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Cyber(law) Monday — it won’t cost you a cent!

You’ve already selected the obligatory new tie for Dad; used the discount code UGLYXMASSWEATER to buy Mom a festive holiday cardigan; and snagged the video game at the top of your sister’s wish list.  Now what should you do with the rest of your Cyber Monday?  Why not consider engaging in a bit of computer law research?

According to the Council on Research Excellence,  Americans spent an average of over 2 hours per day (142.8 minutes) parked in front of their computers as of 2009.  Technological advances and the increased importance of computing and the Internet in American society have created a burgeoning new legal field.  Per Black’s Law Dictionary, cyberlaw deals “…with the Internet, encompassing cases, statutes, regulations, and disputes that affect people and businesses interacting through computers.  [It] addresses issues of online speech and business that arise because of the nature of the medium, including intellectual property rights, free speech, privacy, e-commerce, and safety, as well as questions of jurisdiction.”

There are a number of online legal publications devoted to technology and intellectual property issues.  Among them, the Maurer School of Law’s IP Theory, which is available in our digital repository.  Other major law journal publications covering this topic include the Berkeley Technology Law Journal, Harvard’s Journal of Law & Technology, and Florida’s Journal of Technology Law & Policy.  In HeinOnline, you can search the Law Journal Library for topical articles in additional journals.  While you are there, be sure to search their new Intellectual Property Law Collection too.

Several of the law library’s electronic databases also contain cyberlaw material.  Bloomberg’s Technology and Internet Law practice page has a sizable amount of information, with an emphasis on current developments and news.  Lexis Advance’s Computer & Internet Law database can be selected (and searched) using the “Browse Topics” tab and contains a helpful breakdown of the major subtopics.

Another great place to conduct Internet law research is IUCAT.  Because cyberlaw is a loosely-defined area of law that is closely intertwined with several broad legal concepts, search term selection is particularly critical, whether you are searching the Internet or a library catalog.  Try using “cyberlaw” and its synonyms, such as “Internet law” or “virtual law” or “computer law”.  Additionally, it is a good practice to attempt searches combining the core subject term (i.e., “the Internet”) and any narrower terms applicable to your research interests (i.e., “privacy” or “intellectual property”).  The law library has several recent print publications on computer and technology law.  Books on this subject are classified beginning at KF390.5 and located on the 3rd floor.  Thumb through the volumes of  Law of the Internet (3rd edition), peruse Virtual Law, or scan Internet Law in a Nutshell (on reserve at the circulation desk).

For current awareness resources, look at the ABA Journal’s list of technology law-focused blogs and news sites, Science and Technology Law Blawgs, and any of the numerous institutes on technology and law: Berkeley Center for Law & Technology, Center for Innovation Law & Policy, and Stanford’s Center for Internet & Society, to name a few.  These organizations often host conferences and publish articles on Internet law and related topics.  GL&HF researching cyberlaw!

Lawyers Behaving Badly

With the final Multistate Professional Responsibility Examination (MPRE) of the year looming on the horizon, ethics may be at the forefront of your mind.  While the MPRE tests for knowledge of the Model Codes for Professional Responsibility and Judicial conduct, as well as common law principles related to attorney discipline, there are guaranteed to be a nearly infinite number of ethical quandaries that won’t make it onto the exam.  Fortunately, there are resources available to help law students and practitioners navigate these issues.

First, always start with the rules governing professional responsibility.  It is sound advice to familiarize yourself with the Rules of Professional Conduct in your jurisdiction.  The current version of Indiana’s rules can be found on the judiciary’s website.  In addition, attorney disciplinary opinions are available online at the Indiana Judiciary website, with coverage from 2004 to present.  Periodically, the Indiana State Bar Association (ISBA) publishes ethical advisory opinions.  This ethical guidance can be retrieved through the ISBA’s website.  For coverage of other jurisdictions, Bloomberg BNA and the ABA collaborate to produce the Lawyers Manual on Professional Conduct.  This online resource can be accessed by selecting “BNA Premier” from the Online Resources menu and choosing the “ABA/BNA Lawyers’ Manual on Professional Conduct” from the BNA “All Resources” list.

