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The Indiana Law Library Blog

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Suing the Social Network

There has been much speculation recently about whether Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg will take legal action against the recently released movie The Social Network.  There has been similar speculation as to what his chances of winning are if he does. In general, most questioners, including the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal Law Blog, and THR, Esq. agree that Zuckerberg would be unlikely to win (and as time goes on, is more and more unlikely to actually sue) but it is an interesting problem to ponder.  It calls to mind the defamation and public/private figure issues that many IU Maurer students work on in their first year LRW classes.  Is Zuckerberg a public figure?  Is there actual malice? How do we measure the assorted claims of the movie’s truth or fiction?

Stephen Colbert in the House

This morning Stephen Colbert testified before a House Judiciary subcommittee about migrant workers in America. Colbert stayed in character, and house members stayed relatively deadpan.  Take a look at the video on the Wall Street Journal blog here!

Heroes on Trial

The Lillian Goldman Law Library at Yale is offering a really interesting exhibit of its rare books collection—comics set in the courtroom.  Some of them are simply detective stories, but they also have comics in which you see some of your favorite heroes on trial, Batman, Superman, the Hulk, etc.  Should the Hulk be responsible for property damage?  Does Superboy, as a minor, require guardianship? It’s reminiscent of the legal troubles of the Incredibles at the beginning of the Pixar movie.

For more information, check out the New York Times article on the Yale exhibit, or the Lillian Goldman Law Library’s Rare Books Blog, which includes cover images of several of their comics.  And thanks to the Law Librarian Blog for mentioning this story.

Happy Constitution Day!

On September 17, 1787 the members of the U.S. Constitutional Convention signed the Constitution into law.  Every year on September 17th we thus celebrate Constitution Day and Citizenship Day, and in fact the date kicks off Constitution week.  Each year there is a presidential statement reaffirming the holiday and educational institutions are encouraged to offer lessons on constitutional history.  We sometimes forget that all of the law that we study and practice has its roots in the United States Constitution. 

If you’d like to brush up on the Constitution, you can find a copy here.  The National Archives also has some interesting materials on U.S. Constitutional history.

Tax Returns for POTUS & VPOTUS

 
President Obama and Vice President Biden’s Tax Returns are here at the White House Blog.

According to their returns, the Obamas made $5.5 million in income in 2009 and paid $1.79 million in federal taxes.  The Bidens reported a total 2009 gross adjusted income of $333,182 and paid $71,147 in federal taxes.

Super Bowl Lawsuits

One of the most popular legal blog posts pre-game day was the Bitter Lawyer’s top six Super Bowl related lawsuits.  (Be warned, it seems that he was a Saints fan.)  There are any number of sports related lawsuits, however.  There is a nice, though older, list of ten from CALA.  The 10 Spot Blog has another list of ten that is a year newer than the CALA list.  Go take a look!

Lawyer of the Year

For the past few years Above the Law, a self-styled ‘legal tabloid,’ has invited readers to choose their Lawyer of the Year.  Last year it was Barack Obama, and the year before the Loyola 2L famous for posting discontented messages around the web (s/he also took top place in the Wall Street Journal Law Blog’s contest that year).  At this point, ATL has narrowed the nominations down to ten choices, some of whom are on the list for their skill and success, others for less flattering reasons.  Go take a look at the list of nominees—you have through this Thursday to cast your vote for the most noteworthy lawyer of 2009.

Move Over, Fantasy Football

Fantasy sports are a long beloved past time, but there is no reason to limit yourself to sports any more.  Legal blogger Josh Blackman has started a fantasy United States Supreme Court league, FantasySCOTUS.net. You sign up and then are awarded points based on correct predictions about the outcome of cases, what the split was, and which justices were for or against.  Apparently, by popular demand, people will soon be able to join leagues for their particular school or firm.  Go take a look!

The Veterans History Project

Veterans Day is a time to celebrate the valiant men and women who have served in the armed forces, their stories, and our shared history.  The Veterans History Project of the American Folklife Center does just that, collecting first hand accounts and mementos of veterans and those on the home front during wartime.  Since its inception in 2000, the project has collected the stories of thousands of veterans and those in the war effort for preservation in the Library of Congress.  You can search or browse—many interviews are not digitized yet, but for some you can watch or listen to interviews, read transcripts, or view documents and photographs of interest. One very touching story is of a dog named Lucky who served in the Marines while his owner was in the Navy.  The Project does not conduct interviews themselves—their material comes from partner organizations and from volunteers.  Our own Senator Lugar has contributed greatly to the collection.  If you know a veteran with a story to tell (or are one yourself) you might consider participating in the project.  More details on how to do so can be found here. Happy Veterans Day!

Legal Fiction

It is always fun to pick up the latest John Grisham or Scott Turow novel, but have you ever considered writing legal fiction yourself?  Well now is your chance.  If you have ever tried your hand at legal fiction you should consider entering the New York Law Journal’s annual fiction contest.  Just submit five copies of your legal short story or first chapter by November 6, and you could be published and win fabulous cash prizes!  If you are interested you will find more information on the official flyer.

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