June 3, 2009
Washington & Lee Launches LexOpus, Free Online Law Review Submission Service
This looks very interesting and Washington and Lee's John Doyle must have had a hand in its conception. LexOpus is an online law review submission service that should save authors time in finding a law journal that will publish their manuscripts. Snips from the About Page:
LexOpus assists authors and law journals with the submissions process. The system allows an author to submit a work to a sequence of author-selected law journals. An author may also, or instead, invite offers from any journal by choosing to indicate the work as 'open to offers'. Works may be hidden from public view if the author wishes that.
LexOpus will not send simultaneous submissions to journals. What LexOpus will do is convey an author's exclusive offer to each chosen journal in sequence for one week (six weeks for peer-reviewed journals that require more time). On rejection by a journal, or the elapse of the journal's exclusive period, the exclusive offer will move on to the author's next chosen journal. What terminates after each journal's exclusive period is not the offer itself but the exclusive nature of the offer. The contractual offer from author to journal continues on a non-exclusive basis until either the author's offer is withdrawn or the journal rejects.
When LexOpus is used by authors to submit completed works to journals the commitment on the part of the author is that:
(a) The author will prioritize a number of journals, understanding that each journal will be notified of the submission in sequence, and that the author is guaranteeing to each current journal in turn an exclusive 7 days (6 weeks for most peer-reviewed journals) in which to accept the author's offer.
(b) Rejection by the current journal will immediately move the work along to the next journal, or the current journal's inaction will move the work along after the its exclusive period concludes.
(c) A Journal may still accept after its guaranteed exclusive period, but will be placed in priority below the current journal. Only after the current journal rejects the work, or its exclusive period expires, will acceptance by the higher-ranked journal become effective.
(d) Authors may remove their work from the submissions process. However, removal is only effective on the current journal's exclusive period expiring, or on the current journal's earlier rejection of the work.
(e) The author, in making a sequence of offers to selected journals, agrees to negotiate a reasonable publishing contract with whichever offered journal accepts the author's offer.
Hat tip to Anupam Chander (UC-Davis), Law School Innovation. [JH]
New Earmark Disclosure Rules and Statutory Interpretation
Rebecca M. Kysar's (Brooklyn) Listening to Congress: Earmark Rules and Statutory Interpretation, 94 Cornell Law Review 519, [SSRN] reviews the new disclosure regime adopted by the 110th Congress that requires broad disclosure of spending earmarks and tax provisions that benefit special interests. From the abstract:
This Article begins by describing various tactics legislators have used or will likely use to evade the new disclosure regime, as well as deficiencies in the regime's design. The piece then explores the value of enlisting a force external to Congress as a response to the inherent weakness of endogenous, procedural rules. It concludes that although direct judicial review of legislation for compliance with the rules likely raises constitutional difficulties, judicial involvement through statutory interpretation offers a potential solution. Specifically, when interpreting ambiguous legislation that falls within the ambit of the disclosure rules, judges should assume the rules have functioned correctly; in other words, if no special interest beneficiary has been disclosed, judges should assume that none was intended and interpret the ambiguous provisions accordingly. The proposal thus strengthens congressional adherence to the rules by imposing costs upon defecting lawmakers, as well as the special interests they support. It does so, however, without offending the constitutional mandate that lawmakers have purview over such rules. Hence it offers a counterpoint to the entrenched view that Congress cannot truly precommit itself through procedural rules. Furthermore, because this method of statutory interpretation is guided by Congress's own remedy to the problem of special interests, it differs in an important respect from prior scholarly proposals for narrow interpretation of special interest legislation, making it more resilient to the critique that the interpretive mode exceeds the judicial function.
Hat tip to David Hricik (Mercer) on Statutory Construction Blog. [JH]
Dealing with the Economy’s Impact on Law Libraries
AALL's Hillary Baker reports on how different types of law libraries are grappling with the consequences of the current economy in Battling the Economic Bully: How Tough Times Are Affecting Law Libraries and How You Can Fight Back in the June issue of AALL Spectrum. [JH]
June 2, 2009
Wikipedia Bans Church of Scientology for Self-Serving Contributions
From Section 8 of Scientology Controversies in Wikipedia:
In an effort to adhere to Wikipedia policy, Wikipedia's Arbitration Committee decided in late-May 2009 to restrict access to the site from Church of Scientology IP addresses, to prevent self-serving edits by editors within CoS-administraded networks. A "host of anti-Scientologist editors" were topic-banned as well. Wikipedia policy clearly states that articles should not be edited or created with any intent of gain or profit for any person or organization, and that articles must have a neutral point of view. The committee concluded that both sides had "gamed policy" and resorted to "battlefield tactics", with articles on living persons being the "worst casualties".
