July 15, 2006
Power Coders Beware! Death by Caffeine
According to Wikipedia's List of Drug-Related Deaths, French novelist Honoré de Balzac died of caffeine poisoning from drinking over forty cups of coffee a day. This list is one of 20-plus Wikipedia lists of people by cause of death. [JH]
Task Force Report on Boutique Fuels
“The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency released a report ... by the Boutique Fuels Task Force that fulfilled the president’s charge to increase cooperation among the states on fuel supply decisions and analyze the impacts of boutique fuels, or fuel blends, used by states to help meet clean air standards. According to the report, if a fuel supply disruption occurs, boutique fuel requirements make it more difficult to move gasoline supplies around the country. In addition, the report recommended careful consideration of potential legislative authority to allow for the adoption of regional clean fuel programs.”
July 14, 2006
Complaint in Wilson v. Libby et al
Former CIA agent Valerie Plame and her husband, Joseph Wilson, are suing Dick Cheney, Karl Rove, and Scooter Libby, accusing them of "intentional and malicious exposure by senior officials of the federal government of…Valerie Plame Wilson, whose job it was to gather intelligence to make the nation safer, and who risked her life for her country." Text of the Complaint [JH]
Nolo Podcasts The Law in Plain English
Most every law librarian has come into contact with at least one Nolo publication. The company has been providing reliable do-it-yourself legal and business tools for over 35 years. Now, Nolo is podcasting. Nolo Presents The Law in Plain English offers interviews and lectures with authors and other legal experts. [JH]
Professional Reading: Revolution and the Making of the Contemporary Legal Profession : England, France, and the United States
Revolution and the Making of the Contemporary Legal Profession : England, France, and the United States by Michael Burrage
List Price: $150.00
Hardcover: 600 pages
Series: Oxford Socio-Legal Studies
Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA (May 11, 2006)
Book Description: The revolutions of France, the United States, and England each inspired dreams of creating legal institutions that did not depend on specialist intermediaries, and, in different ways, provoked attacks on the existing rules and government of the legal profession more widespread and severe than at any other time in their history. These dreams came to naught and, sooner or later, the professions recovered, but their revolutionary experiences nevertheless had a lasting impact on their
subsequent organization, and help to explain why three previously convergent professions should diverge as their societies industrialised.
The social upheaval of industrialization may also help to explain many of their peculiarities down to the present day: why, for instance, French advocates imposed such strict ethical obligations on themselves, from which they were only released by the state in 1992, why American lawyers should be the first to be at ease in the market, but faced intractable problems of professional self-government, why two professions should emerge in England, both with a high degree of self-government, and both
long indifferent to law schools and to the market for legal services.
Since lawyers were the first occupation to organize as a profession, this insightful comparative inquiry then asks what their experience might tell us about other organized occupations in these three societies, and the difference between their educational institutions, their division of labour, their civil societies and lesser forms of government, and about the ways they have been stratified and formed classes.
Coddling Spies: Why the Law Doesn't Adequately Address Computer Spyware
Law Profs Alan Brakley (Cooley Law), Daniel Garrie (Rutgers-Camden) and Matthew Armstrong (Rutgers-Camden) has published Coddling Spies: Why the Law Doesn't Adequately Address Computer Spyware (Duke Law & Technology Review, Forthcoming) on SSRN. Here's the abstract:
Consumers and businesses have attempted to use the common law of torts as well as federal statutes like the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, the Stored Wire and Electronic Communications and Transactional Records Act, and the Wiretap Act to address the expanding problem of spyware. Spyware, which consists of software applications inserted into another's computer to report a user's activity to an outsider, is as innocuous as tracking purchases or as sinister as stealing trade secrets or an individual's identity.
A Quick Look at Google US Government Search
Google U.S. Government Search offers a single location for searching content located on either U.S. federal, state and local government websites or the entire Web. The Google U.S. Government Search index includes U.S. federal, state and local sites with domains such as .gov, .mil as well as select government sites with .com, .us, and .edu domains. Check it out. [JH]
July 13, 2006
Professional Reading: My Library: Copyright and the Role of Institutions in a Peer-to-Peer World
Georgetown Law Prof Rebecca Tushnet's article, My Library: Copyright and the Role of Institutions in a Peer-to-Peer World, was published recently in the UCLA Law Review. Here is the abstract:
Today’s technology turns every computer—every hard drive—into a type of library. But the institutions traditionally known as libraries have been given special consideration under copyright law, even as commercial endeavors and filesharing programs have begun to emulate some of their functions. This Article explores how recent technological and legal trends are affecting public and schoolaffiliated libraries, which have special concerns that are not necessarily captured by an end-consumer-oriented analysis. Despite the promise that technology will empower individuals, we must recognize the crucial structural role of intermediaries that select and distribute copyrighted works. By exploring how traditional libraries are being affected by developments such as filesharing services, the iTunes Music Store, and Google’s massive digitization project, this Article examines the implications of legal and technological changes that are mainly not directed at libraries, but are nonetheless vital to their continued existence.
