February 27, 2010
Great Moment in Ethics: Former Governor Rod Blagojevich to Speak at Northwestern“There isn’t a better person out there to discuss [ethics and politics] than former Governor Rod Blagojevich,” say Dan Rockoff, vice president of Northwestern's College Democrats, the group that is sponsoring Tuesday's event. No word on Blagojevich's appearance fee. [Source] [JH]
Round-up of Practitioner Blogs
California Lemon Law Lawyer Blog
Provides opinion on lemon law news, reports and matters in California. Published by Anderson, Ogilvie & Brewer, LLP.
Pennsylvania Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer Blog
Discusses nursing home abuse laws, reports and cases in Pennsylvania. Published by Michael J. O'Connor & Associates, LLC,
Oregon Personal Injury Lawyer Blog
Examines injury law cases, matters and opinions in Oregon. Published by Jeff Merrick, PC.
Chicago Wrongful Death Lawyer Blog
Provides insight on wrongful death reports, cases and news in Illinois. Published by the Law Offices Of Peter M. LaSorsa, PC.
Chicago Divorce Attorney Blog
Reports on divorce law opinions, cases and legislation in Illinois. Published by Kulerski and Cornelison.
Boston Injury Attorney Blog
Reviews injury law cases, news and reports in Massachusetts. Published by the Bellotti Law Group, PC.
February 26, 2010
Google Execs Convicted of Privacy Violations in Italy Over Video Upload
Earlier this week three Google executives were convicted in an Italian court for violating the privacy of a child with Down Syndrome when a video was uploaded in 2006 to Google Video showing him abused and beaten by other teenagers. The executives got 6 months with the sentences suspended. This result happened despite the fact that none of the executives had anything to do with the video in question. In a related prosecution the teens who uploaded the video got community service and no jail time. The Italian police investigated the case for two months before notifying Google of the video, who then took it down within two hours of the notification. That wasn't good enough for the Italian courts. Liability was tied to a responsibility on Google's part to pre-screen videos for content. Given the amount of video loaded to Google and other sites, it gets pretty iffy to make that analysis without hiring a lot more people to view and approve uploads.
The United States has safe harbor laws that prevent this type of prosecution. The implication is clear for Google and other web sites that host user generated content. The conditions to operate in what amounts to a world-wide business model won't exist in Italy. Pre-screening mass uploads of any type in impractical. Some commentators suggest Google should stop allowing uploads from Italian citizens to servers hosted in that country, though allowing the same accounts and uploads to servers in other countries. I'm not sure such a technical approach would solve the problem of what to do about this decision. As of now, the strategy is to appeal the decision, whether through the Italian system or through the European Union. Google is expressing confidence that the verdict will be overturned.
One other implication that comes out of this case goes well beyond privacy laws. If Google, or anyone else, can pre-screen for offensive or illegal content (as defined by this decision), they can screen for other things, such as copyright violations. Vivendi has its suit pending against Google for exactly this in federal court in New York. That is probably scarier for Google than this one conviction. Expect a lot of popular Internet sites to leave Italy if this decision stands.
While we're on the subject, here is a YouTube video showing Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi being attacked and injured by a protester in Milan on December 12, 2009. I wonder if Mr. Burlesconi will sue? [MG]
Filling in Huge Gaping Information Holes? WestlawNext Webinars Schedule
Because most law librarians don't waste their valuable time reading TR Legal's marketing blog, Legal Current, as a LLB PSA, TR Legal is offering four live 30-minute webinar "training sessions to present information about WestlawNext."
Top 4 Things You Need to Know about WestlawNext
- Friday, Feb. 26 – 2 p.m. CST
- Tuesday, March 2 – 10 a.m. CST
- Wednesday, March 3 – Noon CST
-Thursday, March 4 – 2 p.m. CST
WestSearch: The New Technology behind WestlawNext
- Tuesday, March 2 – Noon CST
Learn How to Analyze and Organize Efficiently with WestlawNext
- Wednesday, March 3 – 10 a.m. CST
- Thursday, March 4 – Noon CST
Transitioning from Westlaw to WestlawNext
- Thursday, March 4 at 10 a.m. Central
A couple of the webinars were offered earlier, but I, too, rarely click on my RSS feed subcription for Legal Current so, I just caught the announcement. My bad. No guarantee that anything enlightening or useful will be presented but when huge gaping information holes exist ... well, you can always leave the webinar.
