Law

“A musical look at the rigors of law school”

Law school sucks, particularly if you’re a 1L. It’s not so much the video itself that amuses me, but that there are so many other videos on the same topic. I guess that first year inspires the hidden blues song writer in all of us.

Dear West: Do not piss off law librarians

Or they will blog about you. (West responds.)

The only good law suit is my law suit

If you’re going to promote tort reform, realize that the law suit you may affect is likely to be your own.

From Borgknight.

A Fair(y) Use Tale

Who better to explain copyright and fair use than a bunch of Disney characters straight from their original movies?

You first

Steve Jobs recommends we get rid of DRM. A good suggestion, but his letter includes some rather odd bits:

Jobs comes up with a a few numbers — possibly pulled out of his butt, I don’t know — and concludes, on average, only 3% of the music played on iPods is from iTunes (but who knows what the actual percentage is on iPods — could be more, may actually be far less since iPods cost a lot and iTunes is free):

It’s hard to believe that just 3% of the music on the average iPod is enough to lock users into buying only iPods in the future.

No, it’s not. If I’m going to lose some fraction of my music if I switch to a different kind of player, even a small fraction, that will make me less likely to switch. Something that works as a deterrent will, not surprisingly, deter at least some fraction of users. I suspect Jobs (and Apple’s accountants) know this very well.

Jobs and Apple won’t license Apple’s current DRM to other companies because “icensing a DRM involves disclosing some of its secrets to many people in many companies, and history tells us that inevitably these secrets will leak.” And they haven’t, already? Also, just about any software-based DRM is crackable, leaks or no leaks. The major music companies must know this already.

For second, it looked like Jobs knows this, too: “The simplest answer is because DRMs haven’t worked, and may never work, to halt music piracy.” But then he says: “No DRM system was ever developed for the CD, so all the music distributed on CDs can be easily uploaded to the Internet, then (illegally) downloaded and played on any computer or player.” I’m pretty sure some CDs have some kind of rights-protection, protections which often mean they don’t work on Macs. And didn’t Sony put DRM on some CDs?

I liked this one as well: “Much of the concern over DRM systems has arisen in European countries.” You know the countries which keep suing Apple?

So, Jobs, I think your ultimate suggestion is a good one. But I think you’re going to have to offer it first. Are you that brave?

Links I need to explore at some point

Let me know if they are at all interesting:

Pi experiments How close can you get to pi?

10 Emerging Technologies A quick glance suggests some are ones we don’t want to emerge, like cell phone viruses.

Mediated

The origins of reasonable doubt

Hey, look, someone noticed our little Blawg committee!

Library Stuff found the committee I helped start:

Neat. The AALL’s Computing Services Special Interest Section has started a Blawg Committee. From the site:

“The committee is comprised of law librarians with an interest blogging, both professionally and personally. This Bloki site was designed to encourage collaboration among committee members. It features a blog, forums, and web pages which will act as wikis. Members are encouraged to contribute freely to all areas. We would like for this site to be dynamic – created for committee members, by committee members.”

We’re using Bloki to run the site so we can have a blog and maybe a wiki someday too!

We the People

Now that we are in Election Season, it’s time to brush up on our knowledge of the Constitution. Get caught up quickly with The U.S. Constitution FAQ.

“I remember reading that if the citizens are unhappy with the way the Government is running the country they can choose to, I don’t know how to put it but, basically remove all members & then reoccupy with newly appointed members. I’ve been reading the site for a little over an hour and haven’t found anything hinting towards this.”

A. The notion is built into the regular elections that we have. Within six years, all of the elected members of the government can be rotated out. The entire House of Representatives is reelected every two years; the President and Vice President (and hence the Cabinet) every four years, and one third of the Senate every two years. If there was a concerted effort to replace the members of the government, starting now, we could have a new House, one third of a new Senate, and a new President at the beginning of 2005. In 2007, two-thirds of the Senate, and by 2009, a whole new Senate. The judiciary is harder, since they serve for life.

That’s the constitutional means. The Constitution is based on the assent of the governed. If the governed, the people, decide to replace the Constitution, that is certainly possible at any time.

A little legal research help

Some sites for my mom:

1. Regulations.gov
— Agencies post pending regulations for notice and opportunity to comment.

2. GPO Access Home Page — primary law sources for all three branches of government. US Code isn’t up to date (of course) but the CFR and Federal Register are. Includes a List of Sections Affected current as of today. Navigation’s a little tricky though.

For the rest of you: Spirograph!

Trials and depositions

Say What?! — a weblog of courtroom humor from a US District Judge. Contains material from actual transcripts. It totally cracked me up (also, this would be great for classroom use — “Guys, this how not to do your mock trials”).

In a murder trial, the policeman testified, “When I arrived, the victim was still alive and he said …”
At this point, the witness was abruptly interrupted by the judge, with stern warning that the witness should not say anything else until it was determined whether the evidence was admissible. The jury was excused and, for the next several hours, the attorneys argued subtle legal points as to whether or not the victim’s statements were within the “dying declaration” exception to the hearsay rule. The prosecution, of course, contended that they clearly were; however, the defense argued that there was no showing that the deceased victim actually knew he was dying when he spoke to the policeman. Finally, the trial was recessesd and, after hours of his own research, the judge announced the next morning that the testimony was admissible as a dying declaration. So, the policeman returned to the stand for this exchange:
Q. Now officer, yesterday you were about to tell us what the deceased said when you arrived on the scene. Please tell the judge and the jury what he said.
A. Well, he just said “Ugh!” and died.