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Viewing: Blog Posts Tagged with: legal, Most Recent at Top [Help]
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1. Jargon


Jargon consists of words that relate to a specific group, profession, or event.
  • actionable intelligence
  • bait and switch
  • behind the eight ball
  • best practice
  • bounced check
  • brain trust
  • bull market
  • circular file
  • core competency
  • face time
  • fall guy
  • file thirteen
  • food chain
  • free lunch
  • game changer
  • head count
  • hired gun
  • in the loop
  • in the red/black
  • in the running
  • out of pocket
  • push back
  • put to bed
  • time frame
  • value added

Medicine is full of Latin words that sound intimidating but mean relatively little. 

  • Thyroiditis (root word thyroid + itis meaning inflammation)
  • Myeloma (root word  myelo=marrow+ oma meaning growth)
  • Endocrinology (root word endocrine + ology meaning study of)
Although it is Latin, it is also their jargon. Medical terminology is full of acronyms. If you've ever listened to a professional conversation and been unable to follow the acronyms, you've listened to jargon.
  • CT scan (computed topography)
  • MRI (magnetic resonance imaging)
  • BMP (basic metabolic panel)
  • CBC (complete blood count)
  • PET scan (positron emission topography). 
Jargon is used as short-hand to refer to things common to people’s understanding. The art of texting has inspired an entirely new acronym vocabulary.
  • BTW - By The Way
  • IMHO - In My Humble Opinion
  • MOTD - Message Of The Day
  • FAQ - Frequently Asked Questions
  • CYA - See You Around
  • HTH - Hope This Helps
  • FYI - For Your Information
  • LOL - Laugh Out Loud
  • PFA - Please Find Atached
The field of computing has spawned many jargon words:

  • blog
  • Byte
  • CD-Rom
  • disk drive
  • email
  • hard drive
  • hyperlink
  • internet
  • RAM
  • vlog

For fantasy and science fiction writers, building a new world can be enriched by adding a few - I stress few - new words and phrases. Make certain you clarify their meaning to the reader. Adding a dash of unique jargon brings your world to life. Too many obscure references, and you risk losing a reader's interest.

For historical writers, you have nitpicky fans. Look up when a term was first used. They love to point out your errors.


REVISION TIPS


? Turn on the Clichés, Colloquialisms, and Jargon option in the toolbox. They will be marked for you. As you read through your draft, decide which to keep and which to kill. Have you used the jargon intentionally?
? Does it mean what you think it means?
? Have you committed jargon abuse? Should you trim it?
? Does the jargon fit the time and place?
? Does the jargon fit the background and personality of the character uttering it?


0 Comments on Jargon as of 7/31/2014 11:26:00 AM
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2. Permissions

When do you need to seek permission for quoting material, and how to go about getting it. 

http://wolflit.com/how-and-when-to-seek-permissions-for-your-book/

0 Comments on Permissions as of 3/22/2014 12:31:00 PM
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3. Beneficial Cash Advance Guidance, Suggestions

instant payday loans online Get unsecured personal loan in Raleigh, NC by using instant $ 200 payday loans online within 1 hour .

Considering everything that customers are facing in today’s economic system, it’s not surprising pay day loan services is really a speedy-increasing sector. If you locate your self thinking about a pay day loan, keep reading for additional details on them and how they may support help you get out from a existing financial crisis speedy.

If you feel that you might be being treated unlawfully, or unfairly by the pay day loan provider, make certain you document a criticism together with your state firm. Unless you document a criticism, the borrowed funds provider will likely be free to keep on running in an illegal method. They may even use abuse, in order to get their cash back by you.

Analysis different pay day loan companies prior to settling on one. There are various companies available. Many of which may charge you serious rates, and fees in comparison to other options. Actually, some might have short-run specials, that truly make a difference inside the total price. Do your diligence, and ensure you are getting the best deal possible.

Before you take the jump and selecting a pay day loan, look at other sources. The interest rates for payday cash loans are substantial and when you have far better possibilities, try them first. See if your loved ones will financial loan you the funds, or try a classic lender. Online payday loans really should become a last resort.

Should you comprehend the concept of employing a pay day loan, it can be a handy device in certain situations. You have to be certain to browse the financial loan contract carefully before you sign it, and when there are actually questions about any of the specifications demand clarification in the terminology before you sign it.

If you locate your self seeking to take out a pay day loan make certain, you look around first. Each firm has distinct guidelines and charges, and also by shopping around it will save you your self coming from a huge head ache. Be sure you check with several inquiries that you can before you sign through to something so you know what to anticipate.

When you have removed a pay day loan, speak with your payroll office at your workplace. See if they can move forward you one of your after that paychecks to be able to shell out straight down your loan speedier. Even if they can only do part of it, that can still cut down your interest drastically.

Look into the restrictions with regards to payday cash loans inside the state your location. Some says do not let payday cash loans, because of the really high rates of interest that, are part of the financial loan agreement. These says think that in addition to the predatory character in the payday cash loans, in addition they inspire poor fiscal practices, inside the customers who utilize them.

Make certain you browse the guidelines and relation to your pay day loan very carefully, in an attempt to avoid any unsuspected excitement down the road. You should understand the complete financial loan contract before you sign it and acquire your loan. This will help come up with a better choice as to which financial loan you must take.

Take into account that prior to getting your check coming from a pay day loan, the lender will subtract fees. So when you remove a loan for starters-thousands of $ $ $ $, you will not acquire so much. Each lender has distinct fees, so ensure you are conscious of these ahead of time.