How Bad is the Job Market for New Lawyers?
Mayer Brown is telling some associates that they will be working in-house for clients at a salary of $60,000, down from $160,000. There is no guarantee of continued employment after one year of this arrangement. The alternative is no job at all. Details are in this post on the Chicago Tribune web site. [MG]
Supreme Court Action from Yesterday
Is the Google Books Settlement Better Than Orphan Works Legislation?
On LibraryLaw Blog, Peter Hirtle says "yes." The in-copyright but out-of-print books whose authors are "inactive rights holders" have been wrongly characterized as "orphan works." This group actually consists of two separate groups. There are true orphan works whose copyright owners cannot be idetified or located. However, there are also rights holders who could be easily located but who have chosen not to sign up with Google or the Books Rights Registry. "Even with orphan works legislation," Hirtle writes, "these works would not be eligible for inclusion in a digitized books database since they are not true orphans." [JH]
Guide to Criminal Justice Reform Resources
Ken Strutin, Director of Legal Information Services at the New York State Defenders Association and author of The Insider's Guide: Criminal Justice Resources on the Internet and ALI-ABA's Practice Checklist Manual on Representing Criminal Defendants has published Criminal Justice Reform Resources 2008-2009 on LLRX.com. The Guide focuses on select current reports, surveys, legislative proposals and scholarship in the areas of criminal justice, discovery, forensics, juvenile justice, prosecutorial misconduct, public defense, sentencing and wrongful conviction. [JH]
New Edition of Licensing Digital Content: A Practical Guide for Librarians Published
ALA has published the second edition of Licensing Digital Content: A Practical Guide for Librarians by Lesley Ellen Harris. Covering licensing issues for librarians in the US, Canada and around the world, the second edition of this popular one-stop resource covers the basics of digital licensing in a plain-language approach that demystifies the process. See also the book's blog. [JH]
June 1, 2009
Google Book Store Competition for Kindle, and the EU Takes a Look at the Deal
There are a number of stories running in the press concerning the Google book deal with publishers. One theme concerns the potential competition Google poses to Amazon and the Kindle. As of now, Amazon sets a $9.99 price for most titles available on the Kindle, and keeps 70% of the proceeds. Publishers grumble at this as most electronic books are sold at a loss. Publishers do not want Kindle to be the effective market for electronic books under those terms as Apple has done with music.
Enter the Google electronic book store, coming this fall, which is not tied to a particular reader. The publishers and authors are the ones who select the price, though Google can make adjustments to it if the supplier gets too greedy. Sony completed an agreement with Google to make its 1.5 million public domain books available on its reader. Other deals could be in the offing with Samsung, Fujitsu, and others who also make book readers. Could this be competition for Amazon? Commentators seem to think so, at least in a general sense. How this type of competition will affect any antitrust investigation by the Department of Justice is uncertain. Broadly speaking, who else can challenge Google and Amazon when Microsoft dropped out of book scanning a few years back? And is it viable to limit Google while Amazon grows the market?
Speaking of investigations, the European Union is taking a look at the U.S. settlement as well. Google will display snippets of books in copyright under the deal, and authors and publishers will have to opt out. That provision may violate EU law in one form or another. The most draconian solution is not to sell or make books available to European users. Since money is involved for so many people that probably won't come to be. Market regulators need to tread carefully here. [MG]
AALL's Slate of Candidates for Executive Board Announced
The 2009 AALL Nominations Committee has decided on the following slate of candidates.
Darcy Kirk, Associate Dean for Library and Technology and Professor of Law, University of Connecticut School of Law Library, Hartford, Connecticut
Merle J. Slyhoff, Collection Development and Document Delivery Services Librarian, Biddle Law Library, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Diana C. Jaque, Head of Collection Development and Acquisitions, University of Southern California Barnett Information Technology Center and Call Law Library, Los Angeles, California
Susan Lewis-Somers, Associate Director for Public Services, Pence Law Library, American University, Washington College of Law, Washington, D.C.
