July 19, 2006
Faculty Uprising: Old School v New School
Chech out Brian Leiter's Faculty Uprising at Michigan State Law (nee Detroit College of Law).
Indian Government Bans Websites and Blogs
The Washington Post (via the Wall Street Journal) and the BBC are reporting that the Indian government has ordered the country's 157 ISPs to block 17 websites including some blogs hosted by Google's Blogspot and some sites hosted by Yahoo's Geocities.com. According to the BBC banned sites include:
Professional Reading: A Powers-based Approach to the Protection of Ideas
Larissa Katz, A Powers-based Approach to the Protection of Ideas (June 2, 2006 ) (bepress Legal Repository)
Abstract: This paper explains a narrow area of U.S. law in which someone who uses or discloses a novel, original and confidential idea without the permission of its originator is said to have committed a wrong. The case law does not offer a coherent and consistent account of the nature of the originator’s interest in her novel, unpublished ideas nor why the unauthorized use or disclosure of such an idea is a wrong. Some courts have cited for the source of the obligation the proprietary right originators have to their ideas, while others imply contracts or fiduciary relationships or frame the case in unjust enrichment. None of these conventional theories satisfactorily explains idea-disclosure law. Thus, although there is judicial consensus in these jurisdictions that the originator has a protected interest, theoretical foundations for this protection are uncertain.
This paper provides an account of idea-submission law that makes sense of the criteria explicit in the positive law while enabling rigorous analysis of idea-submission cases. Further, it contributes to our understanding of how the law treats confidences and the relationship people have to their ideas, a topic that has been considered mainly in other legal contexts such as the law of privacy (rights of publicity), trade secrets, and confidential relationships as well as in more remote contexts like the law of insider trading.
More generally, my account illuminates two features of private law that are deserving of greater scrutiny. First, my account of this area of law draws attention to an under-theorized category of general powers. These are legal powers that we all have in virtue of being human beings and members of a legal order. The power I argue is at work in the context of idea-submission law –the power that an originator of an idea has to control disclosure – is in this category, as are more familiar powers such as the power to acquire property, the power to contract and the power to consent to sex. While an originator’s power may appear novel and perhaps even obscure, this and other general powers are in fact fundamentally constitutive of our legal personality.
Secondly, my argument that a defendant must have voluntarily received the idea to be liable to the originator’s power is an instance of a more general argument about the grounds for imposing obligations in private law. Where duties are imposed only on some individuals rather than on everyone, there must be some basis for imposing obligation on one individual rather than another. In the context of positional duties (duties that attach to the occupier of a position), the duty-ower must at the very least have voluntarily assumed that position.
New Titles from Cambridge University Press
David A. Koplow
This book explores the new powers and inherent dangers of non-lethal weapons.
Series: Law in Context
Presents a sustained argument for a broad inter-disciplinary approach to evidence in litigation.
Corporate Reporting and Company Law
Series: Cambridge Studies in Corporate Law
Explores the main disclosure requirements of companies in their reporting activities.
The Relationship Rights of Children
James G. Dwyer
This book is a philosophical analysis of children's rights with regard to the legal system.
The European Foundation
General editor Klaus J. Hopt, W. Rainer Walz, Thomas von Hippel, Volker Then
Legislative draft for a European Foundation, supported by explanatory and comparative chapters on each issue.
Information Technology and Law Series
- Regulating Spam, Vol 10
Lodewijk F. Asscher, Sjo Anne Hoogcarspel
Aims to present an evaluation of recent legislative initiatives against unsolicited commercial e-mail ('spam') in the EU.
- Cybercrime and Jurisdiction, Vol 11
Edited by Bert-Jaap Koops, Susan W. Brenner
An in-depth survey of the investigation and prosecution of cybercrime in various jurisdictions.
Freedom of Information Around the World, 2006 Survey
freedominfo.org has released Freedom of Information Around the World 2006: A Global Survey of Access to Government Records Laws, which provides a country-by-country synopsis of the state of citizen access to their government's records. US at 133. [RJ]
Governors Assn Report on Preemptions of State and Local Powers
From the National Governors Association press release:
"Increasing federal preemptions of state and local responsibilities, authorities and revenue sources require a new strategy involving stakeholders at every level of government, according to a report issued by an Academy panel. Prepared for the National Governors Association, the report highlights complex issues that preemptions create and includes practical recommendations for our nation’s leaders to explore. The Academy panel found that federal preemptions and the imposition of unfunded mandates are increasing and likely to continue. Against this backdrop, the panel urged that federal preemptions be used only as a last resort with intergovernmental partnerships emphasized as an alternative."
