If you have ever checked a book out of this or any other library, then you have been the beneficiary of the “First Sale Doctrine.” Under 17 U.S.C. § 109:
…the owner of a particular copy or phonorecord lawfully made under this title, or any person authorized by such owner, is entitled, without the authority of the copyright owner, to sell or otherwise dispose of the possession of that copy or phonorecord.
This provision is at the heart of much of what libraries do—loan materials to patrons. It also allows you to gather up all your long ignored novels or old textbooks and sell them on Ebay.
The question addressed in Kirtsaeng v. John Wiley & Sons, Inc. is whether this right of resale/redistribution extends to someone who pushes the envelope by purchasing numerous copies of an American publisher’s textbooks, lawfully produced overseas, and reselling them at a hefty profit here in the U.S. Yesterday, the Supreme Court answered affirmatively, holding “ that the ‘first sale’ doctrine applies to copies of a copyrighted work lawfully made abroad.”
Today is the 50th Anniversary of the Supreme Court’s landmark decision in Gideon v. Wainwright, 372 U.S. 335 (1963), in which the Court held that a state criminal defendant has a Sixth Amendment right to counsel. The opinion states, in part:
The right of one charged with crime to counsel may not be deemed fundamental and essential to fair trials in some countries, but it is in ours. From the very beginning, our state and national constitutions and laws have laid great emphasis on procedural and substantive safeguards designed to assure fair trials before impartial tribunals in which every defendant stands equal before the law. This noble ideal cannot be realized if the poor man charged with crime has to face his accusers without a lawyer to assist him.
Andrew Lewis tells Gideon’s story case in the legal classic, Gideon’s Trumpet—widely considered a must-read for law students.
The Law Library will be open the following hours:
- Saturday March 9: Noon – 6pm
- Sunday March 10: Noon – 8pm
- Mon.-Thurs. March 11-14: 8am – 9pm
- Friday March 15: 8am – 6pm
- Saturday March 16: Noon – 6pm
The Reference Office will be open Monday-Friday 9am – 5pm.
The Sunlight Foundation has launched Open States. This service allows you to track bills and search for upcoming legislation for all states, D.C., and Puerto Rico, and access campaign and contact information for state legislators.
As noted here previously, the Sunlight Foundation also supports Scout—offering free searching and customized alerts for federal and state legislative action (including bills & speeches) and federal regulations.
Here are the details from ScotusBlog:
Bloomberg Law and SCOTUSblog’s Supreme Court Challenge
Welcome to Bloomberg Law and SCOTUSblog’s Supreme Court Challenge! Do you have what it takes to beat Tom Goldstein’s expert team and win up to $5,000?
You and your teammates will use the first-class resources provided by Bloomberg Law and SCOTUSblog – including opinions, Supreme Court briefs, Justices’ profiles, and news – to perform research to make your predictions for merits cases and petitions for certiorari that will be considered by the Court in March 2013. View the required training videos to learn more about these resources, and visit Bloomberg Law for tips and tricks on how best to execute your research.
Prizes will be awarded to the three student teams with the most points as follows:
- First prize is a minimum of $3,500, with an additional $1,500 awarded if your team also beats the experts at SCOTUSblog.
- Second prize is $1,500, with an additional $1,000 if you beat the SCOTUSblog team.
- Third prize is $1,000, with an additional $500 if you beat the SCOTUSblog team.
Teams of up to five students from the same law school can register by February 28, 2013 and submit their picks by March 14, 2013. See the competition rules for more details.
Ronald Dworkin was a professor at NYU Law and an influential Anglo-American legal theorist. His many writings include his best known book, Law’s Empire (1986), which won the prestigious Coif Award and the Ames Prize at Harvard Law School.
Here is a summary of Dworkin’s jurisprudence from his NYU biography:
In Dworkin’s view, every legal interpretation reflects an underlying theory about the general character of law; he assesses three such theories. One, previously influential, takes the law of a community to be only what the established conventions of that community say it is. Another, currently popular, assumes that legal practice is best understood as an instrument of society to achieve its policy goals. Dworkin opposes both views, arguing that the most fundamental purpose of law is not to report consensus or provide efficient means to social goals, but to be ethical; that is, to meet the requirement that a political community act in a coherent and principled manner toward all its members.
February is Black History Month. The theme for 2013 is ”At the Crossroads of Freedom & Equality: The Emancipation Proclamation and the March on Washington.” This year marks the 150th Anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation (January 1, 1863) and the 50th Anniversary of the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom (August 28, 1963).
GMUSL’s Chapter of the Black Law Student Association (BLSA) and the Law Library have partnered to honor these important events in American History. Please take a moment to view a special presentation in the library display case near the atrium.
Black History Month was founded by the Association for the Study of African American Life & History (ASALH) at Howard University. For more information, visit the ASALH website.
William Howard Taft was the first and only U.S. President to also serve as a justice of the U.S. Supreme Court. His newest claim to fame: he has joined the roster as the fifth racing president at Nationals Park.
Nominated to the Supreme Court by President Warren G. Harding in 1921, Taft served as Chief Justice until February 3,1930. Arguably, Justice Taft’s greatest legacy was his role in improving the administrative efficiency of the U.S. Courts. Two significant reforms during his tenure include the establishment of the predecessor to the Judicial Conference of the United States and his push to narrow the Supreme Court’s mandatory jurisdiction, embodied in the Judiciary Act of 1925 (43 Stat 936).
Time will tell how #27 (aptly nicknamed “Big Chief”) will transfer his judicial acumen to challenge the often illicit antics of his more seasoned rivals.
In observance of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, the Law Library will closed on Monday, January 21.
The MLK holiday became federal law fifteen years after Martin Luther King, Jr.’s death. The holiday was first observed in 1986, but it took another 17 years for nationwide recognition. In 1994, the holiday was designated a day of service under the direction of the Corporation for National and Community Service. For resources about the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., visit the King Center Website.
Benjamin Franklin was born on January 17, 1706. One of his many claims to fame was his participation in the Constitutional Convention at age 81. The highly quoted Franklin said this (as transcribed by James Madison, September 17, 1787) about his support for the intensely debated Constitution:
I doubt too whether any other Convention we can obtain, may be able to make a better Constitution: For when you assemble a Number of Men to have the Advantage of their joint Wisdom, you inevitably assemble with those Men all their Prejudices, their Passions, their Errors of Opinion, their local Interests, and their selfish Views. From such an Assembly can a perfect Production be expected? It therefore astonishes me, Sir, to find this System approaching so near to Perfection as it does; and I think it will astonish our Enemies, who are waiting with Confidence to hear that our Councils are confounded, like those of the Builders of Babel, and that our States are on the Point of Separation, only to meet hereafter for the Purpose of cutting one another’s throats. Thus I consent, Sir, to this Constitution because I expect no better, and because I am not sure that it is not the best.