AALL Spectrum Blog

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This blog provides a space for conversations about articles and ideas found in AALL Spectrum, the monthly magazine of the American Association of Law Libraries. The previous blog was located at aallspectrum.wordpress.com.
7/25/2013 9:28:46 AM

Program Review: Copyright and Digital Images: If it’s on the Web I Can Use It, Right?

As an academic librarian, I often incorporate digital images in my presentations and handouts for students. I have wondered about the legal ramifications of using images from the web, so I was excited to attend the program “Copyright and Digital Images: If it’s on the Web I Can Use It, Right?”

The presenters provided practical information, and the program was thorough. Coordinator Alicia Brillon quickly dispelled the notion that copyright law does not apply to most images on the web.

Russ Tarleton’s presentation was a comprehensive overview of copyright law as it applies to digital images. He also gave practical tips on how to assess risks when using digital images, and ways to minimize those risks.

Hayley Talbert also discussed how librarians can minimize risk when using digital images. Her presentation included an example of librarians using Flickr, and gave helpful hints about what to do when a photographer or owner of an image contacts you about using their image. Her presentation was especially helpful as Ms. Talbert demonstrated how to search for images using Flickr with various degrees of copyright protection.

Phyllis Marion shared an interesting anecdote about her experience as the agent designated to receive infringement complaints at an academic law library. Ms. Marion’s presentation offered a cautionary tale, and a roadmap for what to do when presented with a takedown notice. Her presentation illustrated some of the pitfalls in using images for common work-related activities such as invitations to office parties.

Sarah Glassmeyer offered advice on how not to be a cautionary tale. She discussed using images in presentations for a non-profit. Her talk was informative, and one of the best tips she offered was to simply ask the holder of a copyrighted image if you may use it.

Finally, Emily Lawson discussed the topic of copyrighted images and website design. She gave great tips such as using your own images, recognizing that not all government images are free from copyright, and the importance of proper attribution.

The presenters kept the audience engaged with live polling questions. Audience members texted in their votes in response to Powerpoint polling questions, and the results of the first forty participants were displayed throughout the presentation.

The session was mainly concerned with risk management as it applied to using digital images for library marketing materials, internal invitations, or online classes offered via a membership subscription. I would have appreciated a brief rundown of the fair use exception for copyrighted images used for an educational purpose. However, the session was thought-provoking and informative. I highly recommend this program as it contains practical advice about using digital images that would be helpful for any law librarian.

Posted By Stephanie Hayes at 7/25/2013 9:28:46 AM  0 Comments
7/24/2013 11:52:56 PM

Program Review: Exhibitor Showcase: Power Searching - Bloomberg Law Docket and Transactional Tools

Bloomberg Law brought their docket and transactional tools to the forefront at the Exhibitor Showcase. In their words, they want to aid in "producing practice ready graduates." As the ABA drafts new competencies, the curriculum in law schools (especially legal research courses) must change to meet those new goals. Preparing transactional law attorneys as well as litigators with legal research and practice-aiding tools will likely be part of this.

Valerie Carullo (Bloomberg Law Librarian Relationship Manager and former Reference Librarian at New York Law School) highlighted the ways in which certain Bloomberg Law tools may be utilized by both litigators and transactional attorneys. Dockets and alerts can be tailored to anticipate client business. Filed complaints can be turned into drafting tools. One of the strengths of Bloomberg Dockets is the ease of searching by keyword through the full text of complaints. Using advanced search techniques in their Dockets database can be a means of locating key information for vetting expert witnesses.

Bloomberg is also building out their transactional tools that are largely organized by practice area. Valerie reviewed the Checklist & Timelines and Quick Reference Guides - excellent resources for both new and experienced attorneys. The DealMaker Documents & DealMaker Clauses enable the attorney to run side-by-side red-line comparisons of clauses they have found in Bloomberg's databases. Similar side-by-side comparisons are even available to compare U.S. patent documents.

While other vendors are acquiring products that provide these types of transactional/drafting tools, Bloomberg seems to be building them into the Bloomberg Law platform from an early point, while quickly adding interaction with the other areas of the platform (case law, dockets, company profiling). If they can keep moving forward with his constant integration and interaction in mind, they'll be ahead of their competitors. Their competitors seem to be constantly struggling to get all their individual pieces, including the newly acquired ones, to play nice with each other. The new platforms seem to be where this integration will be taking place, but it's been slow going.

It will be interesting to see where Bloomberg is able to take this integration and interaction in future developments. If nothing else, maybe their advances will push their brethren in the right direction of innovation, and speed up the pace a bit too.

Posted By Diana Koppang at 7/24/2013 11:52:56 PM  0 Comments
7/24/2013 10:50:13 PM

Program Review: Anatomy of a Civil Lawsuit: Documents from Start to Finish in Dockets

This was easily one of the more entertaining and enjoyable sessions of the conference - and yet, still educational. The session focused on the timeline of a civil lawsuit, augmented with tips on searching dockets (mostly specific to Bloomberg dockets) and the treasures that can be found within dockets if you know where to look - as long as you have some patience, tenacity and creativity. Luckily, they're presenting to librarians.

Jim Murphy of Bloomberg moderated the session along with providing his expertise on Bloomberg Law's Dockets database. Mary E. Matuszak, Director of Library Services for the New York District Attorney's Office, and Christine Sellers, Research Specialist at Nelson Mullins Riley and Scarborough L.L.P. opened the session with a surprising skit.

It was a skit about shoes. Yes, shoes. (I hope I got this right...) It seems Christine borrowed shoes from Mary. Christine fell while walking in the shoes and ruined them. Christine is suing Mary for falling. Mary is countersuing for her shoes being ruined. At least I think that's how it went down.

I'd like to say that such a petty lawsuit would have no place in the American justice system. But who am I kidding?

Their (thankfully) fake lawsuit provided an ongoing construct for illustrating the back and forth filings that occur when a lawsuit is initially filed through the case conclusion.

The data points within a docket were reviewed including a particularly interesting trivia point that the first two digits of a federal district court case number (before the colon) is the vicinage number (as in vicinity) for identifying a particular court within a federal district.

The tips for what you can get from a docket beyond just the timeline of the case were very useful. For example, you can use the docket as a point of contact information for attorneys. Or you may check the complaint as a source of information for addresses of the parties to the suit. When you're reviewing a rather large docket and need to focus in on the more important filings look for key "ritual language" such as "in support of motion for summary judgment" rather than just "motion for summary judgment" which could include all the various scheduling orders or motions to submit extra pages in the brief. Corporate disclosure statements, filed at the beginning of a case in order for a judge to know whether she needs to recuse herself, may be a good source for information on company hierarchical relationships. But exhibits are where the "juicy" stuff is - contracts, license agreements, expert reports, deposition excerpts.

Christine took the lead on the last portion of the presentation on state dockets. She illustrated her examples with the online case information systems available in the state courts of South Carolina. She advised always searching the home county as well as the surrounding counties of the individual or company in question.

I found this to be a very rewarding presentation and I found the presenters to be knowledgeable and engaging. My only complaint is that they were sorely pressed for time (only 45 minutes) despite how quickly they moved through the material. This would be an excellent program to bring back at future meetings - though a longer time slot would definitely be warranted.

Posted By Diana Koppang at 7/24/2013 10:50:13 PM  0 Comments