Monday, January 2, 2012

Welcome to Music Manumit Lawcast

I would like to spend this first post telling you what Music Manumit Lawcast (MML) is and what it will be. However, now working on the fifth draft of this post, I am not sure I can do that with any more clarity than is on the "About" page. Briefly, it is worth mentioning that while this webpage and the name Music Manumit Lawcast are the center of the project, Nick and I will also be posting throughout the summer of 2012 on and Open Source Playground dot Org.

Even those two side-projects aside, there is a wide range of what MML can be. In this post I will give you the (1) lower bound, (2) my projection, (3) a realistic stretch goal and (4) the true goal, which will need some energon and a lot of luck.

The Lower Bound

At the very least, this is my summer job for 2012. First year law students often do not get paid positions. I do not expect to bring in a lot with this project, but at least the work will be mine, rather than the IP of a judge or law firm. It is true that this might limit the connections I could have in comparison to a clerkship with a judge, but ultimately I want to learn what I want to learn. I do not want to leave up to chance whether cases that interest me go before a judge. I've taken jobs just because they were jobs before. It's not a good idea. My aspirations in the law are likely to be material for a later post, but for now it is more important that you understand the lower bound, rather than why the outcome is the lower bound.

ProjectionGiven my track record with Music Manumit Podcast and Nick's enthusiasm, I feel like this is likely to keep going through the school year of 2012-2013 on a weekly, rather than daily, basis. This projection has two variables that could significantly change things.

The first of those variables is Nick's time. Nick is currently in between cases. I'll let Nick say/post what his expertise is and what he is looking for, but there is the chance that he will become significantly busier.

The second of those two variables is how I continue to do in school. I believe I have things figured out after the first semester but new professors, new material and life changes can change all of those things. I started this project in place of a summer internship; it is important for me not to lose sight of that.

Additionally, I project posts will become a mix of content for musicians, music lovers, lawyers, law students and prospective employers. That is both a projection of the intended audience and the actual audience. I make this distinction because of course the actual audience will be prospective employers. However, I want to make it clear up (as I think I have) that I am a student and showing prospective employers I didn't sip martinis at the beach all summer is the primary motivation for the blog currently. Once the summer is past, Nick and I will have to reevaluate.

Realistic Stretch GoalRealistically, I think we, as a community, can do a lot. For example, on top of the weekly posts, I want to coordinate work on Wikipedia. While there are a lot of individual articles, the depth of legal information on Wikipedia is lacking. I am not entirely certain how to coordinate those sorts of projects into the structure of a blog and audiocast. Trying to build a framework for some of these stretch goals has been the true challenge in getting MML off the ground. By comparison, when I was President of the Madison Linux User Group, if we had a project to coordinate, we would go to a coffee shop and meet in physical space and do something. It was the same situation when I was planning music festivals in Chapel Hill.

While having an online community presents new challenges for me personally, looking at the Linux Outlaws community and even at the Music Manumit Podcast community, it is clearly possible to start new projects and get community involvement. For example, this very show springs out of Nick being a listener to the Music Manumit Podcast. Additionally, amsterdammack has done great things in helping Music Manumit and has been inspired to start his own music show, Music Message.

However, those two examples for Music Manumit both apply directly to Music Manumit projects. Working on the legal information on Wikipedia doesn't directly relate to Music Manumit, unless there is some way to set up a Wikipedia commit team. There may be. That will be a project for me as soon as I click "Publish Post."

The next post is not yet planned (though we have a list of about 60 topics), but one of the first posts will be a call to get involved. I'll post information about the Wikipedia articles in that post.

The Sky is the LimitThe discussion has already begun on turning this project as a whole into a 501(c)(3). It is as a 501(c)(3) that I feel there can be the most synergy with the other two projects; Open Source Playground dot Org and I have already begun thinking about other potential audiocasters to get involved and to potential members of the board. For example, I am hoping to get Cyberunions involved. I will attempt to keep as much discussion about the potential of a non-profit in the open as possible without flooding the feed. If people feel like just posting questions to a social network is best, I can do that.

The cost of filing to become a Non-Profit is $850*, so I will need to raise some cash to get this off the ground as tuition alone for me is about $40k. One of the many things I need to do is set up the site for Google Checkout, Paypal, etc donations, but for now you can donate to the cause using Flattr. If you don't feel like you have enough information to determine whether you should donate, don't worry. I'll be posting on a daily basis in summer 2012. There will be plenty of content from which to make an eventual decision.

I feel like getting this to be a full 501(c)(3) would be climbing to the top of the mountain, but to really take to the sky, the non-profit would need to be able to sustain at least one full time employee - me. Assuming I can raise the funds to file, I would like this to be my full-time job after graduation. Yes, this site is for future employers and I want to be my own future employer, but I am one-semester into law school. I have not even started course work in patents, copyrights, trademarks and trade secrets or in technology/Internet law, so I feel required to cover more than one set of tracks. Don't put all your eggs in one basket, as they say.

ConclusionI hope that helps tell you about what is to come. The project is a journey for Nick and me. I hope you'll join us!

It's not the summer yet, so I don't know if I'll post tomorrow, but at the latest, I'll be back next week! In the mean time, for your musical enjoyment:

"Start Again" by Alex (pop) - CC-BY - Website
Reason: Starting a blog, again. ;)

*This is not legal advice. Nothing on this page, show, blog or *cast will ever be legal advice. I am not licensed to practice law in any jurisdiction (Nick is, but I don't know which ones!).