Links to the above webinars (registration required) available from this Legal Current post. [JH]
Friday Fun: Three Cheers for Curling!
What do you mean no one cares, Mr. Letterman! I've become a big fan. I even record Olympic curling match broadcasts for later viewing. Of course, I'm 57 years old, have had rotator cuff surgery and knee surgery and am approaching a point where painkillers are calling for a knee replacement. Hey John, I miss your leftovers, and by the way, dear readers, the "good stuff" works better with a Guinness or two, regardless of what the warnings on the bottle say. But I digress .... just watching ski jumping and figure staking "hurts." So, three cheers for curling!
Here's Letterman's Top Ten Surprising Facts About Curling
And the "Mysteries of Curling Explained" for this very under-appreciated athletic endeavor. By the way, younger (male) readers. Curling ain't just for old farts anymore. My long suffering wife was "perturbed" by my repeated playbacks when the 19-year captain of the women's English team threw her rocks. "Great technique!" [JH]
The Birthing of 21st Century Legal Authority
Mike Whiteman's The Death of Twentieth-Century Authority [SSRN] is one of many articles published in the last few years that ten years from now will be looked upon as capturing the issues presented during a time of substantial change in how legal information is published and used. In a way, this is similar to articles published in the mid-1980s when online legal search no longer was viewed as novel and long-term consequences of using WEXIS were under critical analysis by legal information professionals. (I'm not referring to the published knee-jerk reaction from the 1980s luddite crowd.) Whiteman's article covers no new ground but does an good job of summarizing familiar issues presented elsewhere in piecemeal fashion. As such, it's an excellent article for an assigned reading in legal research courses.
The death of 20th century legal authority is really the story of the birthing of 21st century legal authority: the availability and use of online primary and secondary materials that are not published either online or in print by traditional commercial legal publishers like West and LexisNexis. And, of course, the problems associated: link rot, questionable information value in web resources viewed as reference works and cited as secondary authority, and the authenticity of primary legal sources.
While the issue of authenticated legal information appears to be of essential importance, are these really concerns for judges and attorneys? For most attorneys, free seems to be the guiding force, so accuracy and authenticity fall behind the desire for free legal information. There are few-to-no instances where a lawyer has been faulted for relying on the online version of a primary source, so no one will probably care as to the accuracy and authenticity of the source. “[P]erhaps the first lawyer to get sanctioned in court for using an electronic slip opinion that doesn’t actually reflect the court’s ‘real’ opinion will stop and ponder this question. Until that time, I seriously doubt most lawyers even care. Just as long as it doesn’t cost them anything.” (Quoting Jason Wilson, Screw Authenticity. I Just Want it for Free. (www.jasnwilsn.com/?p=344 July 10, 2009).
That first lawyer will not be sanctioned unless someone else calls attention to the "official" text. Who is really checking that anyone? Whose libraries actually contain the official texts in print anymore? In the 1980s we most certainly did check for differences between online output and printed official texts regularly, and occasionally found discrepancies. Today, I wonder if anyone besides SCOTUS clerks and law review cite checkers are. About the only thing one reads about is the occasional bench slapping when a citator other than Shepard's was used to confirm "good law" that wasn't. Sorry West, CaseMaker, etc., you just don't offer the citation service that still rules the day.
Ten years from now, if not sooner, the current issues surrounding primary source authenticity will be resolved and law librarians will look back at articles like this one, just as they look back at articles from the mid-1980s, as milestones reflecting concerns during the midst of revolutionary change in legal publishing.
