May 23, 2009
Time to Debate California Sales Tax for Recreational Marijuana
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) says he is not necessarily in favor of decriminalizing marijuana, but if California allows the sale of marijuana for recreational use, the sales tax revenue (at $50-an-ounce) could raise $1.3 billion and that why it's "time to debate" the issue. This follows Assemblyman Tom Ammiano's (D-San Francisco) introduction of AB390, a bill that would make California the first state to legalize personal use of marijuana by repealing California's criminal penalties for personal cultivation and possession of up to 10 marijuana plants. AB390, according to the San Francisco Chronicle, does not, however, include retail sales and tax provisions.
Aren't Republicans supposed to be against taxes? Remember the good old days when the street price was $20 for a three-finger bag? [JH]
May 22, 2009
Teenage Girl Auctions Off Her Virginity, German Tax Authorities Want Half
The Sun by way of Fox News reports that Alina Percea, 18, was paid $13,827 in cash for a weekend of sex with a middle-aged Italian businessman after auctioning her virginity online. Now, the German tax authorities want their cut. In Germany, prostitutes are taxed at 50 percent of their earnings. Hat tip to Paul Caron (Cincinnati) who is on top of all things taxable at TaxProf Blog. [JH]
A Sensible Approach to Punishing Copyright Violations?
Playing Musical Chairs Because SCOTUS Life Tenure is Just Too Damn Long
How can we regain the benefits of judicial independence and regular rotation on SCOTUS? In Supreme Court Justices Have It Too Good, Jack Balkin (Knight Professor of Constitutional Law and the First Amendment, Yale LS) suggests "a good rule of thumb would be that a president should be able to appoint a new justice every two years." Two snips:
[The] regular rotation of justices in office serves [a] valuable purpose: it gives presidents the opportunity to staff the courts with jurists who reflect the constitutional values of a changing political world. The supreme court thus reflects – and should reflect – a diversity of views from jurists appointed at different points in time.
In an earlier era of shorter life expectancies, and a less powerful institution, we had the best of both worlds: justices enjoyed life tenure and presidents had fairly regular opportunities to pick new justices. This has changed dramatically in recent years.
According to Balkin, a constitutional amendment would not be necessary -- one wonders what justices Scalia and Thomas would have to say about that -- and plenty of work would be available to keep senior justices busy. [JH]
The 25 Most Important American Legal Thinkers
Brian Leiter (Chicago) reports on the results of his poll at The Most Important Legal Thinkers in American Law of the Past Century. Here's the top five:
1. Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.
2. Richard Posner
3. Ronald Dworkin
4. Ronald Coase
5. Benjamin Cardozo
Ohio Supreme Court Justices Promote the Court's Website
According to The Salem News, Ohio Supreme Court justices pitched the Supreme Court's website recently while visiting the Columbiana County Bar Association. The site, tweeked in design with new content added, includes streaming video of oral arguments, with all oral argument sessions since March 2004 archived and viewable, court opinions and court news pages with RSS feeds.
The Court has also developed the Ohio Courts Network as a centralized warehouse of case-related data, enabling courts and justice system partners to share information and to support functions such as criminal history reviews, warrant and protection order searches, pre-sentencing investigations, background checks, handgun pre-purchase reviews and pre-custody reviews. Sixteen local courts are participating in the Ohio Courts Network. More local courts are expected to join. [Press Release] [JH]
Opening: Chief Law Librarian, University of Toronto Bora Laskin Law Library
The Faculty of Law is seeking a dynamic professional to lead its Law Library.
RESPONSIBILITIES: Reporting to the Dean of the Faculty of Law, the Chief Law Librarian takes a leadership role in developing and monitoring the Library’s budget, long-range and short-range plans and library policies. The incumbent manages all aspects of library operations including personnel, technology, purchasing, space and facilities and internal and external relations including supporting the faculty’s fundraising initiatives. In support of the Faculty’s mission, the Chief Law Librarian has responsibility for the development and management of library collections, programs and services including the technological infrastructure necessary for their delivery and use. It is expected that the Chief Law Librarian will participate in collection development and in teaching legal research. The position involves leadership of a staff of 12.6 FTE, including 4 professional librarians, and oversight of an annual budget of approximately 2 million dollars.
