October 17, 2007
Opening: Head of Circulation, University of Iowa Law Library
The University of Iowa Law Library is seeking applicants for the position of Head of Circulation. Subject to the direction of the Head of Public Services, the Head of Circulation is part of a public services staff that includes 7.5 FTE professional librarians, one IT support professional, and 5.5 FTE support staff who work in a sophisticated academic environment, and who work with a collection size that consistently ranks in the top three in the country. The Head of Circulation’s responsibilities include coordinating and supervising all aspects of the Circulation Department (some lifting and bending are required), assisting with reference, teaching legal research in formal and informal settings, and other duties as assigned. The applicants must be willing to work early evenings and on Saturdays. At over 1,200,000 volumes and volume equivalents, the University of Iowa Law Library has one of the largest information resources collections among all law school libraries in the United States. Recognized internationally as an exceptional legal research facility, the Law Library’s collection includes primary legal materials from domestic as well as foreign jurisdictions along with secondary materials dealing with all facets of the law. In addition, the collection contains extensive holdings of archival or historical materials, such as the Papers of the NAACP and the United Nations. For a full job description, please go to Jobs@UIOWA (http://jobs.uiowa.edu)
Required: JD from an ABA-accredited law school and excellent oral and written English-language skills.
Desired: MLS from an accredited library school; or significant progress toward the MLS; or experience working in a professional library position (without degree); or supervisory experience in a library position and demonstrated leadership qualities.
The position is available January 2, 2008. Review of applications will begin October 1, 2007 with applications being accepted until the position is filled. Please apply via Jobs@UIOWA (http://jobs.uiowa.edu/). One must register on the site before beginning the application process. Once registered, click on “Search for Jobs” and check the box next to “Librarians/Library Science” then “Enter.”
The University of Iowa is an Affirmative Action / Equal Opportunity Employer. Women and minorities are encouraged to apply.
October 16, 2007
Professional Reading: The Mythical Beginnings of Intellectual Property
Suffolk law prof Jessica Silbey has deposited The Mythical Beginnings of Intellectual Property (forthcoming in George Mason Law Review) in SSRN. Here the abstract to this very interesting article.
It has become commonplace to justify intellectual property protection with homage to utilitarianism (maximizing the incentive to create, invent or produce quality goods) or natural rights (people should own the product of their creative, inventive or commercial labor). Despite the on-going dominance of these theories, there remains a dissatisfying lack of a comprehensive explanation for the value of intellectual property protection. This is in part because the economic analysis of law tends to undervalue the humanistic element of intellectual property. This Article aims to fill that void. It offers a new explanation for intellectual property rooted in narrative theory. Whereas utilitarianism and natural rights theories are familiar, there is at least another basis for intellectual property protection. This Article contends that all the U.S. copyright, patent and trademark regimes are structured around and legitimated by central origin myths stories that glorify and valorize enchanted moments of creation, discovery or identity. As a cultural analysis of law, rather than the more familiar economic theory of law, this Article seeks to explain how these intellectual property regimes work the way they do. And as a narrative explanation for the structure of intellectual property protection, this Article enhances the more customary economic or philosophical accounts of intellectual property because narrative, especially one devoted to myth-making in our society, provides "models for human behavior and, by that very fact, gives meaning and value to life." Mircea Eliade, Myth and Reality 2 (1963)(trans. W.R. Trask).
Origin stories serve both ontological and epistemological functions. They infuse everyday life and relations with significance by explaining why things are as they are and by providing guidance for how things should evolve based on what we already understand about our world. Origin stories also literally give a culture life by designating a beginning and a history. Finally, most origin stories are political, legitimating or justifying certain relations of power in society. This Article is a comparative analysis of the "origin stories" that structure several branches of United States intellectual property protection: copyright, trademark and patent law. When contrasting the three statutory intellectual property regimes for their structured valuation and reification of their own origin myth, the Article shows how the origin myths structuring intellectual property protection articulate a well-worn story about the origins and continuing vitality of the American republic (rugged individualism and the American dream). Each part also draws on popular cultural stories about intellectual property and a recent intellectual property dispute to illuminate how origin myths structure the respective discourses of these intellectual property systems and explain adjudicative results.
