April 15, 2006
Happy Birthday TaxProf Blog!
Congratulations to Paul Caron (Cincinnati) on the second anniversary of his blog, TaxProf Blog. When we started TaxProf Blog two years ago we had no idea that it would lead to the creation of the Law Professor Blog Network with its 28 member blogs. At the time Paul just thought he would like see where the blog would take him.
Paul has been working in the field of web communications for some time. He is editor of three electronic journals of Tax Law Abstracts published by on SSRN's Legal Scholarship Network: Tax Law & Policy, Practitioner Series and International & Comparative Tax (with Robert Green). He also is editor of the Tax Law Subject Guide on JURIST: The Legal Education Network. And Paul created and serves as editor of Faculty News, a monthly web publication that "highlighting the activities and accomplishments of the University of Cincinnati College of Law faculty."
Paul is an advocate and user of web distribution for law course book supplements. See his Tax Stories - Digital Supplement. His very popular Foundation Press series, Law Stories, may be the first series to use digital supplementation as an integral part of a law book series.
Of course Paul is editor and publisher-in-chief of the Law Professor Blogs Network, a venture we started in June 2005. Paul and I also also operate Law Professor Web Services to assist law professors in the use of the Internet to disseminate their scholarship and teaching. Finally, Paul has served on the Board of Directors of the Center for Computer Assisted Legal Instruction (CALI) since 2005.
The rigors of web publishing are a natural fit for Paul's talents and work ethic. It takes stamina and determination to blog every day. Paul has plenty of both. Last time I checked, he had published 4,700-plus posts. On average that's 6 posts per day for the last 2 years! Over 1.4 million visitors have read his blog posts 1.9 million times. Here's what others are saying about Paul's blog:
"The undisputed champion of tax blogging" -- Tax Notes
"A must-read blog" -- Wall St. Journal
"The frequent posting throughout the day ensures comprehensive coverage of tax news" -- Wall St. Journal
"Unfailingly excellent -- Caron's blog is the model I would point any law professor considering a blog to study. It has a great mix of academic and popular materials, along with links to great resources. Highly recommended, even for people who are not tax lawyers." -- Dennis Kennedy
Great job Paul! Now back to work.
Update: Check out Paul's Two-Year Anniversary of TaxProf Blog post.
Time for Tax Preparation Help?
The Internal Revenue Service's FAQs are based on questions asked by taxpayers. Answers to the questions are updated each year to reflect current tax laws and regs. You can view the FAQ by category or keyword.
Guidelines for Human Embryonic Stem Cell Research
The National Academies Press is offering a free PDF of their Guidelines for Human Embryonic Stem Cell Research. The guidelines are voluntary and intended to enhance the integrity of human embryonic stem cell research by encouraging responsible practices. A new committee is being convened to periodically update the guidelines issued last year by the Academies to reflect advances in stem cell science.
April 14, 2006
Don't Play With Guns When Camcorder is Turned On
Off topic but ...
There's a unbelievable video catching a DEA agent shooting himself in the foot during a weapons demonstration for Florida children. The agent is suing the federal government over the video's release.
Check it out at The Smoking Gun. Click on image to view video.
Free Online Tax Return Filing Not Always Free
In Pitches, Fees Found in "Free File" Tax Service,the Washington Post is reporting that a Senate Finance Committee study has discovered "taxpayers who use the "Free File" online tax return preparation services offered by private vendors in partnership with the Internal Revenue Service often are confronted by surprise fees, expensive add-ons, loan solicitations and other marketing pitches."
Ohio Patriot Act Takes Effect Today
The Ohio Patriot Act (SB 9) takes effect April 14, 2006. Among the many provisions is the Declaration Regarding Material Assistance or Non-Assistance to a Terrorist Organization. Applicants for state issued licenses, public employment or public contracts must fill out the Declaration Regarding Material Assistance or Non-Assistance to a Terrorist Organization form indicating the applicant has not supported a terrorist organization.
Hat tip to Ron Jones (Cincinnati) and Cleveland Law Library Weblog. See also Nathaniel Stewart, Ohio's Statutory and Common Law History with "Terrorism": a Study in Domestic Terrorism Law, 32 J. Legis. 93 (2005) [L]|[W]
File under "Safer in Cincinnati?"
