random quotes ... to amuse, inspire, enrage:
  A popular government without popular information, or means of acquiring it, is but a Prologue to a Farce or a Tragedy, or perhaps both. Knowledge will forever govern ignorance, and a people who mean to be their own Governors must arm themselves with the power which knowledge gives.

tagged: government information, speech, sunshine acts, foia, government, first amendment
  —James Madison, James Madison, Letter to W. T. Berry, Aug. 4, 1822, in Letters and Other Writings of James Madison (Philip R. Fendall, ed., Lippincott, 1865), vol. III, p. 276..

UCLA v. AIME – more good news

Monday, November 26th, 2012

The court finally issued its order dismissing the case in the AIME v. UCLA case. (The second amended complaint, in case you’re counting.) In short, it was another big victory for libraries. The court affirmed all its earlier reasoning, and deepened its reasoning in a few key areas. Here’s a quick summary — more discussion […]

patents and the first amendment

Wednesday, May 13th, 2009

it’s so delightful to read those two areas of law in a single news article. The ACLU is suing to invalidate a patent on a gene. Yaay Chris Hansen. (Psst. They’re also patenting algorithms and business methods and even tax strategies.)

Google Book Search panel at ALA Midwinter

Saturday, January 17th, 2009

The ALA’s Copyright Subcommittee (Committee on Legislation) is hosting a panel on the Google Book Settlement at ALA Midwinter this year — Saturday at 1:30 at the Grand Hyatt. (I’m on the committee and on the panel.) Should be interesting. Come to the Google Book Settlement Session at ALA Midwinter Conference January 24th, 2009, 1:30-3:30, […]

yaay EFF & Georgia senatorial candidate

Saturday, October 18th, 2008

Of course, it’s never surprising when the EFF takes on the most challenging issues in technology law, but it was particularly gratifying to see them arguing to overturn the odious telecommunications immunity passed last year. The Machinist at Salon — a blog I’ve been appreciating more and more lately — has a great summary & […]

faith-based damages

Tuesday, August 12th, 2008

So this flight attendant is suing a televangelist who assaulted her, and in addition to emotional damages and hemorrhoids, the flight attendant is claiming she is owed damages for loss of faith. Broadsheet, Salon.com, 8/8. Obviously the First Amendment is going to pose real problems for the plaintiff — American courts establishing a monetary value […]

new blizzard decision

Tuesday, July 15th, 2008

how on earth does blizzard keep winning these horrible cases? do they bribe the courts? Patry covers the new case on software cheats, MDY Industries v. Blizzard. How one might ask can there be a violation of the Copyright Act if no rights granted under the Act have been violated? Good question. To get to […]

a good day for basic human liberties

Friday, June 13th, 2008

yaay habeas corpus. Kennedy is the difference between a conservative — someone whose values I frequently dislike and disagree with, but who is in many ways a respectful person — and a proto-fascist. For the right-wingers who like to throw the term “fascism” around, the core concept of fascism is that the State takes precedence […]

gay marriage & Equal Protection jurisprudence

Friday, May 16th, 2008

Well, I loved the California same-sex marriage decision. Not just because it granted same-sex marriage, and not just because it said that the state needs to use the same term to refer to same-sex and opposite-sex unions, but because it significantly expanded Equal Protection jurisprudence. For the non-law-geeks out there, federal and state constitutional guarantees […]

reading: current New Yorker

Tuesday, May 6th, 2008

The current New Yorker (2008/5/12) is chock-full of good stuff: * Malcolm Gladwell, In the Air, New Yorker. link from MC on closed mailing list Invention is part of zeitgeist. Many people come up with the same ideas at the same moment — true in her field, my partner says, and it looks true from […]

ohohohoh

Monday, May 5th, 2008

This is highly amusing. A Constitutional flaw in the way that patent appeals judges have been appointed since 2000 (by persons without authority to do so) threatens to invalidate all the decisions made by a panel that includes a judge appointed since 2000. [My initial hearing of snatches of this made me think there was […]

Mildred Jeter Loving, RIP

Monday, May 5th, 2008

This just in from AP: Mildred Jeter Loving, of Loving v. Virginia, passed away on Friday 5/2. A longer obit from the NYT. “Mildred’s mother was part Rappahannock Indian, and her father was part Cherokee. She preferred to think of herself as Indian rather than black.” I can’t tell if that was throughout her life, […]

Expelled without a license

Wednesday, April 23rd, 2008

Word on the street is starting to trickle in that the popular music was not licensed: * John Lennon’s “Imagine” was definitely used without permission. The Lennon estate + EMI are suing. (See Reuters, 4/23 (link from pharyngula); the NYT, 4/24; and Paste Magazine. (I can just picture the graphic on The Daily Show: “Ono […]

Expelled copyright infringement, cont’d

Wednesday, April 16th, 2008

update 4/16: Both a commenter here and also P.Z. Myers have reported that Expelled filmmakers Premise filed on Monday a DJ (“declaratory judgment”) motion on XVIVO‘s copyright claims against them — i.e., asked a judge to look at the evidence & say that they are not infringing. Premise v. XVIVO, N.D. Tex., 4/14/2008. Here are […]

roommates.com: no 230 safe harbor for discriminatory housing ads

Thursday, April 3rd, 2008

Just saw that the 9th Circuit has issued its en banc opinion finding that Roommates.com is not eligible for Section 230 immunity for discriminatory postings. Haven’t read it yet. Decision at

mostly information law news round-up

Monday, March 3rd, 2008

* Judge White withdrew his order requiring the shutdown of wikileaks.org. See also 3/1 bits blog. (NYT 3/1) * The music industry has yet to pay artists any of the money it has received in settlements and lawsuits; the artists are pissed. NY Post 2/27) * The owners of the game scrabble are pissed off […]

Johnson & Johnson sues the Red Cross

Tuesday, August 14th, 2007

give it up already. we all know that the red cross means the Red Cross. It’ll be interesting to see a major company actually litigate such a completely jury-unfriendly case. It will also be interesting to see if how licenses for intellectual “property” survive when the property — in this case, consumer identification of a […]

good news in SCO case

Sunday, August 12th, 2007

The District Court of Utah has issued a decision and order finding that SCO does not own parts of Linux (D.Utah 2007/8/10). The lengthy litigation (funded in part with Microsoft’s investments in SCO) was the only serious shadow hanging over Linux, although the claims seemed bogus when examined closely. (I also liked this chart that […]

of quilts & copyrights

Sunday, July 29th, 2007

Some of the art quilters have decided to sue the collectors who helped make them famous, alleging that they have been unfairly treated.

9th Circuit again: P10 v. Google

Wednesday, May 16th, 2007

The Ninth Circuit has weighed in on Perfect 10 v. Google (captioned Perfect 10 v. Amazon.com on the 9th Circuit case download website). The opinion is by Ikuta, who (IMO) got it right on the Fair Housing Council decision yesterday. It’s a long opinion, and I’m still working through it. But here’s a summary of […]

Roommate.com reversed

Tuesday, May 15th, 2007

The Ninth Circuit reversed the lower court in Fair Housing Council v. Roommate.com, limiting Section 230. Section 230 is the federal statute that immunizes online services providers for their users’ content. Most courts have construed Section 230 broadly, protecting ISPs against all sorts of liability. Intellectual property is (surprise) specifically exempted. In this case, the […]


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