The online world has leveled the field so that all players start, by and large, with the same access to the same materials. While it is true that this has the effect of watering down the possible strength of the authority being relied on, at least all sides will be relying on the same authority. ... Some good has come out of the death of the old legal authority and the birth of the new. While legal authority changes, caution is needed before rushing head long in to the new era, but there is optimism that this new era will be one that provides an increased openness in the way society accesses the legal authority which is so important to the smooth functioning of the judicial system.
While a serious concern, the watering down of authority is a temporary phenomenon, a hallmark of transitioning to a new era. Courts are settling issues presented in the use of web resources like Wikipedia, etc. and once authentication of online primary resources is institutionalized, the dust will settle.
Contemporary (Sloppy) Research Methods That Legal Research Instruction Will Not Fix. What's more disconcerting because there is no evidence of improvements even being on the horizon is the change in research methods. Whiteman writes
There is a whole body of literature that has tracked the idea of how research habits have changed with this shift to online information sources, and how computers have created a generation of researchers who are better at searching for facts than they are at finding legal concepts. There have been studies that have looked at how attorneys have moved away from the venerable West Digest system, how lawyers and judges have relied more and more on non-legal sources, and how this shift to online sources has led to a new way of looking at and analyzing the law.
Studies have found that if different legal researchers are presented with the same legal problem and only perform online research, they are not likely to even agree on what the legal issues are. Why? Because online editorial content is not informing their research decisions.
First and foremost, the display of secondary sources in itty-bitty content slices by most legal publishers has created a generation of legal researchers suffering from an online myopia, one that does not "see" the conceptual interconnectedness provided by the writers and editors of secondary sources and tools. Flattening of this structure by some next gen online services in an effort to be "more like Google" is only making matters worse. This is not a problem that legal research instruction in online use is capable of solving because research instruction is dependent on the resources available.
The Reshaping of American Legal Tradition by WEXIS. This is a problem created by the current delivery of online secondary content by WEXIS; one with significant implications for the rule of law in this country. Yes, the rule of law, not just how it is practiced. We might as well consider replacing our common law tradition with a civil code system.
It is not far-fetched to say that our very expensive legal search service vendors are reshaping American legal traditions to suit their own objectives. It wouldn't be the first time. That's exactly what John B. West did in the late 19th century. One might say that jurisprudence is held captive by the current duopolist structure in the legal publishing market. Not sure there is an antitrust argument here, but this is the legal environment we are living in.
Self-Destructive Behavior by Very Expensive Legal Search Service Vendors. Essentially, WEXIS has been and is destroying the value created in their own secondary titles by how they are currently being delivered online. This may have significant consequences that future legal historians will discuss because, if not usable, secondary sources won't be used. Nor may most continue to be part of WEXIS online licensing agreements unless given away. We will see other vendors, including new ones, who know better than to distroy the value-added in their secondary source offerings take advantage of this situation.
Hopefully ten years from now, this, too, will be looked upon by tomorrow's law librarians as a transitional issue that has been resolved. [JH]
Do the ABA Accreditation "Student Learning Outcome" Measures Befuddle the Legal Academy?
According to Karen Sloan in her NLJ article entitled Holding schools accountable, "[t]he proposed [learning outcome accreditation] standards would help solidify a philosophical shift that is taking place throughout legal education that emphasizes the responsibility of law schools to teach students to be lawyers, not just to think like them." Think like who? Practicing lawyers or law profs? Theses plenty of literature pointing to the "think like law profs" answer. It might be confirmed by Sloan's article. She writes
Perhaps the thorniest question the ABA and law school administrators now face is how to identify the skills law students should have upon graduation and to decide how specific the new standards should be in requiring the achievement and measurement of those skills.
They Don't Know What Skills? Don't look to the typical law prof for an answer to the What Skills? question. It's probably beyond their comprehension. Might be time to hand over the administration of the legal academy to legal skills profs, clinicians and adjuncts. Weren't those the sort of folks who replaced the apprenticeship model with more rigorous instruction in how to enter the profession in the first place?
