August 16, 2005
The FCC: from Powell to Martin
In isen.blog, David Isenberg compares the difference between the Powell FCC and the Martin FCC. Frankly, I see no difference. I have to agree with a comment posted by Mike Stagg.
All Martin is doing is taking Powell's approach to its logical conclusion: the networks belong to those that own them. Customers don't own them. Independent ISPs don't own them. CLECs don't own them. Cable and phone companies do own them and can (with the FCC's permission) do with them as they damned well please.
The honeymoon is over.
Is Third Year of Law School Necessary?
See Some question third year of law school , by Justin Pope, AP Education Writer.
If it isn't necessary for student, it is for law schools. Tuition is tuition is tuition.
The Mother of All Law Review Citation Studies Finds Dead Papers Abound
Law Prof Thomas Smith (San Diego) has beaten law librarians to the punch; he has performed the mother of all citation studies for law review articles. Using Shepard's database with the cooperation of Lexis, the data for Smith's study covers about 385,000 law review articles, notes, comments, etc. etc. that appear in 726 law reviews and journals, and looks at how often they are cited by other law reviews or cases.
Smith's findings confirm what many law librarians have suspected for years -- law review volumes largely consist of dead papers:
First of all, 43 percent of the articles are not cited . . . at all. Zero, nada, zilch. Almost 80 percent (i.e. 79 percent) of law review articles get ten or fewer citations. So where are all the citations going? Well, let's look at articles that get more than 100 citations. These are the elite. They make up less than 1 percent of all articles, .898 percent to be precise. They get, is anybody listening out there? 96 percent of all citations to law review articles. That's all. Only 96 percent. Talk about concentration of wealth.
Smith notes that "the distributions of cites to law review articles and to cases look the same."
How does Professor Smith know about the similar distribution curves? See the preliminary report of his case law citation analysis, The Web of Law (Spring 2005). Quoting from the SSRN abstract:
Precedential authority is concentrated in a remarkably small number of cases. Of over 4 million cases, the top 1000 most cited state and federal cases, only .025 percent, get about 80 percent of all citations. The vast majority of cases are rarely or never cited. The most cited 2 percent of US Supreme Court cases get 96 percent of all citations to Supreme Court cases.
For the law review study, hat tip to Brian Leiter, Leiter Reports, July 15, 2005, by way of Wendy Scott, Barclay Blog, July 18, 2005 post
July 18th? Yes, that's how far behind I am in reading my Blogline subscriptions (and Blogline only saves the last 200 posts of a blog).
Two Works from the Pen of Lee Peoples
Lee F. Peoples, Associate Director for Faculty, Research and Instructional Services at Oklahoma City University Law Library and a contributing editor to this blog has penned two works recently, one addressing choice and effectiveness of tools used to research case law, and the second on international legal research. I haven't read the latter but I find the former quite interesting and recommend it to all academic reference librarians plus firm and corporate law librarians who typically face the problem of retraining new hires in the art of doing research.
Both articles are available from SSRN.
Abstract: Professor Peoples reports the results of a study finding that the opinions and performance of modern legal researchers do not support the traditional notion that print digests are the tool of choice for researching legal rules while electronic databases are best suited for finding cases discussing unique factual situations. Tomorrow's lawyers are unaware of some common shortcomings of electronic research and do not possess the strategies to compensate for them. Law librarians must become more involved in electronic database instruction, integrate legal information literacy education into the curriculum, and advocate for improvements to electronic databases to improve the situation.
Abstract: This paper was presented at the Global Issues in Law and Finance Conference, June 30, 2005 in London, England. The Conference was jointly sponsored by the Credit Law Institute and the Conference on Consumer Finance Law. The content of the paper is based on the course Advanced Legal Research: Foreign, Comparative and International Law (hereinafter FCIL) that I teach along with Professor Judith Morgan at the Oklahoma City University School of Law. The paper focuses on research strategies and reference sources for foreign and international law. Specifically it discusses finding treaties, foreign law research and international trade in goods research.
