October 20, 2007
Prisons to Restore Purged Religious Books
"Facing pressure from religious groups, civil libertarians and members of Congress, the federal Bureau of Prisons has decided to return religious materials that had been purged from prison chapel libraries because they were not on the bureau's lists of approved resources.
The bureau had said it was prompted to remove the materials after a 2004 Department of Justice report mentioned that religious books that incite violence could infiltrate chapel libraries." [RJ]
Obesity in U.S.
CNN's interactive map shows the percentage of adults who are estimated as obese by state over the past 20 years. [JH]
When your significant other is a computer
"It’s the relationship you spend more time on than any other. It has deepened even during the past few years. When things go wrong, you become enraged and tearful and attack inanimate objects — but you’re willing to spend hours making things right.
Obviously, we’re talking about your relationship with your personal computer." [RJ]
October 19, 2007
Friday Fun: Book Covers Set to Music
How many have you read?
See also this video. [JH]
11 USB Toys Your Boss is Sure to Hate
Sometimes you just don’t want to be productive. That's why God created USB toys! Check out these USB toys.
Which one is your favorite?
Mine is the Speed Typing Mouse. Once plugged in to your USB drive the hairy-chested mouse starts pedaling, the faster you type, the faster he pedals. Wait a minute, this toy might increase my productivity. zxserdsfgzzr53u7sfdgiue3sdf853wvhjsaerfdkserhe ... Maybe not! [JH]
Nagareda's Mass Torts in a World of Settlement Now Available
"In this ambitious and insightful book, Nagareda addresses a rich array of topics in mass tort litigation. He offers a powerful argument that mass torts present a problem of governance that should be understood less as ordinary tort litigation and more as an exercise in administrative rulemaking. Nagareda’s command of the material and his ability to pull together diverse stories into a coherent account of the problem make this a must-read for those who wish to understand the complex world of mass tort litigation."—Howard M. Erichson, Professor of Law, Seton Hall Professor of Law and Co-editor of Mass Tort Litigation Blog
Mass Torts in a World of Settlement
by Richard A. Nagareda
List Price: $49.00
Hardcover: 379 pages
Publisher: University Of Chicago Press (October 1, 2007)
Book Description: The traditional definition of torts involves bizarre, idiosyncratic events where a single plaintiff with a physical impairment sues the specific defendant he believes to have wrongfully caused that malady. Yet public attention has focused increasingly on mass personal-injury lawsuits over asbestos, cigarettes, guns, the diet drug fen-phen, breast implants, and, most recently, Vioxx. Richard A. Nagareda’s Mass Torts in a World of Settlement is the first attempt to analyze the lawyer’s role in this world of high-stakes, multibillion-dollar litigation.
These mass settlements, Nagareda argues, have transformed the legal system so acutely that rival teams of lawyers operate as sophisticated governing powers rather than litigators. His controversial solution is the replacement of the existing tort system with a private administrative framework to address both current and future claims. This book is a must-read for concerned citizens, policymakers, lawyers, investors, and executives grappling with the changing face of mass torts.
RIAA wins key victory, accused file sharer must pay $220,000
From CNet News: "Federal jury orders Minnesota woman to pay $9,250 for each song she is accused of sharing online. EFF says copyright attorneys already lining up to help should there be an appeal." [RJ]
Executive Excess 2007
"With leading Presidential candidates turning up the heat on overpaid CEOs, a new report from the Institute for Policy Studies and United for a Fair Economy documents for the first time the extreme pay gaps that have opened up not just between U.S. business leaders and American workers, but between U.S. business leaders and leaders elsewhere in American — and European — society." [RJ]
The Dewey Decimal System Lives!
Law librarians tend to forget that the DDC is alive and well. Check out the Dewey Blog. It's edited by Jonathan Furner, assistant editor of the DDC, with contributions from other members of the Dewey editorial team. [JH]
October 18, 2007
Law Firm Publishes eBook on International Litigation and Arbitration
Proskauer Rose has published International Litigation and Arbitration: Managing, Resolving, and Avoiding Cross-Border Business or Regulatory Disputes. From the introduction:
Our aim is not towards the bookish or academic. We have tried to write a resolutely practical guide, emphasizing the concrete and strategic over the theoretical, the lore as well as the law, the unique opportunities presented by international matters as well as the challenges. We intend to maintain this Guide as a timely compendium of current best practices as well as our most creative approaches to tackling new developments.
