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Law — PLNU Official Gets Inside Look at Supreme Court

Downtown Firm Plays

Key Role in Overturning

Copyright Infringement

Just what issues will land before the U.S. Supreme Court during its new term this fall?

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Whatever they are, Barry Ryan of Point Loma Nazarene University will have a good look at them as they develop.

Ryan is taking a year off from his college job to work in the office of Chief Justice William Rehnquist as part of the court’s judicial fellows program. He begins work this summer.

Ryan was the only candidate from the West to be chosen for the position.

The application process is difficult. Applicants must have at least two graduate degrees, a record of high professional performance, multidisciplinary training and a familiarity with the judicial process.

Finalists are narrowed to eight, who are then interviewed by a panel that includes federal appeals judges, prominent attorneys and a former White House counsel. Four are chosen from the eight. Only one is assigned to the office of the chief justice.

“The interview for this was more stressful than the oral exams for my doctorate,” Ryan said.

Ryan, who spent six years as a corporate attorney, is a history professor and vice president for university relations at Point Loma Nazarene.

The chance to work in Rehnquist’s office was “too good of an opportunity to turn down, especially in the context of an election year,” he said.

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Copyright Conundrum: Procopio, Cory, Hargreaves & Savitch LLP is trumpeting a favorable decision handed down May 4 by the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. The Downtown firm worked with attorney Jonathan Hangartner to win an appeal for their client, Beverly Hills-based Bleem, Inc., which makes and distributes a software program that allows games designed for Sony PlayStation to be played on personal computers.

The ruling reversed and vacated a federal trial judge’s decision that had barred Bleem from using comparative “screen shots” , or still video images , from video games copyrighted by Sony Computer Entertainment America Inc., in Bleem’s advertisements and marketing materials.

According to a statement released by the law firm, Sony sued Bleem last year for using images from Sony’s games to compare the performance of Sony’s PlayStation console against Bleem’s software emulator.

Bleem used side-by-side comparisons of images from Sony’s No. 1 best-selling PlayStation game, “Gran Turismo,” to depict the improvement in visual quality possible when the game is played on a personal computer with Bleem’s product vs. a television set with the PlayStation console.

Ed Silverman, the appellate attorney from Procopio involved in the case, said in vacating the injunction, the court of appeals ruled that, because Bleem’s use of images from Sony games was in comparative advertising, it constituted a fair use of the copyrighted materials. According to a statement released by Procopio, this is the first time the 9th Circuit Court has addressed the fair use of copyrighted materials in advertising by a competitor.

The law firm’s statement said the speed with which the court heard and decided the appeal was notable, as was the strength of its ruling.

Binational Negotiation: California Western School of Law students, representing the school’s McGill Center for Creative Problem Solving, were to travel to Playas de Tijuana on Saturday to join their counterparts at IberoAmericana University School of Law. Bringing them together was a seminar on cross-cultural negotiation skills led by professor Janeen Kerper, the McGill Center’s Latin American programs director.

Graves’ law column appears weekly. E-mail items to bgraves@sdbj.com.

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