August 15, 2005
New Articles on GlobaLex
The following new articles are available on GlobaLex Web site:
A Guide to Fee-Based U. S. Legal Research Databases by Mary Rumsey
Research Guide to Belgian Law by Christoph Malliet
An Introduction to New Zealand Law & Sources of Legal Information by Margaret Greville
A Guide to the Tunisian Legal System by Dahmène Touchent
More articles on international, comparative, and foreign law research at GlobaLex
Lee Peoples, Oklahoma City University Law Library
New Titles from Carolina Academic Press
A New Progressive Agenda for Public Health and the Environment: A Project of the Center for Progressive Regulation 2005, 228 pp, paper, ISBN 1-59460-082-1 $22.00
American Constitutional Law, Sixth Edition 2005, 1152 pp, casebound, ISBN 1-59460-120-8 $90.00, Student Price $68.00
An Introduction to American Law 2005, 472 pp, casebound, ISBN 1-59460-109-7 $70.00, Student Price $55.00
Banking and Financial Services Law: Cases, Materials, and Problems, Second Edition 2005, 788 pp, casebound, ISBN 1-59460-098-8 $90.00, Student Price $65.00
Banking and Financial Services Law, Second Edition, Supplement 2005, 270 pp, paper, ISBN 1-59460-131-3 $25.00
Between a Rock and a Hard Place: African NGOs, Donors, and the State 2005, 330 pp, paper, ISBN 1-59460-017-1 $40.00
Classic Problems of Jurisprudence 2005, 176 pp, cloth, ISBN 1-59460-133-X $28.00
Democratizing Capital: The History, Law, and Reform of the Community Reinvestment Act 2005, 332 pp, paper, ISBN 0-89089-329-2 $40.00
Evidence: Problems, Cases and Materials 2005, 792 pp, casebound, ISBN 1-59460-043-0 $90.00, Student Price $75.00 2005 teacher's manual available
Expert Learning for Law Students 2005, 294 pp, paper, ISBN 1-59460-113-5 $27.00 2005 teacher's manual available
Expert Learning for Law Students Workbook 2005, 172 pp, paper, ISBN 1-59460-154-2 $20.00
Golf and the Law: A Practitioner's Guide to the Law and Golf Management 2005, 240 pp, paper, ISBN 0-89089-916-9 $30.00
Immigration Law for Paralegals 2005, 246 pp, paper, ISBN 0-89089-480-9 $45.00, Student Price $39.00
In Defense of Self and Others . . .: Issues, Facts, and Fallacies — the Realities of Law Enforcement's Use of Deadly Force 2005, 314 pp, paper, ISBN 1-59460-054-6 $30.00
International Law, Third Edition 2005, 496 pp, paper, ISBN 1-59460-093-7 $45.00
International Law, Third Edition: Document Supplement 2005, 584 pp, paper, ISBN 1-59460-094-5 $45.00
Latino/a Rights and Justice in the United States: Perspectives and Approaches 2005, 308 pp, paper, ISBN 1-59460-086-4 $33.00
Law after Auschwitz: Towards a Jurisprudence of the Holocaust 2005, 464 pp, cloth, ISBN 0-89089-243-1 $48.00
Law Codes in Dynastic China: A Synopsis of Chinese Legal History in the Thirty Centuries from Zhou to Qing 2005, 280 pp, cloth, ISBN 1-59460-039-2 $45.00
MERCOSUR: The Common Market of the Southern Cone 2005, 240 pp, cloth, ISBN 1-59460-010-4 $45.00
Pleasing the Court: Writing Ethical and Effective Briefs 2005, 112 pp, paper, ISBN 1-59460-045-7 $15.00
Race Law: Cases, Commentary, and Questions, Second Edition 2005, 820 pp, casebound, ISBN 1-59460-103-8 $90.00, Student Price $70.00
Reading like a Lawyer 2005, 304 pp, paper, ISBN 1-59460-032-5 $28.00 2005 teacher's manual available
Sovereign Immunity or the Rule of Law: The New Federalism's Choice 2005, 260 pp, paper, ISBN 1-59460-012-0 $35.00
Sports and Inequality 2005, 1096 pp, cloth, ISBN 0-89089-290-3 $100.00, Student Price $80.00
Voices of African Women: Women's Rights in Ghana, Uganda, and Tanzania 2005, 456 pp, paper, ISBN 0-89089-124-9 $45.00
Work Law in American Society 2005, 1272 pp, casebound, ISBN 0-89089-704-2 $100.00, Student Price $80.00
Podcast Auto-Discovery Instructions
ResearchBuzz has an answer for everything. This time it is very helpful instructions on how to set up auto-discovery of podcasts by keyword. Great job, Tara (once again).
New Documents on Intelligence Czar
The National Security Archive has posted an updated collection of reports, studies, commentaries, and other material concerning the issue of exactly how much authority should be vested with the Director of National Intelligence (DNI), the nation's top intelligence official. The Archive's previous posting in December 2004 provided historical context for the congressional and public debate over intelligence reform proposals that included establishing an intelligence czar. The newly released memoranda, directives, letters, and studies document the road that began with attempts to enhance the authority of the Director of Central Intelligence and has ended with the creation of a DNI.