CAGW Releases Report on IP Rights
Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW) recently released Property Rights in the 21st Century: Don’t Steal This Paper or My Ideas, examining the importance of protecting personal and intellectual property rights here in the U.S. and around the world. Writing the first of three essays included in the report, CAGW Vice President of Policy David Williams highlights the differences in the way the U.S. and Europe approach competition and technological innovation and discusses Europe’s disregard for intellectual property, antitrust laws, and court decisions in the U.S. Co-author Scott LaGanga of the Property Rights Alliance explores basic principles of property rights, including intellectual property rights, as well as the impact of U.S. policy on other nations. The final essay by Solveig Singleton of the Progress and Freedom Foundation brings the intellectual property debate back home by describing the strengths and weaknesses of the Patent and Trademark Office. [JH]
Fewer women are seeking law degrees
"The percent of women in law schools has declined each of the past five years, according to the American Bar Association. While the number of applicants overall has dropped in the last two years, the percentage decline in the number of women has been greater. Observers say a variety of factors contribute to the dip, but the prevailing message is that fewer women want a lawyer's life." (sub. req.) [RJ]
Corporate Equality Index
'The Human Rights Campaign Foundation’s Corporate Equality Index report, released each fall, provides an in-depth analysis and rating of large U.S. employers and their policies and practices pertinent to gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender employees, consumers and investors.
- Download Corporate Equality Index reports [2002 - 2008]
- What businesses are rated and how to participate
- About the survey and how we obtain information
- Rating criteria
- What happened to the 2007 report?
The top-rated businesses are recognized in the companion "Best Places to Work" list, and consumer-oriented businesses are included in our annual "Buying for Equality" guide.
Assessing the State of Iraqi Corruption
"The Committee held a hearing to evaluate the status of corruption in the Iraqi government and whether U.S. government efforts to address this continuing problem have been adequate."
October 15, 2007
Professional Reading: The Virtual Tax Library
Loyola Law School (Los Angeles) law profs Katherine Pratt, Jennifer Kowal and Daniel Martin have deposited The Virtual Tax Library: A Comparison of Five Electronic Tax Research Platforms in SSRN. Here's the abstract for this very interesting article.
Improved LexisNexis and Westlaw tax research platforms and new electronic tax research platforms offered by BNA (BNA Tax Management Library), CCH (CCH Tax Research NetWork), and RIA (RIA Checkpoint) constitute a virtual tax library that offers tax researchers much of the content and functionality of a physical tax library, as well as some useful functionality features (e.g., direct linking of primary and secondary sources) a physical tax library cannot provide. The new virtual tax library offers tax researchers numerous benefits, including the convenience of a portable library, more reliable and current research results, and increased research efficiency. Many tax researchers have not adapted their tax research techniques to effectively utilize the virtual tax library, however, because they are unfamiliar with the new and improved electronic tax research platforms.
To reduce tax researchers' costs of evaluating and comparing the five electronic platforms, this Article provides detailed comparisons of the content and functionality features offered by the platforms. This Article also explains how to access various types of primary and secondary tax sources on the platforms and provides detailed “search pathways” that will enable tax researchers to navigate around the electronic platforms.
Part I of this Article provides background information regarding the development of the new electronic tax research platforms and explains our project and methodology. Part II compares the primary and secondary source content offered on the five electronic platforms and compares various types of free tax information that are available on the internet. Part III compares the various functionality features offered on the five electronic platforms. Part IV illustrates the differences in search results obtained by using the various electronic platforms to research a topical tax research question. Part V discusses the factors that are relevant when designing an electronic tax research system and makes recommendations about combining the electronic tax research platforms to create a workable virtual tax library.
