Hat tip to Sally Peat’s BIALL Blog post for calling attention to Informed. Quoting from Informed’s hello world post:

Aim:

This blog has been set up with the aim of providing a neutral space for library and information professionals to share their thoughts about wider information issues.

Objectives:

To provide a neutral space for library and information professionals to publish blog posts on a range of wider information issues

To be outward-looking in our content

To create an audience within and outside of the profession

To provide a neutral space for library and information professionals to publish blog posts on a range of wider information issues

Neutrality is the main guiding principle of this project. It has been started by a small group of like-minded people, it is not affiliated to any groups. Our editorial process will involve volunteer editors reviewing posts prior to publication to ensure that posts are not libellous, slanderous or contain ad hominem attacks. People commenting on posts will also be required to adhere to these basic rules. Editors will not change the content of posts unless these rules are breached and will remain ideologically neutral.

To be outward-looking in our content

This blog will focus on wider information issues, highlighting the relevance to and impact of library and information professionals on society. There are lots of great blogs that are addressing key issues within the profession and our uniqueness will be this outward-looking focus.

To create an audience within and outside of the profession

Attracting an audience both within and outside of the profession is vital as this broad audience will enable us to demonstrate the relevance to and impact on society of library and information professionals.

This is probably the most succinct statement of purpose blog posts I’ve ever read. Based on the content of the posts already published, the Informed Team of bloggers is hitting their aim and objectives. Informed is highly recommended. — Joe

Here’s a bit of reading material now that 3D printers and scanners are inexpensive enough to ask Santa to give you one.

3-D Printing and Product Liability: Identifying the Obstacles [SSRN] by Nora Freeman Engstrom, Stanford Law School:

Abstract: Though just in its infancy, 3-D printing seems poised to transform the goods we buy, the products we use, and the world we inhabit. A question frequently raised about 3-D printing, though, is how product liability law will apply to 3-D-printed goods. Tackling that important and timely question, this Essay applies contemporary product liability law to defective products from home 3-D printers. The analysis reveals that if home 3-D printing really does take off, PL litigation as we know it may well, in large measure, dry up. And if it doesn’t, the technology threatens to unsettle the theoretical justification for product liability law’s development.

Patents, Meet Napster: 3D Printing and the Digitization of Things [SSRN] by Deven R. Desai, Thomas Jefferson School of Law and Gerard N. Magliocca, Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law:

Abstract: Digitization has reached things. This shift promises to alter the business and legal landscape for a range of industries. Digitization has already disrupted copyright-based industries and laws. As cost barriers dropped, individuals engaged with copyrighted work as never before. The business-to-business models of industrial copyright faltered and in some cases failed. Industries had to reorganize, and claimed foundations for copyright had to be re-examined. This Article examines a prime example the next phase of digitization: 3D printing and it implications on intellectual property law and practice.

3D printing is a general-purpose technology that will do for physical objects what MP3 files did for music. The core patent bargain—sharing the plans on how to make something in exchange for exclusivity—may be meaningless in a world of digitized things. While these devices will unleash the creativity of producers and reduce costs for consumers, they will also make it far easier to infringe patents, copyrights, and trade dress. This will force firms to rethink their business practices and courts to reexamine not only patent doctrine but also long established doctrine in areas ranging from copyright merger to trademark post-sale confusion. Moreover, Congress will need to consider establishing some sort of infringement exemption for 3D printing in the home and expanding the notice-and takedown provisions of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act to websites that host software enabling the 3D printing of patented items and distinctive trade dress. While a 3D printer is not yet a common household item, the time to start thinking about that future is now.

See also Michael Weinberg’s 3D Printing, Matisse, and the Arbitrariness of Copyright Terms (Discusses how a 3D-ed scanned and replicated 1909 Matisse bronze relief is the public domain in the US, but is still protected by copyright in France.) and his earlier Public Knowledge Policy Blog post Will 3D Scanners Usher in a New Era of Copyright Infringement?

If someone starts freaking out about how 3D scanners will somehow mean the end of intellectual property as we know it, tell them to take a deep breath.  Sit them down.  Scan their face.  Turn it into a 3D printed mug and fill that mug with whatever liquid you think will best help them to relax.

