April 5, 2008
King Corn, A Documentary on America's Smallest Farm
Two recent college graduates embark on a mission to see where America's food comes from—by growing it. In the rural town of Greene, Iowa, the two friends plant a single acre of the nation's most powerful crop, and then set out to follow it from a seed to the dinner plate in King Corn. [JH]
Do Insurgent Attacks Increase After Learning About US Press Coverage of Irag War Critiques?
Is There an "Emboldenment" Effect? Evidence from the Insurgency in Iraq
by Radha Iyengar & Jonathan Monten
NBER Working Paper No. 13839
Abstract: Are insurgents affected by information on US casualty sensitivity? Using data on attacks and variation in access to international news across Iraqi provinces, we identify an "emboldenment" effect by comparing the rate of insurgent attacks in areas with higher and lower access to information about U.S news after public statements critical of the war. We find in periods after a spike in war-critical statements, insurgent attacks increases by 5-10 percent. The results suggest that insurgent groups respond rationally to expected probability of US withdrawal. As such counterinsurgency should consider deterrence and incapacitation rather than simply search and destroy missions.
See also Travis Sharp's review, Study: After U.S. antiwar outpouring, insurgent attacks go up 7-10%. [JH]
April 4, 2008
Friday Fun: It's Great, I Heart Law School
Check out this Utah law student's video, The Two Sides of Law:
One Less Worry Video Contest To Award $10K Law School Scholarship
Student lender Access Group has announced a contest entitled “One Less Worry.” The contest will award $10,000 to the most deserving video posted on YouTube describing “what law students worry about.” Access Group will select the ten finalists based on “creativity, humor, quality, realism and overall appeal” and and then open up public voting on July 1. Whoever gets the most votes by July 31 will win a $10,000 scholarship for the 2008-2009 academic year. Here's the video annoucement.
LLB Poll: Extra Pair of Hands
Professional Reading: Privacy, Ethics, and the Meaning of News
Amy Gajda (Illinois) has posted Privacy, Ethics, and the Meaning of News in SSRN. Here's the abstract:
In November 2006, a Texas prosecutor shot himself as police entered his home to arrest him on child sex solicitation charges. Waiting outside were journalists from NBC's To Catch a Predator program, persons who had initially worked with police in the sting operation. In February 2008, a federal judge ruled that NBC's behavior in covering the events preceding the suicide could be tortious, based in part on what the court decided seemed to be a violation of journalism ethics. The plaintiff had argued that her brother's would-be arrest was not news, but a sensationalistic move by NBC to raise its ratings. The court, calling the event a public spectacle, effectively agreed.
Courts, John Marshall famously declared, must say what the law is. Increasingly, however, courts are also called upon to say what the news is. When subjects of unwanted publicity sue, journalists commonly argue that the challenged disclosures were privileged as newsworthy. Traditionally, courts minimized constitutional concerns by deferring heavily to journalists' own sense of what qualified as news. Recently, however, courts have grown decidedly less tolerant, driven by mounting anxiety over the loss of personal privacy generally and by declining respect for the press specifically. Ironically, an emerging tool used by courts to police news outlets is journalists' own codes of professional ethics. By measuring editorial decisions against gauzy internal ethics standards, courts give the appearance of deference to the profession while aggressively scrutinizing editorial judgments.
This Article demonstrates the growing threat to press freedom posed by these emerging trends. It places the conflict in historical context, explains how recent developments have undermined judicial deference to journalism in defining the news, examines the implications of the nascent resurgence of tort regulation of journalism, and concludes by suggesting that courts return to a more deferential approach in assessing newsworthiness.
Advocacy Groups Dueling over Arbitration
The U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform has released a survey and research paper concerning arbitration. The survey found overwhelming support for arbitration among likely voters and the research paper rebuts Public Citizen's recent report, The Arbitration Trap: How Credit Card Companies Ensnare Consumers (September 2007).
