Save the Tweets: Library Acquisition of Online Materials

The latest issue of AIPLA Quarterly Journal (Volume 39, Issue Number 2, Spring 2011) just landed upon my desk, and at page 269 I found this article calling for “digital acquisition rights”:

Save the Tweets: Library Acquisition of Online Materials, by Jodie C. Graham

Its abstract from the AIPLA webpage:

As the Internet becomes an increasingly pervasive communications technology in society, public discussions and other born-digital documents of social and political importance frequently exist solely on various websites.  To fulfill their missions of preserving public knowledge, libraries seek to acquire and make accessible web documents to scholars, students, and other library patrons.  However, section 108 of the Copyright Act, which previously provided sufficient protection from liability for libraries’ acquisition and reproduction activities, does not adequately map onto the technological realities of acquiring digital documents over the Internet.  As a result, libraries must accept the risk of copyright infringement liability or forgo preserving historically important online documents.  This Note proposes a set of amendments that would update section 108 to extend libraries’ current limited protections from copyright liability to the acquisition, preservation, and making available of online documents.​

Open Access Law Journals – “One Journal at a Time”

Judy Janes and Marissa Andrea just published a good article on open access law journals.  Their article, “One Journal at a Time,” includes a few paragraphs providing “a brief history of open access.”  In addition, they comment upon how “the success of RSS feeds, SSRN alerts and SMARTCILP/CLJC email updates has further accelerated the transition to Open Access journals.”

In their “Learn More” section of the article they link to a video presentation where Dick “Danner discusses Open Access and the Durham Statement and also his paper entitled “The Durham Statement on Open Access One Year Later: Preservation and Access to Legal Scholarship” available at SSRN.”

Other resources linked in the Janes and Andrea article include:

Directory of Open Access Journals

Science Commons Open Access Law Project


New York Law School list of law reviews with online content

This movement will benefit us all, as Janes and Andrea state it:

. . . As more journals become available on the Internet through an initiative called Open Access, published legal scholarship — once only available in print form from law libraries, or online through proprietary databases ­— will reach a wider audience. This is a movement not only benefiting practicing attorneys, but historians, scholars and members of the public with legal research interests, who will be able to access legal scholarship by simply googling a topic.

SCOCAL in the news and its recent growth spurt (with a new feature in development too).

Our Supreme Court of California Resources  database  (SCOCAL) is in the news!  There is an item about the project on page 2 of the  Stanford Lawyer just-out Spring 2011 issue (Volume 45, Issue #2), “California Supreme Court Opinions and Annotations Online.” 

We have 67 students in our Advanced Legal Research class this spring (67!) and they each have to write two annotations.  The first is due today, so 67 new annotations will be appearing online before (or perhaps at) the first stroke of midnight.

Later this summer, in partnership with a law firm, we will be adding a new feature to the database, so please stay tuned.

Free and really good information from Justia – daily opinion summaries; weekly practice area summaries

Our friends at Justia sent an e-mail to law-lib about their new free case summary service.  Since all the world doesn’t read law-lib, I’ve pasted below Tim Stanley’s exciting  announcement.  I’ve signed up for the FREE (my favorite word) service, and it’s a terrific tool for keeping up with decisional developments both by specific court and also by subject matter.  I’m going to encourage all of my students to sign up too, especially those who want a judicial clerkship, as this is a nifty tool for students to learn about very recent decisions from the judges with whom they are interested in seeking interviews and positions.

Here’s Tim’s e-mail:


Hi All,

Justia would like to introduce our new Free Daily Opinion Summaries service.

We will be writing daily summaries for the Federal Appellate Courts
and selected state supreme courts (eventually we will add them all).
You can subscribe to the summary emails at:

We will also be sending out weekly practice area summaries emails that
will include all of the summaries for all courts we wrote that week in
the legal practice area.