The Chief Law Librarian also works collaboratively with colleagues in other libraries within the University of Toronto Library system, as well as with colleagues in the broader community of law libraries.
QUALIFICATIONS: Candidates must have an ALA-accredited Master of Library Studies degree, or an acceptable equivalent, a law degree from a recognized law school and substantial, relevant experience including several years in an administrative role in a law library, preferably in an academic or research institution. Applicants must have demonstrated ability in budgeting, planning and personnel management as well as strong organizational, analytical, problem-solving and communication skills. They must possess thorough knowledge of legal information resources and research methodologies as well as an understanding of current issues facing scholars. They will be effective teachers. Candidates will be engaged with the issues facing academic libraries and will demonstrate a flexible, innovative approach to finding solutions. Applicants will have a broad understanding of information technologies and be able to integrate new technologies in order to enhance library support for teaching and research. Candidates will demonstrate strong interpersonal skills and be able to work productively with faculty, students and staff in a collaborative environment; they will be able to provide effective representation of the Law Library within the library system, the University generally and externally.
RANK AND SALARY: commensurate with qualifications and experience. Appointments at this level are for a maximum seven-year term which is renewable
NOTE: This is a permanent status stream position. Librarians at the University of Toronto are members of the University of Toronto Faculty Association.
Applicants must submit a covering letter, curriculum vitae and the names/telephone numbers of three references to Library Human Resources:
Mail: 130 St. George Street, Rm 2054, Toronto, Ontario M5S 1A5
Fax: (416) 946-5543
Consideration of applications will continue until the position is filled.
All qualified candidates are encouraged to apply; however, Canadians/permanent residents will be given priority. We thank all applicants for their interest; only those candidates selected for an interview will be contacted.
May 21, 2009
Google and UMichigan Amend Scanning Agreement
Google and the University of Michigan have renegotiated part of its agreement where Google scans its books for available online. The recent settlement between Google and publishers has raised issues over the cost of institutional subscriptions the publishers will put in place for access to the collection. The new agreement/amendment gives Michigan the right to a digital copy of every book on its shelves irrespective of whether the book was scanned at Michigan or somewhere else. The school also gets greater distribution rights to its digital copies.
Welcome Back M & A Law Prof Blog
After a hiatus, the Law Professor Blogs Network's M & A Law Prof Blog is online again [first post here provides background]. Edited by Brian JM Quinn (Assistant Professor of Law, Boston College Law School) with contributing editor, Michael A. Woronoff (Partner, Proskauer Rose LLP and Adjunct Professor, UCLA School of Law) M & A Law Prof Blog provides news, analysis and commentary on mergers and acquisitions developments. Check it out. [JH]
Hard Drive With Clinton Data Gone, NARA Wants It Back
LSN Announces New Jersey Death Penalty Symposium Materials Available
PSA from LLB: OMG, Bag Up Your Dollar Bills and Send Them to the Treasury Department Now
Or to put it another way, a Friday Fun feature for folks who are taking tomorrow off to enjoy an extended (and safe) Memorial Day weekend. [JH]
A First, On Demand and Short-Run Book Titles Exceed Traditional Book Title Production in 2008
According to Bowker, 2008 new book title production achieved an historic development in the U.S. book publishing industry because On Demand and short-run book titles exceeded the number of traditional book titles entering the marketplace for the first time: 285,394 On Demand books compared to 275,232 traditionally produced titles and editions. The press release also noted that the 2008 production of On Demand titles increased 132% increase over last year’s final total of 123,276 titles. This was the second consecutive year of of triple-digit growth in the On Demand segment.
