November 15, 2010

The WWW at 20

November 12. 2010 is the twentieth anniversary of a research proposal that is remaking our world. As Ben Zimmer tells it in his November 14 On Language column, WWW: The 20th Anniversary of a Research Proposal That Remande the Language in the New York Times, Tim Berners-Lee, a British software programmer working at CERN outside Geneva, was attempting to "sketch out a global system for sharing information over the Internet. After submitting a document in 1989 on the topic which generated little interest, Berners-Lee tried again in 1990, collaborating with a Belgian engineer Robert Cailliau. It was this paper, WorldWideWeb: Proposal for a Hyper Text Project, submitted on November 12, 2010, that is the true basis of the World Wide Web as we know of it today. There are a number of articles, papers, and media events commemorating this seminal event, but for a quick read that is also informative, Mr. Zimmer's colum in the Sunday November 14, 2010 New York Times comes highly recommended.

David Badertscher

May 19, 2010

Search and Seizure Evidence in the Computer Age: Fourth Amendment Implications

A program presented by the state trial judges during the 2010 Annual Meeting of the American Bar Association in San Francisco at the Marriott Marquis On August 5, from 1:30-4:30 p.m..

Attendees registered for the 2010 ABA Annual Meeting are invited to join the National Conference of State Trial Judges for an in-depth look at search and seizure of digital evidence and the Fourth Amendment implications. This program is designed to provide an understanding of the sources and types of digital evidence encountered in modern litigation, including the introduction of meta data; examine the approaches courts take to address the search and seizure of digital evidence; explore cutting-edge issues such as search and seizure considerations with cell phones, e-mails, virtual worlds, and the like; and discuss judicial management of cyber-crime cases.

The program will end with a final segment titled “Technology Tools for Judges,” that focuses on digital tools available for judges to use while dealing with electronic documents and data, and metadata, now so prevalent in the courts. Participants will learn the components of
Knowledge Management systems, how security issues have been treated, and the relative merits of generic search systems vs. legalspecific systems.

December 8, 2009

Use of Internet Technology by Jurors and Others During a Trial

David Badertscher*

Some jurors have always had an urge to visit a crime scene or research a case they're considering while on jury duty, but now the Internet is making it much easier to play detective.

"As simple as it might have been to research facts on their own in the past, now jurors don't have to have a brother-in-law who's a doctor or a next-door neighbor who's a dentist. Everyone has access to the world of doctors and dentists," says Laura A. Miller, the chair of the criminal litigation section of the American Bar Association and a partner at Nixon Peabody.

Courts across the country are wrestling with the problem.

According to an article by Douglas L. Keene and Rita R Handrich in the November 2009 issue of The Jury Expert: The Art of Science and Litigation Advocacy, trials have been disrupted due to the internet from as far back as 2001. The sense of “feeling connected” through the internet has lead to various issues relating to legal issues, including using social media during trials.

The internet and social media has affected trials. Jurors use the internet and social media as research tools, even during jury duty. Jurors also communicate about cases online. Some say the reason for this type of behavior is because people are more self‐centered and do not consider the impact of their behavior on others. However, the real issues involve juror curiosity and naivete about their behavior.

In order to resolve these issues, the focus of the legal system has been to revise jury instructions so that jurors are explicitly told to not do internet research. According to data gathered in response to a New York Times article, the public sentiment falls into three categories. The first group says, “take away their phones,” the second says, that the legal system should figure out a way to how to deal with this new issue (taking away juror cell phones would be ineffective), and the third (smallest) group says that jurors should use these tools as a method to dig deeper into courtroom issues.

The Jury Expert article referenced above, Online and Wired for Justice: Why Jurors Turn to the Internet, also includes several recommendations and strategies for addressing the issues of jurors and internet. As the article points out, "...It isn't just jurors!" The disruptive internet-related activities of judges, attorneys, witnesses, parties and jurors must also be concerned as part of the overall problem. This and many other articles on the topic agree that increasing use of internet based technology by jurors and others in a court setting can be a broad based problem and that all concerned, especially jurors, need to be educated on the importance of not engaging in "Google mistrials".
* I am grateful to Michael Chernicoff for his assistance in preparing this article.