Next, keep abreast of changes – in both the legal field and society at large.  The advent of the Information Age, and its resulting technological advances, has added another layer of complexity in legal ethics.  Electronic discovery methods, and even simple email correspondence, can imperil the otherwise well-intended attorney.  Res Gestae, the journal of the Indiana Bar Association, includes a column in each issue devoted to ethics called “Ethics Curbstone.”  The law library keeps recent issues of this publication in the reference collection behind the circulation desk, shelved in the final row closest to the computer bank.  Res Gestae is a great current awareness resource for ethical concerns that are emerging or otherwise newsworthy.

Finally, don’t be afraid to reach out to a friend or colleague.  In each state, there is help available to attorneys and judges struggling with mental health and substance issues.  In Indiana, the Judges and Lawyers Assistance Program (JLAP) provides a variety of services to members of the legal community trying to cope with these types of difficulties.

Remain informed by using the myriad resources and advice available concerning legal ethics.  Be diligent and thoughtful in your professional and personal conduct.  Take care of your mental and physical health.  Lastly, remember that when you are an attorney, or even an aspiring one, what happens in Vegas, doesn’t necessarily stay in Vegas.

Copyright Law in the Digital Age

The law library recently added the Hathi Trust Digital Library to our list of electronic resources.  The Hathi Trust is a cooperative digitization effort by many major research institutions, including Indiana University, with a goal of preserving and providing access to library collections in digital format for use now and in the future.  With so many institutions contributing, collections within the Hathi Trust are vast, including such subjects as nineteenth century German texts, eighteenth century cookbooks, and many historic government documents that can be difficult to locate, such as Patent Indexes going back to the 1800s.

With the natural (and sometimes unnatural) deterioration of print materials, being able to digitize these works helps to ensure their preservation and accessibility for the future.  However, for a little over a year the Hathi Trust has been involved in a copyright lawsuit by the Authors Guild for copyright infringement.  The Authors Guild claimed that creating digital copies of copyrighted works infringed the authors’ copyright, because no permission was sought from the copyright holders, and that such wide-scale distribution (as is afforded by digital access) overstepped the allowances provided for in the Copyright Act’s fair use provisions.

On Wednesday, however, the presiding judge in this case ruled in favor of the Hathi Trust, finding that fair use was met, both because the digitization process was sufficiently transformative (the digital versions of the works in the Hathi Trust are full-text searchable in the database) and because this process provides much-needed access for disabled students (who can now read the digitized works through the help of assistive software).

Copyright law originates in the U.S. Constitution, Article 1, Section 8, Clause 8, endowing Congress with the power “[t]o promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries.” The U.S. Copyright Act can be found in Title 17 of the U.S. Code.  For more information on U.S. copyright law, see this booklet from the U.S. Copyright Office.

If you’re interested in further research into copyright law, try searching the subject heading Copyright–United States in IUCAT, or browse the shelves around the KF 2994’s (second floor of the law library).

We Have A Winner!

Last week I posted a blog entry offering a Starbucks gift card to the first student who could correctly answer several research questions using my new Foreign Law Basics research guide. And we have a winner! Charles Shaw, an associate on the Indiana Journal of Global Legal Studies,took the challenge and proved to himself how easy it is to do research when you use the correct sources. Congratulations, Charles!

If you haven’t noticed our new Research Guides web site, you should take a look. We already have eight new guides available, and many more are on the way. In fact, if you would like to see a research guide on a particular subject, please don’t hesitate to let us know!

Library Adds Electronic Backfiles of Important Cambridge Journals

The Library recently added to its electronic coverage of 13 important Cambridge University Press journals, now providing access back to volume one for each of them. The Library had switched to electronic access to these journals some time ago, and this new purchase adds complete backfiles that in most cases the Library did not have in print. A few of these journals are partially available electronically in Lexis and WestLaw, and indexed in LegalTrac and the Index to Legal Periodicals. A few more are indexed in Academic Search Premier, a comprehensive index of more than 4500 journals in many disciplines. However, all of the titles are comprehensively indexed in Cambridge Journals Online, the platform providing full-text access to all electronic journals from Cambridge University Press.