Opening: Thomson West Librarian Relations Manager, Washington, DC
Thomson West has an opening for a Librarian Relations Manager based in Washington, DC. To apply, go to the Company's career page, click on "Search Jobs" and scroll down the list or use "librarian" in the keyword search term box to bring the listing to the top. All applications must be submitted online and will automatically routed to the hiring manager.
April 3, 2008
Professional Reading: Applying Communication Theory to Statutory Interpretation
Cheryl Boudrea (UC-Davis), Arthur Lupia (Michigan), Mathew Cubbins (UC-San Diego), and Daniel Rodriguez (Texas), What Statutes Mean: Interpretive Lessons from Positive Theories of Communication and Legislation, 44 San Diego L. Rev. 957 (2007), [SSRN Download Link] is one of the most interesting articles I have read in quite awhile. Highly recommended. [JH]
Here's the abstract:
In this paper, we address a question that is hotly debated in the legal literature: How should judges interpret statutes? By way of an answer, we begin with two premises: 1) statutory interpretation is a quest by judges to determine what statutes mean, and 2) statutes are communications from a constitutionally-authorized legislature to those who are obligated to implement, enforce, or follow the law. We then argue that scientific propositions about human communication can help judges to determine what a statute's authors meant when they chose to include (or not to include) particular words in a piece of legislation. Specifically, we draw upon well-known communication theories, which emphasize that successful inference about meaning requires that the manner in which a communication is decoded relate to aspects of its manufacture in particular ways. What this insight suggests for scholars of statutory interpretation (and for judges interpreting statutes) is that discerning the meaning of any piece of legislation requires an understanding of the ways that such legislation was manufactured throughout the legislative process. This insight also provides important clues about the kinds of informational sources that can be useful to those who want to clarify the meaning of a statute.
Law and Public Policy for the Stem Cell Century
Korobkin's Stem Cell Century provides an excellent foundation from which the debate on stem cell research can be both understood as well as advanced. -- Christopher A. Riddle, Department of Philosophy, Queen*s University, Canada, Quote from his review in Law and Politics Book Review.
View the November 28, 2007 panel discussion on Russell Korobkin's book Stem Cell Century, co-hosted by the Harvard Stem Cell Institute and the Petrie-Flom Center for Health Law Policy, Biotechnology, and Bioethics at Harvard Law School. [Additional archived webcasts of public forums from the Harvard Stem Cell Institute]
See also today's post: Mapping Stem Cell Research. [JH]
About the Book
Stem Cell Century: Law and Policy for a Breakthrough Technology
by Russell Korobkin with Stephen R. Munzer
List Price: $29.95
Hardcover: 336 pages
Publisher: Yale University Press (November 28, 2007)
Book Description: The explosion of interest in stem cell research raises a raft of controversial policy questions. When should human embryos be used to create stem cells? Should cloning be outlawed? Should egg and tissue donors be paid? Should we allow scientists to patent stem cells? Is the government entitled to a portion of the revenue from stem cell technology created with public funds? How should the regulators and courts balance the competing goals of access to revolutionary treatments and protection of the public from unknown risks?
Russell Korobkin, with contributions from Stephen R. Munzer, provides the first thorough discussion and analysis of these and other unsettled questions of law, policy, and ethics that surround stem cell science. His clear and concise description of complex problems coupled with logical and well-balanced conclusions makes this volume essential reading for all Americans, general readers and experts alike, interested in the promise of stem cell research and the future of regenerative medicine.
Mapping Stem Cell Research
Dr. Jack Kessler, a prominent neurologist, shifts his diabetes research to stem cell research when his daughter is paralyzed from the waist down. Mapping Stem Cell Research [documentary's website] brings the stem cell debate to the forefront and examines the constantly evolving interplay between the promise of new discoveries, the controversy of modern science and the courage of people living with devastating disease and injury.
