's legal beef with Dennis Coles (d/b/a Ghostface Killah). But his efforts this year cemented his place in Super Lawyers' list of the industry's top purveyors of legal wisdom. (Don't bother searching for him, though, his modesty requires that his name not be included - he's a bit like a superhero in that way.)
Method Man - The Turn by mastho50
After spending the first part of the year focused on legal issues unrelated to rap (and automobile porn), Z turned his considerable analytical acumen back to dropping science in July. In the first of several cases involving the Beastie Boys (who seem to be the target and instigator of quite a bit of litigation - news for crews who'll be sucking like a leech, I suppose), Z noted the dichotomy between Judge Paul A. Englemayer's incredibly distinguished resume and his complete lack of understanding of the rap game:
Monster asserts the defense that "Hey, we thought it was ok to bust the Beasties' loops, Z-Trip said it was dope."The persistent Mr. Urbont reappeared in the pages of G:TB in August, as Z chronicled the latest in the ongoing legal saga. In a noteworthy programming update, discovery for the case is scheduled for completion in February 2014. We eagerly anticipate Z's pre-trial analysis.
Honestly. That's what they told Judge Engelmayer. More specifically, they told Judge Englemayer that "Mr. Sciacca said 'you can use the music on my website.' That was a separate contract, [then Monster asked] do you approve? And he wrote back, 'it's dope.'"
At which point the learned judge said "It's dope?"
Z-Trip's lawyer explained “It’s dope means it’s good. He says, ‘well they showed me this video and yeah, it looks good. They say ‘oh, that gives us permission to use all this music.' But there’s no contract between my client and the Beastie Boys.”
To which Judge Engelmayer replied, “I take it on a summary judgment motion that I have to treat ‘dope’ in the light most favorable to your client." I'm not sure if His Honor realized how funny that quip is. You probably don't either, particularly if you didn't take civil procedure. But trust me when I say it's a hoot.
Judge Alison Nathan stands in sharp contrast to the aforementioned Judge Engelmayer, in rap-world knowledge, though not professional achievement. Z praised her skillz in September, acknowledging both her definition of 'MC' in a footnote, and her obvious affinity for G:TB. (As an aside, as courts across the U.S. have increasingly cited online materials in their opinions, the challenge of 'linkrot' has arisen. For this reason, we'll have to keep G:TB alive in perpetuity, as it seems next to certain that Judge Nathan will cite Zman's work in relatively short order.)
Finally, just a few weeks ago, Z weighed in on yet another Beastie Boys-related legal matter, siding with the makers of Goldieblox in their minor kerfuffle over the fair use of the former's 'Girls' in an advertising campaign. Notes Z on the band's standing policy of not licensing its music for commercial purposes, "While I respect that position, MCA's will doesn't override our copyright laws." (That right there may well be the legal reasoning cited by Judge Nathan at some point.) That Z applied legal principles in a way that supports Goldieblox over the legendary rappers on serves to strengthen his position as a neutral arbiter of legal flow.
Beyond issues of the law and rhyme-spitting, Z also weighed in on judicial misconduct, the Redskins' trademark, and Congressional claims of court-packing this year, a banner annum for legal productivity. (Here, anyway. I guess he ought not submit this post as a part of his performance review.)
As Method Man might say on the occasion of this, the 20th anniversary of 'Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers)', "Respect when a grown man is speaking".