We are publishing this Guide in e-Book format, over the Internet, for ready access and for ease of updating as the law evolves in this dynamic area.
Bloggers land legal shield in Senate panel vote
"Anyone regularly engaged in "journalism," which would seem to include some bloggers, wouldn't generally be forced to divulge confidential sources in federal cases under a bill approved by a U.S. Senate committee.
By a 15-2 vote, the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee backed an amended version of the so-called Free Flow of Information Act. Sens. Sam Brownback (R-Kansas) and Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) cast the "no" votes.
Some form of "reporter's privilege," either through laws or court decisions, already exists in 49 states and the District of Columbia. This bill would extend that protection to federal cases, shielding anyone engaged in the practice of "journalism"--with a number of exceptions, naturally--from being forced to give up confidential information or provide testimony.
The term "journalism" clearly would sweep up at least some bloggers because the bill defines it thusly: "the regular gathering, preparing, collecting, photographing, recording, writing, editing, reporting, or publishing of news or information that concerns local, national, or international events or other matters of public interest for dissemination to the public." [RJ]
Terrorism and Internet Governance: Core Issues
"This paper explores the difficulties of Internet governance in the light of terrorists’ increasing use of the medium. In particular, it details the clampdown on the burgeoning Internet presence of extremist groups undertaken by both state-based and substate actors in the wake of the attacks of September 2001 in the United States and of July 2005 in the United Kingdom."
The challenges of governance are many and varied, but include:
- Debates over the role of various actors in the governance process, including national governments, hacktivists, and Internet service providers (ISPs);
- The appropriate legislative response to the terrorist Internet presence; and
- The debate over free speech versus limits on speech.
Federal Depository Library Handbook Final Draft Released
"Library Services and Content Management (LSCM) and volunteers from the Federal depository community worked to consolidate and update the Instructions to Depository Libraries and the Federal Depository Library Manual, including its supplements, into one online publication. All the chapters were reviewed by key stakeholders, including the Depository Library Council and the professional library associations. Each chapter was also posted for public comment. LSCM staff reviewed comments, integrated them as appropriate, and served as final editors. The resulting publication is the Federal Depository Library Handbook." [Rj]
Opening: Asstistant Law Librarian, Collin County Law Library
The Collin County Law Library in McKinney, Texas is seeking an Assistant Law Librarian. The Law Library is a medium-sized county law library, is open to the public, and serves the elected officials, judges, attorneys, and other litigants of Collin County. The library is located inside the newly constructed Collin County Courthouse a few miles north of the historic McKinney town square.
Library hours of operation are 8:00 am - 5:00 pm, Monday - Friday.
40 hours per week.
Commensurate with experience.
Includes excellent insurance plan, retirement plan, annual professional
Serve as reference librarian to all types of library patrons. Assist patrons with legal research using both print and electronic resources. Responsible for receiving, cataloging, shelving, and filing of materials. Develop and maintain reference materials and clerical files. Publish quarterly library newsletter. Assist in maintaining county jail law library collection.
Bachelor's degree; Master of Library Science/Information Science from an ALA-accredited program.
Recent library school graduates and upcoming December library school graduates are also encouraged to apply. Trained in legal research as well as experienced in using both traditional and electronic legal resources and databases. Knowledge of current library practices and technologies. Strong interpersonal skills with ability to work well with the public, co-workers, and elected county officials.
Detail-oriented, self-directed, and self-motivated.
Please send resume, cover letter, and contact information to Judy McCullough at: email@example.com
October 17, 2007
State Library of Montana Goes Digital Only
According to the Billings Gazette, the Montana State Library plans to close its doors at the start of the year and will instead offer its resources online. State Librarian Darlene Staffeldt said the library decided it could not offer complete digital access to the library along with offering walk-in service. It decided to focus on digital access. The Montana State Law Library remains open to the public. [JH]
Guide to Finding Proposed Legislation Using EUR-Lex, OEIL, and PreLex
The European Information Association has produced several guides on locating legislation from the European Union. From the site:
"Although there is a wealth of material available, it is not always obvious which source is most appropriate. These guides show how to use official sources to find specific documents or types of information."