Read the report. [RJ]
National Taxpayers Union Rates Congress
From the National Taxpayers Union:
“Every year National Taxpayers Union (NTU) rates U.S. Representatives and Senators on their actual votes–every vote that significantly affects taxes, spending, debt, and regulatory burdens on consumers and taxpayers.”
Check out the ratings. [RJ]
July 18, 2006
The Law Library of the 21st Century: An Interview with Chris Simoni
Chris Simoni recently assumed his position as Inaugural Law Library Director at Drexel University School of Law. I sat down with him at the AALL Annual Meeting in St. Louis for a discussion of what he has planned for the Drexel library. He has some very innovative ideas about the future of law library collections. Chris is uniquely qualified to assemble the 21st Century law library. He has a wealth of experience including service on many committees: the ABA Questionnaire Committee and ALL-SIS Statistics Committee to name a few. Chris, Kim Clarke and Kori Staheli put on an excellent program at this year’s meeting J-5: Counting Electronic Resources: Should We Count Them, and If So, What Do We Count? Unfortunately, there weren’t any handouts for this program but if you want a concise summary of the pro’s and con’s of counting electronic resources the audio CD would be worth the purchase.
Listen to my interview with Chris Simoni (mp3) (large file, give it a chance to download)
Lee F. Peoples, Associate Director for Faculty, Research & Instructional Services, Oklahoma City University Law Library
Professional Reading: Felten's Nuts and Bolts of Network Neutrality
Princeton IT Prof Edward Felten has posted a 10-page paper called Nuts and Bolts of Network Neutrality. The paper is a primer on the technical details surrounding this issue with a short policy recommendation at the end. Professor Felten explains his motivation for writing this paper:
One of the reasons the network neutrality debate is so murky is that relatively few people understand the mechanics of network discrimination. In reasoning about net neutrality it helps to understand the technical motivations for discrimination, the various kinds of discrimination and how they would actually be put into practice, and what countermeasures would then be available to users and regulators.
Professor Felten, who is author of the very popular blog Freedom to Tinker, recommends the following:
There is a good policy argument in favor of doing nothing and letting the situation develop further. The present situation, with the network neutrality issue on the table in Washington but no rules yet adopted, is in many ways ideal. ISPs, knowing that discriminating now would make regulation seem more necessary, are on their best behavior; and with no rules yet adopted we don’t have to face the difficult issues of line-drawing and enforcement. Enacting strong regulation now would risk side-effects, and passing toothless regulation now would remove the threat of regulation. If it is possible to maintain the threat of regulation while leaving the issue unresolved, time will teach us more about what regulation, if any, is needed.
Recent NBER Reports
Recent NBER reports include:
- Separation of Powers and the Budget Process
- On the General Relativity of Fiscal Language
- Artificial States
- A Comparative Analysis of the Labor Market Impact of International Migration: Canada, Mexico, and the United States
- New Evidence on Gender Difference in Promotion Rates: An Empirical Analysis of a Sample of New Hires
- Federal Policy and the Rise in Disability Enrollment: Evidence for the VA's Disability Program
Separation of Powers and the Budget Process
by Gene M. Grossman, Elhanan Helpman
Abstract: We study budget formation in a model featuring separation of powers. In our model, the legislature designs a budget bill that can include a cap on total spending and earmarked allocations to designated public projects. Each project provides random benefits to one of many interest groups. The legislature can delegate spending decisions to the executive, who can observe the productivity of all projects before choosing which to fund. However, the ruling coalition in the legislature and the executive serve different constituencies, so their interests are not perfectly aligned. We consider settings that differ in terms of the breadth and overlap in the constituencies of the two branches, and associate these with the political systems and circumstances under which they most naturally arise. Earmarks are more likely to occur when the executive serves broad interests, while a binding budget cap arises when the executive's constituency is more narrow than that of the powerful legislators.
On the General Relativity of Fiscal Language
by Laurence J. Kotlikoff, Jerry Green
Abstract: A century ago, everyone thought time and distance were well defined physical concepts. But neither proved absolute. Instead, measures/reports of time and distance were found to depend on one's reference point, specifically one's direction and speed of travel, making our apparent physical reality, in Einstein's words, "merely an illusion."
Like time and distance, standard fiscal measures, including deficits, taxes, and transfer payments, depend on one's reference point/reporting procedure/language/labels. As such, they too represent numbers in search of concepts that provide the illusion of meaning where none exists.
