October 17, 2009
Where Do You Think Social Media is Heading?
Before answering the question, it can't hurt to read some materials on the history of social media starting with Social Network Sites: Definition, History, and Scholarship, Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, 13(1), article 11, by Danah Boyd (Berkeley) and Nicole Ellison (Michigan State) along with the follow recent blog posts:
- The History and Evolution of Social Media Categories: History, Internet, Social Media
- A Brief History Of Social Media
- The history of social media in a blink
See also Wikipedia's Social Media Entry. [JH]
Dead Bunnies Keep Swedes WarmUtterly off topic but ... Every year, the City of Stockholm kills off thousands of rabbits in an effort to protect trees and shrubbery in Stockholm’s extensive network of parks and green space. What do they do with the remains? The bunny bodies are being used to fuel a heating plant in central Sweden. Yikes, details here. [JH]
Round-Up of State Practitioner Blogs
Sacramento Birth Injury Lawyer Blog
Analyzes birth injury news, matters and opinions in California. Published by Moseley Collins.
Mortgage Foreclosure Law Blog
Reviews mortgage and foreclosure law news, reports and legislation in Colorado. Published by S.J. Mobley & Associates, LLC.
Provides insight on consumer law news, reports and legislation in Virginia. Published by Michie, Hamlett, Lowry, Rasmussen & Tweel, PLLC
San Diego Business Lawyer Blog
Discusses business law news, cases and opinions in California. Published by the Law Office of Donald R. Oder.
Reviews immigration law legislation, reports and opinions nationally and internationally. Published by Cornerstone Law Group.
North Carolina Workers' Compensation Lawyers Blog
Discusses workers compensation news, opinions and legislation in North Carolina. Published by the Law Offices of Michael A. DeMayo, LLP.
October 16, 2009
FTC Blogger Rules Unconstitutional?So says Interactive Advertising Bureau President and CEO Randall Rothenberg. The text of his (lengthy) statement is here. An article with some analysis on the issues raised is in Ars Technica. [MG]
Happy Anniversary Bibliotheca AlexandrinaSeven years ago today the Second Great Library in Alexandria, Egypt, opened. This Wired piece suggests that the facility is impressive but the collection is not. There is space for 8 million books but the shelves are mostly empty. Digitization will probably contribute to keeping it that way. The moral of the story is to save some money for collection development. I wonder if they have a cell phone policy. [MG]
The 50 Most Powerful People in D.C
According to GQ which somehow neglected to include the current occupant of the White House but did include a former Vice President in its list of the Top 10 DC power brokers:
- Rahm Emanuel, White House Chief of Staff ("He knows procedure, he's ruthlessly pragmatic about what is politically achievable, and he knows how and when to twist arms and call in the many favors he's owed.")
- Robert Gates, Secretary of Defense
- Ben Bernanke, Chairman, Federal Reserve
- Max Baucus, Chairman, Senate Finance Committee
- Peter Orszag, Director, Office of Management and Budget
- David Axelrod, Senior Adviser to the President
- Timothy Geithner and Larry Summers, Secretary of the Treasury and Director, White House National Economic Council
- Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the House
- Dick Cheney, Forty-sixth Vice President of the United States ("The party is in search of a leader, and something tells us the Dark Lord will be casting his shadow for some time to come.")
- John Roberts, Chief Justice, Supreme Court ("Under Roberts, the Supreme Court has become more conservative than at any point in the past three decades.")
And at 45th, Tom Goldstein of Akin Gump and SCOTUSblog. Complete GQ Top 50 ranking here. [JH]
Friday Fun: Library Limbo
I love the 1920's style animation. Kudos to the student who created it for a film course. [JH]
The Earth Internet is Flat
"The Internet is a lot flatter today, more densely connected," said Danny McPherson, VP and CSO of Arbor Networks due to consolidation as fewer networks handle more online traffic according to the findings of Arbor Networks' Internet Observatory Report. Quoting from Thomas Claburn's Information Week story, Google Now Largest Source Of Internet Traffic. The Report is believed to be the largest study of global Internet traffic since the start of the commercial Internet in the mid-1990s. The report offers analysis of two years worth of detailed traffic statistics from 110 large and geographically diverse cable operators, international transit backbones, regional networks and content providers.