In case you are looking for a pay day loan on the internet, make certain you get in touch with and talk to a real estate agent prior to coming into any information and facts in to the site. Numerous fraudsters pretend to get pay day loan firms in order to get your hard earned money, so you want to make certain you can get to an authentic particular person.

Those of you who wish to get yourself a pay day loan could be smart to exhaust all other possibilities prior to deciding to do so. Online payday loans cost an left arm as well as a lower body in curiosity and should only be utilized for a last resort. Try to look for yet another way to get some cash first.

Ask exactly what the interest in the pay day loan will likely be. This is very important, since this is the amount you will need to shell out in addition to the money you might be borrowing. You could even would like to look around and get the very best interest it is possible to. The less level you locate, the reduced your total settlement will likely be.

While you must not use payday cash loans like a major approach to shell out your bills because of the high rates of interest, they can be a wonderful support should you need funds rapidly and also have no other possibilities. Recall the ideas in this article, in order to use payday cash loans smartly.

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4. brand names

What are the legalities about using brand names in your writing? 

http://www.rightsofwriters.com/2010/12/can-i-mention-brand-name-products-in-my.html

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5. Marvel Reaches Settlements with Gary Friedrich, Bob Layton

It appears that Marvel have offered Ghost Rider creator Gary Friedrich a settlement, thus ending the lengthy case which had previously bankrupted the veteran writer. The details of the settlement have not been offered to the public, but Friedrich’s attorney has informed a federal New York judge that the case can now be dismissed.

ghostrider

Hopefully this is good news for Friedrich, whose battle for rights over the Ghost Rider came to a head in 2007, when the first movie was released. There was sniping on both sides, with Friedrich suing Marvel and then  Marvel counter-suing Freidrich and, well, let Jeff Trexler explain it all in more detail.

Interestingly enough, however, writer Bob Layton – best known for his work on Iron Man, aspects of which were reflected in the subsequent film releases – has also taken to Twitter to announce that Marvel have also made a settlement with HIM over a character issue. Referencing David Michelinie in his tweet, this almost certainly refers to the ‘Demon in a Bottle’ storyline he wrote.

I wonder if we’ll see other creators revealing settlements over the next few weeks. It looks like some new policy might have come in, and hopefully it’s one which will give all creators the best possible deal.

15 Comments on Marvel Reaches Settlements with Gary Friedrich, Bob Layton, last added: 9/13/2013
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6. Author Website Content: Privacy Page


Goodreads Book Giveaway

Abayomi, the Brazilian Puma by Darcy Pattison

Abayomi, the Brazilian Puma

by Darcy Pattison

Giveaway ends March 21, 2014.

See the giveaway details at Goodreads.

Enter to win

This month-long series of blog posts will explain author websites and offer tips and writing strategies for an effective author website. It alternates between a day of technical information and a day of writing content. By the end of the month, you should have a basic author website up and functioning. The Table of Contents lists the topics, but individual posts will not go live until the date listed. The Author Website Resource Page offers links to tools, services, software and more.

Legal Issues for Websites

WWW under construction building website

A Privacy Policy is important because you must disclose on your site what types of information you collect and how you use it. This especially applies if you write for children because you must comply with the COPPA regulations, the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Rule (See the government site here.)

COPPA applies only to those Web sites and online services that collect, use, or disclose personal information from children. However, the FTC recommends that all Web sites and online services – particularly those directed to children – post privacy policies online so visitors can easily learn about the operator’s information practices. From COPPA FAQ

More COPPA Compliance information.

It’s a good policy to provide a privacy policy and it’s simple to do. Once done, you can forget about it.
NOTE: I am not a lawyer and this does not constitute legal advice!

There are a couple ways that website owners often use to generate a Privacy Policy.

Form Generator Services: Some services ask you questions about how you operate your site and then generate a policy. Here are two examples: FreePrivacyPolicy.com
SERP Rank Privacy Policy Generator

WordPress Plugins:
Please Search Plugins/AddNew for up-to-date plugins that generate privacy policies and choose the one that fits your situation best. Here is one example: Auto Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.

If you offer a service or sell something from your site, you may also need a Terms of Service policy page, which explains the rules of offering and using the service. Again, look for WordPress Plugins, or contact a lawyer for appropriate legal advice.

After you create your Privacy Policy and/or Terms of Service, save them to upload as a Page later. But think about how you will link to these pages. Usually, links must be in a prominent place on site, but most people don’t want this in the Main Menu. A common area for linking to the Privacy Policy or the TOS is the footer. Footer Putter plugin allows you to place the links to your privacy policy in the footer of your page. Search Plugins/AddNew to find other options and make a decision about works best for your website.

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7. Some Laws Should Just Be Removed From the Law Books

Most people understand that breaking the law is wrong. Laws are there for a reason but they also get updated to suit more modern times. Or at least that is the theory. There are many laws in the world that are so outmoded it makes you wonder why they even still exist.

Here we will take a look at some of the most stupid laws still in affect in some of the states in America.

New Jersey

It is illegal to delay or detain a homing pigeon.

One thing about homing pigeons is that they tend not to stop and take a rest, so how on earth would someone be able to detain it anyway? As for delay it, well that is just ridiculous. Anyway, who actually still uses homing pigeons; phone, fax, letters, e-mails, text messages etc; much quicker and easier. One of the most stupid laws still in affect.

It is illegal to slurp your soup.