Hat tip to LibraryLaw Blog. [JH]
The Blogosphere and the New Pamphleteers
Chapman Law Prof Donald Kochan has posted The Blogosphere and the New Pamphleteers (Nexus Law Journal, Vol. 10, 2006) on SSRN. Here's the abstract:
The future of the free dissemination of information lies in the blog, some may say. The internet has entirely transformed how we receive and consume information. It's the newest incarnation of information dissemination. From the insights of Alexis de Tocqueville, Feelings and opinions are recruited, the heart is enlarged, and the human mind is developed only by the reciprocal influence of men upon one another. Bloggers are a powerful force in the distribution of information and ideas and the creation of communities of conversation.
Throughout history, the dissemination of information, news, opinions, and ideas has continuously transformed. In the 18th Century, there was the town crier, the pamphleteer, hand-billing, leafleting and the emergence of the newspaper. Later, radio and then television emerged in the 20th Century. There has been a constant advancement in the dissemination of information, and the internet is the latest medium.
The blog is essentially today's version of the pamphleteer. Spontaneous order is at play in this modern marketplace of ideas. The blogosphere is truly a transformation and a popular revolution in the provision of information. This Article presents an historical perspective on information flow and the marketplace for ideas, and argues that the blogosphere is merely a technological transformation and stimulus of traditional pamphleteering - an individual's opportunity to introduce his ideas to the community.
New IPI Study: Will Congress Unwittingly Repeal the Digital Millennium Copyright Act and Violate Our Trade Treaties?
From the Institute for Policy Innovation:
"Many are attempting to rewrite intellectual property protections by altering the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, whether by broadening definitions of permissible conduct such as “fair use”, or by wholesale changes to current law. However, many have failed to consider the ramifications of these changes to our international agreements. Some legislative proposals would require renegotiation or complete dissolution of these trade agreements. "
The Legal Statue of Software
Rutgers-Camden Law Prof Daniel Garrie has posted The Legal Statue of Software (John Marshall Journal of Computer & Information Law, Forthcoming) on SSRN. Here is the abstract:
The objective of this guide is not to give a judge a PhD in computer science, but rather, to ensure that judicial decisions reflect an understanding of software's multiple facets and its relation to the boundaries of the law. When hearing legal arguments involving software, the judiciary should make a concerted effort to examine the software program's production methodology and intended purpose prior to issuing legal decisions because the decisions should reflect an in depth understanding of the product at issue. A court involved in litigation fraught with software themes should understand the software itself to ensure the delivery of fair and equitable legal decisions.
In the legal arena, judges should review software from different perspectives based on the legal issue before the court. For instance, a court hearing an anti-trust dispute, for example, should not be concerned with whether the software vendor tested the software sufficiently prior to introducing it to market, but rather with the software's intended and actual market effects. In a product liability suit, however, such testing would be a significant issue of judicial inquiry for the court. These examples demonstrate that judges should possess a broad general understanding of software, and should then refine their knowledge based on specific legal issues that are brought before the court. This reference guide, therefore, is designed to provide a high-level overview of software and then examines software in greater depth for specific legal areas likely to spawn legal disputes directly involving software.
I hope that the explanations provided will enable judges and lawyers who deal with software to understand the terminology, context and legal doctrines governing software in legal disputes. The reference guide is organized as follows:
Section II provides a brief overview of the current legal framework that is evolving with respect to software development. It describes the software development trend of coding to skirt the law and avoid liability, examining the recent Supreme Court ruling in Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Inc. v. Grokster, Ltd.
Section III provides a broad overview of software. It presents multiple facets of software and offers a guide of the various components involved in software, including: software development methods, software design, and a high-level overview of programming.
Section IV provides a series of tutorials on cutting edge technology that is going to appear before judges with greater frequency in the coming years, including: Voice Over Internet Protocol Telephony, Internet Cookies, Spyware, and Clickstream Data.
Section V presents a topical guide to various legal areas and analyzes the current legal framework and presents specific questions that a judge hearing arguments may consider. These different legal areas were singled out because of the complex legal nature and the unique aspects of software that are involved when the matter is before a court.
