My First Week

It's difficult to write about something your ambivalent about. When I was in undergrad the papers I procrastinated on the most were the one's I either thought I could get away with writing at the last minute or papers I didn't feel strongly about. Introductions were always annoying but topics I didn't really feel strongly about...well those always got short shrift. In a not-so-good-way that's how I feel about my first week at law school.
I had a proper melt down at the end of my first day questioning the meaning of my life etc but the rest of the week I just felt ambivalent. I don't know if I really like it and I don't know if I'm meant to be doing this. I do the work I have to do (which is in fact just a lot of reading right now) but I mostly feel like I'm drifting through the work and the classes. I like most of my teachers and I mostly like most of the classes. My fellow students are mostly alright, though some are just completely obnoxious and make me want to do some kind of bodily harm to them. Like I said, I mostly just feel undecided about this whole thing. It's only been the first week and there's every chance I'll change my mind. Right now I'm just waiting for something to spark so that this drifting ambivalent feeling will end.
I will say this though: My roommates continue to be fantastic. I'm sure the honeymoon period will be over sooner rather than later, but they're straight forward about housekeeping things, they're smart and hardworking, and best of all I know if they have a problem with the way I act they'll tell me. So that's a bright spot in an otherwise hazy life.


The Drive and Boston

A quick summary of the drive up to Boston. It was semi-stressful (yay flash rainstorms on the New Jersey Turnpike!) and long. It was not interesting save for the flash rainstorm on the New Jersey Turnpike. Mom and I made it to Boston in one piece with only a minimal amount of getting lost (tricksy Boston roads are tricksy). I was more stressed out by unpacking and moving everything in than by the drive to be honest. And moving in and unpacking was incredibly stressful because I have no organizational skills or sense of space. Thankfully the major things (furniture, huge boxes) were taken care of by a moving company and Mom was there to help unpack a bit before leaving. Her leaving was incredibly difficult but was made up for in spades by the arrival of roommate from Buffalo (Melissa)'s friend arriving. This made getting to know Melissa ever so much easier in a weird way. Melissa is very cool and kind of reminds me of another friend of mine who's hung on despite my tendencies to not communicate with people since high school.
Boston. Boston has confusing roads and tiny tram cars. However I feel that by the end of this school year I'm going to like Boston at least as much as I like DC (though not as much as I love London.) There are more Dunkin' Donuts in this city than there are Starbucks in any other city which is kind of awesome. The law school is right across the way from a Dunkin' Donuts and there is one across the street from the T stop I get off of to get to school. That's how popular Dunkin' Donuts is in Boston. However they do have Trader Joe's in Boston and I have mastered the bus system well enough to get to the Trader Joe's close to me. And just past that Trader Joe's is the nearest Jewish neighborhood which means there is a fantastic bagel place I can go to for breakfast before I go grocery shopping. That and many other reasons is why I think I'm going to like Boston come the end of the year.
Both of my roommates are awesome. One actually enjoys cleaning the dishes and the other says what she thinks and doesn't give a damn (though really that's true for both of them.) They're mature and smart and don't believe in petty drama. They are, basically, the perfect antidote to last year's roommate situation. I hope everything continues to go as well as it has been for the past few days, but I have high hopes that they will. Tomorrow I find out if the rest of my section are as awesome as my roommates.
That is all for now. I have my second day of orientation tomorrow which hopefully will be less dull than the first day. Quickly though one last thing: I love how cold Boston is or at least how much colder it is here than in Virginia. Bless the North.


