Tag Archives: legal publishing and information

Federal Statutory Codes: Free (official? authentic?) Research Here?

This post originally appeared on the blog of the Case Western Reserve University Law Library.

I recently wrote about the fact that website distribution of digitally-signed PDF facsimiles of the “classic” printed versions of certain Government Printing Office publications made it possible to do “official” research into federal administrative regulations freely, online. Among those free resources is the Code of Federal Regulations, the codification of federal administrative-agency regulations.

There isn’t any quite comparable access to “fully official” online legal research in statutory law in the federal system, due to the complicated status of the United States Code.
Read the rest on lawlibrary.case.edu

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SOPA, PIPA, Anti-Piracy Legislation: Issue Backgrounder

This post also appears in a very similar form at lawlibrary.case.edu

The English-language Wikipedia is ‘dark’ today, in protest against a set of bills (nick-named SOPA in the House and PIPA in the Senate). These bills are intended to create new tools to address both the online commerce in copyright-infringing works and of counterfeit goods (i.e. both Copyright Act and Lanham Act violations). In particular, they aim to target the use of foreign-registered websites for “piracy,” although opponents point to several ways in which domestic websites can also be affected.

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ICANN and New Top-Level Domains

This post originally appeared in a very similar form on lawlibrary.case.edu. This version has received additional editing, mostly related to format and presentation more than to content itself.

ICANN, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers has begun to accept applications to operate new “generic Top-Level Domains.” A “top-level” domain amounts to the right-most portion of a domain name, after the final dot. Venerable examples of “generic” top-level domains include .com, .edu, .net, and .org. Applicants are to propose new TLDs while applying to be the entity that will maintain a registry of that nominated domain. Unlike previous additions of new TLDs, the new policy does not merely envision a specific one-time expansion of the namespace, but instead creates a policy mechanism for continued, possibly rapid, expansion of the number of TLDs in use.

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Free Federal Rules eBooks from CALI and LII

One of the more promising initiatives in the arena of electronic publishing for law is CALI’s eLangdell project. And one of the most important non-profit providers of primary legal materials has long been Cornell University’s Legal Information Institute.

This Fall, the two have teamed up to release a set of ebook editions of the Federal Rules of Evidence, the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, and the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure, published by CALI on the eLangdell platform from rule text gathered, processed, and adapted by the LII.

Read the rest at lawlibrary.case.edu

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Libraries, lending, and the “durability” of ebooks…

This post first appeared in March 2011 on Just in Case, the (then) blog of the Judge Ben C. Green Law Library. Just in Case blog content was subsequently migrated to the integrated law library website.
“Lending” libraries are fundamentally ill-equipped to cope with digital materials, including “ebooks.” These must be freely copy-able, “tethered” within networks, or protected by strong DRM. None of the options is compatible with the traditional business model of lending libraries.

The New York Times reports on HarperCollins’ efforts to limit the number of “loans” of eBooks it provides to libraries. Cory Doctorow has a critical op-ed in the website of the Guardian.

We’ve mentioned before that eBooks pose some major and unresolved business-model challenges for libraries. Because a digital file, unlike a bound book on paper, can “natively” be copied with near perfection and nearly zero cost, both publishers and libraries are in a quandary. A lending model makes a sort of natural sense for printed books — they can, after all, only be in one place at a time. And if a library needs more copies to serve its user base it will simply buy additional copies. American copyright law has also evolved to explicitly make room, through limitations on the “distribution right,” for library (and personal) lending and re-sale. (Lending rights are handled differently in European countries, but that’s another story…)
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New Top-Level Domain Names Coming

The body that governs the assignment of both IP addresses and domain names (domain names are the human-readable phrases like law.case.edu that direct to a particular IP-numbered host on the Internet) will soon be taking applications to create and operate registries for new top-level domain names.

Read more on lawlibrary.case.edu

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Google-Verizon Net Neutrality Announcement

This post is a minor update and revision (I fixed a few more typos!) of one that appeared on lawlibrary.case.edu in August 2010.

Google and Verizon made a joint announcement today of general policy principles that they billed (in a joint blog post) as a “joint policy proposal for an open Internet.” Such an announcement can be very significant in setting the parameters of debate within Congress and the FCC for the appropriate “neutrality” standard in regulating Internet service providers — regulation in which major Internet content companies and major Internet network/bandwidth providers are two of the major stakeholders (though query whether Google doesn’t now wear both hats).

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Are electronic casebooks in our future?

In addition to the usual low level of “back to school” press attention to the cost of college and graduate school textbooks, this year textbook pricing and textbook business models have gotten additional attention for two reasons.

First, a federal act passed in 2008, the Higher Education Opportunity Act, included provisions requiring educational institutions to better describe the costs of textbooks and instructional materials, and to require the “unbundling” of textbooks from supplements and study guides. Read the rest on lawlibrary.case.edu

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DMCA Rule-making by Librarian of Congress – Jailbreaking iPhones is legal

You may not realize that the Library of Congress is a federal regulatory agency, but the Library’s Copyright Office—which historically registered copyrights and still maintains the registry for those works that actually are deposited and registered—makes implementing regulations under the Copyright Act. Today, it did so.

In one of the LOC’s regulatory tasks, the Librarian of Congress has the power (every three years) under 1998’s Digital Millenium Copyright Act to exempt specific actions from the DMCA’s ban on circumventing the technological protections put in place to prevent duplication of copyright works. This regulatory mechanism was created as one of the checks to monitor functioning of the DMCA’s controversial ban on circumvention. Technical protections of which circumvention is barred include various “locks” built into the “container” for a digital file to prevent unimpeded copying of that file, such as the CSS system that governs the ways DVDs can be played back, or the rights management systems that allow some music files (and any downstream copies of them) to be played only on certain registered hardware. Read more on lawlibrary.case.edu

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