This paper, dedicated to our dear friend, David Bradford, provides a general proof that standard and routinely used fiscal measures, including the deficit, taxes, and transfer payments, are economically ill-defined. Instead these measures reflect the arbitrary labeling of underlying fiscal conditions. Analyses based on these and derivative measures, such as disposable income, private assets, and personal saving, represent exercises in linguistics, not economics.
A Comparative Analysis of the Labor Market Impact of International Migration: Canada, Mexico, and the United States
by Abdurrahman Aydemir, George J. Borjas
Abstract: Using data drawn from the Canadian, Mexican, and U.S. Censuses, we find a numerically comparable and statistically significant inverse relation between immigrant-induced shifts in labor supply and wages in each of the three countries: A 10 percent labor supply shift is associated with a 3 to 4 percent opposite-signed change in wages. Despite the similarity in the wage response, the impact of migration on the wage structure differs significantly across countries. International migration narrowed wage inequality in Canada; increased it in the United States; and reduced the relative wage of workers at the bottom of the skill distribution in Mexico.
by Alberto Alesina, William Easterly, Janina Matuszeski
Abstract: Artificial states are those in which political borders do not coincide with a division of nationalities desired by the people on the ground. We propose and compute for all countries in the world two new measures how artificial states are. One is based on measuring how borders split ethnic groups into two separate adjacent countries. The other one measures how straight land borders are, under the assumption the straight land borders are more likely to be artificial. We then show that these two measures seem to be highly correlated with several measures of political and economic success.
New Evidence on Gender Difference in Promotion Rates: An Empirical Analysis of a Sample of New Hires
by Francine D. Blau, Jed DeVaro
Abstract: Using a large sample of establishments drawn from the Multi-City Study of Urban Inequality (MCSUI) employer survey, we study gender differences in promotion rates and in the wage gains attached to promotions. Several unique features of our data distinguish our analysis from the previous literature on this topic. First, we have information on the wage increases attached to promotions, and relatively few studies on gender differences have considered promotions and wage increases together. Second, our data include job-specific worker performance ratings, allowing us to control for performance and ability more precisely than through commonly-used skill indicators such as educational attainment or tenure. Third, in addition to standard information on occupation and industry, we have data on a number of other firm characteristics, enabling us to control for these variables while still relying on a broad, representative sample, as opposed to a single firm or a similarly narrowly-defined population. Our results indicate that women have lower probabilities of promotion and expected promotion than do men but that there is essentially no gender difference in wage growth with or without promotions.
Federal Policy and the Rise in Disability Enrollment: Evidence for the VA's Disability Program
by Mark Duggan, Robert Rosenheck, Perry Singleton
Abstract: The fraction of non-elderly adults in the U.S. receiving disability benefits from the federal SSDI and/or SSI programs increased from 3.2 to 5.9 percent during the last two decades. Determining how much of this increase was caused by changes in policy versus other factors is difficult given that the programs are essentially uniform nationwide. In this study, we shed light on this issue by investigating the impact of a discrete change in the federal government's third largest disability program, the Department of Veterans Affairs' Disability Compensation (DC) program. In July of 2001, there was an expansion in the medical eligibility criteria for this program that applied only to Vietnam veterans. This change was motivated by an Institute of Medicine study, which linked exposure to Agent Orange and other herbicides used by the U.S. military in Vietnam, to the onset of diabetes. Using veterans who served shortly before and after the Vietnam War as our comparison group, we estimate that this policy change increased DC enrollment by 6.7 percentage points among Vietnam veterans. An additional 2.7 percent experienced an increase in their monthly DC benefit as a result of this policy change. The expanded eligibility criteria for Vietnam veterans can explain 60 percent of the recent acceleration in DC enrollment growth and increased the present value of DC spending by more than $30 billion. Our results further indicate that the policy change was responsible for an increase in the responsiveness of the program to local economic conditions. Our findings strongly suggest that even relatively narrow changes in the eligibility criteria for federal disability programs can have a powerful effect on program enrollment and expenditures.
Call for Latin American Legal Blogs
Dan Hull at What About Clients?, is calling for suggestions of active legal weblogs from or about jurisdictions in Latin America to add to his list of non-US law blogs. His current list numbers 125 active legal blogs from 24 countries, jurisdictions or intergovernmental bodies. You will find the list in the left sidebar of blog's front page. See also Ian Best's taxonomy of US law blogs.