Instead of a beer coffee mug or a Matisse bronze, I’m thinking about scanning and printing the last print volume of Ohio’s official reports to use as a door stop because TR Legal’s publishing contract has terminated. — Joe

The Volokh Conspiracy played a large enough role to produce what most likely is the first ever published compilation of long-form essays about the influence a law prof blog’s collective postings by multiple legal scholars had on the debate over the merits of a piece of federal legislation which in the case of the Affordable Care Act reached SCOTUS for review. See A Conspiracy Against Obamacare: The Volokh Conspiracy and the Health Care Case (Palgrave Macmillan, Nov. 12, 2013) [Amazon]. Granted the essays are written by VC bloggers Randy Barnett, Jonathan Adler, David Bernstein, Orin Kerr, David Kopel and Illya Somin but this work is recommended for illustrating that law prof blogging can be viewed sometimes as “scholarship in action.”

Here’s the blurb:

The debate over the Affordable Care Act was one of the most important and public examinations of the Constitution in our history. At the forefront of that debate were the legal scholars blogging at the Volokh Conspiracy, who engaged in a spirited, erudite, and accessible discussion of the legal issues involved in the cases – beginning before the law was even passed. Several of the Volokh bloggers played key roles in developing the constitutional arguments against the ACA. Their blog posts and articles about the Act had a significant impact on both the public debate and the legal arguments in the case. It was perhaps the first time that a blog affected arguments submitted to the United States Supreme Court on a major issue. In the process, the bloggers helped legitimize a new type of legal discourse. This book compiles the discussion that unfolded at the Volokh Conspiracy blog into a readable narrative, enhanced with new context and analysis, as the contributors reflect on the Obamacare litigation with the advantage of hindsight. The different bloggers certainly did not always agree with each other, but the back-and-forth debates provide momentum as the reader follows the development of the arguments over time. A Conspiracy Against Obamacare exemplifies an important new form of legal discourse and public intellectualism.

Joe

And for how much?

“No other law blog has come close the impact SCOTUSBlog has had. It’s become the news source of record on the Supreme Court for lawyers, for the press, for the public, and even the justices and their clerks.” — Kevin O’Keefe, Real Lawyers Have Blogs

ABAJ’s Debra Cassens Weiss has confirmed that Tom Goldstein, founder of SCOTUSblog, plans to sell his blog next summer. She reports

Goldstein hopes that he can obtain press credentials to make SCOTUSblog more attractive to potential buyers, according to AP. His current expenses to run the blog, he says, are $500,000 a year.

This could get very interesting. Will BLaw, the current sponsor of SCOTUSblog, be bidding (or will BLaw convert USLW into a clone of SCOTUSblog)? WEXIS? Will the sale price mark the floor or ceiling of similar law-related blogs? — Joe

Sounds like a simple question that can be easily answered, right? Well, not according to a review of a recent “report” provided to our elected leaders at their November board meeting. See Membership Statistics 2019-2013 (Numbers as of May 31 of each year) behind AALL’s paywall.

The report includes a table for the “number of entities with AALL members” and itemizes AALL member entities in the follow categories:

  • Law School
  • Private Firm
  • Government & Court
  • Corporation
  • Other
  • Non-Affiliated

A couple of data definition questions. Did any member of the E-board seek clarification about the categories used? For example:

  • Does the “Corporation” category report data just for member corporate legal departments, etc., or does it include vendors?

Whatever it includes, “Corporation” membership declined from 80 in 2008-09 to 52 in 2012-13.

  • “Other” probably includes a couple of library consortia, non-profit, non-library-types but god knows what else. Vendors here?

Whatever this category’s stats capture, “Other” declined from 169 in 2008-09 to 133 in 2012-13.

  • As for “Non-Affiliated,” a footnote explains that the category covers those who “have not indicated an affiliation.”

Does that mean individual human beings are being included as institutions or entities in this head count? It’s kind of hard to draw any other conclusion.

Just the “facts”, please. Excluding the mysterious categories a/k/a “Other” and “Non-Affiliated,” but including “Corporations” under the assumption, right or wrong, that it captures corporate legal departments and the like, total law school + private firm + government and courts + corporations membership declined by 191 institutions, from 1,595 in 2008-09 to 1,404 in 2012-13. That’s only a 12% decline. Not bad. Not bad at all.

Oh wait, that’s about half the percentage decline for similar reporting periods reported in  “Table 5: AALL Libraries Estimated Information Budgets” published in the online editions of AALL’s Biennial Salary and Organizational Characteristics Survey.

