Law and Legal

Copyright Office Virtual Catalog

About the Virtual Catalog [Proof of Concept]: “The U.S. Copyright Card Catalog provides an index to copyright registrations and other public records pertaining to ownership of intellectual property. The catalog enables users to identify original copyright registration records and other U.S. Office records from 1870 through 1977. The information in these records typically includes: author(s), title of work, copyright registration number, and effective date of registration. These records do not include the full registration records or copies of deposited works registered with the Copyright Office. The card catalog also contains entries for transfers of ownership, generally one card for each title, assignee, and assignor…”

Categories: Law and Legal

LC Copyright Modernization Office is Open

“The Copyright Office strives to provide high-quality services to its users. Therefore, the Office must develop an innovative and robust technological infrastructure that will provide these services in a streamlined, efficient, and cost-effective manner. IT modernization has been a top priority since 2011, beginning with a detailed analysis and review of the Office’s systems. The Office laid out its vision for this future-state IT enterprise solution in three documents—the Strategic Plan 2016—2020: Positioning the United States Copyright Office for the Future, the Provisional Information Technology Modernization Plan and Cost Analysis, and the Modified U.S. Copyright Office Provisional IT Modernization Plan. These plans highlight the need for a modernized IT infrastructure (to be facilitated by the Copyright Modernization Office), transforming the Copyright Office into a “lean, nimble, results-driven organization with the tools necessary to serve its varied constituencies—from the copyright community, to government entities, to the public at large.” The roadmaps on this page represent a high-level plan to transform the Copyright Office into a modern organization that is better able to meet current and emerging trends in the copyright landscape as well as future changes to the law. As modernization continues, these sections will be updated to reflect the latest snapshot of Office activity and progress…”


Categories: Law and Legal

Lawyers Who Code: The Coder-turned-Barrister

“In this series, Legal Geek is speaking to Lawyers Who Code about why and how they learned to code, what the benefits have been and how long would it take to re-create the Matrix (OK, so we didn’t ask that last one). Next up is Simon GittinsSimon Gittins is a former coder who became barrister at 27. He later moved into LegalTech and founded the legal services platform Absolute Barrister, where he is the CEO.”

Categories: Law and Legal

Brookings experts reflect on the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Brookings experts reflect on the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., 50 years after his assassination. Gary Burtless, Amy Liu, Jonathan Rauch, Carol Graham, Hady Amr, Marcus Casey, Jenny Schuetz, Anthony F. Pipa, Andre M. Perry, and Nicol Turner-Lee
Tuesday, April 3, 2018. “To mark the 50th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassination, Brookings experts weighed in on his contributions to the civil rights movement, his legacy, and the state of race relations in America today. Their thoughts and related research are highlighted in this article.”

Categories: Law and Legal

What your 3D calendar can show you about your productivity

Have you ever wondered what your meetings look like in 3D? Well, you need wait no longer. No lie: it’s pretty cool. Laurel Woerner – Work Futurist.

This image displays all of my meetings for 2018, visualized as dots and lines.  Each dot (node) represents a person, and the size is determined by how often you met with them. Lines (edges) appear when two people participated in the same meeting. If you see dots with the same color, that means they’re from the same organization (their emails are the same domain). We’ve been running analyses on our own calendars using data visualization tool Plotly to illustrate the relationship between yourself and all the people you meet with. Some willing Time Lords shared theirs as well.  We noticed a few intriguing trends: Similar roles have similar calendar shapes. If you’re a university professor, the way you work and the types of meetings you have will be pretty similar to other university professors. Whether your 3D calendar looks like an exploding star, a lumpy tomato, or a tinkertoy, your role will be a key factor in determining the shape. Same role tends to mean the same shape. Industry doesn’t matter.  Industry tells us relatively little about the kind of work you’re doing day to day, especially if you are a knowledge worker. A sales rep for a pharmaceutical company has more in common with a sales rep for a SaaS company than they do with a researcher within their same company, focused on lab work. We can use these graphs to help us prioritize.  When you see your time condensed and laid out in a new way, you might notice patterns you hadn’t before. If you scheduled a ton of meetings with a team that just isn’t your priority or met only once with that client who seemed promising, a 3D view of your calendar data might surface those misalignments…”