Social etiquette is one thing, I mean slurping your soup may not be the most polite thing to do but for it to be illegal is just plain stupid. More to the point who is actually going to enforce it?

Kentucky 

It is illegal to not take a bath at least once a month.

Ok, let’s be honest here, general cleanliness tells you that to not wash for more than a month is a very bad thing. Now obviously when this law was written there was no such thing as a shower (unless you count pouring water through a colander over your head as a shower. lol) so this law does mean that you have to wash yourself at least once a month. Really? Talk about stating the obvious. Does there really need to be a law to tell people this?

It gets worse.

It is illegal to dye a duckling blue and offer it for sale unless more than six are for sale at once.

Just another law that raises more questions than it answers. So what is it trying to say really? You are allowed to dye a duckling blue but not sell it. You can only sell a dyed blue duckling if you have six of them. Anyway, I am sure animal protection might have something to say if someone tried testing this law. Oooh, that gives me an idea. lol

Florida

It is illegal to walk your alligator on a Sunday without a tie.

Wait a minute, what does this one even mean? Does the alligator have to wear a tie? Is it the person walking it that has to wear a tie? In fact more to the point, who actually takes an alligator for a walk? Does anyone actually own an alligator as a pet these days?

Surely that is one of the most stupid laws still in affect. Nope it gets worse.

You must tie up your horse on the left side of the road.

Yeah because tying it up on the right hand side would be a major disaster, the whole world will end; you have been warned. lol Seriously though, just another example of a law that, way back when, was probably very sensible but not in modern times.

New York 

It is against the law to put money in another persons meter.

So, picture this; you are walking down the road and you see that one of the meters has nearly run out with no sign of the driver. Feeling a bit generous, you decide to drop a bit of money in; a random act of kindness. Across the road stands a police officer who sees you do this, comes over to you and arrests you. What a stupid law.
.

It is against the law to spit on the sidewalk.

Yeah there is an argument that spitting is disgusting anyway, but to make it illegal is just stupid. And anyway, does this law mean that someone can spit on the road and not be breaking the law? What happens if someone aims for the road but a large gust of wind blows it onto the sidewalk? For that matter, what if you are just walking along happily when a fly flies into your mouth? Do you have to swallow it and enjoy the taste? Either that or spit it out and run the risk of being arrested apparently!

I hope you have found something in here that brought a smile to your face. Perhaps you know of other stupid laws and would like to share them.

The worst one i found was on a site called dumblaws.com which i searched to try to fix an issue with this article. This one is from Florida once again.

Florida

It is illegal to fart after 6pm in a public building.

Bo Jack Russo this law was added on at the end just for you. You are always talking about farting so I figured that you may want to know this one before you ever decide to take a vacation in Florida.lol

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8. Some Laws Should Just Be Removed From the Law Books

Most people understand that breaking the law is wrong. Laws are there for a reason but they also get updated to suit more modern times. Or at least that is the theory. There are many laws in the world that are so outmoded it makes you wonder why they even still exist.

Here we will take a look at some of the most stupid laws still in affect in some of the states in America.

New Jersey

It is illegal to delay or detain a homing pigeon.

One thing about homing pigeons is that they tend not to stop and take a rest, so how on earth would someone be able to detain it anyway? As for delay it, well that is just ridiculous. Anyway, who actually still uses homing pigeons; phone, fax, letters, e-mails, text messages etc; much quicker and easier. One of the most stupid laws still in affect.

It is illegal to slurp your soup.

Social etiquette is one thing, I mean slurping your soup may not be the most polite thing to do but for it to be illegal is just plain stupid. More to the point who is actually going to enforce it?

Kentucky 

It is illegal to not take a bath at least once a month.

Ok, let’s be honest here, general cleanliness tells you that to not wash for more than a month is a very bad thing. Now obviously when this law was written there was no such thing as a shower (unless you count pouring water through a colander over your head as a shower. lol) so this law does mean that you have to wash yourself at least once a month. Really? Talk about stating the obvious. Does there really need to be a law to tell people this?

It gets worse.

It is illegal to dye a duckling blue and offer it for sale unless more than six are for sale at once.

Just another law that raises more questions than it answers. So what is it trying to say really? You are allowed to dye a duckling blue but not sell it. You can only sell a dyed blue duckling if you have six of them. Anyway, I am sure animal protection might have something to say if someone tried testing this law. Oooh, that gives me an idea. lol

Florida

It is illegal to walk your alligator on a Sunday without a tie.

Wait a minute, what does this one even mean? Does the alligator have to wear a tie? Is it the person walking it that has to wear a tie? In fact more to the point, who actually takes an alligator for a walk? Does anyone actually own an alligator as a pet these days?

Surely that is one of the most stupid laws still in affect. Nope it gets worse.

You must tie up your horse on the left side of the road.

Yeah because tying it up on the right hand side would be a major disaster, the whole world will end; you have been warned. lol Seriously though, just another example of a law that, way back when, was probably very sensible but not in modern times.

New York 

It is against the law to put money in another persons meter.

So, picture this; you are walking down the road and you see that one of the meters has nearly run out with no sign of the driver. Feeling a bit generous, you decide to drop a bit of money in; a random act of kindness. Across the road stands a police officer who sees you do this, comes over to you and arrests you. What a stupid law.
.

It is against the law to spit on the sidewalk.