November 16, 2009

ABA Jurimetrics Journal Goes Electronic

Jurimetrics, The Journal of Law, Science and Technology (ISBN 0897-1277), published quarterly, is the journal of the American Bar Association, Section of Seience & Technology law and the Center for Study of Law, Science and Technology of the Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law, Arizona State University. It was first published in 1959 under the leadership of Layman Allen as Modern Uses of Logic in Law (MULL). A former name, Jurimetrics Journal, was adopted in 1966. The current name was adopted in 1978. Until now Jurimetrics has been published and distributed in hard copy. Soon ( beginning with the Winter 2010 issue) Jurimetrics will be electronic only.

According to the American Bar Association, here is how this works: Subscribers will receive an e-mail message letting them know when a new issue is available. That e-mail will include a link to a Web site where subscribers can lood at all of the abstracts and then download-or print out-any of the articles they want to read in PDF format.

The electronic version will be fully searchable, so subscribers can scan Jurimetrics for topics that are of interest. According to ABA this enhanced format also means that subscribers can be provided with more articles, "packed with more information--and get them to you much faster."

Members and non-members of the ABA Section of Science & Technology Law will still be able to obtain an additional print-on-demand version for a fee at the end of each publishing year.

July 15, 2009

U.S. Supreme Court Decision Requires Forensic Analysts to Testify in Court

David Badertscher

Legal experts and prosecutors are quite concerned about possible results of the June 25, 2009 U.S. Supreme Court decision Melendez-Diaz v. Massachusetts 07-591. In this decision the Court has ruled that forensic analysts conducting tests must be in court to testify about their test results and that lab sheets that identify a substance as a narcotic, or breath test printouts describing a suspect's blood-alcohol level are no longer to be considered as sufficient evidence. A person is now required to be in court to talk about the test results. The basic question the Supreme Court addressed in this opinion was: "Is a state forensic analyst's laboratory report prepared for use in a criminal prosecution "testimonial" evidence subject to the demands of the Sixth Amendment's Confrontation Clause as set forth in Crawford v. Washington?"* In its ruling the Supreme Court answered, yes.
*The above quote was taken from discussion of this opinion in the U.S. Supreme Court Oyez website at. . This site also includes links to the text of the opinion as well at to the Syllabus, dissent, concurrance, and argument. For additional information see discussion in a July 15, 2009 Washington Post article by Tom Jackman, and follow the link on the U.S. Supreme Court website.

July 14, 2009

The Importance of Forensics in the Fields of Criminal Law and Justice: An Introduction


It’s easier to solve crime today than it was 50 years ago, because of the advances that have been made in the field of science, or to be more specific, forensic science. In fact, new and innovative crime solving techniques are being introduced by the day to help law enforcement officers solve cases that are baffling at first. If we took a long and hard look at the role that forensics play in the fields of criminal law and justice, we would see how important it is in solving crime because:

It helps establish the nature of the crime: There are some crimes that are accidents and others that are by design. Looking at the evidence through a forensic microscope allows cops and others in the law enforcement area to determine if the crime was a murder, suicide or other form of accidental death. In the case of a murder, forensic evidence tells them if the crime was accidental or carried out in cold blood. Forensic science is also used to investigate and solve burglaries, drug offenses, arsons and automobile accidents.

It helps remove personal prejudices: Forensic science forces law enforcement officers to look only at the evidence and not follow cases on their instincts or feelings. It thus provides a quantifiable way to solve crime, one that can be used to provide cold, hard evidence that is more acceptable in courts and to juries in convicting the guilty or acquitting the innocent.

It brings to light evidence that is not visible to the naked eye: Forensic science uses a number of techniques to help discover evidence that is not immediately visible. So even in cases where there seems to be no evidence at all, a minute fingernail or a strand of hair can help nail the criminal. The methods and techniques used are detailed and accurate, and if done carefully and correctly, can help recreate the crime in laboratory settings and solve the crime.

And last and most important of all, it helps solve the crime: Using details such as the time of death and other physical evidence, forensic science can prove conclusively if a person is guilty of the crime or innocent as they claim. If used wisely and correctly, forensic science can help convict the guilty and acquit the innocent, both of which are equally important when someone is being prosecuted for a crime. Forensic science is thus a great comfort to those who have been affected by the crime and a valuable tool for the criminal law and justice departments in fighting crime and bringing it to book.

*This article is written by Kat Sanders, who regularly blogs on the topic of forensic science technician schools at her blog Forensic Scientist Blog. She welcomes your comments and questions at her email address:

For those of you who would like more information on forensic science, we invite you to see L Fabry's compilation of the top 50 forensic science blogs, sites, and resources posted on the Forensic Scientist Blog.