Categories: Law and Legal

Congress.gov New, Tip, and Top for April 2018

In Custodia Legis: “Today, we’re bringing you the latest Congress.gov updates just in time for the arrival of spring. Last month, Andrew brought you the latest updates to saved search alert functionality.  For the April release, we have improved the sorting of search results, so that items in the current Congress now appear at the top when sorting by relevancy. Our work on committee authority records also continues in this release. The profile pages of inactive committees now indicate that a committee’s status is terminated and the years when the committee was active. Please see the full list of enhancements included in this release, listed below…”

Categories: Law and Legal

Trends in Public Transportation Ridership: Implications for Federal Policy

CRS report via FAS: Trends in Public Transportation Ridership: Implications for Federal Policy, William J. Mallett, Specialist in Transportation Policy, March 26, 2018.

“Despite significant investments in public transportation at the federal, state, and local levels, transit ridership has fallen in many of the top 50 transit markets. If strong gains in the New York area are excluded, ridership nationally declined by 7% over the past decade. This report examines the implications for federal transit policy of the current weakness and possible future changes in transit ridership…”

Categories: Law and Legal

Whose Line is it Anyway: Could Congress Give the President a Line – Item Veto?

CRS Legal Sidebar Prepared for Members and Committees of Congress – Whose Line is it Anyway: Could Congress Give the President a Line-Item Veto? March 27, 2018.

“In announcing his intention to sign H.R. 1625, the “Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2018,” President Trump, noting his concerns over the fiscal size of the bill, called on Congress to provide him with a “line- item veto for all government spending bills.” Tw o days later, the Secretary of the Treasury, Steven  Mnuchin, similarly maintained that Congress “should give the president a line-item veto.” These remarks resulted in immediate rebukes by several commentators, who, citing the Supreme Court’s 1998 ruling in Clinton v. City of New York, argued that the Court already resolved the legality of the line-item veto by striking down such a provision in a 1996 law. At the same time, the Trump Administration’s calls for a line-item veto echo those of other Presidentswho sought such authority even after City of New York, under the premise that the invalidated law could be revised to address the Court’s objections. Because Congress has not enacted any such proposals, the question remains whether the High Court’s 1998 ruling wholly forecloses Congress’s ability to authorize the President’s veto of individual provisions of spending legislation. This Sidebar provides an overview of the Court’s decision in City of New York and examines what (if any) possibility exists for a constitutional, line-item veto authority for the President…”

Categories: Law and Legal

Removal of Breast Cancer Website, Related Webpages from within HHS’s Office on Women’s Health Website

[April 2, 2018] “the Sunlight Foundation’s Web Integrity Project released a new report, “Removal of Breast Cancer Website and Related Webpages from within HHS’s Office on Women’s Health Website.” We also released a blog post analyzing the wave of removals from the Office on Women’s Health (OWH) website, “Unexplained censorship of women’s health website renews questions about Trump administration commitment to public health”In today’s report, we document how the OWH Breast Cancer website and corresponding factsheets, which contained information about the disease, including symptoms, treatment, risk factors, and public no- or low-cost cancer screening programs, have been entirely removed and are no longer found elsewhere on the OWH site. Among the material removed is information about provisions of the Affordable Care Act that require coverage of no-cost breast cancer screenings for certain women, as well as links to a free cancer screening program administered by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).”

Categories: Law and Legal

Guide to potential regulatory actions in wake of Facebook-Cambridge Analytica debacle

Axios: “For years, people didn’t mind handing their personal information over to social networks so they could chat with friends or take fun quizzes. That’s changing in the wake of Facebook’s Cambridge Analytica scandal. What’s next: There are lots of signals that data privacy rules of some sort are on the way — including congressional hearings and Mark Zuckerberg’s acknowledgment that regulations may not be such a bad thing. The social network also faces state and federal investigations. Look for proposals on data portability, transparency and new opt-in rules. New privacy rules in Europe are also a template. No federal law spells out what companies trading in personal information can do with user data. No federal agency has clear jurisdiction over writing rules for internet companies. And public concern about personal data falling into the wrong hands has only recently swelled. Now lawmakers are feeling the heat, but they’re far from a consensus on the right approach. What we’re hearing: Congressional aides tell Axios that Zuckerberg’s testimony will help determine the next steps. A few options are getting attention:…”