Yeah there is an argument that spitting is disgusting anyway, but to make it illegal is just stupid. And anyway, does this law mean that someone can spit on the road and not be breaking the law? What happens if someone aims for the road but a large gust of wind blows it onto the sidewalk? For that matter, what if you are just walking along happily when a fly flies into your mouth? Do you have to swallow it and enjoy the taste? Either that or spit it out and run the risk of being arrested apparently!

I hope you have found something in here that brought a smile to your face. Perhaps you know of other stupid laws and would like to share them.

The worst one i found was on a site called dumblaws.com which i searched to try to fix an issue with this article. This one is from Florida once again.

Florida

It is illegal to fart after 6pm in a public building.

Bo Jack Russo this law was added on at the end just for you. You are always talking about farting so I figured that you may want to know this one before you ever decide to take a vacation in Florida.lol

Add a Comment
9. Assassinating terrorist leaders: A matter of international law

By Louis René Beres


Osama bin Laden was assassinated by U.S. special forces on May 1, 2011. Although media emphasis thus far has been focused almost entirely on the pertinent operational and political issues surrounding this “high value” killing, there are also important jurisprudential aspects to the case. These aspects require similar attention. Whether or not killing Osama was a genuinely purposeful assassination from a strategic perspective, a question that will be debated for years to come, we should now also inquire:  Was it legal?

Assassination is ordinarily a crime under international law. Still, in certain residual circumstances, the targeted killing of principal terrorist leaders can be defended as a fully permissible example of  law-enforcement. In the best of all possible worlds, there would never be any need for such decentralized or “vigilante” expressions of international justice, but – we don’t yet live in such a world. Rather, enduring in our present and still anarchic global legal order, as President Barack Obama correctly understood, the only real alternative to precise self-defense actions against terrorists is apt to be a worsening global instability, and also escalating terrorist violence against the innocent.

Almost by definition, the idea of assassination as remediation seems an oxymoron. At a minimum, this idea seemingly precludes all normal due processes of law. Yet, since the current state system’s inception in the seventeenth century, following the Thirty Years’ War and the resultant Peace of Westphalia (1648), international relations have not been governed by the same civil protections as individual states. In this world legal system, which lacks effective supra-national authority, Al Qaeda leader bin Laden was indisputably responsible for the mass killings of many noncombatant men, women and children. Had he not been assassinated by the United States, his egregious crimes would almost certainly have gone entirely unpunished.

The indiscriminacy of Al Qaeda operations under bin Laden was never the result of inadvertence. It was, instead, the intentional outcome of profoundly murderous principles that lay deeply embedded in the leader’s view of Jihad. For bin Laden, there could never be any meaningful distinction between civilians and non-civilians, innocents and non-innocents. For bin Laden, all that mattered was the distinction between Muslims and “unbelievers.”

As for the lives of unbelievers, it was all very simple.  These lives had no value. They had no sanctity.

Every government has the right and obligation to protect its own citizens. In certain circumstances, this may even extend to assassination. The point has long been understood in Washington, where every president in recent memory has given nodding or more direct approval to “high value” assassination operations. Of course,  lower-value or more tactical assassination efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan have become a very regular feature of U.S. special operations.

There are some points of legal comparison with the recent NATO strike that killed Moammar Gadhafi’s second-youngest son, and his three grandchildren. While this was a thinly-disguised assassination attempt that went awry, the target, although certainly a supporter of his own brand of terrorists, had effectively been immunized from any deliberate NATO harms by the U.N. Security Council’s  limited definition of humanitarian intervention.

It is generally

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10. J.K. Rowling Reaches Settlement with Former Agent Christopher Little

In June, Leaky reported that author J.K. Rowling had ended her association with the Christopher Little Agency.

The Telegraph has published a follow-up article to this story today, reporting that Ms. Rowling and Mr. Little reached a financial settlement outside of court. According to Mr. Little's spokesperson:

“JK Rowling and her former agent, Christopher Little, have reached an amicable agreement concluding their long-standing business relationship, the terms of which remain confidential. No further comments will be issued by either party.” 

Ms. Rowling is now represented by The Blair Partnership, a new firm launched by Neil Blair, her longtime agent at the Christopher Little Agency.

~*~
Special announcement: Leaky is looking for news editors! If you have what it takes, email us at news [at] the-leaky-cauldron [dot] org.

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11. Legal Information

The Publishing Law Center site provides legal information for the publishing community. 

http://www.publaw.com/

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12. Book Contracts

Ten key points to consider in your book contract. 

http://www.ivanhoffman.com/points.html

0 Comments on Book Contracts as of 10/11/2012 11:49:00 AM
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13. Significant Things You Must Know About Payday Loans

urgent payday loans online Get payday cash advance in Lubbock Texas by using urgent $ 600 payday loans online within one hour .

Are you presently having trouble paying a expenses at this time? Do you really need more money to help you from the full week? A pay day loan might be what exactly you need. In the event you don’t determine what that is, it is actually a short-word personal loan, that is simple for most of us to acquire. However, the following advice inform you of several things you need to know first.

An excellent hint for all those looking to get a pay day loan, would be to steer clear of looking for numerous loans at the same time. This will not only make it more difficult for you to pay out them all rear from your after that salary, but other businesses will know for those who have requested other loans.

Need a wide open connection channel together with your lender. Should your pay day loan lender causes it to be seem extremely hard to go over your loan with a human being, you may then maintain a negative business offer. Reputable companies don’t operate in this way. They have a wide open collection of connection where you could make inquiries, and receive feedback.