Performance Right Would Harmonize Copyright Policy
From the press release: "A performance-right for recording artists would correct a needless exception in U.S. copyright law, states Tom Sydnor in, "A Performance Right for Recording Artists: Sound Policy at Home and Abroad," a Progress on Point released today by The Progress & Freedom Foundation. In addition, Sydnor concludes, the Passage of the Performance Rights Act would harmonize U.S. copyright law with those of other countries, benefiting both U.S. recording artists and the U.S. economy." [RJ]
CNN's Eyewitness to Murder: The King Assassination Airs Tonight
In this first installment of CNN's Black in America series, Soledad O'Brien investigates how James Earl Ray, an armed robber and escaped convict, had already spent an uncommon year on the run just a month before his path collided with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in Memphis, Tennessee.
April 2, 2008
Law to Prevent Behavioral Advertising on the Internet?
Law.com has the story here:
Ever wonder what happens to the data generated from all that Internet surfing and all those searches conducted through search engines such as Yahoo, Google and Ask.com? Is the data destroyed after logging off? Is it kept? For how long? Is it used and, if so, how and by whom?
An increasing number of Americans have recently become aware that much of this data is indeed being kept and used to target advertising to them in a more precise manner, based on their interests as evidenced in their surfing and search activities -- a practice known generally as behavioral advertising. But is this lawful? If so, is it appropriate?
New York Assemblyman Richard Brodsky, a Democrat who represents much of Westchester County, feels this type of advertising should not be permitted unless consumers give their permission: "Should these companies be able to sell or use what's essentially private data without permission? The easy answer is absolutely not."[FOOTNOTE 1] ...
And if the use of footnotes in the story bugs you, you'll love this. [JJ]
Professional Reading: Fair Use v. Fair Access
I highly recommend Randal Picker's (Chicago) Fair Use v. Fair Access (SSRN). In it he makes the following four points. From the abstract:
1. The copyright act defines use rights, not access rights. That overstates slightly - especially with the Digital Millennium Copyright Act in the statute - but the core of copyright law addresses how works can be used assuming that legal access has been obtained. Other law addresses the circumstances under which works can be accessed.
2. Nothing in copyright itself suggests that use rights should trump access rights; indeed, our core access principles suggest just the opposite. We frequently speak of a fair use "right." I am doubtful about that on its own terms but even if we find something there, a fair use right isn't an access right. Fair use doesn't equal fair access.
3. The scope of rights given to an initial author will effect the timing and scope of investment she will make in creating a work. For many works, those investments can be made in discrete lumps. As a society, we want investments to be made incrementally rather than as one large lump as doing so allows us to get feedback from the market on the value of a work. We don't want to throw good money after bad, and if we learn that, say, the English version of a work is a failure, we don't want to bother translating it into Mandarin. Plus we will delay the time that works reach the market if we create an incentive to do large, lumpy investments rather than a sequence of investments coupled with market feedback. Authors start with one monopoly: their unique access to the work that they have created. If we do not give authors control over these follow-on works, authors will overinvest upfront in the works, since that is the only way that the can gain a return on their initial monopoly over access to the work. In that situation, we are better off to hand the author a statutory monopoly over the follow-on work rather than see the author invest real resources in creating a property right over that work.
4. Fair use is a form of rights bundling. If we decide that, say, format-shifting is fair use or is otherwise a permitted use - you sell me a music CD and I have a use right to make a personal copy on a cassette or my iPod - we are making a decision about the rights that we are bundling together. The nature of bundles is that everyone gets stuck buying the same set of rights. These bundles can be inefficiently large. Consumers would often be better off if instead we allowed rights to be unbundled, so that consumers could buy just those rights that they wanted rather than being forced to take unwanted rights. Doing that requires a narrow conception of fair use.
Alan Holoch Memorial Grant Available for AALL Annual Meeting
The Alan Holoch Memorial Grant Committee is now taking applications for the 2008 AALL annual meeting.