There also is a substantial difference in the absolute number of AALL member libraries, institutions, entities, whatever, for similar reporting periods when the above reported stats are compared to stats used to estimate AALL member libraries total information budgets. Compare the below chart sourced with the data supplied to the E-board this month (which includes “Corporations” in the Private Sector category)

aall member entities 08 13

with the below chart compiled from AALL biennial survey data that was reported at Has AALL lost more than 50% of its institutional membership since 2001? (Nov. 4, 2013):

aall member libraries stats

What’s up with this? Hell if I know. I lean toward having more confidence in the committee that has been responsible for collecting and reporting AALL’s biennial survey findings. But  if  the data reported to the E-Board is correct,  then  AALL’s estimated total information budget stats for AALL member libraries are wildly inaccurate,  unless  someone recently decided to count “affiliations” at some sort of internal local level, like, for example, counting each branch office or each functional unit of a law firm as a unique institution, entity, whatever.

— Joe

The November issue of The CRIV Sheet provides summaries of vendor-themed sessions conducted during last summer’s AALL annual meeting, including for example:

  • “CRIV Vendor Roundtable” authored by Michelle Cosby, North Cosby Carolina Central University School of Law Library, at 3;
  • “Making Sense of the Numbers: Understanding Vendor Statistics” authored by Sara Paul Raffel, Paul Hastings LLP, at 4; and
  • “Off the Page and Beyond the Book: New Models for Buying and Selling Legal Information” authored by Todd Melnick, Fordham University Law Library, at 8.

If you didn’t attend the Seattle 2013 Rethinking AALL’s Value annual meeting, all of the session summaries in this month’s CRIV Sheet are highly recommended. They are not filled with the sort of happy talk we’ve come to expect for AALL HQ. CRIV, like us invoice-paying working stiffs, knows our vendors are not our partners.

Also recommended for working law librarians, is the call for contributions to The CRIV Sheet:

[A] solicitation for contributions to The CRIV Sheet: our content is so relevant because working librarians have volunteered to take the time to write about the vendor-relations issues they confront every day. As you work with vendors to build your collections, look for ways to cut costs, and deal with publishing practices that affect your work, please consider writing about those issues, and others, for The CRIV Sheet. — David Hollander, Editor, The CRIV Sheet.

— Joe

About Archive-It

Archive-It (www.archiveit.org) is a subscription based service launched in early 2006 at the Internet Archive. The service enables organizations to build, manage and preserve collections of web content. The service includes hosting of the data, access, and two copies stored in perpetuity. The service currently has almost 300 partner organizations in 46 U.S. states and 16 countries. These organizations have created over 2300 public collections which are browse-able and searchable at www.archiveit.org.

About Reed Technology

Reed Technology and Information Services Inc., part of the LexisNexis® family, serves its clients in the public and private sectors with the expertise required in the technology-focused fields of Web Archiving, IP services, and Life Sciences. Reed Tech Archives offers website and social media capture that can be easily archived and forensically preserved (www.reedarchives.com). These capabilities support capture of trademark infringement as well as compliance and e-discovery needs. Reed Tech Archives provides these services to law firms, corporate accounts, government and the financial industry.

Quoting from yesterday’s press release which announced that both parties have agreed “to jointly market and sell Archive-It, and continue to support the growing community of organizations currently using the service. The agreement combines the commercial archiving experience and resources of Reed Tech with the breadth and depth of the Internet Archive, the largest publicly available web archive in existence and the foremost provider of web archiving services for the cultural heritage marketplace.”

“Reed Tech is honored to be engaged in the alliance supporting and expanding the Archive-It mission to deliver world class digital collection and access services to a worldwide portfolio of clients,” said Dave Ballai, CIO/VP commercial solutions at Reed Tech. “The business combination expands the range of capabilities for further developing and delivering the Archive-It service to a steadily growing array of cultural heritage institutions.”

I’m not quite sure what to make of this deal. You? For more, see Gary Price’s LJ INFOdocket post. — Joe

Well perhaps and, if so, apparently only in … wait for it … Spain! As a friend would say, “you can’t make this shit up.”

Thomson Reuters ProView™ has partnered with third-party vendors to offer our customers the ability to manage their eBook libraries. This program allows users to read eBooks using the proprietary ProView platform, while using the library management system they prefer.

Through a library management system setup, librarians have a single view of all eBooks in their library – regardless of source – and will be able to manage eBook acquisitions, cataloging and circulation.  Libraries can purchase an eBook copy that can be accessed by any user – either named or anonymous – with check-in and check-out functionality.

Thomson Reuters Spain has currently partnered with Odilo on library management system development. Additional affiliations with partners in Spain will be available for release later in 2013.  Visit Odilo’s website to learn more about their capabilities.

Quoting from Library Management Systems.

One also cannot make this shit up — No one from Spain was in the audience when a TR rep displayed the above-linked web page to pitch the Company’s “library management systems” for ProView titles at an eBook session during ORALL’s Annual Meeting.

