: The Blawgraphy
Life of a Law Student, University of Houston Law Center

Please note: I'm no longer updating this particular blog, but keep it around for archival purposes. Visit me at the current blog at

TED Talks: Misha Glenny investigates global crime networks

Organized crime has grown by leaps and bounds in the past decade, to what Glenny now estimates as 15% of the world’s GDP. Glenny has written McMafia: A Journey Through the Global Criminal Underworld, attributing the remarkable its growth to the collapse of Communism, the rise of globalism and the deregulation of international finance markets.

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Economist pulls issue in Thailand out of Concern for Lese-majeste Laws

In Thailand, Economist pulled again from Thailand newsstands after monarchy article citing concern for the local distributor under Thailand’s Lese majeste laws. Earlier this year, Harry Nicolaides, an Australian author who had written a novel critical of the Thai royal family, was arrested under the lese majeste laws. According to Wikipedia, the law is just about as broad as one could imagine:

“The King shall be enthroned in a position of revered worship and shall not be violated. No person shall expose the King to any sort of accusation or action.”


“Whoever defames, insults or threatens the King, Queen or the Heir-apparent, shall be punished with imprisonment of three to 15 years.”

Despite pulling the magazine, the article is still available in Thailand on the internet as the site hasn’t been blocked by the government. As noted on the Thai Crisis Blog, the Thai government has shown a penchant for going after websites as well, last fall the “Information and Communications Technology (ICT) Ministry has detected more than 1,200 websites that violated the Computer Crime Act – of which 344 had content deemed insulting to the monarchy.”

Batman, Turkey Sues Over Unauthorized Use of Name

According to the Hurriyet Daily News, Real life Batman faces super test, there is a town in Turkey named Batman whose mayor is suing Chris Nolan, director of Batman Begins and the Dark Knight for some sort of name infringement, claiming rights to the royalties.

Although this might initially raise the specter for Nolan of being haled into some Turkish IP proceeding, it seems even their courts would recognize the silliness of the proceeding:

[T]he name of a local region cannot be registered as a brand name, said lawyer Vehbi Kahveci, head of the Intellectual and Industrial Property Rights Commission of the Istanbul Bar. Also having overseas clients, Kahveci said “Batman” and his image is registered all around the world. The Batman Municipality missed the period in which they could object to the registration decision for Batman’s name as a superhero, according to Kahveci.

Is homonym a defense to such an action, I wonder? At least some of Batman, Turkey’s former residents make more sympathetic potential plaintiffs:

Şafii Dağ, a former Batman resident, currently living in the Germany city of Wesel, is one of those citizens who cannot use Batman as a title for his business, according to the newspaper. “I named my two restaurants Batman. But six months ago, a team of employees from the production company of the movie Batman made me change the title. Telling them that Batman was the name of my hometown did not change anything,” Dağ said.

Carnegie Council: The International Judge: An Introduction to the Men and Women Who Decide the World’s Cases

In the course of some research, I came across this very interesting introduction to the world of international judges from a Carnegie Council forum earlier this year. The International Judge: An Introduction to the Men and Women Who Decide the World’s Cases, Cesare P. R. Romano, Stephen M. Schwebel, Daniel Terris. Click the links below for the video and transcript. The entire presentation is a little over an hour long, with excerpts from YouTube below.

Filipino Prison-Yard Thriller, Prisoners Unlikely Youtube Celebrities

Let’s choose to overlook for a moment some of the more disturbing implications we might draw from this video and instead revel in the strange beauty of its existence. The Houston Chronicle has a story on the latest Youtube phenomenon, video reenactments of 80′s pop songs by Filipino prisoners.

Their version of Michael Jackson’s Thriller had been watched nearly 4.4 million times on YouTube as of Thursday, uploaded by Byron Garcia, the Cebu provincial security consultant who came up with the idea of adding structure to poorly attended exercise sessions.

Crisanto Nierre, who plays Michael Jackson’s role in Thriller, finds his new fame bittersweet. Relatives as far away as Sweden, Denmark and Dubai have excitedly watched him on YouTube. But he can’t escape the fact that he’s in prison, gently touching family photos hanging from the bed above him in sheets of protective plastic. A fan of Jackson’s music since he was in a dance troupe in high school — ironically, his favorites include Bad and Smooth Criminal — 36-year-old Nierre carefully lays out the orange-and-black outfit made for his performances, smoothing every wrinkle. “I hope that all the people who see us will be happy in knowing that we, despite being prisoners, we were able to do this,” said Nierre, in prison five years awaiting trial on drug charges.

?!?!?!?! “…in prison five years awaiting trial on drug charges”?!?!?!?!? Not unusual in the Philippine prison system unfortunately. Raymond Narag was a law student when he was arrested on murder charges and waited seven years to be found not guilty. Even their own Supreme Court has estimated that 77 per cent of all cases that come before the courts are the result of judicial error. As for why they dance, Nierre says:

“Before the dancing, our problems were really heavy to bear. Dancing takes our minds away from our problems. Our bodies became more healthy. As for the judges, they may be impressed with us, seeing that we are being rehabilitated and this could help our case. We are being rehabilitated in a good way.”

Houston Chronicle: YouTube watchers enthralled with Filipino inmates’ Thriller; Youtube Homepage of the Cebu Provincial Detention and Rehabilitation Center, Asian News: A prison system on the verge of collapse

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