Split Circuits Blog
Law Prof A. Benjamin Spencer (Richmond) is tracking developments concerning splits among the federal circuit courts. Check out his blog, Split Circuits.
National Research Council's Deconstructing the Computer Symposium Report
Deconstructing the Computer: Report of a Symposium
Dale W. Jorgenson and Charles W. Wessner, Editors, Committee on Deconstructing the Computer, Committee on Measuring and Sustaining the New Economy, National Research Council
Publisher's Description: Starting in the mid 1990s, the United States economy experienced an unprecedented upsurge in economic productivity. Rapid technological change in communications, computing, and information management continue to promise further gains in productivity, a phenomenon often referred to as the New Economy. To better understand this phenomenon, the National Academies Board on Science, Technology, and Economic Policy (STEP) has convened a series of workshops and commissioned papers on Measuring and Sustaining the New Economy.
This major workshop, entitled Deconstructing the Computer, brought together leading industrialists and academic researchers to explore the contribution of the different components of computers to improved price-performance and quality of information systems. The objective was to help understand the sources of the remarkable growth of American productivity in the 1990s, the relative contributions of computers and their underlying components, and the evolution and future contributions of the technologies supporting this positive economic performance.
Noteworthy Scholarship on SSRN
The following SSRN papers caught my eye:
- Solove & Hoofnagle, A Model Regime of Privacy Protection (Version 3.0)
- Timofeeva, Establishing Legal Order in the Digital World: Local Laws and Internet Content Regulation
- Taipale, Whispering Wires and Warrantless Wiretaps: Data Mining and Foreign Intelligence Surveillance
- Barros, Home as a Legal Concept
A Model Regime of Privacy Protection (Version 3.0)
Daniel J. Solove, The George Washington University Law School
Chris Jay Hoofnagle, Electronic Privacy Information Center - West Coast Office
GWU Law School Public Law Research Paper No. 132; Illinois Law Review, Vol. 2006, p. 357, 2006
Abstract: A series of major security breaches at companies with sensitive personal information has sparked significant attention to the problems with privacy protection in the United States. Currently, the privacy protections in the United States are riddled with gaps and weak spots. Although most industrialized nations have comprehensive data protection laws, the United States has maintained a sectoral approach where certain industries are covered and others are not. In particular, emerging companies known as "commercial data brokers" have frequently slipped through the cracks of U.S. privacy law. In this article, the authors propose a Model Privacy Regime to address the problems in the privacy protection in the United States, with a particular focus on commercial data brokers. Since the United States is unlikely to shift radically from its sectoral approach to a comprehensive data protection regime, the Model Regime aims to patch up the holes in existing privacy regulation and improve and extend it. In other words, the goal of the Model Regime is to build upon the existing foundation of U.S. privacy law, not to propose an alternative foundation. The authors believe that the sectoral approach in the United States can be improved by applying the Fair Information Practices - principles that require the entities that collect personal data to extend certain rights to data subjects. The Fair Information Practices are very general principles, and they are often spoken about in a rather abstract manner. In contrast, the Model Regime demonstrates specific ways that they can be incorporated into privacy regulation in the United States.
Establishing Legal Order in the Digital World: Local Laws and Internet Content Regulation
Yulia A. Timofeeva, University of Leipzig - Faculty of Law
Abstract: The need for establishing legal order in cyberspace is growing; the time has come when it is also possible in several different ways. One of the crucial issues in this respect is the worldwide reach of the global network. Legal rules for human activities, including online activities, vary from state to state, and regulation of cyberspace cannot occur in one single manner all over the world. The existence of various laws produces far reaching consequences both for users and for regulators. Thus, users might face legal consequences in a foreign state for activities lawful in their home jurisdiction, and states might not be able to enforce the laws if the offender resides in another state. The paper examines this issue on the example of Internet content regulation. The approach supported here is to focus on the new actors in the online world and on the new regulatory choices they offer.
Whispering Wires and Warrantless Wiretaps: Data Mining and Foreign Intelligence Surveillance
K. A. Taipale, Center for Advanced Studies in Science and Technology Policy
NYU Review of Law & Security, No. 8, June 2006
Abstract: In the current debate over whether the President has the inherent power to authorize the National Security Agency to monitor international communications with suspected terrorists, one thing is clear - even the most strident opponents concede the need to identify and monitor the communications of terrorists and stop them before they can act.