June 15, 2009

Columbia Science and Technology Law Review Goes Open Access

The following is an announcement from Luis Villa, the outgoing Editor-in-Chief of the Columbia Science and Technology Law Review (STLR). Beginning with Volume X STLR will become a "formal open access journal and comply with the recent Durham Statement on open access" and will become the first Columbia journal to publish through the Columbia University Library's archival quality Academic Commons publication system:


Most of you know me from past ventures; for those who don't, my
apologies for reaching out to you in this manner, but it is a one-time
event that I hope you'll find it worth your attention.

My name is Luis Villa, and I'm the outgoing Editor-in-Chief of the
Columbia Science and Technology Law Review (STLR). I'm writing to you
because of your past interests in open access scholarship and the law.
I am excited to announce that beginning with this volume, STLR will
become a formal open access journal and comply with the recent Durham
Statement on open access. As part of that process, our articles will
be published under a Creative Commons NC-ND license, and we'll become
the first Columbia journal to publish through the Columbia Library's
archival-quality Academic Commons publication system.

While small, our journal has always had consistently high quality
(third in citations per article amongst science and technology law
journals, according to the Washington and Lee ratings). We hope that
this move will further improve the visibility, availability, and
permanence of our scholarship, for the benefit of both the journal and
of our authors. We also hope it will allow us to be a trend-setter for
other Columbia journals, as we all inevitably move into the brave new
economics of publicly available scholarship. I was excited to hear
today that one other Columbia journal has already approached the
library about following in our footsteps, and as you're all aware this
is part of a larger trend across all law schools (exemplified by the
Durham Statement.)

While we realize that in the grand scheme of things this is not huge
news, we think that as part of the larger, recent trend towards open
access this is to some extent newsworthy. If you'd like to write about
this in your own blogs or other work, you can read our formal
announcement and link to it at

Besides the Open Access announcement, we also think we have some high
quality scholarship in this volume, particularly interesting pieces on
the mailbox rule in an internet age and a game-based simulation of the
economics of patents. The volume itself is available at or directly from the
Columbia Library at the (slightly more cumbersome ;)

Finally, if you're interested in publishing with us in the future, you
can reach out to the EIC directly at, or through BePress

Thanks for your time and attention; please feel free to reach out to
me if you have any questions or thoughts.


Full text of letter from EIC follows:

Hello, and welcome to Volume X of the Columbia Science and Technology
Law Review.

Starting with this volume, we've made two significant changes to how
we publish, and I wanted to write this note to explain those changes
and why we did them.

First, we've decided to meet the standards set out by the Open Access
Law Program and formally seek to become an Open Access Law Journal. To
that end, we've refined our author agreement (already very liberal) to
explicitly ensure that authors retain their copyrights, and we are
making our agreement public on our website. At the same time, we are
also embracing open publication, formally putting our articles under a
Creative Commons Non-Commercial No-Derivatives license, and allowing
our authors to distribute themselves under even more liberal licenses
if they so choose.

Second, in order to meet the standards set forward by the Durham
Statement on Open Access to Legal Scholarship, we're moving our
backend from our own server to professionally maintained,
archival-quality services run by the Columbia Library. We were already
publishing in the relatively open PDF format. As a result of these two
choices, we can now be fully confident that our digital scholarship
has the same permanence and long-term shelf life as a paper journal-
a big step forward for digital scholarship in general.

For readers of our journal, these two small changes should not have
much impact. Expect the same high quality content, delivered more
reliably, and with clearer terms explaining your ability to use and
share our scholarship with others. In addition, as a result of our
partnership with the Columbia Libraries, in coming volumes you'll see
new functionality on our website, like subscriptions via email.

For authors, both current and future, we expect that these changes
will improve our already high citation rankings. It will also clarify
your rights and make sure that your writing benefits you, first and
foremost. Authors interested in these benefits, should, of course,
feel free to contact us about publication!

It has been a pleasure and an honor to serve with a terrific, patient
staff this year; we hope you enjoy and learn from the results, as we


Luis Villa

Editor-in-Chief, STLR Volume X

May 18, 2009

SciTech e-Merging News - Highlights

Volme 1 Issue 4 Spring 2009.

A quarterly newsletter of the American Bar Association Section on Science and Technology.


Come Together, Right Now

For many of us, it’s been a long, cold lonely winter as we’ve tried to find our way through a seemingly endless economic blizzard. But the summer is finally coming and with it the ABA Annual Meeting in Chicago, July 30-August 2, 2009. Whether you’re looking for networking opportunities, fabulous programs, CLE credit, other ways to enhance your practice and further your career, or simply fun in the sun, you’ll find it at the ABA Annual Meetinng.