July 12, 2006
Spotlight on Law Librarians: Jennifer S. Marshall
Jennifer S. Marshall
Senior Reference Librarian
Reed Smith LLP
In law school, I didn't dress up in a suit and interview with the big firms when they came to campus. I didn't scour Martindale-Hubbell listings figuring out different firm sizes and specialties. I didn't spend one of my summers working at a big firm nor did I clerk for a Judge to see the other side of the bench. I didn't contact my law school's alumni to hear about their experiences working in various firms. And, I didn't spend late nights working on law review articles.
I had no intent of working in a big firm and my activities during law school reflected that. I was active in the public interest group. I was in a Dispute Resolution program and received my Certificate in Dispute Resolution as well as my JD. I spent time sitting in on various mediation sessions conducted by professional mediators where domestic violence may have existed in the relationship, and I wrote a major paper on this. I volunteered at a local domestic violence organization serving on a domestic violence hotline. I occasionally visited the local prison to meet with women who were incarcerated for killing their abusers. I moved to New York City for a summer
mainly to live in New York for the summer! But, while there, I interned at the Environmental Protection Agency and played on an environmental softball league. And, on most Monday nights during my three years of law school, I went to the local yarn store and spent a few hours knitting with a group of women; I was the only legal leaning person in the group, so this can't be justified as a good networking opportunity.
Needless to say, I was not a traditional law student.
With this alternative orientation, I took my law degree and had a satisfying career at a non-profit conflict resolution organization. I was there for four years and then started to crave more learning and growing opportunities in my career. After reflecting that research had been my favorite part of law school, and after meeting a librarian who worked in a public library and raved about her job, I went to Library School, got my Masters in Library and Information Science (MLIS) degree and then was off on another career search.
When anyone asked me at any point during library school about my career and personal goals, I would have said that I didn't want to be a law librarian and I didn't want to date a lawyer.
I had visions of being a news librarian. While I was in library school,I did an internship at National Public Radio in DC and loved doing research for my favorite NPR journalists whom I had listened to for years on the radio. My eyes would light up excitedly when Mara Liasson, Scott Simon or Daniel Zwerdling's name would flash on my phone indicating a call for research help. I took pictures of the NPR building, gave tours to my parents and anyone else who visited, and I still proudly wear my NPR black fleece jacket. Being a law librarian just didn't have that kind of glamour in my eyes.
After a few unsuccessful months of trying to become a news librarian and after a few months of working in a thoroughly unsatisfactory medical environment, I was willing to broaden my goals. I went in search of mentors who saw my resume and asked whether I had considered becoming a law librarian. After resisting and resisting, I eventually gave in. And, luckily, I got a job offer from a law firm that looked good, so I decided to give it a try.
Fast forward to today. I'm now almost two years into my career as a law librarian and I love it. The work I do is just as diverse as what I did at NPR. I don't only retrieve legal decisions. I welcome young attorneys and summer associates into the career and teach them how to be efficient researchers. I locate individuals and companies using powerful databases and intelligent sleuthing. I strategize with our marketing staff and research various companies. I locate practice handbooks and hand them off to grateful attorneys. I find obscure definitions from outdated dictionaries and give them to patent attorneys who are trying to understand a word's meaning at a particular point in history. I move the library forward with intranet projects. I do research for people across the firm, locally, and anywhere including Hong Kong and Washington, DC. The common theme each day is that I learn something new. Other than that, each day is different and interesting. As I often say to friends who ask about my career, it's a cool gig.
And, for those of you curious about the personal side of my life, I'm also now happily dating a lawyer. We didn't meet at work, but that's a whole different story.
Reprinted with permission: Jennifer S. Marshall, From Law School to a Big Firm With Some Non-Traditional Steps Along the Way, San Francisco Daily Journal (March 16, 2006).
Editor's Note: The Spotlight on Law Librarians feature is edited by Lee Peoples, Law Librarian Blog Contributing Editor and Associate Director for Faculty, Research and Instructional Services, Oklahoma City University Law Library. Please feel free to recommend a colleague for this feature to Lee at email@example.com
Search Engine Competition, A Click Away from Change?
