Monday, May 24, 2010

Fun with Contracts: Backstage Riders

Summer is the peak season for music festivals and concert tours, which means that promoters across the country are currently combing through visiting artists’ backstage concert riders. "Riders," defined by Black’s Law Dictionary as an “attachment to some document […] that amends or supplements the document,” are frequently used by musicians to clarify technical needs and specifications for the concert, and just as often are used to specify minutiae like dressing room d├ęcor, dietary preferences, and personal needs (towels, private bathrooms, and even condoms are frequent requests).

The Smoking Gun's "Backstage Pass" archive reprints or excerpts more than 250 riders from a wide variety of touring acts, both classic and contemporary. From Van Halen’s infamous 1982 demand that all brown M&Ms be picked out of their candy bowl, to Jennifer Lopez’s request for expensive French candles in her dressing room at a recent charity event, to megawatt pop star Lady Gaga’s surprisingly polite and low-key catering preferences, the contracts can tell you a lot more about your favorite recording artists than just their beverages of choice (though for what it's worth, rap mogul Jay-Z requests more than $1,000 worth of alcohol in his dressing room at every concert).

So would a venue's failure to provide Keith Richards with his $45 "medium white Casablanca lilly arrangement with weeping eucalyptus" result in the last-minute cancellation of a Rolling Stones gig? The hypothetical might make interesting law school exam fodder, but in reality concert promoters simply strike out unfeasible, unreasonable, or impossible provisions (see a marked-up example for The Bloodhound Gang, rejecting their admittedly non-serious request for "one small rhesus monkey skeleton" and other demands). Many artists claim that the more outrageous demands are simply a test, to ensure that the more serious sound, lighting, security and other technical concerns had also been carefully read and handled. Others take a more light-hearted approach to handling the mundane details, such as Iggy Pop’s hilarious send-up of typical rock star riders.

While backstage riders are essentially contracts, you’re more likely to find information and analysis on them in entertainment law publications. If the representation of recording artists sounds like the legal career path for you, take a look at some treatises and handbooks in the library and online.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

The Gallery of Unusual Law Books

Think the Law Library is full of dusty and boring books? Well…okay, we have 600,000 volumes, and we can’t pretend that every single one of them is filled with excitement. But every so often, something fun and different finds its way to our shelves, like last year's noteworthy Killer Robots or the latest novels in the Cox Collection.

Searching the Duke University Libraries’ online catalog for whatever strikes your fancy can yield some interesting surprises. Here’s a selection of the more unusual books which have arrived in the last few weeks.
  • The Law and Harry Potter (Cox Collection PR 6068 .O93 Z7565 2010) : Is Sirius Black a classic case study in wrongful conviction? What does Gringotts teach us about banking regulation? And how does Hogwarts’ culture compare to the typical law school learning experience? These questions and more are tackled in this collection’s 22 chapters from a variety of wizard-loving law professors, practicing lawyers, and economists.
  • Law and Magic: A Collection of Essays (K487.M33 L39 2010) is aimed more at the Muggle crowd, but offers 24 chapters on the intersection between magic (both modern & historical) and the law, including: how intellectual property can (or cannot) protect magicians’ stage tricks, an animal rights perspective on pulling rabbits from hats, and a comparative perspective on historic witchcraft trials.

    If this title particularly appeals to you, keep up with the latest developments on the topic at the Law & Magic Blog.
What’s the most unusual title you’ve found in the Law Library’s collection? Go on, give it a try.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Summer Hours Now in Effect

Effective the last day of exams, the Goodson Law Library is now operating on its summer access and service hours. During the summer months, the Law Library and Academic Technologies staff are available from Monday-Friday, 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. Evening and weekend services will resume in the Fall 2010 semester.

Over the summer, current members of the Duke Law community continue to enjoy 24-hour access to the library and Law School. Members of the Class of 2010, please consult our previous post for instructions on extending your building access for the summer once your student ID is deactivated.

The Goodson Law Library wishes everyone a happy (and safe!) summer.