Pay close attention to charges. The interest rates that paycheck loan providers can charge is normally capped at the condition stage, though there could be neighborhood rules also. Because of this, several paycheck loan providers make their real money by levying charges within dimensions and volume of charges overall.

Question precisely what the interest of the pay day loan will be. This is significant, as this is the exact amount you will need to pay out in addition to the amount of cash you happen to be borrowing. You might even want to research prices and get the very best interest it is possible to. The low rate you see, the reduced your complete repayment will be.

Go on a pay day loan only if you wish to protect specific bills instantly this should largely include charges or healthcare bills. Tend not to end up in the habit of smoking of getting pay day loans. The high interest rates could actually cripple your money around the long-term, and you need to learn how to stick with a budget as an alternative to borrowing dollars.

Payday loans recently become extremely popular. You will find numerous selections, so it will be an intelligent concept to compare and contrast costs and conditions from 4 or 5 diverse loan providers just before, you choose your loan. Read through every one of the disclosures for each and every personal loan that, you are interested in. Be sure that you clearly comprehend the interest rates, and then any charges that can be incurred.

For those who have taken off a pay day loan, speak with your payroll department at the job. See if they can progress you one of your after that paychecks to enable you to pay out lower your loan faster. Even if they can only do a part of it, that will nevertheless trim down your interest dramatically.

Before applying for the pay day loan have your documentation as a way this will help the borrowed funds firm, they may require evidence of your income, to allow them to judge your ability to cover the borrowed funds rear. Handle things such as your W-2 develop from operate, alimony repayments or evidence you happen to be getting Social Stability. Make the best scenario feasible for yourself with appropriate documents.

The best way to pick your pay day loan lender would be to go through diverse reviews from consumers who, have tried that particular service just before. You will get upfront understanding on how, the ability functions. How each person truly feel about diverse loan providers. In that way you make the best selection feasible.

Those of you who wish to get yourself a pay day loan can be smart to exhaust all of the other alternatives just before figuring out to accomplish this. Payday loans price an arm as well as a lower-leg in interest and really should only be used as a last resort. Try to find one more way to get some funds first.

If you find that a pay day loan firm did you wrong, do not be scared to document these people to your condition agency. While there are lots of great pay day loan companies, in addition there are several fakes. To obtain free of these artificial companies, the state has to be created mindful of them.

Since there are usually additional fees and conditions invisible there. A lot of people make your error of not undertaking that, and they also end up owing considerably more than they obtained to begin with. Make sure that you understand completely, anything at all you are putting your signature on.

With any luck ,, you possess identified the info you needed to reach a decision regarding a likely pay day loan. Everyone needs a little assist a while and regardless of what the origin you have to be an informed customer prior to a commitment. Think about the guidance you possess just go through and all of alternatives carefully.

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14. The future of information technologies in the legal world

By Richard Susskind


The uncharitable might say that I write the same book every four years or so. Some critics certainly accuse me of having said the same thing for many years. I don’t disagree. Since the early 80s, my enduring interest has been in the ways in which technology can modernize and improve the work of the legal profession and the courts. My main underpinning conviction has indeed not changed: that legal work is document and information intensive, and that a whole host of information technologies can and should streamline and sometimes even overhaul traditional methods of practicing law and administering justice.

What have changed, of course, are the enabling technologies. When I started out on what has become a career devoted largely to legal technology, the web had not been invented, nor had tablets, handheld devices, mobile phones, and much else. As new technologies emerge, therefore, I always have a new story to tell and more evidence that suggests the legal world is shifting from being a cottage industry to an IT-enabled information sector.

The evolution of my thinking reflects my own technical interests and career activities over the years. My first work in the field, in the 1980s, focused on artificial intelligence and its potential and limitations in the law. This began in earnest with my doctoral research at Oxford University. I was interested in the possibility of developing computer systems that could solve legal problems and offer legal advice. Many specialists at the time wanted to define expert systems in law in architectural terms (by reference to what underlying technologies were being used, from rule-based systems to neural networks). I took a more pragmatic view and described these systems functionally as computer applications that sought to make scarce legal knowledge and expertise more widely available and easily accessible.

This remains my fundamental aspiration today. I believe there is enormous scope for using technology, especially Internet technology, as a way of providing affordable, practical legal guidance to non-lawyers, especially those who are not able to pay for conventional legal service. These systems may not be expert systems, architecturally-defined. Instead, they are web-based resources (such as online advisory and document drafting systems) and are delivering legal help, on-screen, as envisaged back in the 1980s.

During the first half of the 90s, while I was working in a law firm (Masons, now Pinsent Masons), my work became less academic. I was bowled over by the web and began to form a view of the way it would revolutionize the communication habits of practicing lawyers and transform the information seeking practices of the legal fraternity. I also had some rudimentary ideas about online communities of lawyers and clients; we now call these social networks. My thinking came together in the mid-1990s. I became clear, in my own mind at least, that information technology would definitely challenge and change the world of law. Most people thought I was nuts.

A few years later, to help put my ideas into practice, I developed what I called ‘the grid’ – a simple model that explained the inter-relationships of legal data, legal information, legal knowledge, as found within law firms and shared with clients. I had used this model quite a bit with my clients (by this time, I was working independently) and it seemed to help lawyers think through what they should be doing about IT.

In the years that followed, however, I became even more confident that the Internet was destined to change the legal sector not incrementally and peripherally but radically, pervasively, and irreversibly. But I felt that, in the early 2000s, most lawyers were complacent. Times were good, business was brisk, and the majority of practitioners could not really imagine that legal practice and the court system would be thrown into upheaval by disruptive technologies.