Practice Edge

ABA's Response to Recession

The ABA's Economic Recovery Resource website responds to the challenging economic times we face. ABA members may access free content, resources, and benefits on the Economic Recovery Resources portal at The ABA also offers 4 free recession recovery programs focused on practice and career development. This program includes FREE CLE.


The Biotechnology Law Committee's weekly update publishes a roundup of hyperlinks to current legal, business, regulatory, and scientific developments in the industry.

Clinical Trials and the Financial Markets

Since 1980, U.S. policy has encouraged scientists to collaborate with commercial enterprises, particularly in the biomedical sector, in an effort to drive innovation. Generally speaking, there is consensus that entrepreneurial relationships with pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies have produced significant benefits for science and the economy.

E-Discovery and Digital Evidence Case Digest

Five decisions for this week’s digest. The first, a duty to preserve decision. The second decision reminds us that eDiscovery abuse sanctions can survive summary judgment, and is followed by two authentication cases (one of which is a criminal matter, but each of which pays some degree of homage to Magistrate Judge Grimm’s decision in Lorraine v Markel American Ins.), and a decision discussing the standards of a federal district court’s review of a U.S. Magistrate’s Report and Recommendation.

Free Cleantech Brown Bag

The Section's new Cleantech and Climate Change Committee hosts free educational programs to learn about hot clean technology and the law topics.

How to Get a Job and Grow Your Practice

The SciTech Edge: Insights from ABA SciTech Section Leaders: for law students and young lawyers...

ABA Member Advantage

ABA Member Advantage company discounts make it easy and affordable to streamline tasks and communications. ABA Member Advantage companies such as Starwood Hotels, Hertz and Bank of America are ready to put you on the road to a happy place.

Proposed Patent Case Legislation

The Section of Intellectual Property Law sent the attached letter and supporting documents to the House Judiciary Committee in support of the enactment of legislation to establish a pilot program to support enhancement of expertise in patent cases among U.S. District Court judges.

May 12, 2009

Is Forensic Science Becoming Fragmanted and Less Reliable?

While most agree that forensic science is a critical element of the criminal justice system, there are increasing expressions of concern as to whether it is becoming fragmanted, less reliable, and urgently needs an infusion of financial and research support in order to remain viable.

These and related concerns have been discussed in a variety of books, journals as well as the web media. Of particular interest to many is the National Academy of Sciences Report on Forensics which addresses directly many of the points mentioned above. While I cannot link directly to that Report here I can link to the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) catalog where you can purchase a copy: . There may be a free summary available at that site. The NAS Report is also discussed in some depth in an American Judicature Society Editorial at Also recommended is the Comments on the Release of the NAS Report on Forensic Sciences by the American Society of Crime Laboratory Directors (ASCLD).

Recognizing the growing concern and importane of viable forensics, the New York Times has devoted most of the Science Section of its May 12, 2009 issue to what it calls the "New Forensics". This issue contains a wide selection of articles addressing various aspects of forensic science as related to criminal justice. Links to a few are included in the listings below:"

Plugging the Holes in the Science of Forensics. by Henry Fountain. "A push in forensic science for the kind of rigorous peer-related research that is the hallmark of classic science."

In the Lab, An Ever-Growing Database of DNA Profiles," by Solomon Moore
"The FBI's National Index System, a database of 6.7million genetic profiles is the world's largest repository of DNA information."

"Tracking Cyberspies Through the Web Wildnerness" by John Markoff "Cyberforensics is a new genre of detective work that presents immense technical challenges."

"Judging Honesty by Words, Not Fidgets" by Benedict Carey "Identifying the telling clues in the accounts of liars.

Speech Patterns in Message Betray a Killer by Elizabeth Swoboda
"...He knew Julie was always careful to let her children know where she would be and he couldn't shake a feeling that something was off about the text messages."

March 5, 2009

CBS News Show 60 Minutes to Report on Eyewitness Identification


60 Minutes to Report on Eyewitness Identification Reform

The CBS News show, 60 Minutes will air a two-segment report on Eyewitness Identification Reform on Sunday, March 8, 2009, at 7pm EST.

Dr. Gary L. Wells, Director of Social Sciences for the AJS Institute of Forensic Science and Public Policy, and Christine Mumma, member of the AJS Board of Directors, were both interviewed for the program. The 60 Minutes segment will focus on problems with misidentification of suspects and potential reforms, which are currently being studied by AJS (American Judicature Society) and other organizations in the national Eyewitness Identification Field Studies.