The Alan Holoch Memorial Grant is available to help SR-SIS members defray the cost of travel or registration for the AALL Annual Meeting in Portland. Individuals chosen to receive the grant have the potential to make significant contributions to law librarianship through their involvement with AALL and the Social Responsibilities Special Interest Section's Standing Committee on Lesbian and Gay Issues.
For more information, please see the application on the SR-SIS website.
Recently Released, Keeping Out the Other: A Critical Introduction to Immigration Enforcement Today
Keeping Out the Other: A Critical Introduction to Immigration Enforcement Today
Edited by David C. Brotherton and Philip Kretsedemas
List Price: $74.50
Hardcover: 432 pages
Publisher: Columbia University Press (March 14, 2008)
Book Description: America's reputation for open immigration has always been accompanied by a desire to remove or discourage the migration of "undesirables." But recent restrictions placed on immigrants, along with an increase in detentions and deportations, point to a more worrying trend. Immigration enforcement has become the fastest growing sector for spending over the past two decades, dwarfing the money spent on helping immigrants adjust to their new lives. Instead of finding effective ways of integrating newcomers into American society, the United States is focusing on making the process of citizenship more difficult, provoking major protests and unrest.
David C. Brotherton and Philip Kretsedemas provide a history and analysis of recent immigration enforcement in the United States, demonstrating that our current anti-immigration tendencies are not a knee-jerk reaction to the events of September 11. Rather, they have been gathering steam for decades. With contributions from social scientists, policy analysts, legal experts, community organizers, and journalists, the volume critically examines the discourse that has framed the question of immigration enforcement for the general public. It also explores the politics and practice of deportation, new forms of immigrant profiling, relevant case law, and antiterrorist operations. Some contributors couch their critiques in an appeal to constitutional law and the defense of civil liberties. Others draw on the theories of structural inequality and institutional discrimination. These diverse perspectives stimulate new ways of thinking about the issue of immigration enforcement, proving that "security" has more to do with improving legal rights, social mobility, and the well-being of all U.S. residents than keeping out the "other."
About the Authors: David C. Brotherton is professor and chair of sociology at John Jay and the Graduate Center, CUNY. His books include Globalizing the Streets: Cross-Cultural Perspectives on Youth, Social Control, and Empowerment and The Almighty Latin King and Queen Nation: Street Politics and the Transformation of a New York City Gang.
Philip Kretsedemas is assistant professor of sociology at the University of Massachusetts, Boston. A former communications director and policy analyst for the National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild, he is the co-editor of Immigrants, Welfare Reform, and the Poverty of Policy.
IHE Administrators Audio Conference on Regulating Social Networking Sites
Facebook, MySpace & On-Line Communities: What Your College Must Know
Tuesday, April 8, 2008, 1:00 - 2:00 PM ET
Live, 60-Minute Audio Conference
Online Registration | Cost: $199
From the Conference Blurb: The misuse of online social networking sites such as MySpace and Facebook can have serious consequences for your university. How are students improperly using these sites and what rights do your college administrators have to monitor student behavior? How do you create an effective policy for your college? Join us for a live, 60-minute audio conference where you and your colleagues will learn:
- Drafting an Online Network Policy: Keys to Protect Your College
- The Monitoring Student Debate: Strategies to Avoid Common Pitfalls
- Keys to Effectively Utilize Public Safety, Staff, & Campus Community
- How to Use Social Networking Sites to Benefit Your Institution
Conference Presenter: Tomás Gonzalez is the Senior Assistant Dean at the Syracuse University College of Law. He is a nationally recognized speaker on the topic of legal issues and on-line communities. His expertise includes legal issues in Higher Educations, leadership and community development, academic support programs, diversity education and student success/recognition programs.
US News Numerical Ranking for Tier 3 and Tier 4 Law Schools
Check out Geoffrey Rapp's post on PrawfsBlawg: US News Hacked?: Does the US News Web Site Display 3rd Tier & 4th Tier Law Schools Ranked in Order? [JH]