Wednesday, December 11, 2013

The Twelve Days of Gheorghemas: Day 4

On the fourth day of Gheorghemas, big Gheorghe gave to me:

Four legal mic drops 

Three woodland animals and a cool little otter
Two names
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."

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.
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.

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".


Marls said...

Rob's boy Francis named Time Man of The Year. Looks like Sgt. Hulka was wrong about the guy.

Mark said...

The return of Rex? You're god damn right, Redskins fans.

zman said...

I am embarrassed and humbled to be the topic of a Gheorghemas post. Perhaps this means we're desperate for Gheorghemas content.

Shlara said...

Anyone else sick of the Snyder-Shanahan-RGIII chatter?

The DC football team is going to be a joke until Danny sells the team or dies. We have another 40 years of this kind of drama...

rob said...

z, we trumped your most recent legal opining, so we told you we'd make it up to you for gmas. et voila.

mayhugh said...

I try not to hear any talk about Washington's football team. A few years ago I came to the sad realization that Snyder will own the team for my entire life (he's only a few years older than I am, and he's a lot richer so he'll probably live longer than me). I'm in a state of despair. I tend to think a lot of things would work themselves out naturally after the salary cap punishment goes away for next year, but there's too talk going on to return anywhere near the status quo next year. Worst thing is you don't know what to believe and what to dismiss outright.

TR said...

Skins fans should realize that after an early stroke of luck, Steinbrenner fielded perpetually bad teams from 1982 to 1993. That was a 12-year run of ridiculous ownership behavior and a media that wallowed in it.

Eventually, he softened up enough to cede control to a few smart folks who took the rudder. That could happen to Danny in 15 years.

But if you hate your team THAT MUCH b/c of your owner, divorce them. Rob did it publicly here. I also did it w/ my Knicks before last season and am very happy about it. I still love Ewing, but I have zero attachment to the current players in the current Knicks unis. I am still as big of an NBA fan as I was before.

Be a rational adult. It's okay to have childlike unadulterated love when you're young. But as an adult, take ownership of the situation. Take your time and money and energy elsewhere.

Mr. Truck said...

nice tribute to zman, but this post has nothing to do with the number four.

Mr. Truck said...

nor are colly birds mentioned.

Marls said...

Mr. Truck and Dave are really annoying this time of year. I can't wait for happy summer Dave to return.

Actually, non-working summer Dave is sort of annoying too.

T.J. said...

TR, I think your non-work email account got hacked.

rob said...

preach it, tr. couldn't be happier to watch this skins clusterfuckery without a rooting interest. it's great theater.

and mr. truck, you damn dummy, zman wrote four (4) posts this year on issues of hip hop jurisprudence.

Marls said...

Steinbrenner did not soften up, he was banned from baseball for several years and the baseball folks running the show at the time were smart enough not to trade away what became the core of the current Yankee dynasty.

Unless the Danny decides to hire a sleazy gambler/private investigator to dig up dirt on RGIII, I think Skins fans are in for a long slog. As a fan of a team owned by the Wilpons I can sympathize.

Shlara said...

I'm not a Skins fan...the Steelers are my team.
But I am still SOOOO over the drama in DC.
Maybe I need to move

Dave said...

dave (and mr. truck) are annoying all year long! there's grouchy soccer dave, grouchy holiday dave, grouchy spring goose-poop dave, and sweaty summer dave!

rob said...

mets sign bartolo colon. clarence finally has a player he can relate to, fitness-wise.

TR said...

My email was hacked, just like Marls' common sense and selective memory about the Yankees.

Danimal said...

jags bandwagon bitches! get on board now. seriously.
z...sitting on a shit ton of tix for this week's game. send the wife & kid down, we'll take care of 'em. you can come too if you want.

Mark said...

Speaking of shitty owners, I'm really enjoying rooting against the Knicks this year. I thought they'd be worse this year. But not complete shit. I'm so excited with this development. Why? Because the Magic get the lower of the Knicks or Nuggets 1st round picks this year.

Two top 5 picks is a real possibility for Orlando.

zman said...

They don't make pork Shake n Bake anymore?!? WTF!?

Marls said...

I'm at an insurance industry holiday event at the Waldorf. I have not seen this ratio of awkward white dudes to women since the Unit M days.

Clarence said...

Screw you, Rob -- Mo Vaughn was my dimensions as well.

And Marls, I get the Wilpons AND Danny Starporker. And Ernie Grunfeld, whom I like but has not been very good. Go Tribe! Oh.

Marls said...

Clarence, I get the the Wilpons, the Dolans (with an Isiah Thomas bonus), & Charles Wang/Garth Snow.

Thank God for the Mara family.