Legal Reference Librarian, Law Library of Congress
The Law Library of Congress is recruiting to fill two legal reference librarian positions - -one of which is permanent and one of which is temporary (commencing on or about August 29, 2005 and concluding no later than March 4, 2006). The application process for each position is different.
Permanent Position Vacancy:
The Law Library of Congress is recruiting for a Legal Reference Librarian who has experience (1) providing legal and legislative information services to a diverse and demanding clientele; (2) managing, maintaining and developing print and electronic collections in a law library; and (3) preparing and communicating through various medium analyses and/or syntheses of legal aspects of public policy issues. Qualified candidates with both Juris Doctor and Masters in Library Science degrees and at least 1 year of progressively responsible public service experience in a law library are encouraged to apply.
The person appointed to this position will be assigned a fixed special schedule that is exempt from flex-time, compressed flex-time, and maxi-flex time schedules. However, the appointee must be consistently able and willing to work days, evenings, weekends and holidays depending on the Law Library's congressional service requirements.
For the entire job description see <http://jsearch.usajobs.opm.gov/summary.asp?OPMControl=488710>. Questions should be address to the Library of Congress Employment Office at (202) 707-5627.
Temporary Position Vacancy:
NB: Commencing on or about August 29, 2005 and concluding no later than March 4, 2006
The Law Library of Congress is recruiting for a legal reference librarian, the position for which commences on or about August 29, 2005 and concludes before March 4, 2006. The ideal candidate will have both law and library science degrees from accredited universities, will have at least 3 years of current public service experience providing legal and legislative information services to diverse and demanding clients in a law library reference operation, and will (1) have experience in conducting complex legal and legislative research; (2) have experience in providing electronic reference services; (3) demonstrate a proficiency in working with various software programs and online services; and (4) have experience preparing and communicating through various medium analyses and/or syntheses of legal aspects of public policy issues. The person appointed to this position will be assigned a fixed special schedule that is exempt from flex-time, compressed flex-time, and maxi-flex ! time schedules. However, the appointee must be consistently able and willing to work days, evenings, weekends and holidays depending on the Law Library's congressional service requirements.
The position offers an annual salary of $ 43,365 (equating to approximately $1660 gross salary every two weeks) and is temporary, the duration for which is expected to begin August 29, 2005 and conclude on or before March 4, 2006.
Qualified persons should submit via fax (202-707-1820) or email (email@example.com) - - do NOT submit by postal mail - - a current resume attached to a Federal Government application form (OF-612) and the Declaration for Federal Employment form (both of which are available through OPM website) by COB August 23, 2005.
Basic Materials on the Transportation Equity Act of 2005
The Safe, Accountable, Flexible, and Efficient Transportation Equity Act of 2005 (HR 3) was signed by President Bush on Monday, August 10th. This legislation funds highways, transit, safety programs, and "other related projects" in fiscal years through 2009. The official cost is a record-breaking $286.4 billion, but the Act contains a promise that on the last day the legislation is in effect - Sept. 30, 2009 - Congress will make an unspecified spending cut of $8.5 billion. Right.
Here's some "short order" BBQ-style research:
Congressional Research Service's Bill Summary
References to HR 3 in the Congressional Record
CBO Cost Estimate (March 8, 2005) (pdf)
DOT Highway Authorizations Table for HR 3 as Passed by House on March 10, 2005 (pdf)
Approximately 6,500 pork-barrel projects are stuffed into the Act. LBJ would be proud of fellow Texan GWB for signing this bill into law. Here's an illustration of pork being distributed in one congressional district, the Illinois 19th.
Congressman John Shimkus (R, Illinois-19) plateful of pork consisted of funding for 16 specific projects in his district:
- $5.6 million for a four lane connection between Routes 13 and 45 in Harrisburg and upgrades to Netty Green Road in Saline County;
- $4.8 million for the improved access to I-57/64 in Mt. Vernon;
- $3.2 million for the extension of MacArthur Boulevard in Springfield;
- $2.4 million for Route 51 from Pana to Vandalia;
- $1.6 million for reconstruction and realignment of Evergreen Avenue in Effingham;
- $1.6 million for U.S. Route 51 south of Moweaqua;
- $1.6 million for Route 159 in Collinsville;
- $1.5 million for Outer Belt West in Effingham;
- $1.48 million for Route 29 extension from Rochester to Taylorville;
- $1.4 million for a cross town connection between Routes 3 and 67/111 in Godfrey;
- $1.36 million for the U.S. Route 67 corridor north of Jerseyville to Carrolton;
- $1 million for an overpass at U.S. Route 40 to Southwest Andrews Drive in Greenville;
- $500,000 for improvements to township roads in the Shawnee National Forest in Pope County;
- $440,000 for a new intersection with U.S. Route 50 in Olney;
- $400,000 for a road extension north from University Park Drive in Edwardsville;
- $334,400 for bus improvements for the South Central Illinois Mass Transit District, based in Centralia and serving Salem, Centralia, Nashville, Carlyle, Mt. Vernon,West Frankfort, and Benton.
