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Showing posts from July, 2014

Nationwide Tech Disaster Hits Bar Exams

A technology disaster struck multiple states yesterday as bar examinees found themselves unable to upload their completed examinations by the deadline.The unhappy affected examinees were forced to try resubmitting their exams repeatedly over the course of the evening, upsetting many plans to rest and prepare for the second day of the test.

ExamSoft, the company that provided the software involved in this incident, has compiled a list of states that have moved back their submission deadlines in response to their examinees' difficulties.

Local examinees taking the Texas Bar Examination were not affected yesterday; the first day of the Texas exam was scheduled to end around lunchtime, and the examinees that experienced problems were testing in states where Tuesday’s exam was supposed to be submitted in the evening.

New Platform for Data on Internet Activity and Content Controls

The Internet Monitor, a project of Harvard University’s Berkman Center for Internet & Society, recently launched its pilot platform at thenetmonitor.org. The platform compiles and presents quantitative data on internet activity and content controls around the world. This should be of interest to anyone following current stories about internet filtering in China, Iran, the United Kingdom, and other countries. The site’s content control data is organized by country, and divided into separate categories such as political filtering, social filtering, and conflict/security filtering.

Another interesting feature of the platform is its access index, which compiles internet access data by country. The categories of access data are grouped under four main headings: (1) adoption, (2) speed and quality, (3) price, and (4) literacy and gender equality. The adoption data includes the percentage of individuals using the internet and the percentage of households with internet service. Some of t…

Celebrate Mandela Day

Today is Mandela Day (officially Nelson Mandela International Day), an observance designated by the United Nations to honor the legacy of the South African anti-apartheid leader. Since 2010, Mandela Day has been observed every year on July 18, Mandela’s birthday, and this is the first Mandela Day since his death in December of last year. Each year, the South African government calls on its citizens to celebrate Mandela Day by performing 67 minutes of community service, the number having been chosen in recognition of Mandela’s 67 years of social activism. This year’s service campaign is called “Operation Clean-Up for Madiba,” and is focused on picking up litter and cleaning schools and other public places. (Mandela is often affectionately referred to as Madiba, which is his Xhosa clan name.)

In addition to being a crusader for racial justice and his country’s first black president, Mandela was also a lawyer. Along with his partner, Oliver Tambo, Mandela established South Africa’s fir…

Westlaw, LexisNexis, Briefs, and Fair Use

In February of 2013, Judge Jed Rackoff of New York's Southern District dismissed an attorney's copyright infringement case against Westlaw and LexisNexis. The plaintiff alleged that the online research services improperly made use of his copyrighted briefs by uploading the briefs to their systems for use by other subscribers. Judge Rackoff granted the defendants' motion for summary judgement, ending the case, but only this week was the Memorandum & Order explaining the ruling released. You can read the opinion in its entirety here, the case is White v. West Publishing, No. 02-1340 (S.D.N.Y. July 3, 2014).

The opinion finds that the defendants' use of the briefs was permissible fair use under section 107 of the Copyright Act (17 U.S.C. 107), based on the four factors outlined in the statute section. The court found that three of the four factors weighed in favor of fair use, and the remaining factor was neutral. Here's an overview of the court's findings:


In …

Finding Revisions to Supreme Court Opinions

Earlier this year, many were surprised to learn that Supreme Court opinions can be, and often are revised after the opinion’s initial release. The news articles regarding the practice were inspired by a  forthcoming article in the Harvard Law Review by Professor Richard J. Lazarus where the phenomenon, and its prevalence are examined.

The Supreme Court has noted that its opinions are not final until they are published in the official United States Reports (Morgan Stanley Capital Grp. v. Pub. Util. Dist. No. 1, 554 U.S. 527
(2008)). The time from when the bench opinion is issued to the actual publication of the print United States Reports volumes can extend over five years. After the bench opinion is released at the court upon announcement, a slip opinion is made available soon after. A couple of years later, the softcover preliminary prints of the United States Reports are published, with the notation that the opinions are still subject to revision.

According to Professor Lazarus, leg…