Time to Return to the Litchfield Model? It might be time to return to the days when Litchfield Law School was considered the "top ranked" law school in the country and Harvard Law School was an also ran on the brink of closing, only saved from utter extinction by HLS hiring Joseph Story. While being fairly creative in his Commentaries, Justice Story still knew what it took to practice law. Returning to a professinal education model is do-able if one hellva lot of tenured law profs are sent to the breadlines to stand alone-side unemployed law school grads.
There are law school deans who say privately but not publicly that it's time to "re-think the whole tenure thing" in the legal academy. Good luck with that. The biggest obstacle to re-inventing law schools as a place where students learn to practice a profession is the legal academy's own workforce.
Bottom Line: Student learning outcome measures, more lip service than anything else. For more, see The "Long Walk" to Learning Outcomes Standard: Discussion Draft of ABA's Assessment of Learning Outcomes Standard Fundamentally Flawed in External Assessment Metrics. [JH]
Michigan Law Review's Call for Book ReviewsThe Book Review Office of the Michigan Law Review is soliciting book reviews for the Law Review's 2011 Survey of Books related to the Law. Submission guidelines here. [JH]
February 25, 2010
Findings of the FCC's Broadband Adoption and Use Survey Identify Barriers and Attitudes of Non-Adopters
The FCC conducted a survey of 5,005 Americans in October and November 2009 to understand the state of broadband adoption and use, as well as barriers facing those who do not have broadband at home. The main findings reported in Broadband Adoption and Use in America are:
- 78 percent of adults are Internet users, whether that means broadband, dial-up, access from home or access from someplace other than home.
- 74 percent of adults have access at home.
- 67 percent of U.S. households contain a broadband user who accesses the service at home.
- 65 percent of adults are broadband adopters. The discrepancy of two percentage points between household and individual home use is because some survey respondents are nonbroadband users but live with someone who, at home, is.
- 6 percent of Americans use dial-up Internet connections as their main form of home access.
- 6 percent are Internet users but do not use it from home; they access the Internet from places such as work, the library or community centers.
Barriers to Broadband Adoption. The survey identifies three main barriers to adoption:
Affordability: 36 percent of non-adopters, or 28 million adults, said they do not have home broadband because the monthly fee is too expensive (15 percent), they cannot afford a computer, the installation fee is too high (10 percent), or they do not want to enter into a long-term service contract (9 percent). According to survey respondents, their average monthly broadband bill is $41.
Digital Literacy: 22 percent of non-adopters, or 17 million adults, indicated that they do not have home broadband because they lack the digital skills (12 percent) or they are concerned about potential hazards of online life, such as exposure to inappropriate content or security of personal information (10 percent).
Relevance: 19 percent of non-adopters, or 15 million adults, said they do not have broadband because they say that the Internet is a waste of time, there is no online content of interest to them or, for dial-up users, they are content with their current service.
The survey also found that non-adopters usually have more than one barrier that keeps them from having broadband service at home. Over half of non-adopters, when selecting from a menu of possible barriers to adoption, chose three or more.
Attitudes of Non-adopters. The interaction of attitudes and use of communications goods and services creates four categories of non-adopters:
Near Converts, who make up 30 percent of non-adopters, have the strongest tendencies toward getting broadband. They have high rates of computer ownership, positive attitudes about the Internet. Many are dial-up or “not-at-home” users, and affordability is the leading reason for nonadoption among this group. They are relatively youthful compared with other non-adopters, with a median age of 45.
Digital Hopefuls, who make up 22 percent of non-adopters, like the idea of being online but lack the resources for access. Few have a computer and, among those who use one, few feel comfortable with the technology. Some 44 percent cite affordability as a barrier to adoption and they are also more likely than average to say digital literacy are a barrier. This group is heavily Hispanic and has a high share of African-Americans.
Digitally Uncomfortable, who make up 20 percent of non-adopters, are the mirror image of the Digital Hopefuls; they have the resources for access but not a bright outlook on what it means to be online. Nearly all of the Digitally Uncomfortable have computers, but they lack the skills to use them and have tepid attitudes toward the Internet. This group reports all three barriers: affordability, digital literacy, and relevance.