To access the electronic version of these journals, the patron should retrieve the IUCAT record for the journal title of interest. A link in the bibliographic record will open a new window displaying the Cambridge journals Online platform, defaulted to the specific journal in which he or she is interested. Here one can search the specific journal, or the entire Cambridge Online Platform, using either a simple Google-type search, or an advanced search template that supports field searching. Alternatively, one can search for articles in various online indexes devoted to areas such as history, philosophy, politics, and the social sciences more generally, all available through the Wells Library web site, then retrieve the IUCAT record(s) for the journal(s) of interest with citation(s) already in hand. A browse function in Cambridge Journals Online will permit the patron to retrieve articles by citation. This would be the preferred approach if the patron wants to search multiple journals by subject, rather than just the titles in Cambridge Journals Online.

In general, patrons are reminded that the best way to determine the Library’s coverage for any specific journal is to look up the journal by title in IUCAT. The bibliographic record will indicate dates of coverage and location of all printed volumes, and will also provide links to all available databases that include the title sought. For each such database, dates of coverage will be provided, so that the patron can immediately determine which, if any, will include the specific article he or she is seeking. This is obviously far more efficient than the “hunt-and-peck” method of trying to guess which databases might include the title of interest.

Cambridge titles referred to in this posting include the following: Economics and Philosophy, Foreign Policy Bulletin, Journal of Economic History, Legal Theory, Leiden Journal of International Law, Netherlands International Law Review, Social Philosophy and Policy, The Journal of Politics, Utilitas, World Politics, Netherlands Yearbook of International Law, Continuity and Change, and British Journal of Political Science.

Please, Don’t Shoot the Fish!

In my quest to find and verify strange Indiana laws that are circulating on the web, I came across this curious statement – “it is illegal to catch fish with your bare hands.” Even better, it turns out this one is true and is still in effect!  

According to IC 14-22-9-1, Unlawful Means of Taking Fish: 

(a) Except as allowed by sections 3 and 11 [IC 14-22-9-3 and IC 14-22-9-11] of this chapter, a person may not take fish from waters containing state owned fish, waters of the state, or boundary waters of the state by the following:

(1) Means of:

(A) a weir;

(B) an electric current;

(C) dynamite or other explosive;

(D) a net;

(E) a seine;

(F) a trap; or

(G) any other substance that has a tendency to stupefy or poison fish.

(2) Means of the following:

(A) A firearm.

(B) A crossbow.

(C) The hands alone.

Honestly, I found the list of prohibited ways and means to be more intriguing than the lone method I originally started with.  Don’t shoot fish with a crossbow?  Yes, that is an actual Indiana law.  And while we are on the topic, please no explosives, Wile E. Coyote.

So, how did I verify this unusual law?  Print resources!  Sometimes, print really is easier.  By looking in the General Index of Burns Indiana Statutes Annotated I found the subject heading FISH AND WILDLIFE, which directed me to another subject heading, FISHING.  Under FISHING, I found the entry, Hands alone, fishing method prohibited, §14-22-9-1.  Incidentally, Title 14 contains the subjects of Recreation, Land Management, and Water Rights; Article 22 relates to Fish and Wildlife, and Chapter 9 is Regulation of Fishing.  You can also search through the Indiana Code on the website of the Indiana General Assembly

By Jen Kulka (Library Intern & Guest Blogger)

The Politics of Cybersecurity

Cybersecurity vulnerabilities have been a cause of anxiety for governments, businesses, and individuals for over a decade. With an estimated 85 to 90 percent of the nation’s computer networks owned and managed by the private sector, resolving this concern has become an issue of upmost importance for Congress. In the first session of the 112th Congress alone, more than 40 bills, resolutions with provisions, and revisions to current laws were proposed. Despite this focused attention, however, none have yet become a law. This impasse occurs despite all parties concerned agreeing that action is needed because there is “disagreement over the role of federal regulations in defending privately owned computer networks, concerns about the privacy and civil liberties ramifications of any bills, and even election year politics.”