Preempting terrorist attacks requires uncovering information useful to anticipate and counter future events. Automated data analysis technologies can help by monitoring communications and revealing evidence of organization, relationships, or other relevant patterns of behavior indicative or predictive of potential threats, thus allowing law enforcement or security resources to be focused more effectively on likely targets.
This essay examines certain implications of employing these techniques for foreign intelligence surveillance and suggests that the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (“FISA”) is inadequate to address recent technology developments, including: the transition from circuit-based to packet-based communications; the globalization of communications infrastructure; and the development of automated monitoring techniques, including data mining and traffic analysis.
Home as a Legal Concept
Benjamin Barros, Widener University - School of Law
Santa Clara Law Review, Vol. 46, January 2006
Abstract: This article, which is the first comprehensive discussion of the American legal concept of home, makes two major contributions. First, the article systematically examines how homes are treated more favorably than other types of property in a wide range of legal contexts, including criminal law and procedure, torts, privacy, landlord-tenant, debtor-creditor, family law, and income taxation. Second, the article considers the normative issue of whether this favorable treatment is justified. The article draws from material on the psychological concept of home and the cultural history of home throughout this analysis, providing insight into the interests at stake in various legal issues involving the home.
The article concludes that homes are different from other types of property and give rise to legal interests deserving of special legal protection, but that these interests can be outweighed by competing interests in particular legal contexts. The result is that in many contexts special legal treatment of homes is justified. In other contexts, for example residential rent control, the strength of competing interests means that the law overprotects the home. In still other contexts, for example eminent domain law as embodied by the Supreme Court's recent decision in Kelo v. New London, the law tends to underprotect the home.
Opening: Instructional and Student Support Technologist, North Carolina Law
The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Law, located in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, is accepting applications for the position of Instructional and Student Support Technologist. The Instructional Technologist provides leadership and support to faculty, staff and students in the integration of technology into teaching and learning at the School of Law. This is a permanent full-time position (40 hours).
This position will focus on the design, development, and implementation of effective learning environments. The Instructional Technologist researches and recommends the most appropriate combinations of instructional technologies for facilitating the Carolina Law's educational mission. This position also works to understand student needs and strengthen student technology support services at the School of Law.
Preferred qualifications include a bachelor's degree in Instructional Technology, Educational Technology or related Field/equivalent experience considered; experience assisting educators in using technology to enhance teaching; training or teaching experience; hands-on experience with software, hardware and audio-visual tools; knowledge of web-authoring and design; ability to communicate with users of varying technical expertise; excellent interpersonal, verbal and written communication skills; ability to work well individually and as a team member; demonstrated ability to prioritize and meet deadlines under occasionally heavy workloads; experience coaching/teaching/tutoring one on one or in small groups; enthusiastic positive attitude; broad range of technical proficiency including: multimedia design, developing and administering courses in BlackBoard/WebCT or similar product, prior use of case management software, understanding of presentation software, HTML, 'smart' classroom presentation equipment, graphics packages, streaming video technologies, and Office Packages (Microsoft/Corel). Master's Degree in Instructional Technology, Educational Technology or related field preferred. Experience working within a higher education environment, Web development experience also preferred.
PLEASE NOTE: All IT positions have moved to a new Career Banding compensation program. For additional information, please refer to our website at http://hr.unc.edu/Data/SPA/paysystem/careerbanding/. Specific competencies are required for the different banded levels and roles. This position is being recruited for at the Continuing Competency Level under the Career Banding Program. The hiring range for this level is $40,000 - $50,000. Position/Work Schedule Requirements: Monday – Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
The closing date for this position is April 17, 2006. To apply for this position please see our website: www.jobs.unc.edu, or visit the Office of Human Resources at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 104 Airport Drive, Suite 1100, Chapel Hill, NC 27599 to complete an online application . Please reference Position #0056932 and Department #3601 when applying. EOE.
For More Info http://www.jobs.unc.edu
Minimum requirements include an associates degree in computer science or information technology and three years of progressive experience in the information technology field of work related to position's role; or a bachelor's degree and three years experience in the information technology field of work related to the position's role; or a bachelors degree in computer science or information technology or related degree and two years of progressive experience in the information technology field of work related to the position's role; or an equivalent.
