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DIGITAL- RIGHTS GROUP TREKS INTO FUND RAISING’S FINAL FRONTIER The digital rights nonprofit group Electronic Frontier Foundation came up with some unexpected funding recently. In a novel move, two companies that stand to benefit from EFF’s work have pledged a part of their sales to help lard EFF’s war chest. Call it a symbiotic relationship. EFF’s executive director and president, Shari Steele, said the two companies — 321 Studios Inc. and Slim Devices Inc. — came to EFF with their respective offers independent of each other. “It’s a wonderful idea, and we will probably start talking to other companies about it,” Steele said. EFF, through direct representation or amicus briefs, involves itself in numerous cutting-edge technology cases. But Steele said the moves should not be seen as an attempt to buy a piece of EFF’s agenda. “We won’t do anything in exchange for it,” she said. 321 Studios makes the popular DVD X Copy software, now the subject of litigation in San Francisco. It allows users to circumvent the encryption on DVDs so users can make their own copies of Hollywood’s hottest hits. Hollywood, of course, is miffed. Slim Devices makes Squeezebox, a wireless device that hooks up to a home stereo system, allowing users to turn their computers into virtual jukeboxes. Though Slim Devices is not likely to be sued anytime soon, the company benefits from the MP3 electronic music format preferred by peer-to-peer file sharing networks like Kazaa, which are at the center of several lawsuits. Slim Devices will donate 10 percent of online profits to EFF (Squeezebox sells for $300) as well as inserting promotion literature on EFF’s behalf in its packaging. 321 Studios — which is awaiting a ruling from U.S. District Judge Susan Illston on the legality of its product (EFF submitted an amicus curiae brief in the case) — will donate $25 from each sale of DVD X Copy Platinum and Lite-On DVD to EFF. The deal is capped at $1 million. The money should come as a boon to EFF, whose budget this year is about $2.3 million. — Jason Hoppin JUST A MATTER OF TIME Chief Justice Ronald George was a little wary when a San Francisco solo practitioner tried to reserve 25 of his 30 minutes for rebuttal during oral arguments in San Jose last week. Normally, George told Craig Martin, the bulk of the appellant’s time is used to argue the case in chief, with a small amount reserved to counter the respondent’s argument. The chief justice wanted Martin’s assurance that he wasn’t planning on “sandbagging” his opponent, Corte Madera lawyer Mattaniah Eytan, by trying to raise new points in rebuttal to which Eytan couldn’t respond. Martin, a first-timer before the Supreme Court, gave George his word that he didn’t plan on sandbagging, that he just felt he could make his argument short and sweet. That was before Martin watched the case ahead of his own, in which the seven justices sliced and diced a San Diego-based deputy attorney general the entire time he was at the podium. When Martin got up to argue, the chief justice asked if he had changed his mind. Yes, indeed, Martin said. Twenty minutes to argue the case would be great, with 10 minutes to rebut. — Mike McKee EASY LISTENING, ANYONE? Just in time for the holidays, the Judicial Council has produced a two-CD set, called “Stories from California’s Juvenile Court,” with 43 tracks of anecdotes and other thoughts on juvenile justice from presiding judges, social workers, teachers and others. The CD set was given out to the approximately 1,500 people who attended Celebrating California’s Juvenile Court Centennial Conference, which was held in Los Angeles last week. Audrey Evje, attorney with the Administrative Office of the Courts’ center for Families, Children and the Courts, said the council thought it was important to capture the work of juvenile court — sort of like a “time capsule,” she said — because many people have the wrong idea of children and the law. “There is so much more to the story than what makes the news,” Evje said. The CD cost $20,000 to produce. Evje said it might have been more, but the interviews for the CDs were conducted during the past 18 months, mostly at other conferences and places where court workers were already gathering, which saved money. The council hired a storyteller for the project named Joe McHugh, who did a similar project for the National Council of Family and Juvenile Court Judges. He collected more than nine hours that was edited down to about 95 minutes, Evje said. Anyone who missed the conference can purchase the CD set for $6. — Jeff Chorney JUSTICES CONFRONT ELDER ABUSE When lawyers in an adoption case suggested in briefs that a couple, ages 58 and 61, were too old to adopt their grandchildren, three justices on Sacramento’s Third District Court of Appeal couldn’t believe their eyes. “We must confess to being a bit chagrined,” Justice Arthur Scotland wrote in a ruling released Thursday. “After all,” he continued, “one of us is 62, another 57 and the ‘new kid on our block,’ so to speak, is not that far behind. Until now, we have been indulging in the apparent illusion that we are still in the prime of life.” The age argument was raised by Pacific Grove solo practitioner Ann Jory and Lori Klein, a partner in Santa Cruz’s Boroff, Jensen, Klein & Smith, in a bid to reverse a Sacramento County Juvenile Court order terminating their clients’ parental rights to two children. The lawyers suggested that people of such advanced age as the grandparents couldn’t meet the physical demands of raising children. That was too much for Scotland, as well as Justices Fred Morrison and M. Kathleen Butz, who concurred in the opinion. “Paul McCartney (a recent father at 61) undoubtedly would take issue with this suggestion,” Scotland wrote in In re T.S., 03 C.D.O.S. 10472, “as would Tony Randall (78), Rupert Murdoch (72), Luciano Pavarotti (twins at 67), Clint Eastwood (67), Larry King (66) and even California’s attorney general, Bill Lockyer (61), to name a few.” Scotland went on to note that supermodel Cheryl Tiegs gave birth to twins at 52 and singer Josephine Baker adopted 12 children between 1954 and 1959 — the last at age 53. Closer to home, he pointed to former Third District Presiding Justice Robert Puglia, who as a 69-year-old grandfather competed in several triathlons, “including the grueling Donner Lake Triathlon.” “Leaving some much younger competitors in his dust,” Scotland wrote in a footnote, “Presiding Justice Puglia provided an impressive demonstration of the physical capabilities of older grandparents.” Suffice to say that the court affirmed the parental termination order that opens the door for the adoption. For the record, Morrison is the 62-year-old and Scotland is 57. Butz is 53. — Mike McKee

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