Here in the U.S., law librarians solve the problems created by “legal solutions” vendors like Thomson Reuters. At this point in time, I believe the solution lies in not buying a single TR ProView eBook until the acquired eBook can be loaned out and can be discovered by a vendor agnostic OPAC. Rumor has it that TR was but no longer is discussing the OPAC matter with EOS. — Joe

Intel has acquired Kno, a software provider for interactive textbooks. “[T]he main idea behind Kno is that the books are not only digitised but also include additional features to help students and teachers assess their progress, share information with others and generally get more engaged in the content,” wrote TechCrunch’s Ingrid Lunden and Rip Empson about the acquisition. They added

Although the pricing of the deal remains unclear, we have learned that the entire Kno team will be joining Intel as a result of the acquisition — with one notable exception. Osman Rashid, the co-founder and CEO (who is also a co-founder of Chegg), will not be joining the company.

In announcing the deal, John Galvin, VP of the Sales and Marketing Group at Intel Corporation and general manager of the World Ahead Program, explained

Intel has acquired Kno, a leading education-software company whose guiding mission is to change the way students learn. Much like Intel, Kno believes engagement is key to student success.

The acquisition of Kno boosts Intel’s global digital content library to more than 225,000 higher education and K-12 titles through existing partnerships with 75 educational publishers. Even more, the Kno platform provides administrators and teachers with the tools they need to easily assign, manage and monitor their digital learning content and assessments.

My hunch is that the demand for more interactive law eBooks, let’s call ’em “2nd gen Law eBooks”, will come from users who have become accustomed to interactive textbooks during the K through college educational experiences, if not sooner than then. — Joe

From the YouTube video description:

David Wolfson, partner at Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy and chair of the firm’s professional development committee, talks with Bloomberg Law’s Lee Pacchia about the Milbank@Harvard program. The week-long course at Harvard Law School and Harvard Business School takes mid-level Milbank associates through a wide range of professional development courses.

Very interesting. Can’t wait for Thomas M. Cooley Law School to offer the same sort of program. — Joe

Are MOOCs just a fad or will MOOCs settle into being a useful tool to combat the rising costs in high education? Way too soon to tell but MOOCs are “higher education’s hot and sexy topic” right now. Judith A. Pirani, a consultant at the EDUCAUSE Center for Analysis and Research (ECAR) and president of Sheep Pond Associates, has published A Compendium of MOOC Perspectives, Research, and Resources. Recommended. — Joe

You can run an in-browser emulation of Berzerk, a multi-directional shooter video arcade game released in 1980 by Stern Electronics of Chicago but avoid at all costs Evil Otto. Alternatively, you might want to play Pitfall! That game was released by Activision in 1982. At the time, it is the second best-selling game made for the Atari 2600 (after Pac-Man), with over 4 million copies sold.

Both and many more early PC-Apple games as well as some early productivity programs such as WordStar, the most popular word-processing program of the early 1980s and the grand-daddy of mark-up coding, plus a 1979 version of VisiCalc, the first-ever spreadsheet program, are available as in-browser emulations from the Internet Archive’s new Historical Software Collection.

Hat tip to Bob Ambrogi’s Retro Fun: Try Out Historical Software (LawSites post). — Joe

In The Problem With Discovery Tools and Law Firm Libraries Slaw’s Susannah Tredwell concludes

As the number of electronic resources increase, there is going to be an increasing need for effective ways to search and manage these resources. The ideal would be a “publisher agnostic” platform on which all content could be mounted, regardless of who supplies it, but the realities of the legal publishing world make that unlikely.

Unlikely indeed. Tredwell’s post and the three below listed references which formed the basis for her post are highly recommended. — Joe

Certainly there is a serious side to revenge porn but that’s not what this post is about. This post is a light-hearted riff on the notion of amending the Copyright Act to protect  amateur porn’s (aka “intimate media”) social value by “creat[ing] a right for identifiable subjects of intimate media to prevent unauthorized distribution or display of those images or videos, backed by statutory damages and injunctive relief, but leavened with immunity for service providers following a take-down procedure and for any defendant obtaining written consent or making newsworthy use of the media”. Quoting Derek Bambauer’s INFO/LAW post, Copyright, Sexting, and Revenge Porn: What Law Should Do, about his forthcoming Minnesota Law Review article. Here’s the abstract for Bambauer’s Exposed [SSRN]:

The production of intimate media – amateur, sexually explicit photos and videos – by consenting partners creates social value that warrants increased copyright protection. The unauthorized distribution of these media, such as via revenge porn, threatens to chill their output. To date, scholarly attention to this problem has focused overwhelmingly on privacy and criminal law as responses, neglecting the power of intellectual property doctrine to curtail harms and spur beneficial uses. Copyright law leverages an established, carefully limited system of intermediary liability that addresses the true risks of abuses, such as revenge porn. Importantly, copyright is also consonant with key statutory protections, such as Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, that protect the thriving Internet ecosystem.