Key Findings from the press release for the Internet Observatory Report:
Evolution of the Internet Core: Over the last five years, Internet traffic has migrated away from the traditional Internet core of 10 to 12 Tier-1 international transit providers. Today, the majority of Internet traffic by volume flows directly between large content providers, datacenter / CDNs and consumer networks. Consequently, most Tier-1 networks have evolved their business models away from IP wholesale transit to focus on broader cloud / enterprise services, content hosting and VPNs.
Rise of the ‘Hyper Giants’: Five years ago, Internet traffic was proportionally distributed across tens of thousands of enterprise managed web sites and servers around the world. Today, most content has increasingly migrated to a small number of very large hosting, cloud and content providers. Out of the 40,000 routed end sites in the Internet, 30 large companies – “hyper giants” like Limelight, Facebook, Google, Microsoft and YouTube – now generate and consume a disproportionate 30% of all Internet traffic.
Applications Migrate to the Web: Historically, Internet applications communicated across a panoply of application specific protocols and communication stacks. Today, the majority of Internet application traffic has migrated to an increasingly small number of web and video protocols, including video over web and Adobe Flash. Other mechanisms for video and application distribution like P2P (peer-to-peer) have declined dramatically in the last two years.
A New Internet Ecosystem: Over the last five years, macroeconomic forces have radically transformed the global Internet commercial ecosystem. Economic changes, including the collapse of wholesale IP transit and the dramatic growth in advertisement-supported service, reversed decade-old business dynamics between transit providers, consumer networks and content providers. A wave of innovation is ongoing, with service providers now offering everything from triple play services to managed security services, VPNs and increasingly, CDNs. This change in the Internet business ecosystem has significant ongoing implications for backbone engineering, design of Internet scale applications and research.
So if this is the present, what lies ahead? In a recent speech about the Internet's uncertain future, Lee Rainie, Director, Pew Internet & American Life Project, said "the first area of critical uncertainty involves the kind of internet we have -- from the standpoint of the internet’s architecture and its adoption." See LLB's post, What We Don’t Know About the Internet's Future. [JH]
AALL Indexing of Periodical Literature Committee Launches Website
Among the features of the Committee's site are links to the Committee’s Guidelines, titles that are indexed by Gale/Cengage’s Legaltrac database, titles indexed by the Index to Foreign Legal Periodicals, Ulrich’s International Periodical Directory database and titles recently approved by the Committee.
Approximately 100 titles were approved by the committee for indexing in Legaltrac in 2008-2009. See list here. The 2009-2010 committee has already approved four titles for indexing: California International Law Journal (formerly California International Practitioner); Houston Journal of Health Law and Policy, Journal of Legal Analysis, and St. Louis Journal of Health Law and Policy.
You can use the new online submission form available on the website to submit periodical titles to be considered by the Committee for indexing in Legaltrac. [JH]
California Western Students Blogging About Their Law School Experience in School-Sponsored Program
Four 1L students plus three 2Ls and one 3L student are blogging about their law school experience at California Western this year. Check out the launch page for each student's blog. From the press release:
California Western recruited these students to share candid narratives of their law school experiences. Student bloggers are given the freedom to write on topics of their choice. In the past, student bloggers have shared why they chose to attend California Western, stories about professors and classes, out-of-class adventures, and first-hand tips for law school success.
Hat tip to Elmer Master by way of Robert Richards on Legal Informatics Blog. See also Jim Levy's LLB post, Some schools of higher learning use uncensored student blogs as recruitment tool. [JH]
Opening: Law Library Director, Chapman University School of LawChapman University seeks applications for the position of Law Library Director (Fall 2010). The position will be an administrative and faculty appointment, consistent with the governing rules of the American Bar Association. The Rinker Law Library currently contains over 300,000 volumes, including books, microforms, audio visual materials, and serials. The collection has grown rapidly to support the needs of a private, ABA-accredited law school and its expanding curriculum, and includes all basic research materials, all primary materials for the United States and territories, and a large treatise collection. The modern, three-story facility features seating for about 300 users with access to the Internet and to many electronic research databases.
The Director is responsible for the operation of the Rinker Law Library and will have a law faculty appointment. Responsibilities include long-range planning, budget preparation and control, collection development, personnel management, legal research instruction, technology development, and facility maintenance. J.D. and M.L.S./M.L.I.S. degrees required from a regionally accredited institution, as well as substantial law library experience, including administrative experience and active engagement in scholarship. Salary and benefits competitive and commensurate with experience.