Here are some examples from last week:

U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals:

Environmental Law Weekly Summaries:

If you have any suggestions for layouts, additional courts or practice
areas, please let us know. The current courts and practice areas we
cover are:


U.S. Federal Courts: U.S. Supreme Court and the Federal, D.C., 1st,
2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th, 9th, 10th, 11th Circuit Courts of

U.S. State Top Courts: Arizona, Arkansas, California, Connecticut,
Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas,
Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri,
Nevada, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota,
Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin, Wyoming

And a few other courts like the Delaware Court of Chancery. We will be
adding more state courts in the near future. The full continuously
updated list is at


The weekly practice area opinion summaries, include all of the
summaries for all courts we wrote that week in the legal practice
area, are provided for the following:

Admiralty & Maritime Law, Aerospace/Defense, Agriculture Law, Animal /
Dog Law, Antitrust & Trade Regulation, Arbitration & Mediation,
Aviation, Banking, Bankruptcy, Business Law, Civil Rights, Class
Action, Commercial Law, Communications Law, Constitutional Law,
Construction Law, Consumer Law, Contracts, Copyright, Corporate
Compliance, Criminal Law, Drugs & Biotech, Education Law, Election
Law, Energy, Oil & Gas Law, Entertainment & Sports Law, Environmental
Law, ERISA, Family Law, Gaming Law, Government & Administrative Law,
Government Contracts, Health Law, Immigration Law, Injury Law,
Insurance Law, Intellectual Property, International Law, International
Trade, Internet Law, Juvenile Law, Labor & Employment Law, Landlord -
Tenant, Legal Ethics, Medical Malpractice, Mergers & Acquisitions,
Military Law, Native American Law, Non-Profit Corporations, Patents,
Products Liability, Professional Malpractice & Ethics, Public
Benefits, Real Estate & Property Law, Securities Law, Tax Law,
Trademark, Transportation Law, Trusts & Estates, Utilities Law, White
Collar Crime, Zoning, Planning & Land Use,

If you have other practice areas you would like us to break out, let
us know. We are not against adding some more as long as there are
enough opinions in the area and it does not nearly overlap one of the

You can see the current list of courts and practice areas (in a
readable table format) at

Again it is totally free :)



Timothy Stanley                       . . .

Keeping up with the federal courts with CourtListener


From the website:

The goal of the site is to create a free and competitive real time alert tool for the U.S. judicial system.

At present, the site has daily information regarding all precedential opinions issued by the 13 federal circuit courts and the Supreme Court of the United States. Each day, we also have the non-precedential opinions from all of the Circuit courts except the D.C. Circuit. This means that by 5:10pm PST, the database will be updated with the opinions of the day, with custom alerts going out shortly thereafter.

This [open source] site was created by Michael Lissner as part of a masters thesis at the University of California, Berkeley School of Information.

Another big day for Free Law – ABA launches site summarizing federal court opinions and upcoming cases

Here’s a new site is designed mainly for the press but access is free to all. Cases are summarized by professors with support from law students.  For the Ninth Circuit, for example, the content contributors are:

University of San Diego School of Law  and
University of Arizona James E. Rogers College of Law

 Here’s the site:


Here’s the press release:


Release: Immediate

Contact: Dave Jaffe

Phone: 312-988-6139




Contact: Tina Vagenas

Phone: 312-988-5105





CHICAGO, Nov. 18, 2009 – The American Bar Association today launched a new Web site intended to inform the media and public of important cases in the nation’s federal appellate courts. The site was officially unveiled at the Newseum in Washington, D.C., where judges and journalists were gathered for a conference hosted by the First Amendment Center. 

Media Alerts on Federal Courts of Appeals, as the site will be known, is sponsored by the ABA’s Standing Committee on Federal Judicial Improvements. It represents a collaborative effort to broadly disseminate timely, accurate and unbiased information about noteworthy and legally significant cases in the federal courts of appeals. The site will be updated daily with postings on key decisions and alerts on upcoming cases.