Digitally Distant, who make up 28 percent of non-adopters, do not see the point of being online. Few in this group see the Internet as a tool for learning and most see it as a dangerous place for children. This is an older group (the median age is 63), nearly half are retired and half say that either relevance or digital literacy are barriers to adoption.
Grimmelmann on the GBS2 Fairness Hearing
Following up on Mark Giangrande's GBS2 fairness hearings post that cites to LJ's coverage (which notes, "keep watch on The Laboratorium, the blog of settlement observer and New York Law School professor James Grimmelmann, for upcoming commentary,"),you can check out James Grimmelmann's commentary and analysis on The Laboratorium here and here. Highly recommended.
As posted in Beyond GBS2 to a New Rule of Copyright Law, Grimmelmann's thinking has gone from “approve the settlement.” to explaining “how to fix GBS," to concluding that the way the settlement uses a class action to attempt to resolve the issues is "not salvageable."
You can also read the transcript of the GBS2 fairness hearing to form your own opinion. [JH]
GPO and Cornell LII Launch Pilot Project to Evaulate Conversion of CFR to XML Format
Excerpts from the press release:
The U.S. Government Printing Office (GPO) and Cornell University Law School are beginning a year long pilot project to evaluate a conversion process of The Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) in XML (extensible markup language) format. ... The Cornell Legal Information Institute will convert various titles into XML and place them on the university's Web site for students to research. GPO and Cornell will apply lessons learned from this pilot project and share the information with members of the Federal Depository Library Program (FDLP) to find ways of providing the public openness to government documents.
Thomas R. Bruce, Director of Cornell's Legal Information Institute, added, "The LII will provide the technical expertise needed to create a high-value version of the CFR, with features that significantly extend its utility beyond current offerings."
Opening: Reference Librarian, New Hampshire Court System Law Library
This is a regular, full-time position working in the New Hampshire Court System, subject to the sufficient and continued funding of the Judicial Branch by the Legislature.
The Reference Librarian works closely with the Law Librarian in the development, promulgation and implementation of reference services goals, objectives, policies, plans and procedures. This will include providing leadership and direction in the development of short and long range goals for reference services; gathering, interpreting and preparing data for studies, reports and recommendations; identifying and recommending methods to improve management and operation of the law library involving enhanced work processes, increased law library responsiveness, more efficient and effective use of library resources and delivery of quality service. Subject to general supervision and policy determinations of the Law Librarian, duties of this position are carried out with latitude, judgment and discretion. Employees in this position may be required to travel during the regular course of business, and are subject to transfer or reassignment at the discretion of the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.
Examples of Work Performed. (Any one position may not include all of the duties listed, nor do the examples cover all the duties that may be performed.)
- Provides general and in-depth reference service including the use of print, microfiche, CD-ROM, Westlaw and Internet sources.
- Provides basic legal research instruction and contributes to the design and implementation of training programs, bibliographies, research guides, brochures and instructional materials for both print and Internet distribution.
- Participates in collection management, collection development, and acquisitions.
- Collects, maintains, prepares, and reports statistics relating to reference services, library use and collection development.
- Assists with the coordination of interlibrary loan transactions and document delivery services.
- Participates in the management of the United States and New Hampshire depository document collections and services.
- Assists with the maintenance of the library’s Web pages.
- Assists with basic ongoing library tasks, such as updating materials, serials check-in and copy cataloging.
- Assists with the research and development of potential funding sources and preparation of grant proposals.
- Performs other functions and related work as assigned.
Desirable Education and Experience. Bachelor’s degree in Library Science or a closely related field; and six years of progressively responsible reference librarian experience; or Master’s degree in Library Science or a closely related field; and four years of progressively responsible reference librarian experience; or any equivalent combination of education and experience which provides the following knowledge, abilities, and skills:
- Knowledge of State of New Hampshire statutes, rules, administrative orders, policies an procedures, applicable Federal rules and requirements.
- Knowledge of library and law library functions services and programs.
- Knowledge of the principles of intergovernmental relations.
