Short Takes On The News: Law Schools and Copyright

Here are a few of the items I’ve been following while I’ve been convalescing.  Time Magazine focuses on a developing trend in law schools, that of cutting tuition to attract quality students.  The story identifies tuition drops of up to 18% at some schools.  I suppose it’s possible to cut only so many faculty and staff to maintain the status quo.  The last set of U.S. News rankings were particularly brutal for some schools.  While we’re on the subject, the latest statistics from the LSAC show that:

As of 4/4/14, there are 324,781 fall 2014 applications submitted by 47,176 applicants. Applicants are down 8.0% and applications are down 9.3% from 2013.  Last year at this time, we had 86% of the preliminary final applicant count.  Last year at this time, we had 93% of the preliminary final application count.

The drop in applicants and applications is not as great a percentage as earlier years, but it is another drop upon drop upon drop.  Schools will continue to struggle with downsizing nonetheless until the applicant pool stabilizes.

Law suits, we’ve got law suits.  The Authors Guild filed its appellate brief in the Google Book Scanning case that Judge Chin decided in Google’s favor.  The Guild, as usual, takes a narrow and somewhat absolutist view of fair use.  The brief argues in favor of Congress of creating a national digital library with royalties based on use statistics for access to full text rather than snippets of copyrighted works.  I wonder how the publishers would react to that.  A national digital library isn’t necessarily a bad idea.  I would think it would stifle book sales to a casual reader at the very least.   Would publishers get some of that royalty money?  The Guild’s testimony before Congress proposing the idea is here.  There’s a little bit of ripping on the HathiTrust as well.

I hope to be posting a little more frequently as my strength returns.  — Mark

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