Dec. 10 is the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Today, Washington, D.C., will be designated as the first Human Rights City in the United States. The American Friends Service Committee and the People’s Movement for Human Rights Learning will host a celebratory event with local political and civic leaders.
A free, searchable database of the September 26 presidential debate has been released by AskSam Systems. The database contains a full-text searchable transcript of the full debate between Republican candidate John McCain and Democratic candidate Barack Obama. You can search and browse this first debate online, and askSam is planning to make available at this same site electronic versions of upcoming debates.
The number of Bureau of National Affairs publications available on the Web to the Georgetown Law community has expanded. The newest titles are: Alternative Investment Law Report, State Attorneys General News, Workplace Immigration Report, World Climate Change Report, and Web Watch. This last site contains links to documents on hot topics, as selected by BNA staff.
FictionDB, formerly available as a subscription but now free, offers easy access to concise information about works of fiction and their authors. You can search this database to find authors and lists of their titles. You will also find reviews, synopses, other works in the same series, news of upcoming releases, and ways to buy books from booksellers. Create an account and you can track your own collection and wish list.
You may already be using OCLC’s WorldCat.org to find book titles. Now, approximately 20 million records that describe journal articles have been added to the ones already in WorldCat.org. These records represent articles in the British Library’s “Inside Serials” service. If you find a WorldCat.org citation to an article that you would like to read, look at the bottom of the record for the link that says, “Check full text availability.” This will take you to a screen that lists the databases (that Georgetown subscribes to) where the article is available. Click again to get to the journal online.
The Thomson Corp. and Reuters announced that the European Commission, U.S. Department of Justice, and the Canadian Competition Bureau have given approval for Thomson’s proposed acquisition of Reuters. In order to obtain clearance, Thomson has agreed to sell a copy of the Thomson Fundamentals (Worldscope) database and Reuters has agreed to sell a copy of the Reuters Estimates, Reuters Aftermarket Research, and Reuters Economics (EcoWin) databases.
The Law Library now offers automatic access to the Homeland Security Digital Library.
The HSDL provides quick access to U.S. policy documents, presidential directives, and national strategy documents as well as specialized resources that include theses and reports from various universities, organizations, and local and state agencies. When you are on campus, you do not need to register for use, but when you are off campus, you must set up an individual account.
If libraries are to get relief regarding the orphan works on their shelves, it looks like it won’t come from the courts. This week the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear the appeal of Kahle v. Ashcroft, brought by Internet Archive and Open Content Alliance founders Brewster Kahle and Rick Prelinger in 2003, which challenged the constitutionality of the current copyright regime. Although not unexpected, the Supreme Court’s refusal comes after a recent ruling by the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals raised hopes of a review, and lets stand the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals’ rejection, effectively ending the case.
The Kahle suit was launched in the wake of the unsuccessful 2003 Eldred v. Ashcroft case, which challenged Congess’ extension of copyright terms. In that ruling, the Supreme Court held that changes by Congress to the “traditional contours” of copyright law warranted a First Amendment review. Kahle v. Ashcroft contended that Congress’s sweeping changes to copyright law in 1976 were enough of a change in the “contours of copyright” to require review.
Until 1976, copyright law required creators to register their works. Changes to the law, however, removed the necessity to register works and extended the basic copyright term from 28 years to “life plus 70 years.” The combination of those changes has thrown many works without clear copyright owners into legal limbo, creating the so-called orphan works problem.
The Tenth Circuit, in Fall, 2007, bolstered hopes of a Supreme Court review for Kahle, with its ruling in Golan v. Gonzales, which held that a provision of the Uruguay Round Agreements Act (URAA) that “restored” copyrights to some works already in the public domain was enough of a change to copyright traditions as to require review. In that ruling, Kahle’s lawyers hoped the Supreme Court would see a legal point of reference and would agree that changing copyright from an opt-in system with a short protection period to an opt-out system with a lengthy protection period was also significant enough to warrant review. [source: LJ’s Academic Newswire, Jan. 10, 2008]