- Knowledge of court processes and legal terminology.
- Skill in working independently and in a team environment.
- Skill in systemically analyzing a variety of issues, trends and related issues/problems and making sound recommendations for solutions.
- Skill in organizing and coordinating efforts to accomplish program goals and objectives.
- Skill in effectively analyzing, interpreting, understanding, explaining and utilizing complex information from a variety of legal areas.
- Skill in working with a diverse group of individuals including judges, staff, litigants, attorneys and the public.
- Ability to operate a computer utilizing a variety of software applications.
- Ability to prioritize and complete tasks and projects in a timely fashion.
- Ability to express self orally and in writing.
Additional information about the position and instructions on how to apply here.
February 24, 2010
Google Hit With (Another) Antitrust Investigation
"Are Google search results purely algorithmic, or does the “do no evil”
empire occasionally inject editorial oversight in the name of stifling
competition? According to three European companies — one of which is owned by
Mashable is reporting that the European Commission is investigating Google on behalf of three companies, Foundem, ejustice.fr and Ciao (owned by Microsoft), who allege that their placement in Google search result rankings are "demoted" in order to boost Google's ad revenue. Read more about it here. [BA]
Library Journal Covers the Google Book Settlement Hearing
One of the better roundups of what went on at the Google Book Settlement hearing is available at Library Journal. The article, The Day After the Google Hearing: Rounding Up Coverage and Statements, presents a well organized summary of what happened, who appeared, and who said what via the report and links to other LJ content as related material. There were really no surprises, including the fact that Judge Denny Chin announced that there was not to be a ruling at the end of the hearing because of the volume and complexity of the material.
The issues covered included the positioning of Google as a giant bookstore without competition; the positioning of opt-in/opt-out for orphan works; that only Congress could change the copyright law te way the settlement contemplates; the traditional right to reader privacy; the issue of foreign authors and works in the digital library; the interests of academic authors; and the liberation of information from brick and mortar locations. The speakers included representatives from various public advocacy groups; major corporations with an interest in competitive hardware and software; librarians; the Department of Justice; and foreign governments. It did not seem that Judge Chin had a preconceived notion of how the case should turn out, at least from the details of exchanges with various counsel. Aside from the article noted and the links it contains, additional coverage is here. [MG]
Three Cheers for the Lugnuts at Thomas M. Cooley Law School
"The school that’s ranked 12th by Thomas M. Cooley Law School and is considered fourth tier by everyone else" reports ATL's Elie Mystal has bought the naming rights to Oldsmobile Park, home of the Lansing Lugnuts, a Class A affiliate of the Toronto Blue Jays. Mystal adds
I’m not joking. Cooley is taking the tuition dollars of its students and buying naming rights. Naming rights. I guess replacing all the desks and lecterns with steaming piles of dung was just a little bit too expensive for the bigwigs at Cooley. Buying naming rights gets the same message across to students.
GM paid $1.5 million per year for the naming rights before being forced to break the contract during last year’s bankruptcy. Reports don’t indicate how much Cooley paid but it's on the hook for at least 10 years. Class A pro baseball, that's like fourth tier, right? [JH]
New Authoring Tool Allows Profs to Rework eTextbooks in an Interactive Teaching Environment
I imagine most profs are not completely satisfied with the casebooks, hornbooks and other secondary sources they use in their classes (unless, of course, they are using a new edition of their own work). Now they can do something about that in many disciplines but not law because Macmillian, not West or Lexis, is offering authoring software and an interactive textbook environment, DynamicBooks, that allows profs to edit and customize eTextbooks. The new service allows profs to alter or delete sentences, paragraphs, equations and illustrations. They are able to reorganize or delete entire chapters, upload course syllabuses, their own notes, videos and graphics. Screenshots of the editing and reading interfaces here.
“Basically they will go online, log on to the authoring tool, have the content right there and make whatever changes they want,” said Brian Napack, president of Macmillan. “And we don’t even look at it.” Quoting from Motoko Rich's New York Times article Textbooks That Professors Can Rewrite Digitally. See generally, the Business Wire report, New Macmillan Subsidiary, DynamicBooks, Redefines Interactive Textbooks for Higher Education.
