Entertainment Law

The Legal System Used to be So Cool

From the excellent [Now I Know]( newsletter:

> But Thornton had an antiquated legal trick up his sleeve too, and threw down the gauntlet — literally. Thornton, while entering his plea before the court, put on a pair of leather gauntlets (perhaps like these?) and tossed another on the ground toward William Ashford’s feet. The accused murderer was challenging his alleged victim’s brother to a duel — because the law allowed him to.

> Thornton was invoking his right to a trial by battle, a custom stemming from the Normans nearly a millennium earlier. It was simple: someone accused of a crime and not obviously guilty – Wikipedia says ”in the absence of witnesses or a confession” — could settle the matter by duking it out against his accuser. The theory was that the Almighty would ensure that the outcome be the one in line with the goals of a just society — after a lot of bruises, bleeding, and broken bones, of course. And while trial by battle (also called “trial by comabt”) disappeared almost entirely (in Europe, at least) by the 16th century — humanity concluded that incorporeal beings tend not to meddle in the affairs with mere mortals, at least not in cases like these — Parliament never got around to actually revoking the law. So the Ashford v Thornton court allowed it.

I wonder how this could be applied to software copyright disputes? Maybe a game of Mario Kart?