The production of new law titles and editions in 2008 according to Bowker's statistical report reached 5,480 titles. [JH]
UN Launches Diplomatic Conferences for Treaties Website
The UN Office of Legal Affairs has launched a website that provides access to the official records of 12 UN diplomatic conferences that were held to to negotiate and adopt treaties. The user is provided access by individual document, and the entire collection of proceedings is searchable in full-text format. The website covers the following UN conferences:
- Law of the Sea, 1958
- Conference on Elimination or Reduction of Future Statelessness, 1959-1961
- Law of the Sea (Second Conference), 1960
- Conference on Diplomatic Intercourse and Immunities, 1961
- Conference on Consular Relations, 1963
- Conference on the Law of Treaties, 1968-1969
- Law of the Sea (Third Conference), 1973-1982
- Conference on the Representation of States in their Relations with International Organizations, 1975
- Conference on Succession of States in Respect of Treaties, 1977-1978
- Conference on Succession of States in Respect of State Property, Archives and Debts, 1983
- Inference on the Law of Treaties between States and International Organizations or between International Organizations, 1986
- Conference on the Establishment of an International Criminal Court, 1998
Hat tip to Resource Shelf. [JH]
Protecting Your Scholarship: Copyrights, Publication Agreements, and Open Access
In the legal academy it's time to publish or perish, at least it is for those profs who take their teaching responsibilities serious enough to prioritize teaching higher than writing during the academic year. Timothy Armstrong (Cincinnati) has written a helpful brief introduction to publication agreements for nonspecialists. See his blog post and download An Introduction to Publication Agreements for Authors. Hat tip to TaxProf Blog.
Protecting Your Scholarship. On May 12, 2009, Kenneth Crews (Columbia) presented “Protecting Your Scholarship: Copyrights, Publication Agreements, and Open Access." Live blogged by David Weinberger here and video on Et Seq. The Harvard Law School Library Blog. [JH]
May 20, 2009
SLA Helps Unemployed Members
SLA's efforts include:
New SLA membership category, which allows those making $18,000 or less to join or renew for just $35.
Holding the line on conference costs, prolonging the early bird discount and, at its expiration, offering a second discount.
Webinars and replays are free for the first time.
SLA's Career Center offers a whole range of services, from resume posting to job listings to career advice-and it's free for members.
But according to the announcement, "one hard decision was that we will not offer further conference discounts to members who lose their jobs. We simply cannot afford to do this and pay the bills."
Hat tip to Law Librarians of Leisure, a great resource. See LLB's earlier post, Blog for Unemployed Law Librarians Recently Launched. [JH]
Court Says No Habeas to Enemy Combatants
The United States District Court for the District of Columbia has ruled that the government can hold enemy combatants indefinitely without bringing charges. The opinion by District Judge John Bates is here.
From the opinion:
After careful consideration, the Court is satisfied that the government's detention authority is generally consistent with the authority conferred upon the President by the AUMF and the core law of war principles that govern non-international armed conflicts. In those instances where the government's framework has exceeded that which is permitted by the law of war -- specifically with respect to the concept of "support" -- the Court rejects such bases for detention. Therefore, the Court concludes that under the AUMF the President has the authority to detain persons that the President determines planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001, and persons who harbored those responsible for those attacks. The President also has the authority to detain persons who are or were part of Taliban or al Qaeda forces or associated forces that are engaged in hostilities against the United States or its coalition partners, including any person who has committed (i.e., directly participated in) a belligerent act in aid of such enemy armed forces. [MG]
After careful consideration, the Court is satisfied that the government's detention authority is generally consistent with the authority conferred upon the President by the AUMF and the core law of war principles that govern non-international armed conflicts. In those instances where the government's framework has exceeded that which is permitted by the law of war -- specifically with respect to the concept of "support" -- the Court rejects such bases for detention. Therefore, the Court concludes that under the AUMF the President has the authority to detain persons that the President determines planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001, and persons who harbored those responsible for those attacks. The President also has the authority to detain persons who are or were part of Taliban or al Qaeda forces or associated forces that are engaged in hostilities against the United States or its coalition partners, including any person who has committed (i.e., directly participated in) a belligerent act in aid of such enemy armed forces.
