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The Indiana Law Library Blog

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Happy Halloween!

Halloween is this Sunday, and in honor of it OWLS is hosting its 2010 Halloween trick-or-treating this afternoon.  Come along and bring a child, or just enjoy the costumes as they are out and about.  From 3:30 to 5:00 today there will be trick-or-treating around the Law School and a costume parade for the kids.  Have a safe and happy Halloween, and if you’d like to know more about the holiday, there is, as always, an excellent website devoted to it on USA.gov.

Google Under Fire

Only a few days ago Google was apologizing for accidentally capturing a great deal of sensitive information, including e-mails, e-mail addresses, and passwords with its street view cars.  More on the Indiana Law Blog and Law.com.  Today the Wall Street Journal Law Blog tells us that Google’s latest proposed purchase, a flight data software called ITA is being vehemently opposed by several smaller travel companies. They claim that Google with have far too much power over the travel industry.  Has Google gotten too big?  Is there a point where antitrust questions are nearly automatic when a company expands into a new market?

Attribution in Blogging

We at the BLAWg IN Bloom have often cited the excellent work of Marcia Oddi over at the Indiana Law Blog.  It turns out that we are not alone, but that not everyone is giving credit where it is due.  The law firm of Ferguson & Ferguson has apparently been running the ILB on its website for sometime—it looks like they simply harvest it automatically and repost it, with no attribution. If you click on the link to one of the entries it does take you to the ILB website, but there is nothing on the firm website to let the reader know it is not a product of the firm.  The ILB recently ran a post complaining about this, and sure enough, that post shows up on the Ferguson website.  The same post also asks for suggestions.  What should she do?  The ILB is meant for the use of the Indiana legal community, this is true, but it also has supporters from law firms.  What sort of intellectual property rights apply to blogs?  The Electronic Frontier Foundation’s Bloggers’ Legal Guide does have some tips.  Does Marcia Oddi have any legal recourse?  Should Ferguson be required to support the blog?  Would appropriate attribution be sufficient?  What do you think?

Lunar Law

Property law is a rather tangled web here on Earth, so imagine the difficulties associated with land and resource rights on the moon.  The Wall Street Journal Law Blog has a very interesting entry on moon rights today.  With the recent discovery of water on the moon, it becomes more likely that humanity will hasten its exploration of the moon.  So how will ownership of the moon be decided?  There were a few treaties made back when moon exploration was at its height, but it is still difficult to say who can claim ownership and how.  For more look at this older but still interesting article in Popular Mechanics.  To buy your own little chunk of the moon, try the Lunar Embassy.

Bauer v. Shepard

Bauer v. Shepard is an Indiana case currently on petition for certiorari before the U.S. Supreme Court.  It is the SCOTUSblog petition of the day today.  The case is about the right of Indiana judges to speak about controversial issues.  A group called Indiana Right to Life, Inc. sends questionnaires out to judges every year asking for opinions on abortion.  Many judges decline to answer, some of them because they worry that expressing opinions on such a controversial issue would violate the Indiana Code of Judicial Conduct.  Now Indiana Right to Life and a few judges have joined in asking that certain provisions of the Code of Judicial Conduct be declared unconstitutional. Several entries on the Indiana Law Blog have been keeping track of the case.

What do you think?  Should judges be allowed to express an opinion on controversial issues?  If they do, should they be allowed to rule on cases dealing with those issues?

Law for Kids

Arizona has a website devoted to the law for kids.  It includes several things aimed at children, such as cartoons, games, and stories, but it also links to the law itself and other legal websites.  It answers serious questions from kids about crimes, custody, and emancipation among other things.  Is this the correct approach to take to educating kids about the law? Should Indiana have a website like this?  For more websites devoted to youth law (though most with a more adult focus) take a look at this research guide from the University of Washington.

Legal Happiness

The Duke University School of Law has recently introduced a new course with an interesting concept—how to be happy in the legal profession.  It’s called Well-Being and the Practice of Law.  Lawyers are not a notoriously happy lot, and recent economic pressures have made the situation even worse.  So what do you study to make happier lawyers?  The course includes philosophical and psychological approaches to happiness, and also a look at the legal profession itself.  Is this a good solution to depression rates among lawyers?  What are some other options?  For more look at this American Lawyer article, or the write up on the Wall Street Journal Law Blog.

How Addicted are You to the Internet?

This morning the Law Librarian Blog pointed out that netaddiction.com, the Center for Internet Addiction offers a test to assess your internet addiction.  Not only that, but they also offer a test for your partner to take to assess you, and those numbers could be pretty different (as they turned out to be for the Law Librarian blogger).  How addicted to the internet are you?  If you are addicted, how much do you do you want to change that?

An Animal Abuse Registry?

A few times in recent years animal rights activists have floated the idea of an animal abuse registry similar to sex offender registries. Such a measure recently passed in Suffolk County, New York.  The idea is to not only protect animals but also people, as there have been some links between animal abuse and other violent crime.  What do you think?  Should this be a standard measure?  For information, take a look at the Wall Street Journal Law Blog, the New York Times, the Associated Press, and Time Magazine.

Supreme Court Tackles Vaccine Case

Yesterday the U.S. Supreme Court heard Bruesewitz v. Wyeth, the case of a now 18-year-old girl who began to show signs of developmental impairment after receiving a vaccination when she was six months old.  There have been many studies on the effects of vaccines, some claiming that they are linked to autism.  In 1988 the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act of 1986 came into effect and established special procedures for those that have been injured by vaccines.  Plaintiffs go to a special “vaccine court” and petition the Federal Government for damages rather than suing companies who make vaccines.  This system is meant to keep vaccines affordable and available while still giving redress to those who are injured.  It also means that if the vaccine is properly prepared, the company who made it will not be at fault. For more you can look at the piece the New York Times did just before the case, or the Law.com article which came just after.

What do you think?  It is unquestionably important that those injured by vaccines get reparations, but on the other side, it is also important that vaccines are economically viable to produce.

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