Legal Research Blog
Tennessee has just passed a bill that would criminalize the sharing of account information for entertainment subscription services such as Netflix and Rhapsody. Reports by Ars Technica, CNET, and the Tennessean, offer a picture of what one could expect from the implementation of the law.
The new law builds off of existing laws that prosecute people for stealing services such as cable, utilities, or meals at a restaurant. It is supposed to take aim at those that share or sell their account info to groups of people, although no one has ruled out that it may also be used to prosecute those who share with family or even their significant other.
According to the to the Recording Industry Association of America Tennessee would become the first state to update its “theft-of-cable” laws for the 21st century and address the new trend toward Internet delivery of entertainment. According to the Tennessean the penalties of the new law are as follows: Stealing $500 or less of entertainment would be a misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in jail and a fine of $2,500. Theft with a higher price tag would be a felony, with heavier penalties.
Speaking with Ars Jerry Brito, a scholar at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University believes the law is a step in the right direction and that the fact that “this is a tweak to an existing law” is hopeful that prosecutors will behave sensibly.
The law is due to take effect on July 1.
Wallace spotted a series of studies that found coffee consumption may, in fact, be good for you. The study, published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute by a group of Harvard researchers, found that drinking coffee reduces the risk of prostate cancer. She also points to a Swedish study which shows that coffee drinkers reduce their risk for breast cancer as well.
The possibility of extending our days by consuming our favorite way to jumpstart the day is certainly cause for celebration, but how could such tremendous advantages go unnoticed for so long by researchers? According to Kathryn Wilson, one of the Harvard researchers, apparently all that was needed was time, a Starbucks on every corner, and better computers:
“Until there were computers that could handle the necessary statistics, along with studies with larger sample sizes, it was very difficult to control for multiple factors at once to see their individual effects on health outcomes.”
While no one is claiming that everyone should dramatically increase the amount of coffee they intake each day, you now have a reason to feel better about that second cup.
Have a wonderful weekend and thank you to all those who have served our country.
In many ways, summer is the busiest season here at Fastcase. It’s that time of year when we disperse to meet members at partner bar association annual meetings, librarians, as well as fellow legal techies. Here’s a little preview of where we’ll be in the next couple weeks. Hope to see lots of you there! Drop us a note and we’ll watch for you.
May 25: We are wrapping up at the 2011 Association of Legal Administrators Annual Conference and Exposition. Thanks to all who stopped by!
June 2 – 3: Fastcase will be at the State Bar of Georgia Annual Meeting in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. The Bar will be hosting training seminars for CLE credit on June 2 from 9am to 10am and on June 3 from 2pm – 3pm.
June 9 – 11: Fastcase will be at The Missouri Bar 16th Annual Solo & Small Firm Conference at Tan-Tar-A Resort. Fastcase will be doing a one hour CLE training and will be giving away two premium upgrades as well as a subscription to Missouri Deskbooks.
June 8 – 10: Join us at the State Bar of Wisconsin Real Estate and Business Institute at the Kalahari Resort in Wisconsin Dells. Join us on Thursday, June 9th at 10:45am for Fastcase Insider Tips (good for one hour of CLE credit).
June 9 – 10: We’ll be at the Arkansas Bar Association Annual Meeting in Hot Springs, Arkansas. Join us for Fastcase training on Friday, June 10 at 9:30a or 1:30p. (See page 16 of the manual for details!)
June 12 – 15: Fastcase will be at the Special Libraries Association Annual Conference and INFO-EXPO in Philadelphia meeting with librarians from across the country.
June 16 – 17: Join us at the Illinois State Bar Association Annual Meeting at the Abbey Resort in Fontana, WI for member training (for CLE credit!). We’ll be doing a session for beginners from 2pm to 3pm and a session for more advanced researchers from 3:15pm to 4:15 pm. These sessions will be very small and interactive!
June 15 – 17: Stop by our booth at the State Bar of Arizona Annual Convention! Did you know that the Arizona Bar Books are now available on Fastcase? Sign up for a single book or for the whole set at the conference and receive a 25% discount!
As we have highlighted before, legal research isn’t the only area where professionals are looking for ways to transform the way they receive information. Scientists, students, and hobbyists face similar hurdles in the availability and dissemination of information. While there may not be a duopoly in publishing like in the legal world, journal subscriptions can run several thousands of dollars and a single article minimally starts at $30. The nature of discovery and the importance of being published are even larger mountains to climb in terms of sharing information.
That is why we feel that it is important to highlight Mendeley, a free multiplatform reference management tool that allows users to manage their collections, find the links (citations, authors, ideas) among papers, as well as, help setup collaborative efforts. Mendeley offers key features to help improve workflow like the automatic citation extraction, being able to annotate documents within the program, as well as, iPhone/iPad app integration.
Mendeley isn’t just for scientists though. It is an interdisciplinary platform with works from physicists to those in the humanities. If you are interested in legal theory you will also find interesting papers to read and/or hopefully a place to contribute your own collection of .pdfs. If you happen to be a law librarian it may be worth your while to take a look and see at the very least to recommend to librarians in other fields.
Fast approaching 100 million documents and just shy of a million members, according to the counter on their main page, Mendeley has an impressive community. It takes advantage of this by creating a “crowdsourced research database with a unique layer of social information” allowing its users to leverage all the information generated such as trends in research so that they can discover not only where their field is heading, but also how each individual’s interests have changed over time. When users share papers or load their bibliographies, Mendeley will show them papers they may have missed as well as those who have written, read, or collected them. The team at Mendeley isn’t stopping here though. They are continuing to innovate- just last week their team introduced tags onto their platform, allowing users to find related material even faster than before.
Freedom of information with integrated social networking tools and analytics- Mendeley should prove to be a valuable research tool for the new information age.