This Article proposes creating within the Copyright Act a right for identifiable people captured in intimate media to block unauthorized distribution and display of those images or video. It then uses the proposal, and issues for intimate media more broadly, as a window into contentious scholarly debates over the nature of authorship and the balance between copyright and free speech. The Article closes by identifying the rise of intimate media and its concomitant challenges as part of the ongoing revolution in information production.

Imagine the soul-searching deliberations leading up to bedroom conversations, see for example, I post amateur porn secretly on Salon. Imagine congressional deliberations. Imagine Fox News interviewing Scalia after SCOTUS opines on such an amendment. Heck, imagine Scalia’s law clerks researching revenge porn’s chilling effect on intimate media’s social value. Hell, imagine Jason Wilson’s annotations to the oral arguments before SCOTUS.

For the serious side of revenge porn, see Victims are taking on ‘revenge porn’ websites for posting photos they didn’t consent to (ABAJ, Nov. 1, 2013). See also, Miami Law prof Mary Anne Franks’ blog, Moving Targets, and the work she is performing to draft model legislation to criminalize revenue porn.  — Joe

Last week, ANSI launched its Incorporation by Reference (IBR) Portal. The website “provides a one-stop mechanism for access to standards that have been incorporated by reference in the U.S. Code of Federal Regulations (CFR). These standards incorporated by the U.S. government in rulemakings are offered at no cost in ‘read only’ format and are presented for online reading. There are no print or download options.”

OK, it’s a “one-stop mechanism” to do one thing, namely read online. Apparently the sky will fall if ANSI offered free print and download options. Quoting from the Oct. 28, 2013 press release:

“In all of our discussions about the IBR issue, the question we are trying to answer is simple. Why aren’t standards free? In the context of IBR, it’s a valid point to raise,” said S. Joe Bhatia, ANSI president and CEO. “A standard that has been incorporated by reference does have the force of law, and it should be available. But the blanket statement that all IBR standards should be free misses a few important considerations.”

As coordinator of the U.S. standardization system, ANSI has taken a lead role in informing the public about the reality of free standards, the economics of standards setting, and how altering this infrastructure will undermine U.S. competitiveness. Specifically, the loss of revenue from the sale of standards could negatively impact the business model supporting many SDOs – potentially disrupting the larger U.S. and international standardization system, a major driver of innovation and economic growth worldwide. In response to concerns raised by ANSI members and partner organizations, government officials, and other stakeholders, ANSI began to develop its IBR Portal, with the goal of providing a single solution to this significant issue that also provides SDOs with the flexibility they require to safeguard their ability to develop standards.

IBR standards hosted on the portal are available exclusively as read-only files. In order to protect the intellectual property rights of the groups holding these standards’ copyrights, the portal has built in security features that prevent users from printing, downloading, or transferring any of the posted standards; in addition, screenshots will be disabled and the standards will contain an identifying watermark.

Do note the following registration requirements:

You must register to view READ-ONLY documents posted on this site.

Please note that registration is for a single browsing session. Users who return to the site in another session or on another day will need to fill out the registration form again.

Smells like tracking usage of online IBR standards that have the force of law by specific users to me. Perhaps the SDO business model should be changed. — Joe

From the article abstract for Contreras and Hernacki’s Copyright Termination and Technical Standards [SSRN], (University of Baltimore Law Review, Vol. 43, 2014, Forthcoming):

Section 203 of the Copyright Act permits authors to terminate any grant of rights in a copyright between 35 and 40 years after the initial grant was made. In this article we analyze the application of Section 203 termination to technical standards documents, focusing in particular on the exclusion of works-made-for-hire, the treatment of joint works and derivative works. We conclude that, although Section 203 is theoretically applicable to technical standards, several statutory obstacles would impede the wholesale termination of standards-related license grants. Nevertheless, in order to avoid costly and time-consuming litigation, we recommend that Congress or the courts explicitly acknowledge the inapplicability of Section 203 to technical standards.

Hat tip to Christine Corcos’ Media Law Prof Blog post. — Joe