Hopefully Foreign & International Law Librarians can help out. Email your submissions. [JH]
The College Cost Crunch: A State-by-State Analysis of Rising Tuition and Student Debt
On the eve of one of the largest interest rate hikes on outstanding student loans, Democrats urged students to consolidate and unveiled a report on the state of student debt and the increasing cost of attending college in the United States.
The report, from the Democratic Policy Committee, provides a state-by-state analysis of the rising cost of college, the erosion of the Pell grant, the average student loan debt incurred by college graduates and the percent of family income needed to pay for college after financial aid. The Democrats also discussed their initiatives to combat the student debt crisis and increase support for students, not banks. [RJ]
July 17, 2006
A View from the Stacks: A Post-Conference Wrap-up…
First off, may I congratulate those at my work who brought back pens from St. Louis. I believe we tallied 34 pens in total (of which, 30 will go missing in the next five days, but no matter). If Lexis-Nexis pens are the future currency, we are doing alright.
So, all is back to normal here at King County Law Library. Staff members have returned, everyone has caught up on their email and the post-conference “hangover” (overindulgence on programs, not liquor) has ebbed. From what it sounds like, the conference was a smashing success and all who went had a good time. And fun came in all forms, including a talent show that I am sorry to say I missed, since our director was involved. Thankfully, there is a video of his singing, which was quite good.
Sometime during this past week, and after a phone call from a friend of mine who was in St. Louis having a great time, I got to thinking about professional conferences. What programs would I like to attend? What would I, if ever, like to propose as a program? And most importantly, where would I like to go?
All these questions intensified after the realization that the WESTPAC conference (which boasts Willie…a buffalo mascot in a Hawaiian shirt) was going to be in Las Vegas this year http://westpac.law.unlv.edu/ . Essentially, I was trying to hatch a plan to get to Vegas, but I needed an excuse, since I wanted the library to pay for my travel, room and bond (the last part is a joke, Mom). While pleading my case for library cash, one of our librarians told me to “get on a panel discussion.” It seems that this would justify my going to Las Vegas in September.
I am sure one day I will go to Las Vegas, but I will not be going to Las Vegas in September for the WESTPAC Conference.
Unless they need a last minute expert in one of my many fields (the topics vary folks), I will just have to start concentrating my efforts on other conferences. All the programs look interesting, but I am no expert on any of the topics being presented. The best I can do is plead my “expertise” on the Nevada Sex Industry, since I once read a book on the topic (the name of the book is Brothel and it is quite interesting). I have feeling that this is not nearly enough study on the topic.
Oh, and can library technicians even be on panel discussions? I better find out before next year, because I hear the WESTPAC conference will be in Hawaii.
Stina McClintock, Library Technician, King County Law Library (Seattle).
Editor’s Note: WESTPAC meets in Las Vegas, my local chapter met in Indianapolis last year. Life is cruel, very, very cruel.
BTW I want to thank West for the free Black’s Law Dictionary. It fetched two dollars at my hotel bar. I also want to thank Stina for referring me to Schlafly's Brew Pub. The Univ. of Cincinnati Law Library staff and friends enjoyed dinner there. Schlafly's Oatmeal Stout and catching up with a dear old friend made St. Louis worthwhile.
Professional Reading: What is Critical Information Studies?
In Critical Information Studies: A Bibliographic Manifesto, New York University Prof Siva Vaidhyanathan defines Critical Information Studies as an emerging scholarly field that "interrogates the structures, functions, habits, norms, and practices that guide global flows of information and cultural elements. Instead of being concerned merely with one’s right to speak (or sing or publish), Critical Information Studies asks questions about access, costs, and chilling effects on, within, and among audiences, citizens, emerging cultural creators, indigenous cultural groups, teachers, and students. Central to these issues is the idea of “semiotic democracy,” or the ability of citizens to employ the signs and symbols ubiquitous in their environments in manners that they determine." (at 21).
From the SSRN Abstract:
Critical Information Studies (CIS) considers the ways that culture and information are regulated and their relationship to commerce, creativity, and other human affairs. CIS captures the variety of approaches and bodies of knowledge needed to make sense of interesting, important phenomena such as copyright policy, electronic voting, encryption, the state of libraries, the preservation of ancient cultural traditions, and markets for cultural production. It necessarily stretches to a wide array of scholarly subjects, employs multiple complementary methodologies, and influences conversations far beyond the gates of the university.
