Category Archives: Research

Seminar Paper Workshop

Last week Prof. Fajans and Librarian Kathy Darvil ran their semi-annual workshop on how to research and write a seminar paper.  Topics covered Image result for image writing a paperincluded sources for selecting your topic, sources for researching your topic, and how to effectively organize and write your paper.  If you were unable to attend the workshop, you can access an online research guide which contains a recording of the workshop, links to and descriptions of all the research sources discussed, and the writing and research presentations.  The online guide is available at guides.brooklaw.edu/seminarpaper.  From the guide’s landing page, you will be able to access a recording of the presentation, Professor Fajans’ slideshow on how to write your seminar paper, and Kathy Darvil’s online presentation on how to research your seminar paper.  If you should need further help selecting or researching your topic, please stop by the reference desk for assistance.

Happy Presidents’ Day!

The Library will be open on Presidents’ Day, Monday, February 20, 2017, a law school holiday, from 9:00am to 10:00pm.

Presidents’ Day, a federal holiday, was originally established to honor George Washington, the first president of the United States whose birthday was February 22nd.  The day has come to also honor Abraham Lincoln whose birthday was February 12th.

It has become a day to honor all U.S. presidents as well.  Listed below are some of the books in the Library’s collection on our first and sixteenth presidents.

George Washington:

Flexner, James, Washington, the Indispensable Man.

Freeman, Douglas Southall, George Washington, a Biography.

McDonald, Forrest, The Presidency of George Washington.

Nordham, George W., George Washington and the Law.

Abraham Lincoln:

Dirck, Brian, Lincoln the Lawyer.

Hubbard, Charles, Lincoln, the Law, and Presidential Leadership.

Matthews, Elizabeth, Lincoln as a Lawyer: an Annotated Bibliography.

McGinty, Brian, Lincoln’s Greatest Case: The River, the Bridge and the Making of America.

Thomas, Benjamin, Abraham Lincoln:  a Biography.

U.S. Presidents as Lawyers:

Gross, Norman, America’s Lawyer-Presidents: From Law Office to Oval Office.

UPDATE: LexisNexis Digital Library Training Webinar & Live Session

lexisnexis-digital-libraryThe BLS Library is offering a webinar and a live training session to introduce students & faculty to the LexisNexis Digital Library.  As described in Reference Librarian Rosemary Campagna’s blog of October 15, 2016, the Library recently acquired a subscription to the LexisNexis Digital Library which gives students access to treatises, practice guides, and study aids in eBook format.

In order to formally introduce students and faculty to this important new resource, the Library is offering both a webinar and a live training session for the LexisNexis Digital Library.  Both sessions will cover the following topics:

  • How to access (both on-campus and off-campus)
  • Our library’s collection
  • Tools and functionality
  • Locating a title/volumes
  • Borrowing volumes
  • Bookmarks/highlights/annotations
  • Archives
  • Linking on-line research with “print” research
  • Recent and forthcoming enhancements

These sixty minute sessions will be offered on the following dates/times:

UPDATE:  THE PREVIOUSLY SCHEDULED WEBINAR FOR THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 3rd WILL BE REPLACED BY A LIVE TRAINING SESSION ON THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 10, 2016, 11AM-12NOON IN LIBRARY ROOM 113M.  SPACE IS LIMITED.  EMAIL to: linda.holmes@brooklaw.edu, if you would like to attend.

WEBINAR:  Monday, November 7, 2016, 4:00PM-5:00PM.

The instructor for both training sessions is Damian A. Burns, LexisNexis Digital & Print Sales Engineer, Damian.A.Burns@LexisNexis.com

Please follow this link at the time of the November 7th webinar to participate:

www.LexisNexisNow.com/Damian

 

 

Seminar Paper Workshop: Resources and Recording

Last week Prof. Fajans and Librarian Kathy Darvil ran their semi-annual workshop on how to research and write a seminar paper.  Topics covered Image result for image writing a paperincluded sources for selecting your topic, sources for researching your topic, and how to effectively organize and write your paper.  If you were unable to attend the workshop, you can access an online research guide which contains a recording of the workshop, links to and descriptions of all the research sources discussed, and the writing and research presentations.  The online guide is available at guides.brooklaw.edu/seminarpaper.  From the guide’s landing page, you will be able to access a recording of the presentation, Professor Fajans’ slideshow on how to write your seminar paper, and Kathy Darvil’s online presentation on how to research your seminar paper.  If you should need further help selecting or researching your topic, please stop by the reference desk for assistance.

