Aug 4, 2021 • 10M

🗞️ Napster is the legal news world

Open in playerListen on);

Appears in this episode

Raad Ahmed
Welcome to Not Billable. Weekly legal news updates. Full event replays. And, a chance to hear from industry leaders about what’s been going on behind the scenes. Powered by Lawtrades, and hosted by their Head of Community, Matt Margolis.
Episode details

This week: A Napster case may influence Spotify, and ScarJo sues Disney. Plus: Big Law bonuses are going to the next level.

👽 A Napster harassment case could have a major impact on Spotify 

A name you haven’t thought about in 20 years is back in the news.

Napster is the subject of a harassment case that may lead to changes on the internet.  

  • The new Napster: The file-sharing service founded by Sean Parker closed down years ago and was later merged with Rhapsody. People now use Napster for streaming, similar to Spotify or Apple Music. 

  • Recently, a man was accused of harassing an ex via Napster: They had a shared account, and he changed the titles of playlists to things like “I want us to work. Do you? I’ll do anything.” Because a restraining order had already been granted against him, he was accused of violating the order and pleaded no contest. 

Bigger than Napster

As The Verge notes, this case is “an example of how metadata can become a vector for harassment outside major social platforms.” Spotify has been accused of not doing enough to police reports of harassment via playlists or to stop stalkers from following users’ music selections.    

The Verdict

Even the platforms you wouldn’t consider “social” have social media problems.

💵 Somehow law salaries are getting even higher

When we last shared stories about law firm pay here, industry leaders Davis Polk and Milbank were raising annual salaries to associates by anywhere from $10,000 to $25,000.

Things are still heading up. 

  • Retention bonuses are the new craze: According to the Financial Times, Kirkland & Ellis has been offering $250,000 to mid-career employees who have job offers on the table. Some new attorneys at Kirkland & Ellis have been offered the same amount to jump ship from their previous firm. In the past, plenty of firms didn’t offer signing bonuses, or at least not that high. 

  • It even pays to refer a new lawyer: The FT reports Paul Hastings and Goodwin Procter will give their attorneys $30,000 to $50,000 for recommending a new associate who gets hired. On top of that, firms are now giving out spring bonuses in addition to Christmas bonuses. 

The legal world is just too busy

M&A activity is at a new high, plus last year’s legal backlog is coming to the fore. Add to that the new empowerment of lawyers who had been working from home, and you get the crazy environment we’re in. 

The Verdict

It’s never been better to be an early or mid-career lawyer, at least financially. Said one recruiter to the FT: “Associates can pretty much ask for what they want.” 

📽️ Scarlett Johansson's “Black Widow” lawsuit could have huge Hollywood implications 

“Black Widow” came out in theaters and on streamer Disney+ at the same time last month. It is an increasingly popular move in the entertainment business, but one Scarlett Johansson believes shouldn’t happen.

  • She filed a lawsuit claiming Disney breached her contract: She said the contract required the movie to have a theatrical only release. This matters because her payment structure was heavily based on backend profits at the box office. The WSJ reports the simultaneous streaming release may have cost her $50 million.  

  • This is the first major lawsuit over a streaming and theatrical release: But plenty of other Disney and Warner Bros. movies have been going in theaters and online at the same time. Johansson has the rare star power to pull off a lawsuit without alienating Hollywood execs. 

The big studios will be watching

They’ve bet big on streaming platforms. Movie theaters, meanwhile, need people to return. If other stars file lawsuits like Johansson, they could swing the momentum back to theaters and make studios think twice about straight-to-streaming releases. 

The Verdict

By the time this lawsuit has run its course, Hollywood may be in an entirely different place, where streaming releases are even more normal. 

💌 What else we're forwarding

Elon Musk is on Team Epic: The Silicon Valley heavyweight tweeted, “Apple app store fees are a de facto global tax on the internet. Epic is right.” 

Zoom owes millions over an inability to stop hackers: It’s been a great 18 months for Zoom--save for it not being able to control the issue of random people jumping into others’ conversations. The problem cost the company $85 million in a lawsuit settlement.

🎧 Music we’re working to

Today We’re listening to Foans, a house music producer based in Denver. He produces tracks that are dreamy and minimalist, with simplistic percussion and a stark bass line. His music seems to take cues from artists like DJ Boring and DJ Seinfeld. Enjoy his 2016 album, Frontier, a solid collection of steady, richly textured dance tracks.

Frontier - Foans (40m, track 6 has a vocal sample)
Spotify / Apple Music / YouTube Music / Amazon Music 

See ya next week,

✌🏽 Raad