DynamicBooks is based on the VitalSource Bookshelf platform and is coupled with on demand printing and fulfillment through Ingram Content Group. The platform is available to all authors and publishers without license fees. Prices for DynamicBooks are expected to be 40 percent to 50 percent lower than print textbooks. Macmillian is currently offering about 20 titles and expects to be selling 100 DynamicBook edition titles in August.
Students will be able to buy the eTextbooks at dynamicbooks.com, in college bookstores and through CourseSmart, a joint venture among five textbook publishers that sells electronic textbooks. With the DynamicBook editions, students will be able to highlight, take notes, search and have online conversations with fellow students and profs from within the interactive textbooks. While available online, a downloadable version is also offered for use on laptops, iPhones, and most likely on iPads in the near future. Can't tell whether downloaded DynamicBook editions can be copied and shared or our DRM-locked. In view of Macmillian's motivation for offering this service, I'm thinking the downloads are locked down by DRM.
Rich explains Macmillian's motivation for moving in this direction:
Fritz Foy, senior vice president for digital content at Macmillan, said the company expected e-book sales to replace the sales of used books. Part of the reason publishers charge high prices for traditional textbooks is that students usually resell them in the used market for several years before a new edition is released. DynamicBooks, Mr. Foy said, will be “semester and classroom specific,” and the lower price, he said, should attract students who might otherwise look for used or even pirated editions.
Eight Questions to Ask When Evaluating eBook Products and Services
EFF has published "Digital Books and Your Rights" [web page, 18-page PDF], a "checklist [that] represents the key questions that readers should ask of each new digital book product or service to evaluate whether it adequately protects their interests." Observing that "[t]he over-arching question [is] are digital books as good or better than physical books at protecting you and your rights as a reader?," the checklist outlines and discussing the issues surrounding the following categories of questions readers should consider when evaluating eBook products and services:
- Does it (your e-book reader/service/tool, etc.) protect your privacy?
- Does it tell you what it is doing?
- What happens to additions you make to books you buy, like annotations, highlights, commentary?
- Do you own the book or just rent or license it?
- Is it censorship-resistant?
- Is it burdened with digital rights management ("DRM")?
- Does it promote access to knowledge?
- Does it foster or inhibit competition and innovation?
Opening: Deputy Law Library Director, Loyola Law Library, New Orleans
The Loyola University New Orleans College of Law Library invites qualified individuals to apply for the position of Deputy Law Library Director. The library collection consists of 371,000 print volumes and volume equivalents to support the curriculum and research needs of faculty and students. For more detailed information about the College of Law and the Law Library, see: http://law.loyno.edu/about-college-law and http://law.loyno.edu/library
Job Description: The Deputy Law Library Director performs general administrative duties involving all aspects of library operation. The Deputy reports to the Director and acts for the Director in his absence. He or she also assists in long and short-term planning strategies, with the goal of providing better library services that align with the law school curriculum and research needs. There may be added duties and responsibilities, which would be developed in consultation with the Director. The position is a tenure-track law library faculty position.
- Coordinates the day-to-day operation of the library.
- Monitors the library collection, including budget management and collection maintenance.
- Evaluates new acquisitions formats and provides input on balance of print and online resources.
- Assesses emerging technologies and advises on their implementation with a focus on the expansion of library services.
- Develops, along with the Director, plans for renovation of physical facilities and directly supervises ongoing projects.
- Defines and establishes an area of particular professional interest to pursue further, dependent on candidate’s interests and qualifications.
- Represents the Loyola Law Library, as an active participant, within the Loyola community, to professional organizations, and to other groups.
Qualifications: Master of Library Science degree from an ALA accredited program or equivalent. A J.D. or other graduate degree in a related field is desirable, but not required. A minimum of seven years of progressively responsible managerial experience including budget management and supervision of staff, preferably in an academic or large institutional law library.
