August 15, 2009
Brave New World in Citations: Eliminate Full Stops
On Slaw, Gary Rodrigues campaigns for the elimation of full stops for citing English and Commonwealth law reports to rectify consequences of including them, "thousands upon thousands of unnecessary key strokes in setting type and endless hours of citation checking to ensure that the periods were all in their proper places. What a waste!" [JH]
August 14, 2009
Fair Use Survives RealDVD Case Even if the Software Does Not
Real Networks lost big earlier this week when Judge Marilyn Patel issued a temporary injunction preventing Real from distributing the RealDVD software. If sold, it would have allowed consumers to back up their video library to a home server which would allow more flexible viewing on computers and other connected devices. The MPAA had a cow over that possibility and sued last August. Real was encouraged by a California state case that allowed another software maker to accomplish mostly the same thing. That case has been overturned as well. The DMCA prohibits the sale or distribution of software or other devices that can crack copy protection schemes, so one would assume this case would be pretty cut and dried. Real tried to get around the the issue by getting a license for the CSS scrambling system used to protect DVDs. The company also designed its software to add more DRM so the video files could not be further manipulated by the consumer. Nice try on that one.
The problem is that the software didn't make any distinctions as to whether the consumer actually owned the DVD in question. Borrow a copy from friends, rent it from Red Box for only a dollar, the software didn't care. It's one thing to back up your DVD collection. It's another thing to back up the one at Blockbuster. The Court recognized that consumers may have some rights in backing up their own DVDs, but note that the DMCA prohibits in the trafficking of software ot other artifices to that purpose.
From the opinion:
The Studios contend that fair use is never a defense to DMCA liability. This is the truth, but not the whole truth. Fair use is not a defense to trafficking in products used to circumvent effective technological measures that prevent unauthorized access to, or unauthorized copying of, a copyrighted work under sections 1201(a) or (b), respectively.
* * * *
The court finds the DVD CCA’s argument that its business model relies on CSS licensing and any purported “fair use” copies of CSS-protected DVD content would destroy the veritable raison d’etre of the DVD CCA unpersuasive. The purpose of copyright law, and the fair use that copyright law embodies as an exception to protection, is not to protect the business model of any particular company. The court will not hold that consumers do not have the “fair use” right to make copies of CSS-protected DVD content simply because the DVD CCA would be harmed by such use of its licensed works.
What is ironic is that the web is rife with small software packages that give the consumers the ability to break CSS protection and rip DVDs. Most of them are free. This includes software capable of defeating the variations on protection by producers such as deliberately including bad sectors on a DVD for the express purpose of defeating rippers. It sounds circular, but the rippers seem to be one step ahead. The peer to peer networks are acute examples that protected content is hardly protected at all, and that includes the beefed up ACS protection system for Blu-Ray discs. It is refreshing that in light of these facts that the Court would still recognize that fair use exists, even in this electronic age of locked-down content. The content holders would have you believe that the mere fact of blocking uses, even fair use, eliminates it. They must be disappointed that the courts have not validated that concept.
Judge Patel's 58 page order is on Scribd. [MG]
Friday Fun: The Colbert Report's "Award Eligible" Nailed 'Em Series Features Library Criminal Activity
Hat tip to LISnews. [JH]
|The Colbert Report||Mon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c|
|Nailed 'Em - Library Crime|
Google Book Settlement Information for Faculty from ARL
ARL has created a web page with some general information about the Google Book Settlement with links to a one-page handout and a template letter for providing faculty members with information about the settlement. [JH]
Is There an E-Discovery Bubble?
On 3 Geeks and a Law Blog, Greg Lambert says yes, and the bubble is going to burst. "I'm not saying that E-Discovery is going away," writes Lambert in I'm Calling It!! - There's an 'E-Discovery Bubble', "what I'm saying is that there is going to come a 'correction in the market' over the next few years that will burst the bubble in the cost of collecting and analyzing ESI (electronically stored information)."