Mistaken eyewitness identification is widely considered the leading cause of wrongful convictions in the United States. Of the 232 cases over-turned by DNA evidence to date, over 75% have involved faulty eyewitness identification. To learn more about the national Eyewitness Identification Field Studies, please visit the AJS Institute of Forensic Science and Public Policy’s website at

February 18, 2009

Conference: Forensic Science for the 21st Century: The National Academy of Science Report and Beyond

To be held on April 3-4, 2009 in Tempe, Arizona.

The Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law at Arizona State University will host an international conference, Forensic Science for the 21st Century: The National Academy of Sciences Report and Beyond," on April 3-4 in Tempe, Ariz. The focal point of the conference, for which CLE will be available, is the long-awaited National Academy of Sciences' report on the future of forensic science, which will be released at 1 p.m. EST on Wednesday, Feb. 18, at a press briefing and via Webcast at Early registration for the conference, which offers a $250 discount off the at-the-door rate, closes on Friday, Feb. 27. The conference will include nearly three dozen renowned experts in the field, including both co-chairmen of the NAS forensic science committee, and many others. This conference is a must-attend for any practitioner who produces, uses or evaluates forensic science evidence, including prosecutors, public defenders, private attorneys, judges, forensic scientists, criminalists and others. Details:

January 27, 2009

New York Times: A Tool to Verify Digital Records, Even as Technology Shifts

The above titled January 27, 2009 article by John Markoff, published in the New York Times is relevant because it discusses digitization, preservation and authentication of records (and by extension information) in terms of continuously preserving these qualities in an authentic state as the underlying technology constantly changes or "shifts" over time, thus taking into account and emphasizing the importance of both the initial authentication of information in accordance with accepted polices and practices and the urgency of maintaining that authenticity over time. In terms of this discussion the question for law librarians and others throughout the legal profession working with digital legal information is how to best provide assurance that primary and other legal information officially authenticated at a given time can be safely perceived as remaining reliably authentic over a much longer period of time in the midst of these constant shifts? Since John Markoff's article may help us at least clarify these issues I wanted to share it with you.

David Badertscher

Here are some excerpts:

"On Tuesday a group of researchers at the University of Washington are releasing the initial component of a public system to provide authentication for an archive of video interviews with the prosecutors and other members of the International Criminal Tribunal for the Rwandan genocide. The group will also release the first portion of the Rwandan archive.

This system is intended to be available for future use in digitally preserving and authenticating first-hand accounts of war crimes, atrocities and genocide.

Such tools are of vital importance because it has become possible to alter digital text, video and audio in ways that are virtually undetectable to the unaided human eye and ear.

The researchers said history was filled with incidents of doctoring, deleting or denying written records. Now, they say, the authenticity of digital documents like videos, transcripts of personal accounts and court records can be indisputably proved for the first time."[Highlights entered by me--not the author DGB]

"Both because of the rapid pace of innovation and the tendency of computers to wear out in months or years, the likelihood that digital files will be readable over long periods of time is far less certain even than the survival of paper documents. Computer processors are quickly replaced by incompatible models, software programs are developed with new data formats, and digital storage media, whether digital tape, magnetic disk or solid state memory chips, are all too ephemeral.

Several technologists are already grappling with the evanescent nature of digital records."

[Much of the remaining article discusses the nature and implications of "grappling with the evanescent nature of digital records"]

To see the entire article, go to:

Those interested in more detailed information regarding issues related to the authentication of online legal resources will want to see the Amieican Association of Law Libraries report: State-By-State Report on Authentication of Online Legal Resources at . The American Association of Law Libraries is continuing its efforts to facilitate acceptable atthentication of online legal resources largely through its Electronic Legal Information Access and Citation (ELIACC). Although I am currently a member of this Committee, all opinions expressed above are strictly my own and should not be attributed to either AALL or ELIACC.

November 17, 2008

Cell Phones and Text Messaging

Notes from Law Technology News Online Update November 17, 2008.

Cell Phones

"If you use a handheld device while driving in California, Connecticut, New Jersey, New York, Puerto Rico, or Washington (state or D.C.), you are breaking the law. Utah and New Hampshire have some mention of handheld cell phone use — but mostly as a means of enacting distracted driver laws. Some jurisdictions have bans in certain cities (including Phoenix and Detroit)."