In its review of search engine competition, The un-Google, The Economist observes that Google's market share lead appears to be "daunting" while noting that "the industry is young and switching-costs for users are low (a click, in effect), so there is still the potential for a change in leadership among [the top] four [companies -- Google, Yahoo!, MSN and Ask]." [JH]
Recent CRS Reports on Medical Issues
Recent CRS Reports on Medical Issues include the following:
- PUBLIC HEALTH SERVICE ACT PROVISIONS PROVIDING IMMUNITY FROM MEDICAL MALPRACTICE LIABILITY
- THE PRIVATE TESTING OF MAD COW DISEASE: LEGAL ISSUES
- MEDICAL MALPRACTICE: THE ROLE OF PATIENT SAFETY INITIATIVES
- MEDICARE PRESCRIPTION DRUG BENEFIT: LOW-INCOME PROVISIONS
- INDIAN HEALTH SERVICE: HEALTH CARE DELIVERY, STATUS, FUNDING, AND LEGISLATIVE ISSUES
- U.S. INTERNATIONAL HIV/AIDS, TUBERCULOSIS, AND MALARIA SPENDING: FY2004-FY2007
- MEDICARE: ENROLLMENT IN MEDICARE DRUG PLANS
- AIDS: THE RYAN WHITE CARE ACT
PUBLIC HEALTH SERVICE ACT PROVISIONS PROVIDING IMMUNITY FROM MEDICAL MALPRACTICE LIABILITY
CRS Publication Date: 06/14/2006
Document No.: RS20984
Author(s): Henry Cohen, American Law Division
Abstract: A 1992 and a 1996 amendment to the Public Health Service Act provide that certain entities and health care practitioners shall be deemed federal employees for purposes of medical malpractice liability. This means that they are immune from such liability, but that the United States may be liable under the Federal Tort Claims Act for their medical malpractice. The 1996 amendment took effect only on September 24, 2004.
THE PRIVATE TESTING OF MAD COW DISEASE: LEGAL ISSUES
CRS Publication Date: 06/16/2006
Document No.: RL32414
Author(s): Stephen R. Vina, American Law Division
Abstract: This report analyzes the legal authority of the USDAs Animal and Plant Health Protection Service to regulate all testing for BSE, particularly the voluntary testing of 100% of a private companys animals with rapid test kits. This analysis also discusses the USDAs recent rejection of Creekstones application to test all of the cattle it processes for BSE.
MEDICAL MALPRACTICE: THE ROLE OF PATIENT SAFETY INITIATIVES
CRS Publication Date: 06/15/2006
Document No.: RL32092
Author(s): Bernadette Fernandez and Amanda Kay Sarata, Domestic Social Policy Division
Abstract: The impact of patient safety initiatives continues to be an open question. Individual initiatives have resulted in promising outcomes, but the overall impact of these efforts has been mixed. This is, in large part, because implementation has not been as pervasive as initial intentions suggested, and also because not enough research has been done to identify, enumerate, and assess patient safety efforts.
MEDICARE PRESCRIPTION DRUG BENEFIT: LOW-INCOME PROVISIONS
CRS Publication Date: 06/01/2006
Document No.: RL32902
Author(s): Jennifer O'Sullivan, Domestic Social Policy Division
Abstract: MMA provisions are complex and observers have raised a number of questions about how the benefit will actually be implemented. Major issues for the low-income population include identification of those eligible for subsidies, assisting them in selecting and enrolling in a Part D plan, timely enrollment, and access of enrollees to needed therapies. The MMA low-income provisions also raise administrative and financial concerns for state Medicaid programs. This report provides background information on the MMA provisions and related issues.
INDIAN HEALTH SERVICE: HEALTH CARE DELIVERY, STATUS, FUNDING, AND LEGISLATIVE ISSUES
CRS Publication Date: 06/05/2006
Document No.: RL33022
Author(s): Donna U. Vogt and Roger Walke, Domestic Social Policy Division
Abstract: This report provides an overview of the Indian Health Service and how it provides for the health care problems and needs of AI/AN. It also shows IHS appropriations for recent years and discusses its current statutory authorities and legislative issues, including the reauthorization of the Indian Health Care Improvement Act (IHCIA) and several other policy issues.
U.S. INTERNATIONAL HIV/AIDS, TUBERCULOSIS, AND MALARIA SPENDING: FY2004-FY2007
CRS Publication Date: 06/19/2006
Document No.: RL33485
Author(s): Tiaji Salaam-Blyther, Foreign Affairs, Defense, and Trade Division
Abstract: On January 28, 2003, during his State of the Union Address, President George Bush proposed that the United States spend $15 billion over five years to combat HIV/AIDS through the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR). The initiative focuses on 15 countries in Africa, Asia, Latin America, and the Caribbean. The plan anticipated spending $10 billion of the $15 billion on the 15 focus countries, $4 billion on 108 non-focus countries and international HIV/AIDS research, and $1 billion on contributions to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria. Between FY2004 and FY2008, the initiative was to support care for 10 million people living with AIDS, including children orphaned by AIDS; prevent 7 million new HIV infections; and support efforts to provide antiretroviral medication (ARV) to 2 million HIV-infected people.
