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The New York Times
Harvard Law Library Readies Trove of Decisions for Digital Age
Shelves of law books are an august symbol of legal practice, and no place, save the Library of Congress, can match the collection at Harvard’s Law School Library. Its trove includes nearly every state, federal, territorial and tribal judicial decision since colonial times — a priceless potential resource for everyone from legal scholars to defense lawyers trying to challenge a criminal conviction. Now, in a digital-age sacrifice intended to serve grand intentions, the Harvard librarians are slicing off the spines of all but the rarest volumes and feeding some 40 million pages through a high-speed scanner. They are taking this once unthinkable step to create a complete, searchable database of American case law that will be offered free on the Internet, allowing instant retrieval of vital records that usually must be paid for...“Improving access to justice is a priority,” said Martha Minow
, dean of Harvard Law School, explaining why Harvard has embarked on the project. “We feel an obligation and an opportunity here to open up our resources to the public.”...Under the agreement with Harvard, the entire underlying database, not just limited search results, will be shared with nonprofit organizations and scholars that wish to develop specialized applications. Ravel and Harvard will withhold the database from other commercial groups for eight years. After that, it will be available to anyone for any purpose, said Jonathan L. Zittrain
, a Harvard Law professor and director of the law library.
Why the death penalty might come to an end (audio)
...But how close is the Court to actually ruling capital punishment unconstitutional? MPR News' Kerri Miller spoke to David von Drehel, Time Magazine editor-at-large, and Carol S. Streiker
, professor of law at Harvard Law School, about the realities of the issue. Drehel is the author of "Among the Lowest of the Dead," a history of the modern death penalty. "I would say within 20 years, absolutely," Streiker said of the end of capital punishment. Drehel and Streiker discussed many of the issues that would contribute to such a ruling.
Bin Laden Memos Distort the Laws of War
An op-ed by Noah Feldman.
I realize no American much cares whether the U.S. acted lawfully in planning to shoot Osama bin Laden on sight during the 2011 raid on his Pakistan compound. But new details of the legal game plan to get him, excerpted in the New York Times from reporter Charlie Savage’s forthcoming book, are nevertheless troubling. According to Savage's reporting, senior government lawyers specifically detailed the reasons it would be lawful to kill an unarmed Bin Laden, even if he was in the act of surrendering. This is problematic not so much because of its doubtful legality but for the precedent it sets for lawyers essentially directing shoot-to-kill military operations before the fact.
Museums Can Now Legally Jailbreak Game Consoles, But Gamers Aren’t Allowed
Last year, Electronic Arts announced that it was ending online support for 50 of its games...If a publisher no longer supports a game, sometime the only way to keep it running is by bypassing its digital rights management (DRM), or hacking a game console, which was illegal until today..."I'm really excited that the Copyright Office chose to grant part of the exemption and definitely cleared up some of the legal uncertainty around removing authentication mechanisms, but it's too bad that office chose to only support this for single-player play," Kenda Albert [`16]
, a Harvard Law School student who helped the EFF seek the exemptions, told Motherboard. "The multiplayer component was really, really important to a lot of people who wrote in and provided testimony."
The Christian Science Monitor
Baby Bella just 1 of 110 children to slip through cracks in protective services
The Massachusetts department charged with protecting children from abuse "didn't do enough" to protect the Bella Bond, whose remains were found in a trash bag on Deer Island in June. It took police three months to identify Bella's body...A report issued Wednesday by The Office of the Child Advocate said the Massachusetts Department of Children and Families (DCF) said that previous allegations of Bella’s neglect and abuse “should have warranted a higher response level.”...Elizabeth Bartholet
, a Harvard law professor and national critic of the two-track program, told NECIR that “especially for children in the lower-risk category, best interest of the child is clearly not the standard.”
The Harvard Crimson
Attorney in Lawsuit Against Uber Talks Labor Rights
Speaking to an audience of about 60 at Harvard Law School on Wednesday, the attorney spearheading a major lawsuit against Uber argued that the legal classification of Uber drivers as independent contractors provides the workers with insufficient labor protection. In August 2013, Shannon Liss-Riordan filed a class-action lawsuit of California Uber drivers against the ride share company, arguing that it classifies drivers as contract workers even though they work like regular employees...Ryan M. Matthew
, a Law School student in attendance, said he loves Uber “on the surface,” but that the lawsuit highlights important issues.
Proposed cyberlaw gives feds too much access to our data
So much for congressional gridlock. On Tuesday, the US Senate voted on the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act (CISA), a bill to help protect our digital data. It passed 74 to 21 — not even close....But security maven Bruce Schneier
, a fellow at the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University, said data sharing could pay off in the long run. “It might help prevent the next attack,” Schneier said. “It’s all about learning from the present to protect the future.”