Tag Archives: Quick Guides

“Stand Your Ground” Laws – Issue Backgrounder

(See also Cheryl Cheatham’s post from earlier this week.)

Since the Florida shooting death of Trayvon Martin rose to public attention, that state’s law of self-defense has attracted much attention. Florida was one of the first states to enact a ‘Stand Your Ground’ statute. (One of the tangential controversies attached to the Florida law has to do with the role ALEC, the American Legislative Exchange Council, played in drafting related legislation in nearly half the states.)

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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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Bankruptcy, A Research Guide

This article is a revision and reformatting of a research guide that first appeared here on the website of the Judge Ben C. Green Law Library.

Introduction

Federal bankruptcy law governs the disposition of property from the estate of a distressed borrower who either voluntarily seeks liquidation or reorganization of debts under the terms of the Bankruptcy Code or whose creditors seek to involuntarily impose such liquidation or reorganization. Bankruptcy procedures balance the need to offer debtors a “fresh start” as economic participants, the desire to save some businesses that may be of more value as “going concerns,” and the need to allocate recovery fairly between the various creditors of a person or firm that is unable to pay all of its debts according to the original terms.

Bankruptcy itself is federal law, and Congress has the power to create uniform federal bankruptcy laws under Article 1, Section 8, of the Constitution. The current Bankruptcy Code was enacted in 1978 and last extensively revised in 2005, is codified as amended as Title 11 of the United States Code.

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Quick Guide: Nuclear Regulatory Commission

The NRC was established as an independent agency by the Energy Reorganization Act of 1974 (P.L. 93-438)with licensing and regulatory functions over civilian nuclear power. A distinct agency, the Energy Research and Development Administration (which later became the Department of Energy) took on the research and promotion roles with regard to nuclear power. From 1946 until the ’74 act nuclear power had been overseen by the Atomic Energy Administration. The agency is headed by five commissioners appointed by the President, subject to Senate confirmation, and who serve overlapping five-year terms. The President designates one commissioner as Chairman.
Civilian reactors are tightly regulated – the NRC publishes technical specifications for each type of authorized reactor, within which all licensed reactors must operate.

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Toward an Inventory of Ohio Legal Materials

This post originally appeared on lawlibrary.case.edu

This post is a written re-cap of a 5-minute summary I gave at the Chicago (CALI/Oyez hosted) Law.gov workshop, as one of several quick presentations on various jurisdictions to be covered by the National Inventory of Legal Materials. Spurred on in part by the Law.gov initiative, while building on past efforts regarding authentication, preservation, and permanent public access, AALL has taken on the task of producing a nationwide inventory of primary legal materials. This inventory seeks to enumerate law sources from every state, their availability (in print and online), limitations like claims of copyright, and the formats, quality, and communicated status of those materials.
Our portion of the inventory for Ohio will take a much more fine-toothed look at every form of law-making work product we can identify within the state. This “5-minute” take is based on a quick survey of what I could learn from my colleagues here at CWRU, most of whom have much more experience in this jurisdiction than I do. As I presented this in person in Chicago, my “take away” points were that, essentially, no legal primary sources posted publicly on the Web from the state Ohio are considered official, little is authenticated in any form, and the one small example of authentication that exists, while a worthy experiment, is of little immediate practical importance. I could have added that the state produces comparatively little official material of its own in print, either, with many widely disseminated published materials designated as official being products of major commercial publishers.
I’m posting this summary here in hopes that those who encounter it, including librarians not participating formally in the inventory, can add comments, corrections, and additions that may help the Ohio working group begin our more focused work for the National Inventory.
Sarah Glassmeyer has posted a similar summary of what she encountered in Indiana and Kentucky, and also includes a more complete account (and links) of both Law.gov and the National Inventory.

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Resources for International Intellectual Property Research

Researching international aspects of intellectual property questions requires some facility with sources and tools for both public international law and foreign law research. Major multi-lateral conventions, along with a web of bilateral treaty arrangements, have multiple effects: binding signatory jurisdictions to harmonized substantive minimum standards of protection; minimizing formalities; imposing norms, including ‘national treatment’ and consistent priority systems, for fair treatment of foreign authors/inventors; and (in the patent and trademark areas) harmonization of systems for application, deposit, and examination.
This “quick guide” points to several more comprehensive topical research guides online.

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European Union – finding research guidance

The European Union is a supranational organization now composed of most (but not all)European countries. The EU is a prolific generator of law, much of which will be deeply unfamiliar to American researchers as both a matter of form/genre and in substance. Nevertheless, the economic importance of Europe and the accompanying centrality of European law to many areas of economic life make a familiarity with European institutions a strong asset for an American legal researcher. While online (often freely so) availability of EU materials is generally quite good, the complexity of the institutions and of their legal work-product can still leave the uninitiated researcher out in the cold.

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