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Category Archives: Legal Research

Commentary – End intellectual property

End intellectual property – Copyrights, patents and trademarks are all important, but the term ‘intellectual property’ is nonsensical and pernicious

“There are four areas of US federal law linked under the rubric of ‘intellectual property’ that we ought to keep separate in our minds. In an essay published in The Politics of Law (2010), Keith Aoki defines each as follows. Copyright protects ‘original works such as books, music, sculpture, movies and aspects of computer programs’ that are ‘embodied or fixed in a tangible medium’. This protection does not require a work to be entirely novel and extends only to its ‘original aspects’, to ‘a particular expression … not the underlying ideas’, and not to ‘independently created or similar works’. Under the umbrella of copyright law are original, concrete expressions, not ideas – the same story and script idea can generate many distinct movies, for instance. Then there are patents, which cover ‘new and useful inventions, manufactures, compositions of matter and processes reduced to practice by inventors’ with ‘rigorous requirements of subject matter, novelty, utility and non-obviousness’. Patents protect realised inventions and ideas in gestation – eg, here is a new method for collecting rainwater, and this is a machine that does just that. Trademarks (and the related ‘trade dresses’) meanwhile protect consumers from ‘mistake, confusion and deception’ about the sources of commercial goods: the ‘G’ in Gucci, Apple’s apple, a distinctive packaging. Finally, there are trade secrets, or secret information that confers economic benefits on its holder and is subject to the holder’s reasonable efforts to maintain its secrecy…”

How Enforcing Competition Law Could Have Stopped Big Tech

New York Magazine – The Intelligencer: “Yesterday, Amazon announced that it was opening two new campuses in Crystal City, Virginia, and Queens, New York. The preceding audition process, with dozens of local and state governments offering ridiculous financial incentives to Jeff Bezos’s megalith, made Amazon’s power over the public sector plainly clear. Elsewhere, the parliaments… Continue Reading

The Pentagon’s Getting More Secretive and It’s Hurting National Security

Defense One: “At a time of rampant executive branch corruption and large increases in defense spending, Americans are rightly concerned about the need for governmental transparency. People deserve to know how their money is being used, and what life-or-death decisions the Pentagon bureaucracy is making in their names. As President Trump asks for more defense… Continue Reading

Google, Facebook, and Amazon benefit from an outdated definition of “monopoly”

Quartz: “…big tech companies have amassed so much power that even Apple CEO Tim Cook has called for stricter regulations to be placed on them. Google owns 92% market share of internet searches, Facebook an almost 70% share of social networks. Both have a duopoly in advertising with no credible competition or regulation. Amazon, meanwhile,… Continue Reading

Where ICE Secure Communities Removals Now Occur

“Nine out of ten counties in the United States with the most Secure Communities removals are in Texas and California. Fingerprints submitted to the FBI by law enforcement agencies from just these two states also gave rise to almost half (47%) of all recent Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) removals under its Secure Communities program… Continue Reading

A mission for journalism in a time of crisis

In a turbulent era, the media must define its values and principles, writes Guardian editor-in-chief Katharine Viner “Now we are living through another extraordinary period in history: one defined by dazzling political shocks and the disruptive impact of new technologies in every part of our lives. The public sphere has changed more radically in the… Continue Reading

2017 Hate Crime Statistics Released by FBI

“The number of hate crime incidents reported to the FBI increased about 17 percent in 2017 compared with the previous year, according to the Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) Program’s annual Hate Crime Statistics report, released today. Law enforcement reported 7,175 hate crimes to UCR in 2017, up from 6,121 in 2016. Although the numbers increased… Continue Reading

Rethinking Crime Photography and the Rights of Nonviolent Offenders

Hyperallergic – Thanks to the internet’s meticulous record-keeping, journalists are rethinking to ethics of publishing the identities of nonviolent criminals. “How long must someone pay for a mistake? The online publication of mugshots and police blotters takes an outsized toll on minority communities, which are already subjected to disproportionately aggressive police surveillance. According to the NAACP’s… Continue Reading

ICE Is Imprisoning a Record 44,000 People

Daily Beast – Congress told the immigration agency to reduce its detentions. Instead, ICE detained more people than ever, The Daily Beast has learned. Where did it find the money? “The number of people detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement has hit an all-time high, according to recent statistics reviewed by The Daily Beast. That… Continue Reading

Annual Report: FOIA Lawsuits Reach Record Highs in FY 2018

The FOIA Project at the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse: “Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuits continued to break record highs in FY 2018. According to case-by-case court records, 860 FOIA lawsuits were filed in FY 2018 against government agencies. In addition, the backlog of FOIA suits waiting to be decided rose to 1,204 cases, an… Continue Reading

Law Officer and Compliance Officer: Status, Function, Liabilities, and Relationship

Frankel, Tamar, The Law Officer (LO) and Compliance Officer (CO): Status, Function, Liabilities, and Relationship (October 19, 2018). Boston Univ. School of Law, Law and Economics Research Paper No. 18-25. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3269948 “The rise of Compliance officers (COs) has raised questions about their status in institutions and comparisons to the Legal Officers (CLOs).… Continue Reading

When Does Big Law Work?

Cable, Abraham, When Does Big Law Work? (September 12, 2018). Marquette Law Review, Vol. 102, 2019. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3248757 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3248757 “Law firms have grown from hundreds of lawyers to thousands of lawyers, and the conventional wisdom is that this trend fuels dissatisfaction among lawyers. This article scrutinizes that conventional wisdom based on interviews… Continue Reading