World Intellectual Property Day 2012

Since 2000, the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) has designated April 26 as “World Intellectual Property Day.”  This year’s theme is “Visionary Innovators”:

Behind every great innovation, either artistic or technological, is a human story – a tale in which new pathways open as a result of the curiosity, insight or determination of individuals.

The WIPO is an agency of the United Nations focused on “developing a balanced and accessible international intellectual property (IP) system.”  It administers a number of international treaties focused on copyright and related rights.  World Intellectual Property Day was established to increase public awareness and understanding of the significant role of IP in fostering “music, arts and entertainments” and “all the products and technological innovations that help to shape our world.”

Resources on the WIPO website include an overview (including links to PDFs) of United States IP-related statutes and regulations, and WIPO-administered treaty membership.  Please consult the law library’s Intellectual Property Research Guide to locate additional useful resources related to copyright, trademark, and patent law.

Law and the Titanic Tragedy

One hundred years ago today, the RMS Titanic sank, tragically costing more than 1,500 people their lives.

In Custodia Legis blog has a very interesting post about this disaster from a legal perspective, specifically the then applicable laws related to lifeboats–with which the Titanic was in compliance.  Under UK shipping laws at the time, lifeboat capacity was based on ship tonnage rather than numbers of passengers.  According to a Senate Report issued after 18 days of hearings, the Titanic exceeded those requirements by having a lifeboat capacity of 1,176.  The ship had more than 2,200 passengers and crew, but fewer than a quarter of that number survived.

There were lawsuits for personal injury, wrongful death, and property damage. Claims against the ship’s owner in a U.S. courts, however, were severely limited under U.S. Admiralty Law. See Oceanic Steam Navigation Co. v. Mellor, 233 U.S. 712 (1913). Ultimately, cases filed in both the United States and England were resolved by a consolidated settlement. See Robert D. Peltz, The Titanic’s Legacy:  The History and Legal Developments Following the World’s Most Famous Maritime Disaster, 12 U.S.F. Mar. L.J. 45 (1999). 

After Robert Ballard discovered the Titanic wreckage, Congress passed the R.M.S. Titanic Memorial Act of 1986 designating the site “an international maritime memorial to the men,women, and children who perished aboard her.”

Some of the the resources available to GMUSL readers to learn more include:

In addition, the International Maritime Organization website has information on the history of the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) adopted in response to Titanic tragedy.

 

 

Encyclopedia Britannica Ends Print Edition

It would be impossible to count how many school papers were written, family squabbles resolved, curiosity satiated, and book shelves decorated with the help of the print Encyclopedia Britannica.  But in the digital age, if using a print encyclopedia isn’t already a distant memory or a quaint piece of nostalgia, it soon will be.

Encyclopedia Britannica. Inc. announced today that it will become a completely digital product (its primary format for the last 20 years). According to a press release“to mark the retirement of the print set, the entire contents of the Britannica.com website will be available free for one week beginning today.”

13 Steps of Successful Academic Legal Research

Scholarly Writing students, this short article describes 13 steps to researching and writing a good academic article or note. The author writes clearly, succinctly, and with humor. I highly recommend it. Of note, he emphasizes talking to others about your topic, getting help from librarians, using the library catalog, and dividing your time as follows: 60% research, 30% writing, 10% editing.

Do you Ctrl+F?

According to an article in The Atlantic, 90% of web users don’t use Ctrl/Command+F to help find specific words in a Word document or on webpages.

The article cites a study conducted by Dan Russell, a search behavior expert at Google.  Russell discovered this inefficient search behavior based on sampling “thousands” of people.  Most people skimmed through long documents trying to find the one thing they were looking for rather than using Ctrl+F to save time.

Sounds like a short cut worth remembering!

Spading Guide

If you are working on a journal spading assignment, you might like the assistance of the Library’s Scholarly Writing & Spading Guide, which is linked from the Library’s homepage. The second half of the guide is designed to help you find materials for your spading assignment. Of course, don’t hesitate to ask a law librarian for help. Our contact information is here.

Summertime Access to Loislaw

The law school has an agreement with Loislaw to provide students complimentary access to Loislaw online research, which includes searchable primary materials for all 50 states and federal jurisdictions. Unlike Lexis and Westlaw, Loislaw is offered on a year-round basis, and students are encouraged to use Loislaw for part-time and summer positions. Students also have free access for six months after graduation.

To obtain the GMUSL access code for Loislaw, please email Melanie Oberlin at moberlin@gmu.edu or drop-by the Reference Office. To obtain a copy of the Loislaw Subscriber Handbook, please drop by the Reference Office. For more information on Loislaw, click here.

University of Michigan Law Students Protest Commencement Speaker

University of Michigan Law School students staged a silent  protest in response to Ohio Senator Rob Portman’s speech at graduation.  Students objected to Senator Portman’s opposition to gay adoption and marriage.  According to one report, close to 100 students quietly exited the commencement ceremony when Portman was introduced, and the majority of graduates wore rainbow buttons or ribbons. 

Would you like to explore the legal issues related to sexual orientation?  In addition to primary legal materials, some resources available to members of the GMUSL community include:

  • Westlaw:  Sexual orientation and the  Law (SEXORIENT)
  • Ebsco:  LGBT Life with Full Text
  • Library Catalog:  Search related subject headings such as:  Gay Rights, Same-sex marriage, or Gay couples–legal status