Professor Vaidhyanathan observes that "[t]his field can serve as a model for how engaged, relevant scholarship in other areas might be done. Economists, sociologists, linguists, anthropologists, ethnomusicologists, communication scholars, lawyers, computer scientists, philosophers, and librarians have all contributed to this field." The essay includes an excellent bibliography. [JH]
The Machinery of Democracy: Protecting Elections in an Electronic World
From the Brennan Center Task Force on Voting System Security:
“The Brennan Center Task Force on Voting System Security, an initiative of the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law, today released a report and policy proposals concluding that all three of the nation’s most commonly purchased electronic voting systems are vulnerable to software attacks that could threaten the integrity of a state or national election.”
Read the report. [RJ]
New Titles from Ashgate
- Contested Words
- International Migration and Global Justice
- Relocating Sovereignty
- The Impact of HIV/AIDS on Criminology and Criminal Justice
- The Jury System
- Law and Poverty
- Law and Social Movements
June 2006 • 244 pages
Hardback • 0 7546 2365 3 • $99.95
From the blurb: This book provides a critical evaluation of ongoing debates surrounding the judicial role in protecting fundamental human rights, focusing in particular on legislative/executive abridgment of a core freedom in western society – namely, liberty of expression. A range of types of expression are considered, including expression related to electoral processes, political expression in general and sexually explicit forms of expression.
International Migration and Global Justice
May 2006 • 350 pages
Hardback • 0 7546 4671 8 • $99.95
From the blurb: How should international law approach the critical issue of movement of peoples in the 21st century? This book presents a radical reappraisal of this controversial problem. Written in a clear and succinct style the volume presents an important critical addition to the literature on migration studies and human rights law.
Edited by Neil Walker
May 2006 • 578 pages
Hardback • 0 7546 2599 0 • $275.00
From the blurb: This volume brings together a collection of classic and contemporary texts which engage with the core problem of sovereignty from the perspective of various legal and law-related sub-disciplines: legal history and theory, constitutional law, international law and relations and EU law. Many of the highlights from the intense debates about the continuing relevance or otherwise of the internal sovereignty of national legal orders and the external sovereignty of states in a rapidly- globalizing world are reproduced here.
The Impact of HIV/AIDS on Criminology and Criminal Justice
Edited by Mark M. Lanier
May 2006 • 378 pages
Hardback • 0 7546 2458 7 • $225.00
From the blurb: The occurrence of HIV/AIDS has dramatically affected every aspect of justice systems worldwide. Legal, law enforcement and custody issues abound. This volume provides a comprehensive overview of these issues as well as strategies and solutions.
The Jury System
Edited by Valerie P. Hans
May 2006 • 568 pages
Hardback • 0 7546 2504 4 • $275.00
From the blurb: This volume collects new, high-quality scholarship on the perennially controversial institution of trial by jury. The book provides accounts of the jury's historical development and contemporary use, as well as empirical work on jury selection, jury decision making and jury reform.
Law and Poverty
May 2006 • 662 pages
Hardback • 0 7546 2476 5 • $275.00
From the blurb: Socio-legal research on the legal experiences of the poor reflects an understanding of the close connection between economic inequality and law. The first two parts of this volume illustrate general analytical approaches to law and poverty. The remaining parts include essays which examine more specific issues such as race and gender, access to law, legal consciousness and social change.
Law and Social Movements
May 2006 • 654 pages
Hardback • 0 7546 2497 8 • $275.00
From the blurb: This work includes new approaches to group ‘legal mobilization’ politics; analysis of the judicial impact on social reform struggles; studies of individual legal mobilization in civil disputing and an almost entirely new area of research in ‘cause lawyering’. It brings together the best of this research introduced by a detailed essay by the editor.
Georgetown Supreme Court Institute's Review of the October Term, 2005
The Georgetown University Law Center Supreme Court Institute has issued its report on the Supreme Court's October Term, 2005. [RJ]
July 16, 2006
New CBO Report on Universal Service Fund
The Universal Service Fund (USF) provides financial support to some producers and consumers of telcom services. Spending for USF programs rose by 50 percent between fiscal years 2000 and 2005. Much of that increase went to support companies that offer telephone service in rural locations and other areas where the cost of providing such service is higher than the national average. A recent CBO report examines recent trends in spending by the USF’s High-Cost Program, which subsidizes telecommunications providers in high-cost areas. The paper examines factors that may increase such spending in the future and discusses options to restrict the growth of outlays. [RJ]
Senior Military Lawyer Was Leery of Tribunals
From NPR Programs: All Things Considered:
"In the weeks and months immediately after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, a working group of top military lawyers began meeting at the Pentagon to consider how to handle captured prisoners. The lawyers knew the prisoners would present new challenges."