"If you're a novice driver (and jurisdictions vary on what constitutes "novice"), you are banned from using all cell phones while driving within D.C. and 18 states. D.C. and 17 states have also banned the use of handheld cell phones when operating a school bus when passengers are present (except emergencies)"

"There are some exceptions. In California, commercial drivers are exempted from the ban until the year 2011. Connecticut and D.C. have exemptions for some professions as well. And while certain locales have addressed handheld cell phone devices, no states have completely banned the use of all cell phones while operating a vehicle."

Text Messaging.

"What's more amazing than cell phone use are people texting or reading text messages while driving. Perhaps equally amazing is that it's not illegal in most jurisdictions. Let's break this down. You're holding the device in one hand, texting with the other — so where does that leave maneuvering the steering wheel or watching the road. I've talked to several compulsive texters who say it's O.K. for them but they wouldn't want anyone else doing it. (Are you nuts? Just read about the five cheerleaders killed in a 2007 New York crash where a 17-year-old driver was texting. See"

"But only six jurisdictions outlaw text messaging while driving: Alaska, California, Louisiana, Minnesota, New Jersey and Washington. And what will you be fined next year in California when the law takes place if you are caught text messaging while driving: $20 fine for a first offense, and $50 for repeat offenders — but I guess we have to start somewhere."

June 20, 2008

New ABA Publication: SCITECH e-Merging News

The ABA Section of Science and Technology Law has just published the first edition of SCITECH e-Merging News, an electronic newsletter to be published quarterly. See theTable of Contents for the first issue follow:


Practice Edge


The Biotechnology Law Committee's weekly update publishes a roundup of hyperlinks to current legal, business, regulatory, and scientific developments in the industry.


Claiming Pitfalls in Bioinformatics Patent Applications

Analysis by category patent data from the USPTO shows that the number of patents issued for bioinformatics-related subclasses is relatively low. One explanation offered for this decline is "the relative difficulty of patenting bioinformatics innovations." This article provides practical suggestions to overcome this difficulty and thus to obtain meaningful IP protection for inventions in bioinformatics.


E-Tech Update

In this quarterly column, find coverage of Internet jurisdiction, IEE standards, RIAA lawsuits, and FISA and FOIA.


Judicial Neuroscience Seminar
Judges increasingly are confronted with cases – criminal and civil – that present issues at the frontiers of science and technology.

SciTech Standards Law Update

The Technical Standardization Committee's quarterly newsletter highlights relevant updates, news items and developments.


Please click here to complete the on-line form to inform Section members about a change of employer, position or office. Section members may also share information about professional association appointments or leadership activity on boards. These colleague updates will be shared on a quarterly basis through the SciTech e-Merging News. The Section looks forward to keeping members connected through this communication.


Section News

Bylaws Revised

The ABA Board of Governors recently approved the Section's request to amended our bylaws in two ways.


Nominating Committee Report
The 2008-2009 Nominating Committee, chaired by Ruth Hill Bro, is pleased to announce the nominees for Section Officer and Council Positions for the 2008-2009 bar year.

Register Today for ABA Annual Meeting
The Section is pleased to invite you to all of the spectacular programs and events we have planned.

United Nations E-Contracting Convention
The Section Council voted to send a report with recommendation to the ABA House of Delegates urging the U.S. Government to ratify the United Nations Convention on the Use of Electronic Communications in International Contracts.

June 11, 2008

Microsoft's Top Ten Innovationss by James Rapoza

" Let's face it, during the reign of Bill Gates, Microsoft hasn't exactly been Xerox Parc when it comes to inventing and creating new technologies. For the most part, Microsoft has been content to buy or copy new technologies and focus on incremental improvements to its products. But that doesn't mean that Bill Gates and Microsoft weren't innovative. In the areas of business strategies and cutthroat competition, Microsoft has used a combination of unique and very effective innovations to make itself the dominant tech company of the PC era."

Microsoft"s Top Ten "Innovations"

April 25, 2008

The Future of the Internet and How to Stop It

Jonathan L. Zittrain has written an interesting, informative and innovative book titles The Future of the Internet: And How to Stop It. . I use the word "innovative" because the web version, which is available in full text at incorporates added features to engage the reader.

To quote from his introduction:

"...The Internet’s current trajectory is one of lost opportunity. Its salvation lies in the hands of its millions of users. Drawing on generative technologies like Wikipedia that have so far survived their own successes, this book shows how to develop new technologies and social structures that allow users to work creatively and collaboratively, participate in solutions, and become true 'netizens.' "

"This is a collaborative experiment, which will depend on the intelligent participation of readers for its success. We invite you to join in and take part in this important conversation."

