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Napster, Inc., offered a service that allowed its users to browse digital music files on other users' computers and download selections for free. Music industry principals sued Napster for copyright infringement, and the court ordered Napster to remove files that were identified as infringing from its service. When Napster failed to comply, it was shut down.

A few months later, Bertelsmann, a German corporation, loaned Napster $85 million to fund its anticipated transition to a licensed digital music distribution system. The terms allowed Napster to spend the loan on "general, administrative and overhead expenses." In an e-mail, Napster's chief executive officer referred to a "side deal" under which Napster could use up to$10 million of the loan to pay litigation expenses. Napster failed to launch the new system before declaring bankruptcy. A group of song writers and music publishers filed a suit against Bertelsmann, alleging that its loan had prolonged Napster's infringement. The plaintiffs asked the court to order the disclosure of all of Bertelsmann's attorney-client communications related to the loan. (See Confidentiality and Privilege.)

(a) The first group will identify the principle that Bertelsmann could assert to protect these communications and outline the purpose of this protection.

(b) The second group will decide whether this principle should protect a client who consults an attorney for advice that will help the client commit fraud.

(c) A third group will determine whether the court should grant the plaintiffs' request.


Adverse Possession. The Wallen family owned a cabin on Lummi Island in the state of Washington. A driveway ran from the cabin across their property to South Nugent Road. Floyd Massey bought the adjacent lot and built a cabin on it in 19801980. To gain access to his property, Massey used a bulldozer to extend the driveway, without the Wallens' permission but also without their objection. Twenty-five years later, the Wallens sold their property to Wright Fish Company. Massey continued to use and maintain the driveway without permission or objection. Later, Massey sold his property to Robert Drake. Drake and his employees continued to use and maintain the driveway without permission or objection, although Drake knew it was located permission or objection, although Drake knew it was located largely on Wright's property. Still later, Wright sold its lot to Robert Smersh. The next year, Smersh told Drake to stop using the driveway. Drake filed a suit against Smersh, claiming adverse possession.

(a) The first group will decide whether Drake's use of the driveway meets all of the requirements for adverse possession.

(b) The second group will determine how the court should rule in this case and why. Does it matter that Drake knew the driveway was located largely on Wright's (and then Smersh's) property? Should it matter? Why or why not?

(c) A third group will evaluate the underlying policy and fairness of adverse possession laws. Should the law reward persons who take possession of someone else's land for their own use? Does it make sense to punish owners who allow someone else to use their land without complaint? Explain.

(d) The fourth group will consider how the laws governing adverse possession vary from state to state. To acquire title through adverse possession, a person might be required to possess the property for five years in one state, for instance, and for twenty years in another. Are there any legitimate reasons for such regional differences? Would it be better if all states had the same requirements? Explain your answers.


Answered 9 months ago
Answered 9 months ago
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