The successful candidate should be able to:
- Display a commitment to the mission of an academic law library, which, as an integral part of the school, provides a variety of services to enhance the curriculum and research goals for a diverse community.
- Demonstrate experience working with an integrated library system, show knowledge of practices and trends of academic law libraries in areas of collection development and legal research, and have an understanding of the variety of formats in which information can be accessed.
- Promote teamwork and collaboration in working with professional librarians, with the goal of fostering an efficient, positive service role for the library.
- Encourage participation and a sense of purpose by actively involving support staff in all plans and procedures.
- Demonstrate superior communication and interpersonal skills in all areas of responsibility.
Salary and Benefits: Salary is commensurate with qualifications and experience. A description of benefits is available on the Loyola University website: http://www.loyno.edu/human.resources/
Loyola University New Orleans is an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer. See Human Resources Policies: http://www.loyno.edu/human.resources/policiesandprocedures/
Interested applicants should send or email a cover letter and resume along with three references, which include names and contact information, to Nona Beisenherz, Chair, Rank and Tenure Committee, Loyola University New Orleans College of Law Library, 7214 St. Charles Ave., New Orleans, LA 70118.
February 23, 2010
Some ACTA Text Leaks
The ACTA Treaty's enforcement provision has leaked to the web. ACTA is the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement negotiated in secret. The Obama administration continues to lock down the text for national security reasons, continuing that status from the Bush administration. Every time text was shown to an individual they were limited in their ability to speak by a strict non-disclosure agreement. There was speculation that the approach to handling digital copyright infringement would be something like the approach Congress took when crafting the DMCA. ISPs would get immunity via safe harbors for infringing materials on their network if they had no knowledge. Takedown notices and counter-takedown notices to the ISP would be the method to get directly to alleged infringers and handle the offending materials. Oh, and there's DRM for everybody in that it would be illegal to circumvent file limits. Devices that would do these things would be illegal. No ripping your CD to your player, World, if your disc is protected. And certainly no DVD copies to your portable digital video player.
According to the summary in Ars Technica (which has links to the actual document), ISPs would not have to filter for offending content, something like a three strikes policy is encouraged for signatories, and the notices/harbor policy would be required. This would affect the law of a lot of different countries more than it would the United States, which is probably why the agreement is still secret. As the article notes, for the United States, the agreement is negotiated as an Executive Agreement rather than a treaty. No need to get the Senate involved here. They might impose conditions that would muck up the whole thing. I think the same reaction awaits in foreign jurisdictions when the representative branch of governments discover a version of American law is going to be imposed on them.
The proposed law may not sit too well with some content providers. The Vivendi lawsuit against Google that Google never did enough to get unlicensed copyrighted material off of YouTube attacks the takedown process as too cumbersome. Vivendi wants to court to find that Google should have taken affirmative or proactive steps to enforce Vivendi's copyrights. Imagine a European judge operating under ACTA saying that the takedown notice provision is fine. The case in the United States may be dragging on but no one has blinked yet. THere was also the case in Germany where a court ordered Rapidshare (a very popular file sharing host based in Europe) to filter its links for copyrighted material. ACTA might have provided for a less severe result. For all of its secrecy, ACTA has a long way to go before it's imposed enacted. Now we need to see the rest of it. [MG]
Reminder: Using & Searching HeinOnline's United Nations Law Collection Webinar Tomorrow
HeinOnline is conducting a webinar tomorrow at 10:00 AM and & 2:00 PM EST on its United Nations Law Collection. To register, follow the links in the Company's blog post.
The webinar will cover
- Overview of the Publications
- How to quickly pull up a treaty by citation
- Search for a treaty by treaty/registration number, country, short title, subject, popular name, signing date
- How to interpret/read your search results
- What the Treaty Summary is and how to view it
- How Hein's ScholarCheck is integrated
- Where to find the current status of a UN treaty
- Search all other UN publications
- View International Agreements by popular name
- Scholarly Writings of Faculty Members
If you cannot attend, an archived recording will be available from the Webinars page on the HeinOnline Wiki. [JH]