State of the First Amendment 2007
The First Amendment Center reports that the Center's 2007 survey shows Americans'views are mixed on basic freedoms. Nearly two-thirds say nation’s founders intended 'Christian nation'; support rises for limits on campaign contributions. Details... [JH]
Cornell Law Library's InSITE Website Reviews
Reviews published in the October 1, 2007 issue of InSITE:
- ACS ResearchLink
- FEC Watch
- Fragile States: the LICUS Initiative
- National Workrights Institute
ACS ResearchLink is an innovative project, created by the American Constitution Society for Law and Policy (ACS), designed to bridge the gap between the research papers law students must write and the needs of public interest lawyers. According to the ACS website, public interest lawyers need legal scholarship to assist them in assessing the strength of specific novel theories, but have limited time and resources. Law students must write substantial research papers that satisfy their schools’ writing requirements, but frequently struggle for appropriate and interesting topics. ACS ResearchLink answers the question: Why not give students the option of creating relevant and timely scholarship that will simultaneously serve the public interest? The interactive database allows lawyers to submit paper topics that students can search for ideas. After papers are written and graded under faculty supervision, they will be posted in the online library (the library should have its first papers in 2008). There are many paper ideas currently posted in the database from a range of organizations that include the ACLU, Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund, various legal aid societies, and more. [JJ]
In August 2007 Columbia Law School’s Program on Law and Technology, and the Silicon Flatirons Program at the University of Colorado Law School introduced a beta version of AltLaw, “the first free, full-text searchable database of Supreme Court and Federal Appellate case reports.” AltLaw’s mission is to make the law easily accessible to the public and is a resource for attorneys and legal scholars. Over 180,000 U.S. Supreme Court decisions and federal Courts of Appeal decisions dating back 10 to 15 years are now in the database. A chart lets the researcher know the scope of coverage for each court. The advanced search feature (the only search feature) is elegantly simple and includes Boolean and proximity searching as well as date and court parameters. The opinions appear as published by the courts, so the format and type are not standardized across circuits. Westlaw citations are not yet available but will be included. The creators hope to expand coverage to include federal district and state courts as well. The “About This Site” page reminds users that AltLaw is a work in progress and encourages researchers to double check results with another legal source. Researchers are also encouraged to check back frequently as new case law is added. [JC]
FEC Watch, a project of the Center for Responsive Politics, seeks “to increase enforcement of the nation’s campaign finance, lobbying, and ethics laws” by monitoring the Federal Election Commission (FEC), as well as other government entities. In addition to educating the public, FEC Watch files complaints, petitions for rulemaking and comments on rulemaking, and submits amicus briefs in relevant cases. The website is organized into two main tabs: "The FEC" and "The Law." Under "The FEC" tab, users can learn about the agency, including its history, role, divisions, and its commissioners. As well, the site explains the enforcement, rulemaking, and litigation functions of the FEC. Under "The Law" tab, users will find explanation of and access to the various federal election laws. In addition to PDF versions of the McCain-Feingold Act and various court opinions, the site offers details of regulations and advisory opinions. Rulemakings are organized into tables that are categorized as active, inactive, or completed. Also, the site provides an archive of FEC advisory opinions for the years 2002-2004. Be sure to read the thorough discussion of the FEC advisory opinion process. [MM]
Fragile States: the LICUS Initiative
This site announces the World Bank's creation of a new unit which funds countries in need of assistance because of fragile governments or infrastructures, or because they are involved in conflict. Often these situations are related and occur in the same country. This new unit of the World Bank will serve as the corporate focal point for external partners, including the United Nations and the European Commission, that are working to provide assistance to states in need. The website presents the research of the World Bank's Task Force on the Work of the World Bank Group in Low-Income Countries Under Stress (LICUS), mostly in PDF. Portions of site are available in French, Spanish, English, and Arabic. The site is searchable. [JG]
National Workrights Institute
Based in Princeton, NJ, the National Workrights Institute (NWI) was founded in January 2000 by the former staff of the American Civil Liberties Union's National Taskforce on Civil Liberties in the Workplace. The Institute was created to be the premier organization championing human rights in the workplace, focusing not on enforcement of current laws but on recommending the promulgation of new ones. The NWI focuses on issues such as alternative dispute resolution, drug testing, genetic and lifestyle discrimination, medical privacy, and other concerns. These issue sections on the Institute’s website provides news items, statements, studies, speeches, articles, Congressional testimony, model policies, legislative briefs, and more. The “NWI in the News” section provides links to relevant external news items, but is not available as an RSS feed. The NWI site is searchable. [BWK]
InSITE contributors: J. Callihan, J. Gillespie, J. Jones, B. Kreisler, M. Morrison, J. Pajerek (editor)
About InSITE: InSITE highlights selected law-related Web sites in two ways: as an annotated publication issued electronically and in print; and, as a keyword-searchable database. The law librarians at Cornell evaluate potentially useful Web sites, select the most valuable ones, and provide commentary and subject access to them. This information can be accessed via:
1. Searchable database or by browsing current and archived issues on the web: Click InSITE at http://www.lawschool.cornell.edu/library
3. Via e-mail subscription: send the following request to: email@example.com: join INSITE-L "your name"
where your name (include the quotation marks) is the name you want to be available to the list's administrator. You must send this message from the e-mail address where you want to receive the e-list's messages.