Is the DMCA Unconstitutionally Overbroad?

takedownSince passage in 1998 of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, Pub. L. 105-304, media companies like Sony, Disney, Comcast and others have issued DMCA take down notices to remove online content from sites hosted by service providers, primarily YouTube. The DMCA was enacted to help both content creators and hosts by providing a safe harbor provision for hosts who rely on user-generated content and who do not provide content themselves. Since it is impossible for YouTube to police all user-uploaded content themselves, it would be unfair to make YouTube liable for infringing material on their site. Before passage of the DMCA, copyright infringement on a website might result in the website being liable, which could lead to putting platforms like YouTube out of business. The DMCA was codified in Title 17 of the US Code. The safe harbor in 17 USC 512  protects the rights of copyright holders while providing protection for content service providers. If a copyright holder alleges infringement in a video on the site like YouTube, it has to take down that video immediately. There is no appeal process, as YouTube is not in a position to look at the validity of each take down notice because of time constraints. If this process is followed, the law gives safe harbor protection for the content service provider.

With aggressive policing of potential copyright infringement, media companies use automated software that ignores fair use rights often misidentifying music and videos as copyrighted. Another controversial section of the DMCA aims to protect against copyright infringers who employ tools that enable them to circumvent access controls that protect a copyright holder, 17 USC 1201 prohibits the use of tool to “circumvent a technological measure” like those that  descramble a scrambled work, decrypt an encrypted work, or otherwise impair a technological measure, without the authority of the copyright owner.

Provisions of the DMCA dealing with both take down notices and the “anti-circumvention” rule now face legal challenges that may lead to review by the US Supreme Court. The take down provisions were the subject of a  federal appeals court decision in Lenz v. Universal Music Corp., 801 F. 3d 1126 (9th Cir., 2015). Plaintiff posted on YouTube a home video of her children dancing to Prince’s song “Let’s Go Crazy”. Universal Music Corporation sent YouTube a DMCA take down notice claiming that Lenz’s video violated their copyright in the song. Lenz claimed fair use of the copyrighted material and sued Universal for misrepresentation of a DMCA claim. The district court in Lenz v. Universal Music Corp., 572 F. Supp. 2d 1150 (N.D. Cal., 2008) rejected a motion to dismiss the claim, and held that Universal must consider fair use when filing a take down notice, but noted that to prevail a plaintiff would need to show bad faith by a rights holder. The 9th Circuit affirmed, holding that while fair use arises procedurally as an affirmative defense, copyright holders have a “duty to consider—in good faith and prior to sending a take down notification—whether allegedly infringing material constitutes fair use”. This week, the Electronic Frontier Foundation filed a petition with the Supreme Court, arguing that this standard rendered fair use protections against the DMCA “all but meaningless.”

As for the 17 USC 1201 prohibition on anti-circumvention tools, the EFF filed a complaint in the US District Court for the District of Columbia challenging its constitutionality claiming the section restricts people’s ability to access, use, and even speak out about copyrighted materials. The “Digital Rights Management” provision of the law bans activities that weaken copyright access-control systems, including re-configuring software-enabled devices. This imposes a legal cloud over the rights to tinker with or repair devices, to convert or remix videos, or conduct independent security research to reveal dangerous security flaws in computers. If the complaint succeeds, one of the most controversial technology laws will be struck down. Other countries that have been pressured by the US trade representative to adopt this rule will decide whether they will still enforce it, even after the US has given up on it.

copyrightBrooklyn Law School Library has a large collection of material on copyright including the 3d edition of Copyright Law for Librarians and Educators by Kenneth D. Crews (Call No. KF2995 .C74 2012) with 18 discrete areas of copyright, including specialized and controversial music and sound recording issues. The easy-to-use guide has tools that information professionals need to take control of their rights and responsibilities as copyright owners and users.