Fire Damages Lorain County Law Library
A fire that broke out at the Lorain County Administration Building in Elyria, Ohio, Saturday night caused $200,000 to $300,000 in damages, burning part of the Lorain County Law Library and permeating smoke throughout the five-floor building, according to The Morning Journal. The 37-year-old building does not have sprinklers because they were not required by the fire code when the structure was built.
County Commissioner Ted Kalo told The Morning Journal that the majority of the law library's books were not touched by the fire but see the article for photos of the law library taken after the fire was extinguished. No word yet on the extent of damages from Mary Kovacs, Lorain County Law Library Director. Mary, if you can post to ORALL-C to let us know what you need, we'll all do our best to help out.
Hat tip to Kathy Sasala, Director, Cleveland Law Library Association, for posting the news to the ORALL-C list. [JH]
On the "Twitter is the new ..." Concept
In Ten Things Twitter is Not on Seldo.com the author writes, "[this] 'Twitter is the new...' concept is central to a lot of misunderstandings of Twitter. Twitter is not the new anything. Twitter is nothing but the new Twitter: that very rare thing, an entirely new genre of service, like blogs, social networks, and way back in the day, portals all were. It's its own thing, and trying to analogize it to some other service is as useful as calling airplanes flying buses: sure, they sort of look like buses with wings, but that doesn't mean you use them the same way."
Three of the 10 things Twitter is not:
- the new email / the new telegram
- private or even secure
- a service the answers the question "what are you doing?"
And what Twitter is:
Twitter is like friend ESP, a portable zeitgeist. It lets you know 'what's going on' by telling you not what people are physically doing, but what they're thinking about, planning, reading, watching, paying attention to.
Hat tip to Amy Hale-Janeke, Head of Reference Services, 5th Circuit Court of Appeals Library, for calling attention to this blog post on the AALL's Court & County SIS List.
Being a unique form of web communications, Twitter even has it's own dictionary. Check out Twittonary, where you will learn among other things that "pig twitz" means "big floppy fingers that can not type." In OED fashion, usage is illustrated with examples: "sorry my typing is bad but i have pig twits for fingers." [JH]
DRM and Copyright Exceptions for Libraries: Empirical Assessment of Article 6(4) of the Information Society Directive
Article 6(4) of Information Society Directive made illegal the circumvention of DRM, while attempting, simultaneously, to ensure that the legal protection of DRM does not prevent certain entities (such as, libraries, the visually impaired, teachers, students and researchers) from carrying out certain acts of copying. Studies devoted to DRM under Article 6(4) and these copyright exceptions have noted, theoretically, its legal implications.
In Technological accommodation of conflicts between freedom of expression and DRM: the first empirical assessment, Patrícia Akester (Centre for Intellectual Property and Information Law, Faculty of Law, University of Cambridge) fills an existing gap by unveiling, through empirical lines of enquiry, (1) whether certain acts which are permitted by law are being adversely affected by the use of DRM and (2) whether technology can accommodate conflicts between freedom of expression and DRM - linking, thus, policy conclusions to empirical findings. The answers to these questions were studied in the context of the UK legislation implementing the Information Society Directive. Based on a series of interviews with key organisations and individuals, involved in the use of copyright material and the development and deployment of DRM, Akester provides a sober assessment of the current state of affairs.
Although DRM has not impacted on many acts permitted by law, certain permitted acts are being adversely affected by the use of DRM;
This is in spite of the existence of technological solutions (enabling partitioning and authentication of users) to accommodate those permitted acts (privileged exceptions);
Beneficiaries of privileged exceptions who have been prevented from carrying out those permitted acts (because of the employment of DRM) have not used the complaints mechanism set out in UK law;
Article 6(4) of the Information Society Directive put an onus on content owners to accommodate privileged exceptions voluntarily. Voluntary measures have emerged in the publishing field, but not all content owners are ready to act unless they are told to do so by regulatory authorities.
See Akseter's proposed solutions and recommendations starting on page 100 of her report. [JH]