Legal Research Blog

 

Gaming the First Amendment at the Smithsonian

On June 27, 2011, the Supreme Court ruled that video games are protected under the First Amendment because they “like protected books, plays, and movies, [they] communicate ideas through familiar literary devices and features distinctive to the medium. And ‘the basic principles of freedom of speech … do not vary’ with a new and different communication medium.” 131 S.Ct. 2729. Essentially, Pac Man, Super Mario Brothers, Halo, and of course Angry Birds are all considered art and are protected under the First Amendment.

The Smithsonian has embraced this concept in their exhibition “The Art of Video Games” curated by Chris Melissinos. From March 16, 2012-September 30, 2012, the exhibition presents a gamer’s paradise which showcases video games as an unprecedented form of storytelling. The exhibition is accompanied by several events including the “Gaming Symphony Orchestra” being held on April 29, 2012. And don’t worry if you can’t make it up to DC for the exhibition, it’s going on tour after it has wrapped up in DC. All of this gushing is to say it’s a definite must-see, just be sure to check their website (where we got all of this lovely information) and read their FAQ including costume etiquette beforehand.

Though I doubt Justice Scalia is taking much time out of his busy schedule to play Angry Birds (or maybe he is?), the Smithsonian has beautifully  brought to life the Supreme Court’s fine decision.

Click here to find other video game relevant cases in the Fastcase database and here to learn more about Fastcase and our innovative tools for smarter legal research.

Fastcase Welcomes AILA

Starting today, the American Immigration Lawyers Association will be providing access to Fastcase for its 11,000 members.  The new benefit includes free acces to Fastcase’s comprehensive federal research system including opinions by the U.S. Supreme Court, federal appellate courts, federal district courts, and federal bankruptcy courts along with Board of Immigration Appeals decisions.

In addition, members will have the option to sync their free iPhone and iPad apps with the the free desktop research they can now access through AILA.

Members may log in by going to www.aila.org and clicking on the Fastcase icon.  Registration for free webinars is open to AILA members here.

Tips Tuesday

Survey Statutes in Multiple Jurisdictions

Fastcase offers a variety of searchable databases to help you find cases and statutes quickly and easily. One of Fastcase’s features is the ability to search statutes across multiple jurisdictions, allowing you to survey a topic across our statutory collection.

Example: If you are looking for statutes on the equitable distribution of property, you could follow these steps:

1. Select Search Statutes from the Search menu on the homepage.

2. In the search bar, enter the following: “equitable distribution” & property.

3. Click the Select All button under the list of current statutes.

4. Select Search.

5. You will then see a list of all the statutes that reference the phrase “equitable distribution” and property. The results will be listed by relevance (the sections containing the most detailed discussion of your keywords will be listed first).

6. You may now click on the title of a section to view it individually.

You may then print your desired results, add them to your print queue, save them to your library, or email them to your colleagues.

Happy Searching!

Vote Fastcase “Best of” in the NLJ Reader Survey

The National Law Journal is in the midst of collecting votes for their first annual “Best of The National Law Journal” reader’s rankings survey and Fastcase is honored to be among the nominees. Seeking the best vendors throughout the legal industry, the survey is open to all through March 31st, 2012.

Whether you’ve made use of the Fastcase App for the iPad while away from your desk, purchased a subscription to cut costs in your firm, or taken advantage of one of our free bar association member benefits, we hope that Fastcase has provided the best legal research experience to all of our users. If Fastcase has made a difference for you, please take a few moments to complete the 2012 Best of NLJ Survey.

Thank you!

Introducing: Mobile Sync from Fastcase

Fastcase’s award-winning mobile legal research app is now synchronized with the Fastcase bar association member benefit along with accounts for law firms and law schools.  Until now, the systems have been separate, so favorites and search history on the phone stayed on the phone while desktop history stayed on the desktop.  Now, with Fastcase Mobile Sync, you can connect your accounts, bringing together favorites and usage history.  Plus, when you save cases on the go, you can access them through your desktop where it’s easy to print, find expanded search information, and access support from Fastcase reference attorneys and technical professionals.

To sync your accounts follow the instructions below:

Log into Fastcase through your bar association, law school, or law firm landing page.  Once logged in, scroll over the Options menu and select Mobile Sync.

Once on the Mobile Sync page, you will be prompted to enter an email address.  This will be your username for logging in using the mobile app.  When you’ve entered your email address, click Go.  We will send an email to this address to confirm that you own it.  The email will contain a link that you must click to complete the sync process.

Tip: If you already use Fastcase for the iPhone or Fastcase for the iPad and are syncing your accounts, please use the email address associated with your preexisting app account.

If you have already established a mobile app account, simply click the link in the email, and your two accounts will automatically link together.

If you are creating a new mobile app account, you will be prompted to enter a password and to confirm your first and last name.  After that, just click Finish, and your existing desktop account will be linked to your new mobile account.

Questions?  Call Fastcase at 1-866-773-2782 or email support@fastcase.com.

Curious about whether your bar association offers Fastcase? Check out a list of our partners here.