Although the complete book is availabe on the web in full text, interested readers are encouraged to purchase the print version to help support the ongoing efforts of Mr. Zittrain

April 24, 2008

Recent ABA Book Announcements

From the Section of Science and Technology Law:

Science for Lawyers
Eric York Drogin, Editor

Science for Lawyers clearly explains and discusses 13 applied scientific disciplines in jargon-free language that is specifically geared toward lawyers. The book explores the definitions (what is science), the practice (what scientists do) and the professional roles (what ethical guidelines influence scientists) of 13 professional disciplines such as:

* Ballistics
* Medicine
* Physics
* Statistics
* Linguistics
* Genetics
* Chemistry
* and more

The book is designed to reacquaint you in an accessible, highly readable fashion with the basic scientific issues you face in your practice every day. With dozens of photos, figures, graphics and artwork, the book covers these subjects in terms that are not only easy to understand, but fascinating to read. If you are a lawyer who is ever called upon to defend, proceed against, examine, cross-examine or even consult a scientist, this book is for you.

2008 7 x 10 347 pages paper
$129.95 regular price $119.95 Section of Science & Technology Law member price

Now with new reduced shipping rates!

To place an order, or for more information including a complete table of contents and sample chapter, click on
or call the ABA Service Center at (800) 285-2221.

From the ABA Senior Lawyers Section:

Residence Options for Older and Disabled Clients
By Lawrence A. Frolik

Recent census figures report that more than 35 million Americans are age 65 or older. Medical and scientific discoveries have prolonged life expectancy, and this, in turn, has led to needs that are specific to older persons and their caregivers. One of the most pressing of these is the need for appropriate housing. This book is a comprehensive guide to the many different types of housing available for aging and disabled individuals. It starts with the most independent type of living, proceeds through transitional forms of housing and ends with an in-depth discussion of medically assisted housing. With this book you will learn not only about the various types of housing but the pros and cons of each.

Topics include:
* Condominiums and Cooperatives
* Planned Communities and Homeowner Associations
* Continuing Care Retirement Communities
* Assisted Living
* Group Homes for the Disabled
* Nursing Homes
* Hospice Care
* And more

So whether you are a lawyer, a financial planner, a geriatric case manager or a caregiver, this book will expand your knowledge of the various types of housing and will offer assistance in selecting the most appropriate place for a specific individual.

2008 6 x 9 416 pages paperback
$89.95 Regular price
$79.95 Senior Lawyers Division member price

The ABA now has newly reduced shipping rates!

To place an order, or for more information including a complete table of contents, click on
or call the ABA Service Center at (800) 285-2221

April 17, 2008

Q&A: What is Virtual Law?


What is virtual law?


"Virtual law is like 'Internet law,' in that it refers to a wide body of generally preexisting law that is applied somewhat differently in a new context. In fact, much of what we think of as 'Internet law' applies to virtual worlds. In sum, virtual law is the statutory and case law that impacts virtual worlds and the application of that law to these spaces."


Source: ABA: Inside Practice (April 2008).

April 10, 2008

Is Emerging 3-D Holographic Storage Poised to be the Next Great Archival Medium?

Writing in the April/May 2008 issue of State Tech: Technology Insights for Leaders in State and Local Government, Michele Hope concludes by writing: "Only time and a few real-world installations will tell." Here are some excerpts from Michele's article:


"The first commercial holographic storage products are slated for release in mid-2008. With first-generation products boasting write-once, read many (WORM) characteristics, a lifespan of 50-pls years, initial disk capacities of 300 gigabytes per disk and a 20 magabyte-per-second data rate, proponents are aiming this technology at the long term archival needs of government entities, highly regulated health-care and medical organizations, and professional media and film industries


"As opposed to traditional 2-D disks that write data only on the surface of the media, holographic storage supports writing data volumetrically, or three-dimensionally, throughout the whole depth of a disk."

"The technology turns data bits typically composed of zeros and ones into a unique dark/light 'checkerboasrd' inference pattern. A spatial light modulator and the intersection of two laser beams (a signal beam containing the data and a reference beam) help create the interference pattern, which records as a hologram onto a plastic photo-polymer disk.."


"At an initial price of 60 cents per gigabyte, you can expect to see most storage vendors include halographic storage in everything from virtual libraries to storage arrays. The potential 'green' factor of the technology is also intriguing: Early estimates suggest energy savings of 90 percent over traditional spinning disks."

