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Billy has created a device called a TowRack, which is a rack for carrying sports equipment such as bikes, skis and kayaks. What makes this item different form other racks is that it attaches to a vehicle’s trailer hitch and has a single wheel to help support the weight of the rack and items attached to it. Because it is so much lighter than a regular trailer, it can be used on even the smallest of cars that are not designed to tow regular trailers. Because of the success of this product, competitors introduce similar products. But because of the initial success of Billy’s TowRack, all of these similar products are often referred to as TowRacks. Billy has also written a book about using “TowRacks” and safe driving techniques for driving with TowRacks and would like to obtain a copyright for the book. Discuss Billy’s legal situation. What actions can he take? Do you think that he will prevail? Why? Please give examples of three other similar cases and the results.

Henry writes a series of essays that have an environmental focus. One of these essays contains a very detailed description of the workings of a forest ecosystem. A national environment organization opposed to logging in certain areas has copied this essay and includes it in materials that the group gives to members of the public in hopes of persuading those persons to join the opposition to logging in these areas. Henry has never wanted his work to be forced onto people and objects to his essay being copied and distributed like this. He is afraid persons will think he is part of this organization, and he did not want his essay used this way. Was this within fair use? What steps can Henry take to stop this use of his essay? Do you think that he will prevail? Please give examples of three other similar cases and the results.

Amy and Eric wanted their son, Wyatt, to see a space shuttle launch. They contracted to rent a home near the space launch facility in Florida for the second week in June of 2004 so that they could see the launch and have a Florida vacation. The launch was scheduled for Monday of the week that they rented the house. On Thursday of the week prior to the launch, it was announced that the launch would be delayed for two weeks. Are Amy and Eric obligated to pay for the rental of the house? Why? Please present at least 3 similar cases and the results with your response.

On July, 5, 1884, four sailors were cast away from their ship in a storm 1,600 miles from the Cape of Good Hope. Their lifeboat contained neither water nor much food. On the e20th day of their ordeal, Dudley and Stevens, without the assistance or agreement of Brooks, cut the throat of the fourth sailor, a 17 or 18 year old boy. They had not eaten since day 12. Water had been available only occasionally. At the time of the death, the men were probably about 1,000 miles from land. Prior to his death, the boy was lying helplessly in the bottom of the boat. Three surviving sailors ate the boy’s remains for four days, at which point they were rescued by a passing boat, they were in a seriously weakened condition.
a. Were Dudley and Stevens guilty or murder? Explain
b. Should Brooks have been charged with a crime for eating the boy’s flesh?

University of Chicago law professor Richard Epstein points out how quickly Americans turn to legal remedies rather than relying on informal social customs (negotiation, neighborhood groups, simply accepting small losses and disturbances rather than fighting about them) to resolve conflicts. In your view, why are social customs increasingly ineffective in settling disputes in this country?

The question presents one or more legal issues. State each legal issue briefly, state the pertinent rule of law and explain how the rule applies.


Using forms he downloaded from the Internet, Fred Fescue incorporates his lawn care business. He and his wife are the sole directors. He capitalizes Fredcorp with his lawn care equipment and his ’83 Ford pickup, all of which he values at $50,000. He takes a salary from Fredcorp and charges most of his personal living expenses to the corporation. On the advice of one of his lodge brothers, Fred signs an IOU to Fredcorp whenever he charges personal expenses. On the way home after a long, wet evening at the lodge hall, Fred drives the pickup through the display window of Hank’s Haberdashery, causing $20,000 in damages. Hank files suit against Fredcorp, but his attorney learns the corporation’s assets – a wrecked pickup, an old riding mower, a leaf blower and $30,000 in IOU’s – are virtually worthless, and Fredcorp has no insurance. “I’m afraid suing Fredcorp is a waste of time,” the lawyer says. “But Fred’s wife drives a brand new Mercedes!” Hank protests. How can Hank recover his losses?