Lambert is absolutely correct about the need for a market correction. Searching for smoking guns in electronically stored data has been a boom for purveyors of e-discovery products and services more than it has for clients picking up the tab for e-discovery costs. As Lambert writes, "you cannot expect clients to continue to pay exponentially for the cost of processing, indexing and reviewing ESI if that cost is greater than the reward." [JH]
Getting a Head-Start on Law School from LexisNexis
Many law schools now require a brief Intro to Law course for incoming 1Ls. Helpful perhaps. Law profs have their own idiosyncratic views on this head-start approach to law school though younger law profs teaching the course may be more tuned-in to today's 1Ls than more senior profs. LexisNexis is offering its own take on this rite of passage. See Get a Head-Start on Law School which offers the following resources:
How to Read a Law School Casebook
How to Brief a Case for Class
Introduction to the American Legal System
Law School Related Links
Start Law School with a Free Study Aid from LexisNexis
Hat tip to Cocky Law Blawg. [JH]
August 13, 2009
JSTOR to Get Current, MUSE to Get Deeper
JSTOR intends to add current issues to its content. An article in Inside Higher Ed describes efforts to bring its publications up to date rather than having the blackout wall of one or more years in its collection of 800 plus journals. The move will start in 2011 with publications from the University of California Press. The article also notes efforts by Project Muse to add archival runs to its publications. More on it here. Hat tip to Virginia Thomas at Wayne State for alerting us at LLB. [MG]
Microsoft Ordered to Halt Word Shipments in 60 Days
Internet Freedom Preservation Act of 2009 Introduced in the House
Representatives Edward Markey (D-MA) and Anna Eshoo (D-CA), introduced H.R. 3458, the Internet Freedom Preservation Act of 2009, [Thomas, OpenCongress] on July 31 to protect network neutrality under the Communications Act, safeguard the future of the open Internet and protect Internet users from discrimination online.
The bill's Internet Freedom Policy policy statement:
It is the policy of the United States--
(1) to protect the right of consumers to access lawful content, run lawful applications, and use lawful services of their choice on the Internet;
(2) to preserve and promote the open and interconnected nature of broadband networks and to enable consumers to connect to such networks their choice of lawful devices, as long as such devices do not harm the network;
(3) to promote consumer choice and competition among providers of lawful content, applications, and services;
(4) to ensure that consumers receive meaningful information regarding their communications services;
(5) to ensure the ability to use or offer lawful broadband content, applications, and services for lawful purposes, as has been the policy and history of the Internet and the basis of user expectations since its inception;
(6) to guard against discriminatory favoritism for, or degradation of, lawful content, applications, or services by network operators based upon their source, ownership, or destination on the Internet;
(7) to preserve the freedom of independent Internet content, application, and service providers to compete and innovate;
(8) to foster an evolving level of capacity available throughout communications networks to support competition and innovation for lawful Internet content, applications, and services, including applications and services that require substantial downstream and upstream bandwidth; and
(9) to ensure that the Internet remains an indispensable platform for innovation in the United States economy, thereby enabling the Nation to provide global leadership in online commerce and technological progress.
Duties of Internet Access Service Providers under the bill:
With respect to any Internet access service offered to the public, each Internet access service provider shall have the duty to--
(1) not block, interfere with, discriminate against, impair, or degrade the ability of any person to use an Internet access service to access, use, send, post, receive, or offer any lawful content, application, or service through the Internet;
(2) not impose a charge on any Internet content, service, or application provider to enable any lawful Internet content, application, or service to be offered, provided, or used through the provider's service, beyond the end user charges associated with providing the service to such provider;
(3) not prevent or obstruct a user from attaching any lawful device to or utilizing any such device in conjunction with such service, provided such device does not harm the provider's network;
(4) offer Internet access service to any person upon reasonable request therefor;
(5) not provide or sell to any content, application, or service provider, including any affiliate provider or joint venture, any offering that prioritizes traffic over that of other such providers on an Internet access service; and
(6) not install or utilize network features, functions, or capabilities that impede or hinder compliance with this section.