The contents of InSITE and any recommendations therein are the opinions of the authors and do not reflect the views of Cornell University. InSITE is copyright protected by Cornell Law Library, © 2007 Cornell Law Library. Permission to republish InSITE issues on Law Librarian Blog has been granted. For permissions, contact Jean M. Pajerek [firstname.lastname@example.org].
Cornell Law Library URL: http://www.lawschool.cornell.edu/library
Byting Back — Regaining Information Superiority Against 21st-Century Insurgents
Interesting report from the RAND Corporation: "U.S. counterinsurgency efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan have failed to exploit information power, which could be a U.S. advantage but instead is being used advantageously by insurgents. Because insurgency and counterinsurgency involve a battle for the allegiance of a population between a government and an armed opposition movement, the key to exploiting information power is to connect with and learn from the population itself, increasing the effectiveness of both the local government and the U.S. military and civilian services engaged in supporting it. Utilizing mostly available networking technology, the United States could achieve early, affordable, and substantial gains in the effectiveness of counterinsurgency by more open, integrated, and inclusive information networking with the population, local authorities, and coalition partners." [Rj]
Supreme Court Oral Arguments for 2006-07 Term
Recordings of all oral arguments and opinion announcements for the 2006 Term were made available by the Oyez Project. [RJ]
Thriving in a Global Economy: The Truth about U.S. Manufacturing and Trade
"In the first six months of the 110th Congress, more than a dozen antagonistic or protectionist trade-related bills have been introduced, which rely on the presumed precariousness of U.S. manufacturing as justification for the legislation. Justification for those bills is predicated on the belief that manufacturing is in decline and that the failure of U.S. trade policy to address unfair competition is to blame. But those premises are wrong. The totality of evidence points to a robust manufacturing sector that has thrived on account of greater international trade."
October 14, 2007
On Libel Tourism
The Alms for Jihad book controversy is featured in a New York Times Sunday Book Review think piece by Rachel Donadio. In it Donadio calls attention to the concern that English libel law may be stifling writers far beyond the borders of the United Kingdom. She writes, "today, any book bought online in England, even one published exclusively in another country, can ostensibly be subject to English libel law. As a result, publishers and booksellers are increasingly concerned about 'libel tourism': foreigners suing other foreigners in England or elsewhere, and using those judgments to intimidate authors in other countries, including the United States."
Read the entire essay, Libel Without Borders. [JH]
Potentially Constructive Implications of Disaster in Iraq
It now appears likely that the invasion of Iraq will prove to be a seminal event in the evolution of international security generally. Legal order has evidently collapsed throughout the country, and the occupying forces have not been able to control the resulting pattern of predatory violence. The central reason is that the United States forfeited at the outset the critical asset of legitimacy necessary to establish and maintain consensual rule, and its continued presence undermines the indigenous institutions it is attempting to nurture. Similar breakdowns have occurred in other parts of the world, and the consequences have been tolerated over extended periods of time. Because of timing, location and the entanglement of the United States, however, intractable violence in Iraq can be expected to have much stronger global resonance. American forces alone are not likely to be able to master the situation but neither can they be withdrawn without intensifying internal violence an! d extending it into an already volatile region. The potential consequences of that dilemma are ominous, but for that reason the situation presents opportunity as well as danger. Calamity is sometimes a catalyst for greater wisdom." [RJ]
“No End In Sight” The American Occupation of Iraq
Webcast from the Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University.
- Mr. Gerald F Burke
- Dr. Charles Ferguson
- Ms. Samantha Power [RJ]