MEDICARE: ENROLLMENT IN MEDICARE DRUG PLANS
CRS Publication Date: 06/05/2006
Document No.: RL33136
Author(s): Jennifer O'Sullivan, Domestic Social Policy Division
Abstract: The Medicare Prescription Drug, Improvement, and Modernization Act of 2003 (MMA) established a new voluntary outpatient prescription drug benefit under a new Medicare Part D. The new benefit was effective January 1, 2006. Prescription drug coverage is provided through private prescription drug plans (PDPs) or Medicare Advantage prescription drug (MA-PD) plans. At a minimum, these plans offer "standard coverage" or alternative coverage with actuarially equivalent benefits. Beneficiaries are required to enroll in one of these private plans in order to obtain coverage. Persons who fail to enroll during their initial enrollment period will be subject to a penalty if they decide to enroll in the program at a later date. However, they will not be subject to the penalty if they have maintained "creditable" drug coverage through another source. One source of possible creditable coverage is retiree health coverage offered by a former employer or union. Special enrollment provisions apply to some low-income persons.
AIDS: THE RYAN WHITE CARE ACT
CRS Publication Date: 06/07/2006
Document No.: RL33279
Author(s): Judith A. Johnson and Paulette C. Morgan, Domestic Social Policy Division
Abstract: In July 2005, the Bush Administration released its reauthorization principles and an outline of proposed changes to CARE Act programs. Legislation reauthorizing the Ryan White CARE Act has been introduced in the 109th Congress. S. 2823, S. 2339, and a companion bill, H.R. 5009, would implement several of the Administration's reauthorization principles. CARE Act programs received $2.038 billion in FY2006; the request for FY2007 is $2.133 billion, a $95 million increase - $70 million for state grants under Title II and $25 million for Title III grants.
Dollars, Not Sense: Government Contracting Under the Bush Administration
Under the Bush Administration, the “shadow government” of private companies working under federal contract has exploded in size. Between 2000 and 2005, procurement spending increased by over $175 billion dollars, making federal contracts the fastest growing component of federal discretionary spending.
Survey on Internet's Impact on College Faculty
In Professors Online: The Internet’s Impact on College Faculty, (First Monday, Sept. 2005), Steve Jones and Camille Johnson–Yale report on findings from a nationwide survey of Internet use by U.S. college faculty. Topics covered:
- General Internet use;
- Use of specific Internet technologies (e–mail, IM, Web, etc.);
- The Internet’s impact on teaching and research;
- Its impact on faculty–student interactions; and
- Faculty perceptions of students’ Internet use.
July 11, 2006
A Quick Look at China IT Law
Sponsored by the US-China Legal Cooperation Fund, China IT Law is a free and comprehensive web resource for information & technology laws of China, with most also translated into English. This law project a non-profit initiative of the China Internet Project (CNIP) of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences. The goal is to provide information on China's IT regulations in Chinese and English, for academics, business executives, journalists, officials and others in the world. [JH]
Westlaw Watch is a current awareness tool created to provide selected Westlaw content delivered to individuals via email or their organization’s intranet or portal. Westlaw Watch requires no Web development or software to install. Check it out. [RJ]
Robert Ambrogi Awarded Silver Tabbie Award
Kudos to Bob Ambrogi whose "Web Watch" column in Law Technology News has won the 2006 Silver Tabbie Award for best regular column from Trade Association Business Publications International. The judges wrote:
"[Web Watch] contains tons of useful information and the author did his research. I like the fact that one of the columns provoked a change -- the author is researching and writing about something that matters not only to him, but to others in the industry too."
Law Firm Rankings: Diversity and Revenues
"Minority Law Journal released its annual Diversity Scorecard, which ranks law firms based on the ethnic diversity of their lawyers. At the top of this year's list is Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison, where minorities make up 23 percent of its U.S. attorneys and 9.9 percent of its U.S. partners. Second was Morrison & Foerster, where 22.8 percent of attorneys and 10.2 percent of partners are minorities.
One "not surprising finding" of the survey, comments Monica Bay at The Common Scold, is that the growing diversity among law firm attorneys seems to correlate positively with the increasing demands from corporate clients that their outside counsel include minority attorneys."
Check out the rest of the article. [RJ]