" The anticipated terabyte-plus capacity has one state archivist thinking the technology might offer a good alternative to the practice of copying records onto microfilm for distribution to other locations" Due to the high data volume of these disks, this archivist believes this medium could be a "very viable and economical way to distribute some of this information to venues that may not have good internet access." As for law related applications I see a posibility of using this medium to store some high volume legal documents, including transcripts of large trials, which may not lend themselves to full web access due to confidentiality issues.


According to Dr. Victor McCrary who works with NIST's Digital Media Group, "For now, organizations with heavy data storage needs should watch these developments and consider adopting early holographic technology as a prototype test-bed to see how it works." He thinks 3-D halographic storage "...has very good potential. Digital preservation is an issue that will only get larger in importance and concern, particularly for any sort of agency--government or commercial--concerned about retention of important records."


"Dennis Gabor, a Hungarian-born British physicist, came up with the theory of holography in 1948 while conducting research to improve the electron microscope. By combining two Greed words--holos meaning 'whole' and gramma meaning 'message' --he created the term 'hologram' to describe his theory."

March 19, 2008

ABA Book Publishing


Virtual Law: Navigating the Legal Landscape of Virtual Worlds

By Benjamin Tyson Duranske

This book is an introduction to the emerging and intriguing world of virtual law. It examines current cases and legislation impacting virtual world providers and users, and makes predictions about the future application of current law. It addresses the application of intellectual property law (copyright, trademark, and patent), criminal law, property law, contract law, securities law, tax law, and civil procedure. The author provides clear and practical advice on how to create a virtual world presence for your practice or for your clients with virtual world connections. The book also includes extensive appendices listing in-world and web-based resources for practitioners and legal scholars.

Science for Lawyers

Edited By Eric Y. Drogin J.D., Ph.D.
Science for Lawyers clearly explains and discusses 13 applied scientific disciplines in jargon-free language that is specifically geared toward lawyers. The book explores the definitions (what is science), the practice (what scientists do) and the professional roles (what ethical guidelines influence scientists) of 13 professional disciplines.

With dozens of photos, figures, graphics and artwork, this book is not only easy to understand, but fascinating to read. If you are a lawyer who is ever called upon to defend, proceed against, examine, cross-examine or even consult a scientist, this book is for you.

e-Discovery: Current Trends and Cases

By Ralph C. Losey

From the basics of e-discovery, to chapters on metadata, ESI, ethical standards, and the new federal rules of civil procedure, readers of all levels of expertise will find useful information. This book includes in-depth, authoritative legal analysis and practical advice, not only explaining the legal issues, but also the technologies behind the issues. It is also the first book on e-discovery to include the opinions and analysis of many leading experts in the field, not just those of the author.


The Little Green Book of Golf Law:
The Real Rules of the Game of Golf
John H. Minan

Author and Professor of Law, John Minan, has selected a total of nineteen cases to correspond to the typical eighteen holes played in a round of golf, plus one for the traditional nineteenth hole. Each chapter examines a different set of facts and involves an actual case involving golf.

The chapters explore a wide array of legal issues --Tiger Woods’ right of publicity, personal injury claims for negligence and products liability, contract disputes involving hole-in-one contests and golf cart rentals, a forfeiture claim under the Endangered Species Act, the Internal Revenue Service’s litigation against a taxpayer over tax deductions for golf expenses, patent and trade mark disputes, and more. In addition, each chapter identifies the subject matter and the official citation to the case in the chapter heading.

Violating “the law” of golf – as opposed to the rules that govern the game – can have serious consequences. You don’t have to be a lawyer to enjoy this book, which combines two great passions: law and golf.


Street Legal: A Guide to Pre-trial Criminal Procedure for Police, Prosecutors, and Defenders
By Ken Wallentine

This 396-page book provides specific guidance on pre-trial criminal procedure of all sorts, and explains in understandable terms "what you can do and what you can't do" under 4th Amendment search and seizure law. From traffic checkpoints and forceful felony arrest, from Miranda warnings to inmate and cell searches, it's all covered in this concise reference. In addition, numerous charts and guides are included throughout the book to make this as practical a guide as possible.

The consequences of a failure to properly understand and implement search and seizure can be too tragic to imagine. Make sure everyone involved with pre-trial criminal procedure in your organization is equipped with this thorough and understandable guide.

Product Code: 5090107
© 2007 7 x 10 396 pages Paper
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