- using EUR-Lex, OEIL, PreLex to find proposed EU legislation
- using EUR-Lex to find legislation adopted at EU level
- using EUR-Lex and N-Lex to find legislation adopted at national level
Becoming Less Separate?: School Desegregation, Justice Department, and the Pursuit of Unitary Status
"The United States Commission on Civil Rights issued a major report on school desegregation entitled, Becoming Less Separate? School Desegregation, Justice Department Enforcement, and the Pursuit of Unitary Status. The purpose of this ambitious report is to examine whether levels of integration tend to erode as court desegregation orders are lifted. The Commission finds that the increase in the number of jurisdictions obtaining unitary status has not worsened integration levels. In other words, the lifting of these orders has not led to increased “resegregation” in the seven states that the Commission examined: Alabama, Georgia, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, and South Carolina.
Moreover, the evidence indicates that the substantial number of districts that have obtained unitary status since 2000, at least partly through the actions of the Educational Opportunities Section of the Department of Justice, exhibit higher levels of integration than those districts that obtained such status in prior" [RJ]
“This report indicates that school districts released from court supervision do not exhibit greater racial isolation than districts which remain under these old orders,” stated Gerald A. Reynolds, the Chairman of the Commission. “Other factors, such as district size and changing demographics, play a bigger role in determining the racial composition of the nation’s schools.”
The Commission unanimously approved the body of the report, including chapters one through five and the appendices, in a vote joined by Chairman Gerald A. Reynolds, Vice Chair Abigail Thernstrom, and Commissioners Jennifer C. Braceras, Gail Heriot, Peter N. Kirsanow, Ashley L. Taylor, Jr., and Michael Yaki . Commissioner Arlan D. Melendez was not present for this vote. The Commission approved the findings and recommendations by a vote of 6-to-2. Chairman Reynolds, Vice Chair Thernstrom, and Commissioners Braceras, Heriot, Kirsanow, and Taylor voted in favor, while Commissioners Melendez and Yaki voted agains
The Roberts Four: Men on a Mission
"As a new Supreme Court term opens, a core of four hard-line conservative justices are eager to implement a plan for radically remaking the Court." [RJ]
Activists Ask Copyright Czar For Database Access
"Internet watchdog Carl Malamud and a handful of other high-tech watchers wrote to Register of Copyrights Marybeth Peters this week asking her to provide bulk access to the copyright catalog of monographs, documents, and serials on the Internet.
Currently, the information is available through a Copyright Office online application that allows the public to search for individual records -- but no bulk access is available, meaning that the entire database cannot be downloaded.
Alternatively, the Library of Congress's cataloging and distribution service sells a subscription to the current database for $31,500 and makes a retrospective database available for $55,125. The grand total for cost of entry is $86,625 and it comes with copyright restrictions, the group said."
See also: Librarians, Public Interest Advocate Urges Bulk Access to Copyright Records, Library Journal [RJ]
The catalog "is not a product, it is fuel that makes the copyright system work," the letter stated. "Anybody should be able to download the entire database to their desktop, write a better search application, or use this public domain information to research copyright questions."
The $86,625 price tag also "places this database beyond the reach of university libraries, small businesses that wish to provide a better copyright search service, and academics or citizens wishing to analyze the copyright registration process," the group said.
Patents and trademarks, the other two legs of the U.S. intellectual property system, are available in bulk and at no charge on the Internet, the letter points out: "Anybody can build a better patent or trademark system, and many people have."
Officials from Digital Library Federation; Harvard University; Public Knowledge; Stanford University; the University of California, Berkeley; and others signed the letter.
Malamud most recently pressured the Smithsonian Institution to free up images on a Web site run by the museum's photographic office and successfullly challenged the C-SPAN public affairs network to loosen its copyright policy for congressional video footage."
SEC Releases Source Code for Interactive Data Viewer for Free Use by the Market
"Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman Christopher Cox announced that the source code for the Interactive Financial Report Viewer that enables investors to analyze companies’ interactive data filings is now available via its Web site for free use by the market."
“The SEC is committed to making the source code for all of our interactive data applications, including our Web-based interactive data viewer, available to the world as a basis for developing new XBRL-enabled products,” said Chairman Cox. “Contributing this to the public domain will encourage the development of software that uses SEC data feeds to give investors better and faster information with cutting-edge tools created by the private sector.”
The source code is now available at: http://www.sec.gov/spotlight/xbrl/xbrlviewerlicense.htm [RJ]