April 13, 2006
Kudos to JURIST
JURIST, edited by Pitt Law Prof Bernard J. Hibbitts, has been nominated for a prestigious Webby Award as one of five 2006 finalists in the LAW category, along with commercial services CourtTV, FindLaw, and Nolo (legal self-help), and Justice Learning, an NPR-New York Times collaboration. The winner will be announced in New York on May 9.
Associated with the judges competition is a "People's Voice" Award, which allows Web users to vote for their favorite Webby nominee from now until May 5.
Let's support JURIST by voting for this great site. Just go to JURIST, and click on "Vote for JURIST" underneath the Webby logo in top red banner and you'll get to the voting site. Register, then log back on and vote in the Law category. It's easy and will take less than 2 minutes.
US Drops Library Gag Order in Patriot Act Dispute
ACLU is reporting that the US government has dropped a gag order imposed on a library (thought to be a Connecticut library system) that refuses to disclose a patron's records. The library can now speak publicly about its objections to FBI demands for patrons’ library and e-mail records.
For more, see the ACLU's press release: With Patriot Act Debate Over, Government Drops Fight to Gag Librarians From Discussing Objections to Controversial Law.
Supreme Court Allows Citation to Unpublished Opinions in Federal Courts
Yesterday, the US Supreme Court adopted a rule change that will allow lawyers to cite "unpublished opinions" in federal courts. The new rule takes effect unless Congress countermands it before Dec. 1. Read more about it in Tony Mauro's Legal Times article.
Text of Rule: Federal Rule of Appellate Procedure 32.1
Microsoft Launches Windows Live Academic
Windows Live Academic (beta) is produced by Microsoff to compete with Google Scholar (someday). At the moment, law is not covered by Academic search.
From the home page:
Academic search enables you to search for peer reviewed journal articles contained in journal publisher portals and on the web in locations like citeseer.
Academic search works with libraries and institutions to search and provide access to subscription content for their members. Access restricted resources include subscription services or premium peer-reviewed journals. You may be able to access restricted content through your library or institution.
Check out Windows Live Academic's introduction for librarians.
Professional Reading: Digital Rights Management and the Process of Fair Use
Digital Rights Management and the Process of Fair Use (SSRN)
Timoth K, Armstrong, Harvard University - Berkman Center for Internet & Society
Abstract: Producers of digital media works increasingly employ technological protection measures, commonly referred to as “digital rights management” (or “DRM”) technologies, that prevent the works from being accessed or used except upon conditions the producers themselves specify. These technologies have come under criticism for interfering with the rights users enjoy under copyright law, including the right to engage in fair uses of the DRM-protected works. Most DRM mechanisms are not engineered to include exceptions for fair use, and user circumvention of the DRM may violate the Digital Millennium Copyright Act even if the use for which the circumvention occurs is itself noninfringing.
The academic literature on fair use in digital media has suggested several possible ways to resolve the tension between fair use on the one hand and DRM on the other. Among the more provocative possibilities is that DRM technologies themselves may evolve to incorporate greater built-in protections for end-user rights. This article examines several such proposals and finds that they are not likely to provide users with the same measure of protections for fair use of copyrighted works that exists in the offline world. The failure of these proposals, however, does not suggest that the broader goal of protecting fair use rights in digital media is unattainable. It is possible to advance much more closely towards that goal by altering the design philosophy of DRM technologies to focus more on the processes by which fair uses occur and less on attempting to replicate the substantive law of fair use in machine-administrable form. The article concludes by outlining one possible system engineered to protect the process of fair use.
Opening: Editorial Director of AALL Spectrum
AALL is looking for a new editorial director for its newsletter. Check out the announcement.
Columbia Law Creates First Clinical Program in Sexuality and Gender Law
From the press release:
The Columbia Law School Sexuality and Gender Law Clinic [directed by Professor Suzanne B. Goldberg] will provide focused assistance on cases, proposed legislation and policy matters in cooperation with law firms, impact litigation organizations and advocacy groups working on gender and sexuality rights issues. Students will have opportunities both to participate in cutting-edge litigation and to develop non-litigation skills through legislative drafting, policy development and preparation of major research reports.