  • See also this Facebook blog posting: Authenticity Matters: The IRA Has No Place on Facebook – “This morning we removed 70 Facebook and 65 Instagram accounts — as well as 138 Facebook Pages — that were controlled by the Russia-based Internet Research Agency (IRA). Many of the Pages also ran ads, all of which have been removed. Of the Pages that had content, the vast majority of them (95%) were in Russian — targeted either at people living in Russia or Russian-speakers around the world including from neighboring countries like Azerbaijan, Uzbekistan and Ukraine…”
  • See also Knowledge@Wharton: What Facebook Can Do to Rebuild Trust
Categories: Law and Legal

DOJ authorized Mueller to investigate connection to Russia in 2016 election

Washington Post: “Special counsel Robert S. Mueller III was authorized by a top Justice Department official to investigate whether Paul Manafort, the onetime chairman of Donald Trump’s presidential campaign, illegally coordinated with Russia to interfere in the 2016 election, new court filings show. Manafort, who was indicted last year on felony charges related to his work in Ukraine before joining Trump’s campaign, has not been charged with any crimes connected to the presidential race. But a partly redacted memo included in court filings late Monday night revealed that Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein authorized Mueller to pursue allegations that Manafort colluded with Russia in 2016. The new filings show that Rosenstein specifically approved lines of investigation for the special counsel in an August 2017 memo. A version of the memo filed in court showed that Rosenstein signed off on an investigation of whether Manafort “committed a crime or crimes by colluding with Russian government officials” and of Manafort’s work as an international political consultant in Ukraine before joining Trump’s campaign. Additional sections of the 2 1/2 – page memo were blacked out by prosecutors, indicating that Rosenstein authorized other lines of investigation that remain a secret…”

Categories: Law and Legal

DHS acknowledges rogue cellphone tower activity in DC

In a break from the Cambridge Analytic saga, this news on expanded use of Stingray cellphone tracking from AP: “…In a March 26 letter to Oregon Sen. Ron Wyden, the Department of Homeland Security acknowledged that last year it identified suspected unauthorized cell-site simulators in the nation’s capital. The agency said it had not determined the type of devices in use or who might have been operating them. Nor did it say how many it detected or where. The agency’s response, obtained by The Associated Press from Wyden’s office, suggests little has been done about such equipment, known popularly as Stingrays after a brand common among U.S. police departments. The Federal Communications Commission, which regulates the nation’s airwaves, formed a task force on the subject four years ago, but it never produced a report and no longer meets regularly.”

“Wyden said in a statement Tuesday that “leaving security to the phone companies has proven to be disastrous.” He added that the FCC has refused to hold the industry accountable “despite repeated warnings and clear evidence that our phone networks are being exploited by foreign governments and hackers.”

Categories: Law and Legal

Research and data support dispensary-based marijuana for pain rather than opiods

Statnews: “As more states legalize medical and recreational marijuana, doctors may be replacing opioid prescriptions with suggestions to visit a local marijuana dispensary. Two papers published Monday in JAMA Internal Medicine analyzing more than five years of Medicare Part D and Medicaid prescription data found that after states legalized weed, the number of opioid prescriptions and the daily dose of opioids went way down. That indicates that some people may be shifting away from prescription drugs to cannabis, though the studies can’t say whether this substitution is actually happening or if patients or doctors are the driving force. “In this time when we are so concerned — rightly so — about opiate misuse and abuse and the mortality that’s occurring, we need to be clear-eyed and use evidence to drive our policies,” said W. David Bradford, an economist at the University of Georgia and an author of one of the studies. “If you’re interested in giving people options for pain management that don’t bring the particular risks that opiates do, states should contemplate turning on dispensary-based cannabis policies.”…”