Then came the global recession and, in turn, lawyers became more receptive than they had been in boom times when there had been no obvious reason why they might change course. Dreadful economic conditions convinced lawyers that tomorrow would look little like yesterday.

With many senior lawyers now recognizing that we are on the brink of major change, my current preoccupation is that most law schools around the world are ignoring this future. They continue to teach law much as I was taught in the late 1970s. They are equipping tomorrow’s lawyers to be twentieth century not twenty-first century lawyers. My mission now is to help law teachers to prepare the next generation of lawyers for the new legal world.

Richard Susskind OBE is an author, speaker, and independent adviser to international professional firms and national governments. He is president of the Society for Computers and law IT adviser to the lord chief justice. Tomorrow’s Lawyers is his eighth book.

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Image Credit: ‘The Grid’ courtesy of Richard Susskind. Used with permission. Do not reproduce without explicit permission of Richard Susskind.

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15. Court Refuses to Hear Appeal on J.K. Rowling Photo Privacy Case

A court in the UK has refused to hear an appeal filed by Big Pictures LTD in regards to a case involving a photo of the young child of author J.K. Rowling. The Harry Potter author and her husband Dr. Neil Murray had won an appeal in May of the case they brought seeking to protect the privacy of their children, in specific photos of their young son that were published in a UK paper several years... Read the rest of this post

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16. RDR Books Files Notice of Appeal

As we reported in September, Judge Robert Patterson ruled in favor of J.K. Rowling and Warner Brothers in the copyright case against RDR Books, publisher of the book version of the Harry Potter Lexicon website. RDR Books has now officially filed a notice of appeal. An actual appeal will follow.


Past Leaky coverage of the trial can be found here.


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17. EZ Thoughts: Governor Blagojevich and the Seventeenth Amendment

Edward A. Zelinsky is the Morris and Annie Trachman Professor of Law at the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law of Yeshiva University. He is the author of The Origins of the Ownership Society: How The Defined Contribution Paradigm Changed America.  In this article, Professor Zelinsky discusses the recent arrest of Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich and the public maneuvering in New York for Hillary Clinton’s Senate seat. He concludes that the Seventeenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution should be amended to eliminate gubernatorial appointments of temporary U.S. Senators.  Be sure to check back next month for another installation of EZ Thoughts.

The arrest of Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich, along with the public maneuvering in New York for Hillary Clinton’s Senate seat, have focused attention on one of the anomalous features of the U.S. Constitution: the power of state governors to select interim U.S. Senators. While that gubernatorial power made sense two hundred years ago, it is not appropriate today. The Seventeenth Amendment of the Constitution should be amended to eliminate gubernatorial appointments of temporary U.S. Senators.

Originally, the Constitution authorized state legislatures to elect U.S. Senators. In this earlier age, transportation and communication were primitive by modern standards. It was difficult for state legislatures to convene and legislatures met less frequently than they do today. In this environment, if a U.S. Senator died or resigned, it was onerous, sometimes impossible, for the legislature to convene in a timely fashion to fill the resulting senatorial vacancy. It was thus sensible to authorize the governor to fill a Senate vacancy temporarily until the legislature could meet to elect a new senator.

Without that gubernatorial authority, it was possible under these pre-modern conditions for a U.S. Senator to die or resign while his state’s legislature was adjourned and for that state to consequently lack full representation in the Senate for an extended period. A temporary gubernatorial appointment was a sensible way to reduce this gap in senatorial representation until the legislature met to elect a new U.S. Senator.

The Seventeenth Amendment to the Constitution switched the selection of U.S. Senators from the legislatures to popular election. This Amendment should have ended the tradition of interim gubernatorial appointments in favor of immediate special elections to fill senatorial vacancies. Such special elections have always been the method for filling vacancies in the House of Representatives. Once Senators were also elected popularly, special elections likewise became the logical method of filling vacancies in that chamber.

Instead, the Seventeenth Amendment retained the option of gubernatorial appointments of temporary U.S. Senators, though the justification for such appointments – the difficulty of convening state legislatures in an earlier age – had long disappeared. Recent events in Illinois, as well as the well-publicized efforts to influence New York Governor David Paterson’s appointment of Senator Clinton’s successor, highlight the mistake in retaining the once prudent provision for gubernatorial selection of interim U.S. Senators.

In the modern age, it is anomalous for governors to continue to appoint temporary U.S. Senators, a vestigial power reflecting the primitive communications and transportation of an earlier period when legislatures picked U.S. Senators. When a Senate vacancy occurs today, the voters should immediately replace their U.S. Senator through a special election. The Seventeenth Amendment should be amended to eliminate gubernatorial appointments of temporary U.S. senators.

If that happens, Governor Blagojevich will have inadvertently helped to improve the U.S. Constitution.

3 Comments on EZ Thoughts: Governor Blagojevich and the Seventeenth Amendment, last added: 12/26/2008
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18. Book burning on Feb. 10th 2009 due to CPSIA

The government thinks books are a danger to children and mandates destruction of millions of kids' books starting February 10th, 2009. It sounds like the plot form a science fiction novel, but new regulations are all too real.

