'The Good Wife': Good Law? -- Season 7, Episode 12
Goodbye presidential campaign, hello interpersonal drama, client hookups, and legal wrangling.
With Peter's bid for the White House officially over, we return to the courtroom, conference rooms, and Alicia's living room to tackle the important issues of the day: whether Alicia can keep running her mini-firm out of her apartment, whether she'll ever forgive Eli, and whether "Good Morning, Magic Sunshine" sounds too much like "Moony Moonkykins." Here's what you need to know about the legal issues in last night's episode, entitled "Tracks."
Episode Recap (Spoiler Alert):
"The law just gives so many people ways to be mean." Well, that's one way to put it, Rowby. And, understandably, after being sued twice by his former record label, the musician has a right to be perturbed. But plenty of people in this episode are being mean without the law's help.
Alicia's downstairs neighbor is unleashing the bad vibes on potential clients trying to find her door, and ultimately files a homeowners' association complaint over Alicia's home office. Meanwhile, Lockhart, Agos and Lee are trying to re-poach their poached clients behind Alicia and Lucca's backs. And both Eli and Alicia are still hurting over Eli's admission that he deleted Will Gardner's "I love you" voicemail from six years ago.
People can be plenty mean, Rowby, law or not.
The bulk of the legal action in this episode center's around a children's song that Rowby wrote for his son, performs at birthday parties, and posts video of the performances of to the Internet. Rowby's old music label claims he was under contract when he wrote the song; therefore the rights belong to them. First, they sue Rowby for breach of contract and copyright infringement for performing and posting "their song." (If this sounds familiar, it tracks pretty closely that "Dancing Baby" case from last year, and the music label lost there as well.) When that doesn't work, they sue him for infringement for allegedly copying another song that they own the rights to.
At the same time, Alicia's neighbor begins eviction proceedings, claiming the homeowners' association forbids home offices. Unfortunately, these agreements have a lot of rules you need to watch out for, including prohibitions on large families. Luckily for Alicia, Grace threatens the other residents with their own HOA violations and staves off eviction, for now at least.
Lucca is an incredibly smart attorney. Which is why she should know that sleeping with a client could be an ethical violation. As the Illinois bar finds that sexual relations with a client to be conduct prejudicial to the administration of justice, Lucca could be facing sanctions or disbarment. We know Lucca likes artists but we also know she's too smart for to risk her law license for something she's going to "lose interest in, real quick."
Too Much in Common to Be a Coincidence: This was the legal justification the judge gives for finding Rowby's song improperly infringed on "Moony Moonykins." The actual standard is a "substantial similarity" between the original and the alleged copy. But, as the "Blurred Lines" lawsuit from last year proved, you can strip a song down to its musical notations to prove the similarity.
The biggest bombshell of the episode came when Cary offers Alicia and Lucca spots at Lockhart, Agos & Lee. Although Alicia initially rejects the offer, we have a feeling the negotiations aren't over just yet. With one episode remaining, will we get some resolution in the battle of the firms and the battle with Eli, or a cliffhanger teasing next season?
Unfortunately, we'll have to wait two weeks to find out.
What did you think of this week's episode of "The Good Wife"? Is the show guilty of making any legal mistakes? Check back here for more legal recaps of "The Good Wife," and send us a tweet at @FindLawConsumer with the hashtag #TheGoodWife.
- Songwriter Tips for Copyright, Credit, and Royalties (FindLaw)
- Legal How-To: Enforcing HOA Rules Against a Neighbor (FindLaw's Law and Daily Life)
- Top 5 Tax Tips If You're Working From Home (FindLaw's Free Enterprise)
- 'Happy Birthday' Song Loses Copyright; Warner May Lose Royalties (FindLaw's Legal Grounds)
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