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[humorix] The Coming Lawyerclysm

The Coming Lawyerclysm
Jon Splatz, Humorix Pundit & Social Commentator
September 29, 1999

There are hordes of serious-minded people who insist that
the legal system is driving us towards a Lawyerclysm, when
humanity becomes overwhelmed as it tries and fails to cope
with the increasing complexity and absurdity of laws and
legal arguments.

Even now, nobody can really keep up, and only a few can
even fake it. Everyone is frantic, stressed, tethered,
broke or worn out trying to manage. We are bombarded by
patents, and copyrights, and bonehead laws, and lawsuits we
certainly do not need or understand, that move more quickly
and do more unpleasant things than we want, that we can
barely grasp, let alone deal with.

The complaints and alarms are piling up. 

Author James Keite in "Speedier" complains that the
judicial system is forcing everything to move too quickly.
In his new collection of essays, Arthur Z. Lark writes "I
have seen the future and it's patented." 

The typical twenty-first-century person's day, he predicts,
will include: "Checking email, phone, and fax to see if any
legal notices have arrived; skimming the news to keep track
of new laws, regulations, and rules that were enacted;
conferring with overpriced lawyers about pending lawsuits;
attending court either in person or via closed-circuit
holographic projection; talking with insurance adjustors to
reduce future liabilities; exploring the Microsoft HyperWeb
for tips on how to beat the IRS (12 million tax laws and

And that's just the tip of the iceberg.

Anti-Lawyer Patrick Buyer goes further, warning in his
books that lawyers are destroying the world. He wants us to
kill all the lawyers to save the planet -- and ourselves. 
In his apocalyptic new dirge "Staring Into The Gavel,"
author Bob Labeller proclaims that western civilization
itself is coming to an end. 

Believe me, these predictions are not bullshit.  The
ongoing legal battle between Humorix and Microsoft is proof
of this proposition.  

You've no doubt been following the exchange of legal
verbiage between the two parties over the last few weeks.
It gets worse.  Here's the certified letter that arrived
from the bowels of the Microsoft Empire earlier today:


Dear Mr. Morals, et al,

Your challenging of the Microsoft GPL (Grossly Private
License) by referring to the Humorix ClosedHumor Public
License is not valid, because we in no way agreed to this

     * By opening Port 80 of the Humorix website, you agree
       to these terms. If you do not agree to the terms,
       return the electrons you have received and
       immediately close your browser.

We did not open port 80 of your website. We have accessed
your website through www-proxy1307.aol.com, so by your own
terms, AOL agreed to the Humorix ClosedHumor Public
License. Microsoft is not bound to any agreements AOL made
with you or anyone else.

Even if we had accessed your port 80 directly, your license
would be invalid, because we could not read it before
accessing port 80. You, on the other hand, you can read the
Microsoft GPL (Grossly Private License) without opening the
envelope: remove the stamp and use a microscope with a
magnification factor of at least thousand (1000) where the
stamp was.

Also, I consider myself forced to point out that your
license violates another Microsoft patent.

     * You agree to purchase at least ten (10) shares of
       Humorix stock (Nasdaq: FAUX) within one (1) week and
       to hold said shares for at least one (1) year.

Microsoft owns a patent on "the concept of using one
product to force people to use another product". Previous
usage includes putting Internet Explorer in Windows, the
fact that WindowsUpdate.microsoft.com cannot be accessed
with Netscape, and our placing of MSN icons on the desktop
of all computer users.

If you are a member of the Microsoft PBN (Patent Builder
Network), you can check all Microsoft-owned patents online
via the Microsoft Network (IE required).  To sign up for a
PBN account, you need to be a MSCL (Microsoft Certified
Lawyer). Membership is $50,000 p.a., with a free trial
period of twelve (12) seconds.

Thank you for your attention.


C. A. Pitalist
Chairman, Microsoft Legal Department

Pat N. Twar, Esq.
Deputy Under-Secretary, Patent Protection Division,
Microsoft Legal Dept.

T. H. Eft
Under-Sub-Lawyer, Microsoft Patents & Innovations


This is sickening.  But not as bad as the reply that Mr.
Noah Morals, Humorix lawyer, just sent back:


Dear Microsoft Legal Department,

Thank you for reporting the bug in the Humorix ClosedHumor
Public License.  My legal assistants have prepared an
upgrade -- version 1.1 -- that fixes this and other known
issues, and adds new features and usability enhancements. 
The text of the upgraded license is 1.2 MB in length.

The upgraded license states, "You may not read, copy,
distribute, disseminate, laugh at, or modify any Humorix
content unless you have accepted the terms of this
License.  Any usage of Humorix material without accepting
this License is illegal and will be prosecuted as 'portal
piracy'.  If you decline to accept this License, (a)
immediately delete any Humorix material you may have
inadvertantly downloaded, and (b) reboot your computer.

We must inform you that Humorix has just applied for -- and
received -- the following patent:

     * The construction of a device that enables the user
       to fully read the contents of a folded paper
       container [envelope] without breaking the seal on
       said container.

We have used such a device extensively at Humorix; indeed,
we just used it to read your previous correspondence
without opening the envelope, which means that we have not
accepted your poorly-worded Grossly Private License. 
Sorry... thanks for playing.

Finally, after extensive research we have uncovered that
Microsoft's patent claim on "the concept of using one
product to force people to use another product" in null and
void.  We have found extensive prior art in this field.  

For instance, McDonalds has used hamburgers to force people
to buy French fries for the past several decades.  The
question "Do you want fries with that?" is an obvious
implementation of this concept.  In addition, gun
manufacturers have employed this concept to force consumers
to buy ammunition, scopes, targets, and gun safes.  Humorix
is not in violation of this patent, which has clearly been
a part of the public domain since the dawn of Capitalism. 
As stated before: Sorry... thanks for playing.

Thank you for your time.


Mr. Noah Morals, 
Official Humorix Lawyer

Ms. Ava Rice,
Secretary for the Lowe & Morals Law Firm


The two lawyers focus on trivial, picayune details that are
completely irrelevant to the original conflict (a patent on
portal websites). And yet these two parties are arguing
about every tiny detail as if it's a life or death
struggle.  Mr. Morals acts as if he _wants_ Microsoft to
swoop down and file the Mother Of All Lawsuits against

This is insane.  If this trend of rampant lawyerism
continues, every person in the western world will spend
every waking moment engaged in a struggle against opposing
lawyers.  The ancient Romans had colisseums for gladiator
fights; 21st century America will have courtrooms for
fight-to-the-death legal battles.

We're headed for a Lawyerclysm (I just made this term up),
a catastrophic collision between people, lawyers, judges,
politicians, and the so-called judicial system. We won't be
consumed by evil aliens or runaway nanotech machines, as
sci-fi futurists have long predicted. Instead, all progress
and evolution will stop as we find ourselves sinking into
the quicksand of the Paperwork Age, where the lawyer's pen
is mightier than the sword.

That leaves most of us holding the bag, confronted with two
noxious choices: to fall back to an anarchistic State of
Nature, or to attend law school and hope to become a bona
fide lawyercrat and participate in the runaway LawyerBinge.

Write me at jonsplatz@i-want-a-website.com

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