National Institute’s Publications Added to HeinOnline

The William S. Hein Company has added program materials from the ABA Center for Professional Development‘s National Institutes, to their digital legal library collection, HeinOnline. These substantive materials are assembled each year by the faculty for these in-person programs and represent original analyses of legal developments in the subject areas being addressed.  Coverage begins with 2012.

Below are examples of 2016 Institutes:

To access this material select Hein from the Quick Links menu on the Library’s Webpage  

heinIn the Browse Collections by Names box, expand                              ABA Law Library Collection Periodicals     hein

Artificial Intelligence in Law and Education

robot lawAn intriguing new title in the Brooklyn Law School Library collection is Robot Law by Law Professors Ryan Calo, A. Michael Froomkin, and Ian Kerr (K564.C6 R63 2016). The 402 page book brings together research on robotics law and policy written by scholars from law, engineering, computer science and philosophy on topics such as liability, warfare, domestic law enforcement, personhood, and other cutting-edge issues in robotics and artificial intelligence. The book is an in-depth look at an area of law that is growing in importance. Like the Internet before it, robotics is a technology that will transform the social and economic landscape of legal research and practice. Robot Law looks at the increasing sophistication of robots and their widespread use in hospitals, public spaces, and battlefields requiring rethinking philosophical and public policy issues, including how AI interacts with existing legal regimes and changes in policy and in law.

Whether artificial intelligence will one day displace human lawyers has become so important that, this past April, Vanderbilt Law School hosted the first legal conference on the topic, “Watson, Esq.: Will Your Next Lawyer Be a Machine”. Speakers included Richard Susskind, author of “Tomorrow’s Lawyers” and “The Future of the Professions,” and Andrew Arruda, whose firm ROSS Intelligence helped build ROSS (which does not stand for anything), the world’s first artificially intelligent attorney, on top of IBM Watson.  Designed by students at the  University of Toronto, ROSS is meant for use by lawyers. Asking it a legal question will yeild an “instant answer with citations and suggested readings from a variety of content sources.” ROSS reads and understands language, postulates hypotheses when asked questions, researches, and then generates responses (along with references and citations) to back up its conclusions. It learns from experience, gaining speed and knowledge the more users interact with it.

A recent Washington Post news piece reports that the law firm Baker & Hostetler announced that it is employing ROSS to handle its bankruptcy practice of nearly 50 lawyers. CEO and co-founder Andrew Arruda, says that other firms have also signed licenses with ROSS and expects more announcements soon. Although still in the prototype stage, ROSS shows great promise as an innovative legal research tool. Tasks that ROSS can do include:

  1. Giving relevant answers – not a list of results – to natural language questions;
  2. Learning from user’s questions – it learns and improves the more it is used;
  3. Providing a consistent, easy-to-use experience on any devices used to access it.

At this week’s CALIcon 16 being held at the Georgia State University College of Law, BLS Reference Librarian Harold O’Grady and Technology Educator Lloyd Carew-Reid will present a session, The Future of Artificial Intelligence in Legal Education, Research and Practice. Also participating will be:

  • Professor Heidi Brown (Director of Legal Writing at Brooklyn Law School);
  • Mikhail Jacob (a Ph.D. student at the Georgia Institute of Technology); and
  • Dr. Mark Riedl (an Associate Professor in the Georgia Tech School of Interactive Computing and Director of the Entertainment Intelligence Lab).

Looking for Federal Government Information? Try the New Govinfo website.

Govinfo

The U.S. Government Publishing Office (GPO) has launched a beta version of its new GovInfo web site.  After it completes its beta phase, Govinfo will replace FDsys, the federal government website currently providing  free public access to over 50 different collections of federal government information, including the United States Code, the Code of Federal Regulations, Congressional materials, and selected federal case law.   Users of GovInfo can browse by A-Z list, by category, by date, and by congressional committee content.  To see a list of collections available on Govinfo, visit here.