About H.R. 3458, Ben Scott, policy director of Free Press writes:
An army of lobbyists has been unleashed by the phone and cable companies to kill Net Neutrality so they can become the Internet’s gatekeepers. But the momentum is shifting in the public’s favor. President Obama has repeatedly called for Net Neutrality; we have a new pro-Net Neutrality chairman now heading the Federal Communications Commission; and popular support is growing every day."
All Americans deserve access to a free and open Internet, and millions have already called on our lawmakers to take action. This legislation gives the grassroots confidence that their voices are being heard.
For an analysis of H.R. 3458, see Mehan Jayasuriya's Close Reading: The Internet Freedom Preservation Act of 2009 post on Public Knowledge Blog. You can show your support for the H.R. 3458 on Open Congress. [JH]
Lippe Responds to "Snarky" Law Prof Comments to His Law School 4.0 Article
Paul Lippe's reports that he received 50-plus responses to his June 22 article, Welcome to the Future: Time for Law School 4.0. Most, he writes "were quite favorable, including from law school deans and faculty; a few were snarky and dismissive. The snarky comments all came from law professors, boiling down to 'Who are you?' 'Nothing new,' 'Not enough footnotes to be a law review article,' and, most terrifyingly, 'Go away, we have a committee that will be meeting on this in the fall.'"
Lippe adds, "I was tempted to ... urge the snarky professors to 'get a life.' Instead, let me try to be a good Web 2.0 citizen and use the criticism to become analytically sharper and hopefully more constructive," which is he does in Welcome to the Future: Law School 4.0, Part Two on the AmLaw Daily. [JH]
Guide to Information Resources for New Legal Practice Technologies
In his LLRX article, Law Practice Technology Information Sources and Tools, Ken Strutin provides a short list of information resources covering new technologies that apply to legal research and law practice. He also identifies several specific tools that may contribute to managing research, communication and information-based tasks. [JH]
August 12, 2009
HeinOnline Responds to User Feedback by Implementing New Search Tool Feature
Thanks to a company that takes listening to librarians and others seriously, HeinOnline has added a new search tool that allows users to search for words or phrases in the section, or the page they are currently viewing. The new search option is available throughout HeinOnline. Details with a short how-to video on HeinOnline Weblog.
BTW, ALR instructors, don't forget to check out HeinOnline's Web 2.0 Community page for the latest educational resources. [JH]
New Tool for Law School Admissions Staff: iPhone App Provides Law School Rankings
Law School 100is an iPhone app that ranks 100 law schools in the United States and provides capsule profiles of each school. It's produced by LawTV Inc., the publisher of The Law School 100. "Even for aspiring law students, the app won't blow their budget. The cost is just 99 cents," writes Robert Ambrogi in Picking a Law School? There's an App for That. Also a useful tool, I guess, for admissions staff trying to convince college students to apply to their law school. [JH]
Failed Banks List
Using FDIC data, ProPublica has created a chart of failed banks, the federal agency that provided oversight to each one, and the major public enforcement that occurred against the bank prior to its collapse. It’s sortable by state, date, and regulatory agency. [JH]
August 11, 2009
How the web 2.0 is impacting homelife
This article from Sunday's New York Times may strike a responsive cord with many of you - it certainly did with me - in terms of how much of our daily rituals have been forever altered by social networking technology.
'It used to be you woke up, went to the bathroom, maybe brushed your teeth and picked up the newspaper,' said Naomi S. Baron, a professor of linguistics at American University, who has written about technology’s push into everyday life. 'But what we do first now has changed dramatically. I’ll be the first to admit: the first thing I do is check my e-mail.'
