Monthly Archives: July 2012

Death and Taxes and Zombies in the NYT

The New York Times has published a great story about Adam Chodorow’s article on Death and Taxes and Zombies, previously featured here on Law and the Multiverse.  The same reporter also interviewed us back in 2010.

The Amazing Spider-Man: Warrants and Assault

As we discussed in our background post, most of the issues in The Amazing Spider-Man aren’t new, but there are two stand-outs.  There are some  minor spoilers ahead for anyone who hasn’t seen the trailers, and a couple of very minor spoilers for anyone who hasn’t seen the film.

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The Amazing Spider-Man: Background

So The Amazing Spider-Man came out last weekend. This is a “reboot” of the Spider-Man cinematic franchise. Rumor has it that Sony’s rights to the franchise would expire if they didn’t release a film every so often, so when Raimi withdrew from the planned Spider-Man 4, the studio opted for a full-on reboot. Given the choice between an arguably too-soon reboot—Spider-Man was only ten years ago and Spider-Man 3 came out in 2007—and letting to of what was almost guaranteed to be a multi-million dollar cash cow, the choice seems pretty obvious.

This post is actually more of a reminder about things we’ve already discussed rather than an exploration of new ground. We’ve already talked about a lot of the legal issues raised by Spider-Man, and The Amazing Spider-Man doesn’t exactly break much new ground here. The following touches on most of the more obvious issues in the movie. We’ll follow this up with some new material on Friday.  In the meanwhile, if you have any questions, feel free to mention them in the comments or email us!

Just last month we talked about Spider-Man and likeness rights, something related to two guest posts on the right of publicity generally.

This one isn’t immediately relevant to the new movie, as Parker’s connection with The Daily Bugle hasn’t been established yet, but we did look at the possibility liability Parker has for not being entirely honest with the Bugle about his relationship with Spider-Man.

We took a brief look at a story from Ultimate Spider-Man # 6 back in February.

Spider-Man isn’t a journalist in this movie—now he just takes pictures for the school newspaper and yearbook, etc.—but he is in a lot of the comics, and we looked at that here.

In April 2011 we examined whether patents might be a problem for Parker given that he’s arguably making off with sensitive data. We then revisited the issue last September, considering the passage of the America Invents Act on our earlier discussion.

A bit earlier we did a two post series on superpowered minors, and while we don’t talk about Spider-Man directly, it’s possibly relevant, although we don’t know exactly how old Peter is in this version.

One thing that is more directly relevant is the issue of costumes and the confrontation clause, something that this version of Spider-Man might well have to deal with given the way he drops off criminals for the cops. We don’t specifically mention Spider-Man in that post, but he does wind up testifying in costume in an early She-Hulk comic, so it’s definitely an issue.

Related to costumes, we discussed the issue of superhero merchandising (part two), something which actually comes into play in the movie. We see a guy wearing a Spider-Man t-shirt, for example.

Then there’s the duty to rescue, an issue always raised in any discussion of Uncle Ben’s death, but thrown in sharp relief here given the way it’s portrayed this time.

Very early on we did a four-part series (one, two, three, four) on superheroes and privacy rights. This issue is touched on rather explicitly by the film, as the dangers Parker’s activities as Spider-Man will pose to his loved ones are discussed.

The Joker

We’re not talking about The Joker in general here, but rather the [amazon_link id=”1401215815″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]2008 graphic novel[/amazon_link] by Brian Azzarello and Lee Bermejo. It’s got two legal issues up for discussion, one major, one minor. First, there’s the issue of a specific outcome of an insanity proceeding. Second, there’s the matter of what appears to be divorce papers. We’ll discuss each in turn. Continue reading

Recent Coverage Roundup

While many of our posts are tweeted and blogged about, our recent post on Nick Fury and Illegal Orders has attracted more attention than usual, so we thought we’d give a shout out to people and sites that have written about us recently.  The illegal orders post was republished in its entirety on io9, and linked on Whedonesque, Dr. Sputnik’s Society Pages (a blog related to, Nodwick (you can expect a post on related comic PS238 soon), and Diane Duane‘s tumblr.

Our other Avengers-related posts were also written about at blogs like The Mary Sue, A Very Nice Website, the Administrative Law Prof Blog, Wired’s Geek Dad blog, and Alyssa Rosenberg’s blog at Thinkprogress.

Adam Chodorow’s guest post about Death and Taxes and Zombies (and the related full-length article) naturally caught the attention of the internet with write-ups and discussion at io9, MetaFilter, and Neatorama.

Our most recent Subculture for the Cultured column, Daredevil and International Law, received praise from Christopher Borgen, a professor and associate dean at St. John’s University School of Law and co-founder of Opinio Juris, an international law blog.