Contact: Please send letters of interest to Professor Celestine McConville, Chair, Law Library Director Search Committee, Chapman University School of Law, One University Drive, Orange, CA 92866.
Chapman University is an Equal Opportunity Employer committed to providing career opportunities to all people without regard to race, color, religion, gender, age, national origin, sexual orientation, disability, or veteran status. All new employees of Chapman University are required to undergo a background check.
October 15, 2009
Downloadable e-books change the face of brick & mortar libraries
Here's an interesting column from the New York Times describing how e-books, that can be downloaded from the comfort of one's home, bring the traditional public library into the 21st century even though old stereotypes remain:
Eager to attract digitally savvy patrons and capitalize on the growing popularity of electronic readers, public libraries across the country are expanding collections of books that reside on servers rather than shelves.
The idea is to capture borrowers who might not otherwise use the library, as well as to give existing customers the opportunity to try new formats.
“People still think of libraries as old dusty books on shelves, and it’s a perception we’re always trying to fight,” said Michael Colford, director of information technology at the Boston Public Library. “If we don’t provide this material for them, they are just going to stop using the library altogether.”
Publishers, on the other hand, are worried that the convenience of free, downloadable e-books may make their products (both print and electronic) obsolete. Thus, some, including Simon & Shuster, are refusing to make e-books available to some libraries:
Publishers, inevitably, are nervous about allowing too much of their intellectual property to be offered free. Brian Murray, the chief executive of HarperCollins Publishers Worldwide, said Ms. Smith’s proposal was “not a sustainable model for publishers or authors.”
Interestingly, the convenience of e-books has not yet threatened the viability of traditional brick and mortar libraries the way music downloads killed off the neighborhood record shop. In part, it's because many patrons don't yet know that e-books exist. In addition, many public libraries are seeing more traffic than usual these days due to the recession which brings in lots of patrons seeking resources to aid in their job searches.
You can read the rest of the NYT's article here.
Ringtones Are Not Public Performances
Customized ringtones are a popular way for people to express their individuality and/or tastes, assuming millions of phones playing Jay-Z's Run This Town is an expression of individuality. Phone companies encourage customers to download ringtones. Record companies have discovered another revenue source that didn't exist fifteen years ago. Even the artists make money from the sale of ringtones. However, these are all one time sales. ASCAP, one of the two major U.S. performance rights organizations, believes that somebody owes someone money every time one of those thirty second song snippets announces a phone call. To it, that's a public performance no different than a radio station playing that same song. So ASCAP sued the phone carriers. ASCAP nobly makes it clear that individual cell customers are not the target. Instituting suit against every cell phone user with a custom ringtone is a dead bang money loser. Just ask the RIAA about the cost effectiveness of that strategy.
The case was pending until yesterday when a federal judge decided that ringtones do not constitute a public performance under the copyright laws. Common sense and law coincided in this case. The court was pretty clear. Cell phone users are not liable for royalty payments and the carriers are not secondarily liable. Section 110(4) of the Copyright Act exempts "[any] performance of a nondramatic literary or musical work otherwise than in a transmission to the public, without any purpose of direct or indirect commercial advantage and without payment of any fee or other compensation for the performance to any of its performers, promoters, or organizers, if  there is no direct or indirect admission charge. . . (quoted from the opinion at 12). Given that cell phones announce phone calls and are not sources of commercial public entertainment, the exemption in 110(4) covers the circumstances.
Part of the Court's analysis turned on whether there was a commercial purpose in the playing of the ringtone. The only example was one raised by ASCAP where there was a performance that used ringtones as part of the 2006 Chicago Sinfonietta "Concerto for Orchestra and Cell Phones." Even then the Verizon customers who "played" their cell phones did not have a commercial purpose for their performance. Rather, it was the Chicago Sinfonietta who received fees and charged admission for the performance. Verizon was kind enough to point out that ASCAP licensed the orchestra at the time of the performance (opinion at page 25, footnote 16).
With no direct infringement, there is no contributory infringement on the part of Verizon and the other carriers. The rest of the opinion analyzed the variations of what constituted a transmission, such as whether the transmission of the ringtone from the carrier to the customer comprised another public performance that would force the carrier to pay another fee. The court patiently went through every line of argument and rejected them all. Expect an appeal, though it's hard to imagine an appellate court disagreeing with the reasoning in this opinion. The case is In Re Application of Cellco Partnership D/B/A Verizon Wireless Related to United States of America v. American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers (text of the opinion courtesy of the EFF). [MG]
Google's Book Store
I'm not really all that surprised. In fact, I was expecting it.