If you are interested in researching cybersecurity, I recommend that you first turn to the CRS report,  “Cybersecurity: Authoritative Reports and Resources” (also available at Open CRS).  This is an excellent source that identifies relevant legislation, hearings from the 112th Congress, news stories, Executive Orders and Presidential Directives, data and statistics, and reports from both Congressional Research Service and other organizations. To find the full text of these documents there are a number of resources available to you, including FDsys, Thomas and ProQuest Congressional; or you can contact a reference librarian for assistance.

If you wish to follow cybersecurity in the news, you might want to follow the New York Times Topic: Computer Security (Cybersecurity), Homeland Security News Wire: Cybersecurity, or

By Jen Kulka (Library Intern & Guest Blogger)

Documents in the Charles Taylor Trial Available on the Web

On April 26th, Charles Taylor, former President of Liberia, was convicted by the Special Court for Sierra Leone on all counts of an 11-count indictment for aiding and abetting rebels in committing war crimes and crimes against humanity during Sierra Leone’s long civil war. The trial was historically significant as the first in which a head of state was convicted by an international tribunal.

The Special Court for Sierra Leone was established in 2002 through an agreement between the United Nations and the government of Sierra Leone. Its purpose is to try those responsible for serious violations of humanitarian law and the law of Sierra Leone committed in the territory of Sierra Leone since the end of 1996. Charles Taylor is the most widely known defendant, but 13 individuals were in fact indicted in 2003, with eight trials now complete through the appellate phase. Two of the original indictments were withdrawn due to the deaths of the accused, and Taylor’s trial is now in the appellate phase at the Hague. Thus, the Special Court is nearing completion of its mandate.

For those interested in the activities of the Special Court, a great deal of documentation is available at the Court’s web site, including a transcript of the trial judgment in the Taylor case. Trial and Appeals Chamber decisions are also available for the eight cases now completed. In addition, there is a complete collection of important court documents, such as rules of procedure and evidence, the Special Court Agreement, and rules of detention, as well as annual reports of the Court and various practice directives and directions issued in the course of the Court’s proceedings.

HeinOnline Adds Official Canada Supreme Court Reports

HeinOnline recently added the official Canada Supreme Court Reports to its basic subscription, beginning with volume one (1876). While the entire collection is of potential interest, volumes published since 1982 are of particular interest to constitutional law comparativists. In that year Canada “patriated” its constitution, formerly the British North America Act, 1867, and added to it the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, which is analogous to the U.S. Bill of Rights. The new constitution conferred on the Canadian Supreme Court the power to interpret the provisions of the Charter, leading to the advent of constitutional judicial review, previously unknown in the British Commonwealth.  The Canadian Supreme Court’s subsequent jurisprudence is of great interest to American comparativists because it addresses many of the same issues that have come before the U.S. Supreme Court during the same period. Full Story »

New International Law Databases

The Library recently added the Collected Courses of the Hague Academy of International Law (CC) to its HeinOnline subscription. Published since 1923, and containing lectures presented at the Academy’s summer courses on international law, this title comprises a massive and authoritative encyclopedia of both public and private international law subjects. Currently the title runs to almost 350 volumes.

As part of the HeinOnline platform, the CC can be searched via the familiar field and advanced search interfaces. In particular, this allows the researcher to search titles and full text, using both Boolean and proximity connectors. In addition, it is possible to search by author, and through a very extensive set of subject headings which are easily browsed and combined with other search methods. As with any good encyclopedic source, the CC can be used either as a source of information itself or as a source of further bibliographic information.

The Library also recently added a database to its HeinOnline subscription, entitled History of International Law. This collection includes more than 500 monographic titles dating back to 1690, and greatly expands the depth of sources available to researchers interested in historical topics, such as, e.g., the Nuremberg trials, the Hague Peace Conferences, or the advent of the League of Nations. The database is searchable through HeinOnline itself, but bibliographic records will be available through IUCAT as well.

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