Executive Board Member
Lucy Curci-Gonzalez, Director of Library Services, Kenyon & Kenyon LLP, New York, New York
Coral Henning, Director, Sacramento County Public Law Library, Sacramento, California
Robert H. Hu, Director and Assistant Professor of Law, St. Mary’s University School of Law Sarita Kenedy East Law Library, San Antonio, Texas
Ron Wheeler, Associate Director for Public Services, Georgia State University College of Law Library, Atlanta, Georgia
You can meet the candidates during an informal session at the 2009 Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday, July 28, from 1:15-2:15 p.m. in the Exhibit Hall at the AALL Member Services Booth. The election will be held November 2 - December 1, 2009, and successful candidates will begin their terms of office in July 2010. [JH]
MS Bing Goes "Live" Early, Available Now
The Bing search engine is now live to the world, two days early, though still with a preview tag below the logo. Many news reports still have the "will Bing matter in the long run" as a search tool theme. So far, Bing's functionality is getting good reviews. I was surprised to find this one nugget in Ina Fried's storyon CNET: most searches at Microsoft come from toolbars or other referrers. Only 1 to 2% of searches come from people actually going to a Microsoft search page. That is the ultimate problem for Microsoft and Bing, making the site a destination that keeps bringing people back. [MG]
GM Bankruptcy Information Updated
Debtor in Principal Case: General Motors Corporation
Case No.: 09-50026-reg
Venue: Bankr. S.D.N.Y., http://www.nysb.uscourts.gov/
Judge: Bankruptcy Judge Robert E. Gerber
Calendar: In future, but not yet, calendar will be available at http://www.nysb.uscourts.gov/calendars/reg.pdf .
Debtor’s Counsel: Stephen Karotkin, Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP
PACER: https://ecf.nysb-mega.uscourts.gov/ (Docket & Documents)
Update: Most documents and docket information are available free of charge from the claims agent's website.
Press Conferences Today. “General Motors President and CEO, Fritz Henderson, will host a press conference on Monday, June 1[, 2009,] beginning immediately following President Obama’s media briefing. According to a White House media advisory, President Obama will begin his remarks at approximately 11:55 a.m. ET. Mr. Henderson will address the media separately from New York following the President, beginning at approximately 12:15 p.m. ET.
“The press conference will also be webcast at http://media.gm.com. A replay of the webcast will also be made available for 30 days."
Will Google Wave Redefine Web Communications?
Google has announced Google Wave, an open source real-time communications and collaboration platform that will launch later this year. It combines features of email, instant messaging, wikis, web chat, social networking, and project management in one in-browser communication client. Mashable's Ben Parr writes "[Google Wave] is already being hailed by some as the next evolution of email. Yes, Google Wave is potentially that disruptive."
In Google Wave: A Complete Guide, Parr has compiled key information, definitions, and links related to the launch of Google Wave. This in-depth guide provides an overview of Google Wave, discusses the terminology associated with it, details information on Google Wave applications, and provides resources for staying current on Google Wave developments. Highly recommended.
Will Google Wave redefine web communications? Watch the video demo from the Google I/O conference. [JH]
Google Wave Demo
Is It Time to Retire Listservs?
Not yet, according to Greg Lambert, library and records manager for King & Spalding LLP in Houston and blogger at one of my newest favorite blogs, 3 Geeks and a Law Blog. See Lambert's Where Do Listservs Fit in a Social Media World? AALL Spectrum, June 2009. The networking tool of the 1990s is inefficient but remain easy to use, convenient and useful. "As long as we have e-mail, we’ll have listservs" writes Lambert. "That said, their heyday has come and gone. Social media tools and Web 2.0 resources are becoming the communication tools of choice and will eventually push listservs to the background." Lambert proceeds with a discussion of his two favorite social networking alternatives to listservs: Twitter and Nings. Of the two, Nings gets my thumbs up. [JH]
U.S. Government YouTube Channel
The official YouTube channel of the U.S. Government aggregates other channels from across the government and features select video content. The channel is broken down into playlists by topic such as Reference and General Government, Money and Taxes, Public Safety and Law, Benefits and Grants, Defense and International, Health and Nutrition, and Science and Technology. Hat tip to LC Blog. [JH]
May 31, 2009
40 (Only 40?) Rules for Living and Managing the Google Way
Here's the over-the-top product description for What Would Google Do? by Jeff Jarvis (Collins Business, 2009):
In a book that's one part prophecy, one part thought experiment, one part manifesto, and one part survival manual, internet impresario and blogging pioneer Jeff Jarvis reverse-engineers Google—the fastest-growing company in history—to discover forty clear and straightforward rules to manage and live by. At the same time, he illuminates the new worldview of the internet generation: how it challenges and destroys, but also opens up vast new opportunities. His findings are counterintuitive, imaginative, practical, and above all visionary, giving readers a glimpse of how everyone and everything—from corporations to governments, nations to individuals—must evolve in the Google era.