Legal Research Blog
Wikipedia junkies from throughout the Middle East were invited to partake in Wikimania 2008, which has dedicated a good deal of time to issues specifically related to Arabic Wikipedia. Some controversy was stirred up by several reporters, who questioned Wikipedia’s commitment to the Arabic version (which is tiny in comparison to the English, which has over 25 million posts), and who took an interest in the presence of Israeli contributors at the conference. The administrators of the Arabic Wikipedia site maintained that it was the responsibility of the users and public to make greater contributions, and that the collaborative process can take time. As for the two Israelis in attendance, while they did run into some skepticism from their Arab counterparts, their Arabic language fluency and desire to work and learn from the meeting’s cultural
dialogue eased the tension.
Most importantly, the conference addressed the urgent need for the dissemination of knowledge and freedom of speech in the region. The presence of the Israeli wikipedians was evidence enough of the site’s commitment to incorporating the valid content of any contributor, regardless of perspective or philosophy. Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales also graced the conference with an analysis of the current threat to the project in Egypt itself, where President Mubarak has been known to imprison bloggers and restrict the press.
But despite Wikimania’s message of free expression, the traditional liberty accorded Wikipedia posting may be tightening. Wiki has recently begun to tackle the plague of vandalism that has hit several of the Wiki sites. German articles have been especially prone to bogus posts, and so German Wikipedia has chosen to implement a system of “checks” which must take place before any article is viewed by the public. Administrators hope that the process will only be a temporary measure to discourage bad posts, rather than a permanent method of censorship. Jimmy Wales hopes this will allow Wikipedia to eventually feature “stable” versions of articles as well.
Source: The New York Times
The trial has started out slowly beginning with an official not guilty plea from Hamdan and now has moved onto jury selection. Considering the nature of the case, it is necessary that both the judge and jurors are military officers. The prosecution and defense must agree on at least 5 of those chosen by the Pentagon to serve on the jury panel for the trial. In addition to the reminder issued by Allred, he was also sure to strike any evidence he considered to be gathered inappropriately. With emotions still running high from the 9/11 attacks and questions lingering about the treatment of prisoners at Guantanamo, it will be hard for the landmark case to stay out of the spotlight. It is clear though from Allred’s various decisions, he would like the trial to move forward quickly and remain as non-controversial as possible.
American’s suffering from sleep disorders can rest easy now that the D.C. Court of Appeals has ruled in favor of considering the disabilities under the federal Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990. Those suffering from a lack of sleep have seen employers question for years the legitimacy of their claims, considering none severe enough to qualify as a disability.
In the case of Desmond v. Mukasey, FBI special agent trainee Martin Desmond accused the FBI of discriminating against him for a sleep disorder he developed from his Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Desmond worked with a number of FBI officials to treat his condition and applied for a location transfer in order to relieve some of his symptoms to no avail. Ultimately, Desmond was kept from graduating from the special agent program sparking the lawsuit into action. The suit purported that the FBI refused to recognize Desmond’s inability to sleep as a viable disorder and that discrimination ensued.
The court ruled in favor of Desmond and set the precedent that all employers must consider sleep disorders in the same light as all other disabilities. For sufferers, the affect of the loss of sleep will have no bearing on whether or not it is considered a disability. Any person receiving only 2 to 4 hours of sleep a night for a period of at least 5 months is considered to suffer from a disorder that affects “major life activity”. Upon this decision, anyone suffering from a sleep disorder has the right to invoke any and all provisions under both the Rehabilitation as well as the Americans with Disabilities Acts without further scrutiny.
A recent lawsuit involving copyrights and intellectual property pitted one infamous toy maker against another. Mattel, an American icon known for its Barbie doll created in 1959 sued MGA Entertainment, the company responsible for the new-age Bratz dolls, claiming that designer Carter Bryant came up with the plans for the doll while he still clocking hours with Mattel. Bryant was employed with the worlds largest toy company for several years in the 1990’s when the idea for Bratz first came about. Soon after joining the MGA team, the line of hip and more importantly, money-making dolls came onto the market.
Since the introduction of Bratz around the world, Mattel has seen a frustrating decline in sales of their Barbie dolls now considered too traditional in comparison, while MGA has steadily raked in profits by the millions. Unfortunately for MGA, their increasing profits could now be considered their downfall. A judge has ruled in favor of Mattel’s argument that they are actually the rightful holders of all intellectual property behind the Bratz line. While MGA has already announced that they will appeal the decision , the entertainment company should beware as talks are already surrounding what the damages could be in such a high stakes case. It is almost guaranteed that MGA will owe Mattel millions from the profits they have purportedly stolen over the past seven years, but the more important question is whether or not MGA will be asked to turn over the rights for the entire line.
From the looks of Mattel’s homepage, the American toy giant is already busy celebrating their recent victory but in reality this case is long from over. Be on the lookout for more information regarding these rare but intriguing cases of your intellect or mine.
Source: BBC News