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The Indiana Law Library Blog

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Things are Looking Up for Prof. Johnsen!

According to today’s CQ article entitled Democrats May Have Enough Votes to Confirm Johnsen, Reid Says.  Go take a look!

Frivolous Lawsuits on the Big Screen

We all hear about frivolous lawsuits.  And you might hear more about them the next time you decide to take in a movie.  Faces of Lawsuit Abuse.org, a site sponsored by the U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform, has started making short videos about excessive lawsuits for the big screen (the films are also available on the website).  Currently they are running only in Washington D.C., Colorado, and Louisiana, but it looks as though they may expand.  In a write up for the National Law Journal, a spokesman suggests that this is a new strategy for public advocacy groups. 

Is this a good idea?  It’s difficult to say.  With the law being our bread and butter it is important to remember that some people can take it a little too far.  It is, however, equally important to make sure that a legitimate injury gets the representation that it deserves.  Any thoughts on how to draw that fine line?

The Google Book Search Settlement

Google Book Search is becoming more and more common.  It’s a good place to go to get a feel for a particular book, or to get bibliographic information if you don’t happen to have the book in front of you.  It has, though, been no stranger to controversy.  The question of the intellectual property rights for so many books, most still in copyright, is a big one.  Google makes a point not to include the whole of books in copyright, but the fact that it owns huge digital databases of copyrighted works at all has caused many authors and publishers to cock an eyebrow.  More troubling is the idea of “orphan works,” i.e. publications for which is it extremely difficult to track down the rights holder.  It is not easy to make these books available without potentially stepping on toes.  The Author’s Guild has taken Google to the courts to deal with the process, and at the moment they are looking at a very interesting settlement.  The settlement is currently on hold to give authors the chance to opt out of it, and then it will go to court to be examined for fairness in early October.  Libraries are particularly interested in the outcome, of course, not only on the copyright front, but also because of privacy issues.  For an interesting look at the settlement and the effect it might have on authors, check out this column by Pamela Samuelson (the comments also make for interesting reading, and offer other perspectives), or this paper by James Grimmermann.  Or you might just want to head over to Google look at the settlement itself-or maybe the Google FAQs on the subject.  The Author’s Guild also has a page devoted to settlement resources.

Electronic Sources for Comparative Legal Research

Suppose that you would like to do a project that involves comparing a particular body of law across several different national jurisdictions.   And suppose, for the sake of illustration, that the body of law in which you are interested is environmental law.  How would you go about identifying the applicable environmental statute (or statutes) from each of the jurisdictions you are studying?  If you would like to find these statutes in English, where would you find an authoritative translation?  Finally, assuming that you’d like to find commentary on these laws, where would you look for law review articles? Full Story »

Happy Law Day!

Law Day has been celebrated since President Eiserhower established it in 1958.  Our readership is probably pretty well aware of the vast import of law in our society, but it’s nice to have it officially recognized.  This year is devoted to the legacy of Lincoln.  The official ABA site has many nice resources, including President Obama’s 2009 Proclamation, and the Library of Congress has a nice little research guide that includes all earlier proclamations, if you are interested.

Justice Souter to Retire

A mere month after he was memorialized in Green Bag bobblehead form Justice David Souter has announced his plans to retire from the U.S. Supreme Court.  Souter has long been one of the less known judges; he is relatively quiet and camera shy.  Maybe what he is best known for is the perception (we will not opine about its truth) that he moved very much to the left after his appointment.  In any case, his retirement has sparked much interesting biographical information about him, and if you would like to you could look at CNN, the Oyez Project, and the New York Times topic about him to learn more. 

There is also a good deal of speculation about who will be replacing Justice Souter. Take a look at the thoughts of Time, CNN, the National Law Journal, and U.S. News & World Report. There are names that keep coming up.

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