According to a New York Times article, Google will launch Google Editions, an electronic book store to rival the Amazon/Kindle duo. Unlike Amazon and Kindle, Google Editions will permit you to download e-books to any device that has a web browser. Google Editions seems to be an alternative distribution agent that will enable publishers to sell digital versions of their newest books direct to consumers through Google - although, I still don't seem to understand why the publishers cannot do this themselves. Early reports indicate that they will not be introducing a new reader, just a forum for purchasing e-books.
According to the NY Times article, "the e-book retail program would be separate from the company’s settlement with authors and publishers over its book-scanning project, under which Google has scanned more than seven million volumes from several university libraries."
I find this hard to fathom. It may be unclear how the two projects will impact each other, but how separate can they be? The L.A. Times writes that this is the first effort by Google to start earning revenue off the book scanning project. That seems like a more honest assessment. The Google book settlement cleared the way for Google to sell access to the scanned volumes. Incidentally, revisions to the Google book settlement are due in court on November 9th, 2009. Google Editions is scheduled to launch sometime in the first half of 2010.
News reports indicate that the Google e-book store will house somewhere between 400,000 to 600,000 titles which is larger than the 300,000 titles available for Kindle users. Unlike Amazon, users can purchase titles from multiple publishers and use Google as a distribution center that lets them access the books. Google plans on hosting the e-books and making them searchable using their fabled search engine that is working so well with the books they have already scanned. According to multiple blog reports, you can access the e-books even when not connected to the internet by viewing a cached copy on your device. Cached copy? I am not seeing the word download associated with Google Editions. That's weird. I'm not sure I like that, though I'm not sure why ... yet. (VS)
2009 Ranking of Top 40 Law Schools by Student (Numerical) QualityBrian Leiter's 2009 ranking of the top 40 schools in terms of student quality is now available on Leiter's Law School Rankings. The ranking metric used is the average of the 75th and 25th percentile LSAT scores for the class that entered in fall 2008. Prior student quality rankings can be viewed here. [JH]
Sign of the Times: U.S. House of Representatives Takes Its Last Mainframe OfflineThe last U.S. House of Representatives mainframe, an IBM model in place since 1997, enjoyed 'quasi-celebrity status' according to Network World's report. It more or less diligently kept the House's inventory control records and financial management data but all good things must come to an end. The mainframe's plug was pulled. Good thing it was. The House was spending $30,000 a year to power the mainframe and another $700,000 each year for maintenance and support. [JH]
ALI-ABA and ACLEA's Critical Issues Summit Starts Today, Webcasts Available
ALI-ABA and ACLEA are conducting a summit on critical issues facing continuing legal education providers, law schools, and the legal profession in equipping today's legal practitioners Oct. 15 through 17. Called Equipping Our Lawyers: Law School Education, Continuing Legal Education, and Legal Practice in the 21st Century, the summit will focus on issues in six key areas related to lawyer training and development: law school, bar admissions, continuing legal education, minimum requirements for CLE, in-house professional development, and differing generational learning styles. Among the issues to be discussed in this framework
- How is legal practice changing and what do those changes mean for lawyers' professional education?
- How is the role of law schools changing?
- What models are emerging in CLE and in-house professional development?
- What's next for technology and its application to legal practice and professional education?
- What's next for technology and its application to legal practice and professional education?
- What new approaches can be taken to admission to the profession?
- How well does today's MCLE system set standards and meet needs?
- What implications do generational differences have for law practice and lawyer professional development?