April Issue of First Monday Now Online
The April 2006 issue of First Monday (volume 11, number 4) is now online. Here's the issue's TOC:
- In Google we trust: Information integrity in the digital age
by Lee Shaker
- The new mobile scholar and the effective use of information and communication technology
by David B. Bills, Stephanie Holliman, Laura Lowe, J. Evans Ochola, Su-Euk Park, Eric J. Reed, Christine Wolfe, and Laura Thudium Zieglowsky
- A reflecting and/or refracting Pool: When a local community becomes autonomous online
by Margaretha Haughwout
- Beyond binary choices: Understanding and exploiting trade-offs to enhance creativity
by Gerhard Fischer
- Comparison of content policies for institutional repositories in Australia
by Arthur Sale
Opening: Tech Services Librarian, UC Hastings
Associate Law Librarian - Technical Services Librarian, U.C. Hastings College of the Law
Under general direction and reporting directly to the Law Librarian, the Associate Law Librarian (Technical Services Librarian) is responsible for the management and supervision of the multi- faceted Technical Services functions in the Law Library, including acquisitions, cataloging, serials and government documents.
Required: M.L.S. from an A.L.A. accredited library school; Juris Doctor degree helpful; and a minimum of five (5) years of work experience in a professional librarian capacity performing substantially related work experience and of which at least three (3) years in a managerial/supervisorial capacity in a library, preferably a law library. Knowledge of computerized library systems to include Millennium and other Innovative Systems, OCLC, LC Cataloging and General Office Software.
Preferred: Knowledge of Cuadra Star Databases and FTP Systems are desired.
Filing Deadline: OPEN UNTIL FILLED.
For full job description or to Apply: Contact HCL- Personnel Services at (415) 565-4703 to obtain our requisite Staff Employment Application packet and detailed position description and requirements statement or visit our website at: http://www.uchastings.edu/hr EEOE
April 12, 2006
Data Pirates Seek Political Power and Lessig on Open Source DRM
[The Pirate party's message] is that corporations are engaging in racketeering in the developing world and a few power hungry individuals and greedy corporate entities are infringing on privacy and integrity. Piratpartiet says that it will strike out immaterial law, ignore WIPO and [WTO], and annul any further treaties or policies that hinder the free flow of information. They will refuse to allow data retention nonsense based on terrorism claims or failed RIAA business models. |Inquirer|
Linux P2P has an interview with the founder of the Pirate party, Rick Falkvinge. While the Pirate party's Declaration of Principles |PDF| makes clear its hostility to Europe's new Data Retention Directive and modern developments in copyright law, Linux P2P asks about the Pirate party's views on Digital Rights Management (DRM).
[Digital Rights Management] should be prohibited outright. DRM is effectively media companies writing their own copyright laws, harming society and consumers. We have a parliament to write such laws, thank you very much. The equivalent would be if someone sold you a product that shut down on purpose in daylight, or outside of a particular city, or under whatever condition the manufacturer hadn't approved. We call it fraud in the cases where we can relate, so I can't believe the media industry is getting away with this. |Link|
Closer to home, Stanford Professor Lawrence Lessig has spoken approvingly of Sun's proposal for open source DRM.
Sun's Open Media Commons [OMC] is an open-source community project to develop royalty-free codecs and digital rights management (DRM) solutions. The goals of the OMC are to develop an open-source, royalty-free solution for the distribution of digital content, focused on authenticating people and roles, not just devices; to address the application of DRM technology to a wide range of content and situations, including personal rights management, the privacy of health records and compliance management for businesses dealing with Sarbanes-Oxley; and to create an open environment where creators, content owners, consumers, network operators, technology providers and consumer electronics device manufacturers can work together to address the technical problems associated with DRM.|LinuxElectrons|
But lest he be misunderstood, Professor Lessig posted this clarification on his blog:
[S]ome confuse praise for better DRM with praise for DRM. So let me be as clear as possible here...We should be building a DRM-free world. We should have laws that [encourage] a DRM-free world. We should demonstrate practices that make compelling a DRM-free world...one [can] hate DRM, but think that if there's DRM, it should be at least as Sun is saying it should be [respecting fair use, being open source with a tag to trace misuse]. |Lessig Blog|
Neal R. Axton, Reference Librarian, William Mitchell College of Law