Circuit Judge M. Margaret McKeown of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, a founder of the project and immediate past chair of the Standing Committee on Federal Judicial Improvements, said the site targets the media, but also will serve as a resource for lawyers, educators and the public.

“The case information not only serves a practical need, it also promotes transparency and public access, which go hand in hand with judicial accountability and judicial independence,” McKeown said. “Greater access to and understanding of the judicial process fosters public confidence in our judicial system.”

“There is nothing more important to our democracy and freedom than a well informed press and public,” said U.S. District Judge Nancy Atlas of the Southern District of Texas, chair of the standing committee. “The Media Alerts on Federal Courts of Appeals site should enhance the media’s ability to help us achieve this goal.” 

Federal courts of appeals, which are at the level just below the United States Supreme Court, hear direct appeals from both federal trial courts and federal administrative agencies. Of the 11 geographically drawn circuits, the new Web site initially will highlight decisions from the Third, Fifth, and Ninth Circuits, then eventually expand to include the rest of the circuits. 

In conjunction with the ABA, cases are selected and summarized by a panel of distinguished law professors, supported by their students. The ABA is working in conjunction with professors at the law schools of Temple University (Craig Green and David Sonenshein), the University of Texas (Stephanie Lindquist and Dean Leslie Oster), the University of San Diego (Shaun Martin), and the University of Arizona (David Marcus). The academic teams will be choosing from the more than 25,000 cases filed annually in the three courts of appeals. The project aims to select a manageable number of cases so that the site will be of practical use to reporters. 

The project grew out of a shared concern between journalists and the judiciary that reporting about federal courts has been declining. The concern is due in part to new trends in media coverage, including the steadily shrinking pool of news staff in traditional media and the rise of Internet-based news sites, blogs, and other media outlets. 

“For the past decade federal judges and journalists around the country have shared their perspectives and concerns through a series of meetings sponsored by the First Amendment Center,” said U.S. District Judge D. Brock Hornby of the District of Maine, chair of the Judicial Branch Committee of the Judicial Conference of the United States, which has cosponsored the programs. “This Web site is a real and tangible outgrowth of our meetings, and one that I think will bring greater public access and understanding to the work of the U.S. Courts of Appeals.” 

Following launch of the Web site, the standing committee will continue to explore opportunities for the exchange of views among judges and journalists. In 2010, the committee plans to sponsor a forum on media and the courts in conjunction with the William H. Rehnquist Center at the University of Arizona James E. Rogers College of Law. 

 The Media Alerts Web site is at

With nearly 400,000 members, the American Bar Association is the largest voluntary professional membership organization in the world. As the national voice of the legal profession, the ABA works to improve the administration of justice, promotes programs that assist lawyers and judges in their work, accredits law schools, provides continuing legal education, and works to build public understanding around the world of the importance of the rule of law.

New collaboration tools

I’ve written before about’s Active Workspace collaboration tool.

Now the Wall Street Journal just announced its feature called My Journal which “introduces a new level of versatility with new ways to organize, manage and share breaking news, articles, videos and more.”

In My Journal users can set up folders to email content to friends and colleagues.  Users can set up “Collections” and whenever new content is added to the collection, it’s automatically e-mailed to the addresses the user has identified to receive such updates.  I’ll try this with our advanced legal research class this fall.

Computer Programming and the Law

Paul Ohm, one of the developers of AltLaw, writes about “Computer Programming and the Law: A New Research Agenda” in the Villanova Law Review (Vol. 54, 2009).

Paul Ohm states: ” I propose a new interdisciplinary research agenda called Computer Programming and the Law.  This speciality resides where law intersects computer programming, computer science, and information technology.  Like “Law and Economics” or “Law and Social Sciences,” Computer Programming and the Law has practical and theoretical dimensions; it imports into the law both the techniques used by computer programmers and the theories behind the science…. Compared to what researchers can accomplish today, researcher-programmers will produce the same output for lower cost or a better end product for the same cost.”