On Comparing ECJ to SCOTUSThe European Court of Justice has seen a dramatic rise in volume of cases and has expanded its authority in a number of ways over the years. One interesting method has been to establish legal standards without applying those standards to the case at hand. "A comparison is inevitably made with the U.S. Supreme Court where an initially weak political body grew into an enormously powerful interpreter of the law," writes Nick Wilson. While some of the ECJ's most aggressive rulings in limiting the sovereignty of member states have gone hand in hand with the court's role in driving the integration of the European Union, "there are also key differences between the two high courts, based on the greater power held in the U.S. Constitution and the less competitive relationship between the courts of the European nations and the EU's high court," writes Wilson. See his EU High Court Amassing Strength & Reach for details. [JH]
Baby Steps Toward Adoption of NCBE's Uniform Bar Exam
No state has formally adopted all components of NCBE's Uniform Bar Exam but at least 10 states are expected to switch to the Uniform Bar Exam, and 22 other jurisdictions are positioned to adopt the test in the next few years reports Leigh Jones in Uniform Bar Exam Drawing Closer to Reality. 48 states and the District of Columbia already use the Multistate Bar Exam component (list of jurisdications). The other two components are the Multistate Essay Exam (jurisdications using the MEE in 2010) and the Multistate Performance Test (jurisdications using the MPT in 2010). The Multistate Professional Responsibility Examination is required for admission to state bars of all but four U.S. jurisdictions (list of jurisdications).
Adoption of the NCBE's Uniform Bar Exam would allow law school graduates to transport their bar scores across state lines without re-taking exams if state bars score the components uniformly and establish score portability. See also Uniform Bar Exam Inches Closer to Reality. Hat tip to Mitchell Rubinstein, Adjunct Law Prof Blog (see Rubinstein's comments).
Douglas Berman (OSU) offers his opinion about the Uniform Bar Exam in a recent Law School Innovation blog post, Will a uniform bar exam influence law school education for the better or for the worse?:
I have no doubt that the adoption of a uniform (and portable) new bar exam can and will have a profound impact on legal education, at the very least in those states that adopt the exam and probably in all states near states that adopt the exam.
Because the nUBE will definitely impact law schools -- especially those schools that have a significant student populations (1) eager to practice in nUBE-friendly jurisdictions and/or (2) that tend to worry a lot about bar passage -- the title of this post question whether that impact will be a good or bad development. Because I think the status quo of bar exams tends to impact law school education for the worse, I am eager to believe that the nUBE might have a positive impact on legal education. But I may be naively optimistic on this front...
Opening: Minnesota State Law Librarian
The Minnesota Supreme Court is seeking an innovative, highly responsible, and technologically competent Law Librarian to direct the Minnesota State Law Library (MSLL) programs, services, and professional and administrative staff. The State Law Library serves state, county and local government, the legal profession, the general public and collaborates with other national, state, county, and local libraries. Subject to the general administrative review of the Minnesota Supreme Court, this position is given wide latitude in managing library services and programs.
- Defines, establishes and implements overall philosophies, objectives, policies and procedures for MSLL services and programs within in parameters of Judicial Branch policies.
- Plans, organizes and directs all activities related to law library administration including exploration and implementation of strategies and action plans to use technology to provide library services.
- Develops and directs MSLL strategic plan development to assure it is aligned with and furthers judicial branch policies.
- Initiates, develops, coordinates, monitors, evaluates and modifies programs for new or revised services.
- Provides direct and indirect supervision of professional and administrative library staff.
- Oversee the development and presentation of MSLL biennial budget and administers the biennial appropriation to the Law Library in accordance with judicial branch policies and procedures.
- Develops and presents policy recommendations to the Supreme Court.
- Oversees the development of education and outreach programs.
- Represents MSLL to external customers, including other branches of government, professional associations and citizens groups.
- Bachelor's Degree supplemented by a post graduate degree (Master's Degree in Library Science from an ALA accredited school, Master’s in Business Administration, or other related field). Juris doctorate degree highly preferred.
- A minimum of 5 years progressively responsible managerial experience including budget management and supervision of staff. Law library experience, preferred.
- Demonstrated experience working with multiple facets of an integrated library system; knowledge of resource sharing practices and trends; knowledge of library collection development practices and trends; understanding of traditional and emerging processes for acquiring, maintaining, and providing access to print and electronic materials; knowledge of legal bibliography and legal research techniques in all formats, preferred.
- Demonstrated interest in and appreciation for the preservation of legal history, particularly Minnesota
- Ability to work with county libraries.
- Demonstrated experience communicating with a broad variety of stakeholders.
- Demonstrated experience managing a budget.
Salary Range & Benefits: $71,410-$110,706, depending upon qualifications. State of MN benefits package. For benefit information visit www.mmb.state.mn.us.
Application Deadline: 11/09/2009
To Apply: Visit www.mncourts.gov.