 

Court Ruling in Touro Synagogue Dispute

This week the NY Times published an intriguing article on the resolution of a four year legal battle over ownership of personal property, silver Torah ornaments called rimonim, used in worship services in the nation’s oldest existing synagogue, Touro Synagogue in Newport, RI.  Judge John J. McConnell, Jr of the US District Court for the District of Rhode Island issued a 106 page opinion in favor of Congregation Jeshuat Israel, worshippers at the 252-year-old Touro Synagogue in Newport who have been battling Shearith Israel in New York City for control of the temple and the right to sell a pair of historic ceremonial ornaments worth millions of dollars. The suite was originally filed in Rhode Island Superior Court, Newport County, in November 2012 and later removed to federal court. Judge McConnell’s opinion begins;

Bricks and mortar of a temple, and silver and gold of religious ornaments, may appear to be at the center of the dispute between the two parties in this case, but such a conclusion would be myopic. The central issue here is the legacy of some of the earliest Jewish settlers in North America, who desired to make Newport a permanent haven for public Jewish worship. Fidelity to their purpose guides the Court in resolving the matters now before it.

torah bellsTouro Synagogue was established in 1763. During and after the Revolutionary War, most of the Newport’s Jewish residents moved away, many of them to New York. By the 1820s, no Jews were left in Newport, and Congregation Shearith Israel became Touro’s trustee. The two congregations began to feud when the Touro congregation tried in 2012 to sell the bells made by a noted 18th-century silversmith, Myer Myers to the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston for $7.4 million to improve the synagogue’s fiscal health. The New York congregation protested and Congregation Jeshuat Israel filed the lawsuit. Since, the museum withdrew the offer leaving the dispute to be decided by the federal court.

Touro Synagogue has become a national historic site drawing visitors from all over the world every year. Its most famous visitor was the nation’s first president George Washington who in 1790, stopped at Touro. After his visit he sent the congregants a letter saying the government of the United States “gives to bigotry no sanction, to persecution no assistance.” It is considered an important pledge of the new nation’s commitment to religious liberty. A search of Brooklyn Law School Library’s ProQuest Congressional database, available to members of the BLS community, will lead to 107 H. Con. Res. 62 dated July 17, 2001. The title of the resolution is “Expressing the Sense of Congress That the George Washington Letter to Touro Synagogue in Newport, Rhode Island, Which Is on Display at the B’nai B’rith Klutznick National Jewish Museum in Washington, DC, Is One of the Most Significant Early Statements Buttressing the Nascent American Constitutional Guarantee of Religious Freedom”.

Summer Access (& Beyond) to Bloomberg, Lexis & Westlaw

The three legal research databases, Bloomberg Law, Lexis Advance and WestlawNext, are available to Brooklyn Law School students this summer.  May 2016 graduates will have access to these databases for six months after graduation.  See the details below:

bloomberglaw65Bloomberg Law:  Provides unlimited and unrestricted access over the summer.  Student accounts will remain active and available all summer.  Graduating students have continued access for six months after graduation.

For questions, contact Maxwell Sivin, Law School Relationship Manager, msivin@bna.com, 646-494-5244.

Lexis AdvanceLexis Advance:  Students will have continuing access all summer for academic, professional, and non-profit research.   All legal and news content will be available.  Your law school ID will remain active all summer.  Summer access begins on the date spring classes end through the beginning of fall classes.

Please check with your summer employer as to their ID guidelines. Some employers may request you use a work ID instead of your student access ID for employer work.

May 2016 graduate have access to Lexis for six months after graduation.

For questions, contact Mary Beth Drain, LexisNexis Account Executive, marybeth.drain@lexisnexis.com, 845-598-3203.

99b7a752.WestlawNext_logoWestlawNext:  Students must extend their passwords for the following academic uses:

  • Summer law school classes & study abroad programs
  • Law Review and Journal, including writing competitions
  • Research assistant
  • Moot Court
  • Unpaid internship/externship

Students with summer employment in law firms, corporations, government agencies and the like should not use their academic password for research and must use their firm issued password.

Students can complete the online summer extension form on the Westlaw homepage at www.lawschool.westlaw.com.  Students will see a banner if they are a 1L or 2L that says “Using Westlaw in the Summertime?”  Then, they should click on the banner and complete the online summer extension form to extend their Westlaw accounts.

Graduates will see an extension form that says “Grads, Want More Westlaw?”  on the Westlaw law school homepage.  Graduates can extend their student accounts by clicking on the banner form and then they will have their access extended through 11/30/16 (for six months after graduation).

For questions, contact Stefanie Efrati, West Academic Account Manager, stefanie.efrati@thomsonreuters.com, 212-548-7432.