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19. Followup: Man Convicted in Murder of Potter Actor Rob Knox

Last May, we learned the tragic news that actor Rob Knox, a young actor who will be seen as Marcus Belby in the upcoming Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, had been murdered in London. Today, the BBC reports that a jury has convicted Karl Bishop, 22, and found him guilty of the stabbing of Rob Knox. The BBC states "Mr Knox was stabbed five times as he defended his brother Jamie from Bishop... Read the rest of this post

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20. Federalism and “the Right…to Keep and Bear Arms”

Lawrence H. Tribe is the Carl M. Loeb University Professor and Professor of Constitutional Law at Harvard University.  He has published more than 100 books and articles, argued more than three dozen cases before the Supreme Court of the United States and has frequently testified before Congress on a broad range of constitutional issues.  In his newest book, The Invisible Constitution, he argues that there is an unseen Constitution-impalpable but powerful-that accompanies the parchment version.  Tribe illustrates how some of our more cherished and widely held beliefs about constitutional rights are not part of the written document but can be discerned only by piecing together hints and clues from its design and history.  In the excerpt below we look at Congress’s power over States and Cities.

It should go without saying that liberals aren’t the only ones who would suffer buyer’s remorse were we to accept a text-only Constitution as our lot.  Consider an act of Congress-the “Above-Average Gun Violence Act”-that requires any city in the United States with a higher-than-average annual per capita rate of violent crimes involving the use of firearms to enact, within one month of the Justice Department’s release of the relevant annual figures, a gun control law  (i.e., a law regulating the purchase, sale, and possession of firearms) that has been submitted to, and approved by, the attorney general, who in turn is directed to approve no gun control law that is not “at least as strict as that of the city or county in the United States with the lowest annual per capita rate of violent crime involving the use of firearms.”  Would such a congressional enactment be constitutional?  Can the question be answered by looking at the imaginary statute on its face, or would the answer depend on whether the statute was being applied to a city other than the nation’s capital, the District of Columbia?

As to the District of Columbia, there would be no difficulty finding an affirmative source of the authority being exercised by Congress.  It would be the Article I, section 8, clause 17, stating that “Congress shall have Power To…exercise exclusive Legislation in all Cases whatsoever, over such District (not exceeding ten Miles square) as may, by Cession of particular States, and the Accepting of Congress, become the Seat of the Government of the United States.” Whether acting directly, or through power it has delegated to the District of Columbia government, Congress is affirmatively authorized to regulate economic and social life throughout the nation’s capital, and thus to direct those whom it entrusts with governmental power over Washington, D.C., to adopt the firearms measures specified in the Above-Average Gun Violence Act-subject, of course, to any limitations we conclude the Second Amendment imposes on laws enacted by Congress.

As for other cities, it is at least strongly arguable that Congress, acting pursuant to the Commerce Clause, would be exercising one of the “powers…delegated to the United States by the Constituion,” as the Tenth Amendment requires.  The inclusion in the statute of firearms “possession” along with “purchase” and “sale” would, at least under modern precedent, be justified by the power of Congress, conferred by Article I, section 8, clause 18, “To make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the foregoing Powers,” on the theory that Congress could reasonably deem federal control of possession essential to effective enforcement of a federal ban on purchase and sale-a theory articulated most recently by Justice Scalia in connection with the congressional ban on the possession as well as sale of marijuana, even under close supervision by a state that permits medically licensed marijuana use.

At most, however, this analysis establishes that the imagined federal statue falls within the affirmative authority of Congress under the Constitution, leaving open the question whether the statute nonetheless runs afoul of some negative constitutional prohibition.

The most obvious one would seem to be the Second Amendment: “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bare Arms, shall not be infringed.” Does the statute “infringe” that Second Amendment right?

There is precious little judicial precedent, but a mass of academic writing addresses the meaning and scope of the Second Amendment, with a majority of scholars concluding that it is only each state’s “well regulated Militia” that the Second Amendment protects from federal interference, and a minority arguing that the preamble’s reference to the necessity of a “well regulated Militia” should not render irrelevant or totally dilute “the right of the people”- even as individuals unconnected to any organized state military force-”to keep and bear Arms.”  Sorting through this body of precedent and scholarhsip would be well beyond the point of this book; it suffices here to recognize that neither pole in this ongoing debate can point to decisive textual support for its conclusion and that both must rely on sources of meaning well beyond the visable text.

A District of Columbia statute undergoing judicial challenge as of the writing of this book raises the question whether, whatever else it might mean, the Second Amendment has either no application or at most a far less obust application to congressional measures to regulate firearms traffic, possession, and use in the nation’s capital. Even if the preamble of the amendment is not read to limit its reach to weaponry in the hands of state militias as such, that preamble might well be read to limit the amendment’s reach to federal control of firearms in the hands of citizens in the several states, as opposed to federal control of firearms in distinctly federal territoris, and especially in the seat of the federal government.  If that reading were adopted, then the imagined statute would seem to pose no great constitutional difficulty in its application to the District of Columbia.  But what of its application to New Orleans or Dallas or Los Angeles?…

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21. Life Sentence Given in Robert Knox Murder Case

Yesterday there was an update in the case involving Robert Knox, the young actor who appears as Marcus Belby in the upcoming Half-Blood Prince, who was tragically murdered last May. As reported earlier, a jury in England found Karl Bishop, 22 guilty of the murder of Robert Knox, and today Mr. Bishop was handed a life sentence in jail for his crimes. The BBC reports:

Bishop, who was found guilty

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22. Filling Supreme Court Vacancies: I Was for Sam. Now I’m for Sonia.

