Saturday, September 21, 2013

Estate Planning and Copyright Stories

As you may know, reggae music legend Bob Marley, who died in 1981 from cancer at the age of 36, left a widow, many children, and corporations to manage his assets, but no will and therefore, no executor or administrator of his choosing.  Lawsuits stemming from disputes during the past 30-plus years have centered around the use of his name and likeness for commercial purposes, the distribution of assets to family members, and royalty rights.  The background story is related by attorneys Danielle and Andy Mayoras in a 2011 Forbes article.  Copyright disputes also plague Marley's music legacy, a corollary to the lack of  record keeping and clear legal documentation that clouds some of his 1960s Jamaican recordings. Marley-related litigation produced a decision this week by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit in a suit pitting Universal Music Group, Inc., against another distributor with rights that the court found "equally spotty."  Bloomberg has this story about the lawsuit; you can read the opinion here.

Ernster, the Virtual Library Cat

Friday, September 20, 2013

Speaking of iPhones . . .

So after you download the U.S. Constitution app to your iPhone, you will likely get prompted to upgrade to iOS7.  For descriptions and reviews to help decide if you want to make the plunge, check out David Pogue's review in the New York Times and (hat tip to our esteemed Library Director).  From all I have seen it looks like some good changes.  Give some sympathy to those of us from the dark ages with iPhones too old to upgrade.  (Yes, virtual cats have smartphones - how else would we watch our fur-based brethren's videos?)

Ernster, the Virtual Library Cat

Thursday, September 19, 2013

U.S. Constitution App

Tuesday, as you know, was Constitution Day. To celebrate that day, the U.S. Government Printing Office and the Library of Congress released a new app that makes the analysis and interpretation of Constitutional case law by Library of Congress experts freely accessible to anyone who has mobile device or tablet. Get the app here.

(Note that this version is for the iPhone only. An Android version is in development.)

Ernster, the Virtual Library Cat

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Federal Appeals Court Rules Facebook ‘Like’ Is Protected By the First Amendment

Today, the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond reversed a lower court ruling in Bland v. Roberts that said simply "liking" a Facebook page was insufficient speech to merit constitutional protection. 

U.S. Circuit Judge William Traxler wrote, "liking a political candidate’s campaign page communicates the user’s approval of the candidate and supports the campaign by associating the user with it.”. . . “[I]t is the Internet equivalent of displaying a political sign in one’s front yard, which the Supreme Court has held is substantive speech.” 

The Court issued its ruling in a lawsuit brought by former employees of a sheriff’s office who said they lost their jobs because they supported their boss’s opponent, partly by endorsing a campaign page on Facebook. Click here to read more.

Ernster, the Virtual Library Cat

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Social Media Legal Issues

As an attorney, social media legal issues could be an increasingly important part of many aspects of litigation in your professional career.  Divorce is getting mixed up with Facebook, criminal law with Twitter and employment law with social media passwords of all types. has put together a list of some of the latest social media legal issues here.  These articles are an indication that social media law and litigation is here to stay!

Ernster, the Virtual Library Cat

Monday, September 16, 2013

Law Library Research Guides

We use LibGuides to create the aides for research assistance, study guides and useful resources.  The handouts in the rack near the Reference Desk are print outs of some of the guides available to our students through our website.

For basic information, we have guides for:
Finding Books
Finding Articles
Sources of the Law
and more

Examples of subject guides are:
Business Resources Online
Environmental Law & Due Diligence

Your friendly librarians have created more guides and working on more.  When you are not certain where to start your research, check to see if we have a useful guide.  You can see the entire list under Law Library Research Guides.

Ernster, the Virtual Library Cat