I have been told from a young age by my mother that I was smart. From a slightly older age I have been told by my mother that I am smarter than most people. I've never really believed her though. I didn't get the same grades as the identified smart people I knew and I just assumed that meant that while I might be smart, I wasn't necessarily "gifted." I was lazy and smart enough to get away with that. This past summer though I realized that what my mother has been telling me all these years is true. I am smart. And if you've been reading this blog long enough you know I don't like to compliment myself or give myself any credit for anything. But I am smart. I am extremely smart. And for whatever reason that scares the pants off of me.
I started orientation at law school today. It was basically the same shit you here at any orientation anywhere. Study. Do the reading and do the necessary work. Don't over tax yourself. And read. As one of the people I met afterwards said, I wouldn't be here if I didn't know that's what you have to do. I know I have to read. I know I have to study. I also know I remember the outline of a court case I read a month and a half ago, so yeah. I kept wondering while 2nd year students were talking about their experiences "what the hell have I gotten myself into? Is everyone here that thick?" I'm not trying to diss these students, but the advice they were giving is lame and doesn't apply to everyone and shouldn't be taken as gospel.
I spent a better part of the drive from my grandparents' house to Boston wondering if I made the right choice with my life. Law school costs a bundle and I can't tell if my heart is really in this. My roommates have been fantastic though, so I hadn't really been thinking about this nagging doubt until today during orientation. I know I can't guarantee that I've made the wrong choice until I've been through at least the first semester, but right now things are still up in the air for me. My number one hope is that I haven't made a terrible choice that I'll regret thirty years down the line or that I'll be too scared to abandon this bad choice (and end up regretting thirty years down the line.) But we'll see.


Nore's Legal Series - Mashups and Remixes

Music Mashups: Testing the Limits of Copyright Law as Remix culture Takes Society by Storm by Emily Harper
Mashed Up Videos and Broken Down Copyright: Changing Copyright to Promote the First Amendment Values of Transformative Videos by Andrew S. Long
Using Social Norms to Regulate Fan Fiction and Remix Culture by Steven A. Hetcher
15 Megabytes of Fame: A Fair Use Defense for Mash Ups as DJ Culture Reaches Its Postmodern Limits by Aaron Power
The Girl Talk Dilemma: Can Copyright Law Accommodate New Forms of Sample-Based Music by David Mongillo

In the case of remixes and mashups, there seems to be fine line between the two genres and both are connected by the use of sampling of other works. Remixes can be described as songs where the instrumental background of the original song has been manipulated in some fashion (whether it has been completely recomposed or simply altered in some way) while the vocal line remains largely unchanged. Mashups, whether they are video mashups or song mashups, take elements from two or more different original composition and “mash” together elements from the source material to create an entirely new work. Remixes tend to be created for clubs and originated within DJ/club culture while mashups, particularly video mashups, are an extension of fan culture and can be seen as critiques on the works from which they are borrowing.
While both remixes and particularly mashups stem from a culture of sampling, there is a distinct dearth of case law concerning these two genres. As with sampling this can largely be attributed to the fact that neither the creators of remixes and mashups nor the original artists wish to help create any kind of precedent whether it be negative or positive. While television and movie production companies have taken steps to regulate the use of their copyrighted materials (largely by pressuring websites such as YouTube to take down any potentially offending material) no actual court cases have been presented. This has left lawyers and academics to postulate how best to deal with remixes and mashups without the worry of creating precedent that would favor either side.
The overall sentiment from legal academics is that to properly deal with the issues presented by remixes and mashups, copyright law as a whole needs to be overhauled. However experts are divided as to what direction such an overhaul should head in. One option would be to lean towards a more utilitarian view of transformative works. As it stands now, it is very difficult to argue that a work, such as a mashup or remix, is in fact transformative and therefore would fall under the fair use doctrine. According to the article by Aaron Power, mashups in particular should be analyzed as “quasi” parodies and like parodies should be able to use the fair use defense if and when such a case is presented to the courts. The other option, for those scholars that believe that mashups and remixes do not fall under the fair use doctrine, would have Congress or the record companies setup some kind of compulsory licensing system. Under this system creators of remixes and mashups would use their already existing community standards to ascertain what percentage of their income would be given back to the original authors. The other option concerning compulsory licensing would see a blanket licensing system similar to that used by BMI and ASCAP where mashup and remix artists would pay an annual fee for the right to sample copyrighted material. In both cases amateur mashup and remix artists would not have to pay these fees because their creations “cause no harm” and in fact should be legalized.
While it seems that legal scholars tend to prefer a softening of the definition of transformative work to include mashups and remix, there is no clear consensus as to how the genres of mashups and remixes should be treated under copyright law. The only agreed upon fact is that copyright law must be changed to deal with the issues presented by these two genres.