By Edward Zelinsky

When President Bush nominated my law school classmate Circuit Judge Samuel A. Alito, Jr., to the U.S. Supreme Court, I supported Judge Alito’s confirmation to the high court. Now that President Obama has nominated Circuit Judge Sonia Sotomayor to the Supreme Court, I favor her confirmation as well. To those who view the Supreme Court primarily as a forum for partisan struggle, this conclusion will seem anomalous. To those concerned about the rule of law, this conclusion will seem compelling.

In earlier times, Presidents reached across party lines in making Supreme Court appointments. President Truman, for example, appointed to the Court Senator Harold H. Burton of Ohio, a Republican. President Eisenhower similarly crossed party lines to nominate to the Supreme Court Judge William J. Brennan, Jr., a New Jersey Democrat. In today’s environment, such bi-partisan appointments are inconceivable.

When President Bush, with a Republican-controlled Senate, confronted a vacancy on the Court in 2005, the realistic expectation was that he would appoint a professionally qualified Republican. Judge Alito easily met that criterion and was properly confirmed by the Senate.

I supported Justice Alito’s confirmation not because I concur with every decision he has made or is likely to make. Indeed, I have disagreed with several of (now) Justice Alito’s decisions, most recently, District of Columbia v. Heller in which the Court read the Second Amendment as invalidating a gun control law of the District of Columbia. I supported Justice Alito’s confirmation because of his professional distinction, not because of his political ideology.

Similar observations apply to Judge Sotomayor. I will not agree with every decision she will make on the high court. Indeed, I disagreed with her participation as an appellate judge in Ricci v. DeStefano, which invalidated New Haven’s promotional examination for firefighters because too many white males passed the test. Recently, a five justice majority of the Supreme Court concluded that, indeed, Ricci was wrongly decided.

However, the relevant question is, given the pool from which Barack Obama will appoint Supreme Court justices, did the President pick a lawyer who is professionally qualified to sit on the nation’s highest court? By that criterion, Judge Sotomayor passes muster.

There are commentators, many quite distinguished, who find naive an emphasis upon a judge’s professional credentials. From their vantage, the Supreme Court has been and will continue to be nothing more than a cockpit of partisan struggle. Concern about professional qualifications is, from this vantage, at best unsophisticated, at worst a smokescreen for other agendas.

I respectfully suggest that it is those commentators who are indulging in naivete. President Bush in 2005 was going to place a conservative Republican on the Supreme Court. Similarly, in 2009, President Obama will place a liberal Democrat on the Supreme Court. Given those political realities, the question becomes whether the President, in satisfying his political imperatives, has nominated to the Court a professionally qualified appointee.

The professional qualifications of judges matter because of the role the courts play in our national life. Courts are where Americans go for the fair, principled application of law administered by a judge who is guided, not by the identity of the parties, but by legal norms and standards. All too often, the reality falls short of this ideal. Nevertheless, this ideal is an important part of America’s self-image and of our success as a nation: We believe in the rule of law. Our judges should thus be more than partisans. They should be legal professionals in the best sense of that term, knowledgeable, hardworking craftsmen who seek to administer the law in a fair and principled fashion. This commitment to professionalism should start with the judges at the pinnacle of the legal system.

To be sure, judges, particularly Supreme Court justices, are also policymakers. Many of the cases reaching the U.S. Supreme Court are there because conventional legal reasoning does not resolve them. Consequently, much of what the Supreme Court does entails choices of policy and political philosophy.

It is accordingly appropriate for Judge Sotomayor’s confirmation hearing to focus, not just on her professional credentials, but upon the substantive issues she will address on the Supreme Court. Supreme Court confirmation hearings (a relatively recent innovation in our constitutional history) have become an important and legitimate part of our national conversation – though I would urge the Republicans to approach this hearing with greater civility than many of his Democratic interlocutors brought to Justice Alito’s confirmation process. Judge Sotomayor’s hearing should be a dialogue befitting constitutional principles, not a partisan slugfest.

In short, I was for Sam and now, for the same reasons, I’m for Sonia.


Edward A. Zelinsky is the Morris and Annie Trachman Professor of Law at the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law of Yeshiva University. He is the author of The Origins of the Ownership Society: How The Defined Contribution Paradigm Changed America.

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23. Followup: Jamie Waylett Admits to Cannabis Possession Charge

A followup today regarding the case involving actor Jamie Waylett (Vincent Crabbe) and his arrest involving possession of an illegal substance. Appearing at the City of Westminster Magistrates' Court in London, England, the Telegraph reports Jamie plead guilty to growing ten Cannabis plants at his mothers home in England.  Readers will recall that Jamie (19) and a friend John Innis (20) were bo... Read the rest of this post

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24. Followup on Jamie Waylett Case: Sentenced to Community Service

A followup today regarding the legal case involving actor Jamie Waylett (Crabbe), who earlier this month plead guilty to growing cannabis plants at a residence in London, England. Today, the AP reports that Jamie was sentenced to to 120 hours of community service. The report continues:  Judge Timothy Workman said Tuesday that he accepted that the cultivation was on a small scale and for Waylett... Read the rest of this post

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25. Counterfeit Half-Blood Prince DVDs Seized in England

Although not quite a week since the release of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince in movie theaters, counterfeit copies of the film are already making the rounds. News today out of England brings word that a raid on a car boot sale in Stafford "resulted in the seizure of more than 10,000 counterfeit discs, including the new Harry Potter film, the Half Blood Prince. The paper continued:

"Offi... Read the rest of this post

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