Categories: Law and Legal

Susan B. Anthony Papers now online at Library of Congress

“The papers of reformer and suffragist Susan B. Anthony (1820-1906) span the period 1846-1934 with the bulk of the material dating from 1846 to 1906. The collection, consisting of approximately 500 items (6,265 images) on seven recently digitized microfilm reels, includes correspondence, diaries, a daybook, scrapbooks, speeches, and miscellaneous items. Donated by her niece, Lucy E. Anthony, the papers relate to Susan B. Anthony’s interests in abolition and women’s education, her campaign for women’s property rights and suffrage in New York, and her work with the National Woman Suffrage Association, the organization she and Elizabeth Cady Stanton founded in 1869 when the suffrage movement split into two rival camps at odds about whether to press for a federal women’s suffrage amendment or to seek state-by-state enfranchisement. With the possible exception of her close collaborator Stanton, no woman is more associated with the campaign for women’s voting rights than Anthony, whose name became so synonymous with suffrage that the federal amendment, which formally became the Nineteenth Amendment, was called for many years by its supporters as simply the Anthony Amendment. A volume of correspondence, 1846-1905, consists primarily of Anthony’s letters to Rachel Foster Avery concerning the details of Anthony’s extensive lecture circuit, her finances, the activities of the National Woman Suffrage Association, and her work on the multivolume History of Woman Suffrage which she coedited with Stanton and others. The file also includes several letters from Anthony to the Reverend Anna Howard Shaw and letters from Wendell Phillips. Although most letters concern suffrage, a few deal with personal and family matters…”

Categories: Law and Legal

Why So Many Public Libraries Are Now Giving Out Seeds

Atlas Obscura: “On a shelf just behind the reference desk at the Harmon branch of the Phoenix Public Library, are small pouches of seeds. Like the books and DVDs, they’re available to check out. The library allows visitors to take a few packets of the vegetable and flower seeds home for free just by showing their library card. “It’s innovative, it’s different, it’s another way for people to interact with the library,” says Lee Franklin, the library’s spokesperson. “It’s been really well received.” The Phoenix Public Library first put seeds on the shelves at one of its branches in 2014. Franklin says they were immediately in high demand. Now the library distributes an average of 1,000 seed packets per month across nine of its 17 branches. Franklin says the program has proven to be sustainable with minimal costs—around $300-$500 to bring a seed-sharing program to a new branch of the library. And, Franklin says, the organizational tasks of offering seeds fit seamlessly with the library’s existing cataloguing system.The Phoenix Public Library is not alone. Hundreds of public libraries around the U.S. have adopted similar initiatives to offer free seeds to library-goers. Seed-sharing programs aim to expand access to crops and educate the public, while also protecting scarce agricultural resources..”

Categories: Law and Legal

Anticipated Park Service Report on risks from sea level rise delayed after extensive data censorship

Reveal – Center for Investigative Reporting: “National Park Service officials have deleted every mention of humans’ role in causing climate change in drafts of a long-awaited report on sea level rise and storm surge, contradicting Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke’s vow to Congress that his department is not censoring science. The research for the first time projects the risks from rising seas and flooding at 118 coastal national park sites, including the National Mall, the original Jamestown settlement and the Wright Brothers National Memorial. Originally drafted in the summer of 2016 yet still not released to the public, the National Park Service report is intended to inform officials and the public about how to protect park resources and visitors from climate change. Reveal from The Center for Investigative Reporting obtained and analyzed 18 versions of the scientific report. In changes dated Feb. 6, a park service official crossed out the word “anthropogenic,” the term for people’s impact on nature, in five places. Three references to “human activities” causing climate change also were removed. The 87-page report, which was written by a University of Colorado Boulder scientist, has been held up for at least 10 months, according to documents obtained by Reveal. The delay has prevented park managers from having access to the best data in situations such as reacting to hurricane forecasts, safeguarding artifacts from floodwaters or deciding where to locate new buildings…”