He offers some great examples of the power that programming can unleash in the law — from better data gathering and mining to visualization. 

Ohm’s discussion of “Improved Legal Research” really nails the current problem:

“The failure to embrace innovation plagues not only law professors; all lawyers find themselves trapped in technological backwaters due to some simple economic truths: Lawyers tend to be willing to spend too much for second-rate software and remain too easily impressed by low-tech advances.  This deadly combination gives vendors of legal research tools little incentive to invest in expensive research and development….

These reasons account for why the duopoly of Westlaw and Lexis has survived for so long, despite its relatively crude legal research tools.  These companies charge exorbitant rates while virtually ignoring the remarkable advances in search engine technology, because their lawyer-clients demand nothing better.”

Ohm’s prediction for the future is based on his work on Altlaw, and on other innovators such as,, Internet Archive and

He writes:  “We now exchange data and support one another, and I predict that within five years, legal researchers will have several freely accessible, web-based databases containing all federal and state case law, with better search engines and faster performance than the for-pay services.  Either we will be freed from the walled gardens of Westlaw and Lexis, or the duopolists will be forced to innovate to compete.”

Going Green with GreenSlips – how law publishers can save trees and save money

So I took this week’s Sports Illustrated to the gym this morning to read with my cardio workout, and found that I identified closely with the story about high school guard Roberto Nelson who received “more than 2,000 recruiting letters from 56 colleges.”  According to the story, “You’ve Got (Too Much) Mail,” by George Dohrmann, SI determined that Roberto only opened 18% of his letters and packages.  The SI analysis determined that “college basketball recruiting pitches eat up the equivalent of 1,526 trees a year.”

I related to this story not because I was heavily recruited for my point guard prowess, but because I, too, get a ton of mail which goes straight from my inbox to my recycling box and only a tiny percentage gets opened first.  I’m talking about publishers’ catalogs.  What a huge waste of paper and postage. 

We librarians have great tools for finding and buying new books.  My absolute favorite is William S. Hein & Co.’s Electronic GreenSlips and I would encourage all book publishers to get their new and forthcoming titles listed there.   There are many other good tools but I’m finding a new kid on the block is very helpful too:  The Law_Book twitter feed - we’ve been picking a lot from there lately.

As the SI story notes:

Noting the environmental cost compared to the number of letters Nelson opened, Gleason asked the obvious question: “If recruits don’t open the letters, why keep sending them? Why waste all that money and paper?”

Some schools might soon ask themselves the same thing. In May, Michigan and Ohio State jointly announced that they would cease printing media guides. Bygones from the pre-Internet age . . .

I ask the same thing about publishers’ catalogs, especially the thick ones listing every title in print, most of which we already own.  In my opinion these bygones should be bygone.   What with all the money they will save, I’m sure law book publishers can offer us better prices on their books — that will get more of my business.

New Bloomberg Law Report – Technology Law

I’ve written before about the excellent Bloomberg Law Reports.  I’m pleased to see that a new one has just launched:  Technology Law.  Take a look.   It joins the following lineup:

Administrative Law Monthly
Antitrust & Trade Monthly
Asia Pacific Law Bi-monthly
Banking & Finance Monthly
Bankruptcy Weekly
Class Actions Monthly
Congressional Monitor Weekly
Corporate Law Bi-weekly
Director & Officer Liability Monthly
Employee Benefits Bi-weekly
Environmental Law Quarterly
Executive Compensation Monthly
Health Law Monthly
Immigration Law Monthly
Insurance Law Weekly
Intellectual Property Weekly
Labor & Employment Weekly 
Litigation Weekly
Mergers & Acquisitions Bi-weekly
New York Law Monthly 
Privacy & Information Monthly
Risk & Compliance Monthly
Securities Law Weekly
Sustainable Energy Monthly
Technology Law Bi-weekly
UK Financial Services Law Monthly
White Collar Crime Monthly

Content from this high-quality analysis is being added to the digest feature.