While people used to wait until they got to work to log on, checking email first thing in the morning has now become such a routine part of every American's daily ritual that those who track such things have noticed a nationwide spike in web traffic around 6 to 7 a.m. And the lure of checking email first thing in the morning wreaks havoc with an already too busy schedule. But at least I now know that I'm not the only one who's gone from almost always being on time for all my appointments to someone who is almost always late for everything.
You can read the rest of the NYT's story here.
The 50 best law firms for working mothers
Working Mother magazine has just published the winners for 2009 based on the following criteria: The firm's "workforce profile," family friendly policies, leadership, compensation and their advancement and retention of women, among other factors. Any firm with more than 50 lawyers may apply and the magazine will begin accepting applications for 2010 in November. Click here to learn about how to enter your firm and click here to see the results for this year.
Hat tip to Above the Law.
Are universities wasting their time communicating to students via Twitter?
That's one interpretation of a new Nielsen survey finding that people under the age of 25, generally speaking, don't Tweet. Instead, the Twitter hype is being driven by an older demographic. One explanation is that teens and young adults care most about connecting with their friends, not shouting into the ether, and thus Facebook is their social media tool of choice. The implication for universities, according to this story in the Chronicle of Higher Ed, is that they may have been too quick to embrace Twitter as a marketing tool for students on the erroneous assumption that it's the best way to reach them.
'Twitter is definitely about having a broadcast medium to the general population,' [said Tanya M. Joosten, a lecturer in the University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee's department of communication]. 'I don’t think that’s Facebook. And I don't think people under the age of 25 have any interest in broadcasting beyond their friends. But I think once you get older, beyond 25, I think people’s social circles become limited, and they reach out to things like Twitter to stay connected to the world and meet new people with similar interests.'
She added, “A lot of campuses are reaching out to communication technologies that are Web 2.0 just to sort of jump on that bandwagon, without too much data about how effective the medium is."
So are all those marketing and admissions tweets for naught?
'We’re attracting older students these days that are looking for a place to connect,'Ms. Joosten said. 'So if campuses are trying to connect with, let’s say, the 25-and-older crowd, then yes, Twitter is a very good marketing tool.'
A Few Thoughts on the e-Book Market
Harvard Law School Library Re-engineered
Under John Palfrey's leadership, the Harvard Law School Library has been reorganized and has implemented Google's human resources policy for engineers that allows
engineers library staffers to spend 20 percent of their time to pursue professional interests outside their core work responsibilities. "This organizational feature was adopted in response to overwhelming staff interest in cross-divisional training and communication," writes Palfrey. Looking forward to a lot of
Cross-training is important and have been a fairly common practice in law libraries since at least the early 1990s when "cross-training" reached buzz word status in library management literature. It has its origins in late 1970s-1980s collective bargaining negotiations in the auto and basic steel industries. Management sought to broaden job classifications and weaken work rules to improve rank-and-file productivity in an effort to reduce unit labor costs in the face of stiff competition from Japanese auto makers and South Korean steel mills.
"Communication"? Well, this 80/20 policy is a wee bit naive and, unfortunately, demonstrates a certain lack of administration experience in law library management. The 80/20 policy probably won't work well over the long haul unless HLS also increases law library staffing by 20 percent, assuming that the HLS Library isn't over-staffed right now.
The below diagram, click to enlarge, illustrates the reorganized HLS Library. It looks like something an LIS prof or management consultant would use in a PowerPoint presentation on library administration. Yes, the HLS Library hired a consultant to help out with all this. Details on Et. Seq. [JH]
Two Videos from the AALS Section on Legal Writing, Reasoning and Research
The Media Committee of the AALS Section on Legal Writing, Reasoning and Research has released two videos demonstrating the importance of legal research and writing instruction in legal education. You can view then on Legal Writing Prof Blog:
Hat tip to Legal Writing Prof Blog's Coleen M. Barger, UALR Bowen School of Law. [JH]