Categories: Law and Legal

ABA Section of Legal Education releases comprehensive report on bar passage data

ABA news release: “The Managing Director’s Office of the ABA Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar released today a comprehensive set of data on bar passage outcomes for ABA-approved law schools, showing that in the aggregate nearly 9 of 10 law graduates in 2015 who took the bar exam passed it within two years of graduation. While the first-time bar passage outcomes have been reported in the past on a school-by-school basis, this report represents the first time the section has released both first-time and ultimate outcomes in this form. The spreadsheets are available on the section’s webpage under Legal Education Statistics. “This information is being made public, aggregately, as a matter of consumer information under ABA Standard 509,” said Barry Currier, the section’s managing director. “This report is not a compliance report for ABA Standard 316, which sets the standard for bar passage. That is a separate and distinct matter. But these reports provide important consumer information for students considering whether and where to attend law school and for others with an interest in legal education.” The report shows that while results vary among the schools, 87.83 percent of those who graduated from law school in 2015 who sat for a bar exam passed it within two years of graduation — whether on their first or a subsequent attempt. Aggregate first-time pass rates for the classes of 2016 and 2017 were 74.3 percent and 77.2 percent, respectively. As the 2015 ultimate results suggest, those first-time pass rates will likely increase in subsequent administrations of the exam. The new report is a result of a change by the section’s council, which is its governing body and national accreditor of law schools, removing bar passage information from law schools’ Standard 509 Consumer Information Reports published in the fall. Instead, the council required law schools to complete a separate report, filed in February, on bar passage outcomes. Also, schools were asked for the first time to report ultimate bar pass data (this time for calendar year 2015 graduates who sat for a bar exam within two years of completing law school). The council expects to continue this reporting going forward, and next year will report on the two-year ultimate bar exam outcomes for 2016 graduates…”

Categories: Law and Legal

Vermont Legislature Passes Gun-Control Bill

WSJ: “The Vermont Senate passed a bill Friday that will heighten restrictions on firearms, including raising the purchasing age to 21 for many people and banning high-capacity magazines. The bill, sent to Republican Gov. Phil Scott’s desk, marks the latest move to tighten regulations after a gunman killed 17 people at a high school in Parkland, Fla., last month.  The Vermont bill also marks a significant shift for a state that, despite its liberal reputation, is a largely rural place with a high rate of gun ownership and few historic gun regulations on the books. But the tone shifted after the Florida shooting and an apparent close call in Vermont that same week, when police said they had thwarted an alleged, potential shooting attack by a teenager on a local high school. Gov. Scott said in a statement after Friday’s vote that he supports the new bill, along with two other gun-control measures that are advancing in the legislature, because he believes they uphold constitutional rights “while taking reasonable steps to reduce the risk of violence.” A spokeswoman confirmed he plans to sign all three bills pending a technical review…”

Categories: Law and Legal

DOJ IG special report sheds light on FBI seeking backdoor access to shooter’s iPhone

EFF: “The Department of Justice’s Office of the Inspector General (OIG) last week released a new report that supports what EFF has long suspected: that the FBI’s legal fight with Apple in 2016 to create backdoor access to a San Bernardino shooter’s iPhone was more focused on creating legal precedent than it was on accessing the one specific device. The report, called a “special inquiry,” details the FBI’s failure to be completely forthright with Congress, the courts, and the American public. While the OIG report concludes that neither former FBI Director James Comey, nor the FBI officials who submitted sworn statements in court had “testified inaccurately or made false statements” during the roughly month-long saga, it illustrates just how close they came to lying under oath. From the onset, we suspected that the FBI’s primary goal in its effort to access to an iPhone found in the wake of the December 2015 mass shootings in San Bernardino wasn’t simply to unlock the device at issue. Rather, we believed that the FBI’s intention with the litigation was to obtain legal precedent that it could compel Apple to sabotage its own security mechanisms. Among other disturbing revelations, the new OIG report confirms our suspicion: senior leaders within the FBI were “definitely not happy” when the agency realized that another solution to access the contents of the phone had been found through an outside vendor and the legal proceeding against Apple couldn’t continue…”

Categories: Law and Legal

Study: wind and solar can power most of the United States

The Guardian – John Abraham: “In order to combat climate change, we need to rapidly move from fossil fuel energy to clean, renewable energy. The two energy sources I am most interested in are wind and solar power; however, there are other sources that have great potential. Some people doubt how much wind and solar can supply to a country’s electricity grid. This is a particularly challenging question to answer in part because both solar power and wind power fluctuate in both space and time. We all know solar panels work well during the day, when the sun shines – they don’t work so well at night. And wind turbines only send electrons when the wind is blowing.  Fortunately, these two sources of energy fluctuate in ways that complement each other. For instance, solar power generation is highest in the summer and lowest in the winter. Wind power is greatest in the spring and fall. Wind turbines work at night when solar panels are dormant. So, can these complementing variations help balance out the power that the two technologies can provide?  This question was addressed in a very recent paper published in the journal Energy and Environmental Science. The author list included Dr. Ken Caldeira, who is extremely well known for his years of work in environmental science and energy…”

Categories: Law and Legal

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