Pork, yummy. Sorry, I misplaced the cite for this list. I was distracted by a plateful on BBQ ribs from Boston Butts (Ross, OH).
Broadband Reality Check
In a think piece published in Sunday's Washington Post, Ron Pegoraro concludes that "broadband Internet access is far too important to be left to the cable guys or the phone company -- especially since it will someday eliminate the need for separate phone and TV service." At issue are the Supreme Court's "Brand X" decision and FCC rulings that cable and phone operators can not be forced to let competitors use their infrastructure.
Pegoraro's piece come on the heels of a new report on the state of US broadband, Broadband Reality Check: the FCC Ignores America's Digital Divide, by the Free Press, the Consumer Federation of America and Consumers Union. The report details the ways in which the FCC's recent positive assessment of US broadband penetration is misleading and glosses over serious problems behind an ever-widening digital divide.
Among the findings:
- The FCC overstates broadband penetration rates. The FCC report considers a ZIP code covered by broadband service if just one person subscribes. No consideration is given to price, speed or availability of that connection throughout the area.
- The FCC misrepresents exactly how many onnections are "high-speed." The FCC defines "high-speed" as 200 kilobits per second,barely enough to receive low-quality streaming video and far below what other countries consider to be a high-speed connection.
- The United States remains 16th in the world in broadband penetration per capita. The United States also ranks 16th in terms of broadband growth rates, suggesting our world ranking won't improve any time soon. On a per megabit basis, U.S. consumers pay 10 to 25 times more than broadband users in Japan.
- Despite FCC claims, digital divide persists and is growing wider. Broadband adoption is largely dependent on socio-economic status.In addition, broadband penetration in urban and suburban in areas is double that of rural areas.
- Reports of a broadband "price war" are misleading. Analysis of "low-priced" introductory offers by companies like SBC and Comcast reveal them to be little more than bait-and-switch gimmicks.
- The FCC ignores the lack of competition in the broadband market. Cable and DSL providers control almost 98 percent of the residential and small-business broadband market. Yet the FCC recently eliminated "open access" requirements for DSL companies to lease their lines, rules that fostered the only true competition in the broadband market.
The three groups have called on Congress to take notice of alarming trends and enact clear policies that will free the broadband market from domination by a handful of large cable and telecommunications companies.Their recommendations include ensuring open access to all high-speed communications networks, removing restrictions on public entities that seek to offer broadband services to consumers, and opening up more of the broadcast spectrum for wireless Internet applications.
August 14, 2005
NBER Report on Pricing Digital Products
Digital Rights Management and the Pricing of Digital Products
Yooki Park, Suzanne Scotchmer
#11532 (LE PR)
As it becomes cheaper to copy and share digital content, vendors are turning to technical protections such as encryption. We argue that if protection is nevertheless imperfect, this transition will generally lower the prices of content relative to perfect legal enforcement. However, the effect on prices depends on whether the content providers use independent protection standards or a shared one, and if shared, on the governance of the system. Even if a shared system permits content providers to set their prices independently, the equilibrium prices will depend on how the vendors share the costs. We show that demand-based cost sharing generally leads to higher prices than revenue-based cost sharing. Users, vendors and the antitrust authorities will typically have different views on what capabilities the DRM system should have. We argue that, when a DRM system is implemented as an industry standard, there is a potential for "collusion through technology."
Reading the Law
On the Volokh Conspiracy, Professor Orin Kerr has posted a link to his "How to Read a Judicial Opinion: A Guide to New Law Students (rev. Aug. 2005) (pdf, 7 pages). Certainly a good start. For more depth, see McKinney's Reading Like a Lawyer (2005).
Microsoft's New Search Service
Microsoft has unleashed a new search service called Start.com. It has a clean look and a start page that can be personalized to include news, weather, etc. I like it a lot but the personalization is hardly original. Compare Start.com to Google's personalized search page.
Pandia Search World observes that Start.com is a surprise on two fronts. First it is totally standards-compliant. Second, the personalization is done without transmitting data to Microsoft servers.
NB: All the factors Pandia Search World and I like may change since Start.com is just in its infancy. Like most things Microsoft, the engineers simply haven't had enough time to develop it (read to screw up this service).
Odds 'n Ends Online
Three web resources that oftentimes go unnoticed: