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October

October 28 - 31, 2007

NEW YORK TIMES: Training Law Students for Real-Life Careers
October 31, 2007
``Forget all the jokes about what should be done with the lawyers. What should be done with the law students? That question is being tackled — seriously — at a variety of law schools around the country as they undertake a broad series of changes to their curriculums. The changes range from requiring new courses for first-year students to expanding clinical programs to adding electives in the later years to encouraging law students to take courses in other graduate-level programs at their universities. … Columbia Law School began modifying its curriculum in 2003, and the University of New Mexico School of Law made a series of changes starting three years ago and is weighing more.’’

WASHINGTON POST: Rudy's Red Sox Romance
October 30, 2007
``The first big scandal confronting Rudy Giuliani in his presidential quest has nothing to do with his personal life, his governing style in New York City or his associations with people such as Bernie Kerik… No, it has to do with Rudy's heresy as a Yankees fan… George P. Fletcher, a Columbia University law professor, wrote a brilliant book called `Loyalty’ in 1993 and once argued in a radio interview that loyalty `creates a certain stability in personal relationships, and I think that it creates, in the people who are loyal, a sense of integrity and continuity.’ Or, as he put it in the book, `In the way we draw the lines of our loyalties, we define ourselves as persons.’’’

CNET NEWS: Apple plays with fire, courts iPhone gift card lawsuits
October 30, 2007
``Apple set the blogosphere on fire Monday when word leaked of the company's latest effort to limit iPhone unlocking. … On Monday afternoon, I spoke with Professor Avery W. Katz, vice dean and Milton Handler Professor of Law at Columbia Law School. Katz regularly teaches classes in contracts, secured transactions, and payment systems. When asked if he had heard of any other companies refusing to take their own store gift cards in the past, Katz replied that `(this is) a new one to me,’ and that he believes that `most customers will be surprised to learn that their gift cards will not be accepted’ for the purchase of items from a company's official store. Professor Katz noted that even if Apple's gift cards were covered by a small-print or shrink-wrap contract, `in the case of a consumer purchase, not everything in the fine print of a consumer contract is enforceable. This area is one of some controversy in contract law.’ In general, he said, `the enforceability of these fine-print terms depends on how reasonable the fine print is and what a consumer can reasonably expect of the sale.’’’

NATIONAL PUBLIC RADIO: All Things Considered: Merrill Lynch CEO Seeks Exit in Wake of Losses
October 29, 2007
``Merrill Lynch CEO Stan O'Neal is on the verge of losing his job. … Securities law expert John Coffee of Columbia Law School says the board needed time to answer some questions about Merrill’s future, such as who would lead the company once O’Neal was gone. Professor JOHN COFFEE (Law, Columbia University): `You hate to have a vacuum at the top. The world gets nervous if there’s uncertainty. So when you announce the king is dead, you want to also say, and long live the king.’’’

LEGAL TIMES: Then They Came for Don Siegelman (free subscription required)
October 29, 2007
BYLINE: SCOTT HORTON
``On July 2, 2007, in the federal courthouse in Montgomery, former Alabama Gov. Don Siegelman, the most popular and successful Democrat in recent Alabama electoral politics, was sentenced to serve seven years and four months following a conviction on corruption charges. In a dramatic scene, the judge directed that Siegelman be handcuffed, shackled with leg irons, and perp-walked before waiting reporters. Motions for a stay pending appeal, routinely granted in such cases, were denied. Defense counsel were aghast.’’ … Scott Horton lectures at Columbia University Law School, works on military contractor issues for Human Rights First, and is a member of the board of the National Institute of Military Justice.

WASHINGTON POST: The Smart Way to Shut Gitmo Down
BYLINE: MATTHEW WAXMAN
October 28, 2007
``In July 2005, I joined a group of senior policymakers at the White House for a review of administration policies on the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. As we shuffled into the national security adviser's West Wing office, televisions nearby flashed with the ghastly news of a massive London subway attack that had the hallmarks -- coordination, skill and murderous imagination -- of an al-Qaeda strike. As the news sank in, one senior White House official spoke up. `It seems to me,’ he declared, to my astonishment, ‘this meeting is now irrelevant.’’’ … Matthew Waxman teaches at Columbia Law School. He has served as acting director of the State Department's policy planning staff and, in 2004-05, as deputy assistant secretary of defense for detainee affairs.

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October 21 - 27, 2007

WOMEN’S ENEWS: Court Affirms Right to Protection of Abuse Victims
October 26, 2007
``Jessica Lenahan wants to know who riddled her three daughters' bodies with bullets. … `Allowing her case to go forward is saying that she has a valid case,’ said Caroline Bettinger-Lopez, Lenahan's co-counsel and human rights fellow and attorney at Columbia Law School in New York. `That's kind of the first victory.’ … Lenahan will not receive financial compensation, but her case points to another strategy to help victims and advocates plumb the system for justice. `I think it'll carry a lot of weight,’ Bettinger-Lopez said. `It opens the door for other people to file complaints against their countries for failing to protect them when the government is aware that they're in danger.’’’
October 25, 2007
``Microsoft's compliance with a landmark European Union antitrust decision has opened competition for servers, where one rival says it now has a fighting chance to take on the software giant's dominance. …In a major change of direction, Microsoft agreed to provide competitors with vital interconection information, one month after the EU's second-highest court backed the Commission's decision. 'There is still contested ground to win,' said Eban Moglen, a Columbia University law professor who also heads the Software Freedom Law Center, which backs the free software movement and represents Samba.’’

REUTERS DEALZONE (blog): BEA takes gamble, shoots for $21
October 25, 2007
``You can’t put a price tag on love, but apparently you can put a price tag on BEA Systems. … `Once you say you’re open to $21 per share, it’s going to be hard to say later that it’s an inadequate number,’ said Columbia University Law School professor John Coffee. ‘You have ended your ability to resist a deal. It’s a strategy aimed at maximizing value, not a scorched-Earth strategy of resisting a takeover entirely,’ Coffee said.’’

October 24, 2007
``What do Albus Dumbledore and the original framers of the United States Constitution have in common? Besides their both having inspired a plethora of highly erotic fan fiction, not much — unless you ask hip Columbia Law School professor Michael Dorf. In his latest Find Law column, Dorf argues that J.K. Rowling's outing of Dumbledore over the weekend has little to no bearing on the Harry Potter novels, much in the same way that the founding fathers' original intentions shouldn't affect our interpretation of the Constitution. It's an interesting read, even if it is totally head-scratching….’’
 
October 24, 2007
``Idolator has two enlightening exchanges with US attorneys about whether US-based OiNK users are at risk for copyright infringement. The take-home is “yes,” but the likelihood of prosecution, on the other hand, is low….This reminds me of this great series of articles on Slate by Tim Wu about how politics prevents (or dissuades by inefficiency in reform and execution) the prosecution of certain crimes—crimes that society, for one reason or another (particularly because of class), has chosen to accept. It all comes down to how important that crime is for the people in charge.
 
October 23, 2007
``While securities-fraud lawsuits against U.S. companies have waned in recent years, shareholders' lawsuits against deep-pocketed foreign firms are gaining momentum and may be the next legal flashpoint between businesses and investors.… John Coffee, a Columbia University law professor, cautions that when U.S. courts certify foreign investors as class-action plaintiffs, it exposes foreign firms to a worldwide class of investors and potentially devastating judgments here. `Do we want our courts to be the securities policemen of the world?’ Coffee says.’’

GUARDIAN: America's war without end
October 23, 2007
``Planned US spending on the `global war on terror’ is set to rise sharply in the coming year, despite claims from the president, George Bush, that al-Qaida is on the run in Iraq. … Experts in international security law, such as Professor Philip Bobbitt of Columbia law school, deny suggestions the global threat is being exaggerated and conflated for political and geo-strategic ends. Speaking in London, Prof Bobbitt said three overlapping, truly global wars on terror were being waged. One was the fight against ‘21st-century, networked terror’; the second was a war to prevent rogue regimes or terror groups obtaining weapons of mass destruction; the third was against genocide and ethnic cleansing, as in Darfur.’’

VILLAGE VOICE: Diplomats and Guns
October 23, 2007
``The black Lincoln Town Car's tinted windows obscured the passengers as it left Chinatown one afternoon late in September. Inside were three diplomats from the Democratic Republic of the Congo and their newly purchased cache of more than 30 military-style handguns. … Jose Alvarez, a professor of international law at Columbia University, said that foreign representatives get no special treatment when it comes to buying firearms: They still have to satisfy New York City's licensing requirements, which means that every gun must be registered, and the purchase can't include fully automatic or assault-style weapons. `I don't know of any special laws that permit them to have what ordinary citizens can't have in terms of guns,’ said Alvarez. On the other hand, if a diplomat is caught with an illegal weapon, he (or she) does have immunity from U.S. law: `He cannot be detained, he cannot be prosecuted, he cannot be searched,’ Alvarez noted.’’

RCR WIRELESS NEWS: Skype’s rallying cry
October 23, 2007
``Big things tend to start out small, or so the saying goes. … Skype dusted off the FCC’s 1968 Carterfone decision—allowing unaffiliated devices to attach to the public landline telephone system so long as they do no harm to the network—and asked why not in the U.S. wireless space, too. Timothy Wu, a Columbia University law professor, asked the same question and made the case for allowing wireless Carterfone at a roundtable at the Federal Trade Commission early this year. Wu was at once applauded and attacked for his academic paper on the subject.’’

October 23, 2007
`` Rows of empty seats greeted New York Police Officer Michael Osgood as he discussed how police respond to hate crimes Monday evening.… Osgood’s presentation came just a few days after a bill allowing the Justice Department to assist local governments in the investigation and prosecution of hate crimes passed the U.S. Senate. The act, sponsored in part by Senator Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., is a response to hate crimes at Columbia and in New York. It is currently being considered in a joint House-Senate committee.… “It [Schumer’s legislation] would be a deterrent if people saw they [perpetrators] were actually being prosecuted and there were arrests occurring,” said Columbia Law School professor Jack Greenberg.
 
October 22, 2007
BYLINE: MICHAEL C. DORF
``Speaking at Carnegie Hall last week, J.K. Rowling, author of the phenomenally popular Harry Potter series, revealed that Albus Dumbledore, the headmaster of the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, is gay. Rowling explained that she was prompted to out the fictional Dumbledore when she noticed a reference to a female romantic interest of his in a draft of the screenplay for the planned sixth Potter film.If the film version of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince makes Dumbledore's sexual orientation explicit, then that will settle the matter.…These principles may seem obvious enough when considering the relation of a fiction writer's intentions to her text, but they are highly contentious when it comes to legal documents. In the balance of this column, I will explain why James Madison is no more of an authority on the meaning of the U.S. Constitution, than J.K. Rowling is on Dumbledore's sexual orientation.’’
 
October 22, 2007
``State attorneys general are stepping up the legal pressure on the mortgage industry, but it is unclear whether their response to the subprime market fallout will actually lead to a glut of lawsuits. … James Tierney, former state attorney general for Maine and the director of the National State Attorneys General Program for Columbia Law School, believes that the AGs most important role for now will likely not be in the courtroom. `AGs have to prosecute fraud, but that responsibility in this case is, in my judgment, trumped by some broader responsibilities,’ he said. `There's no shortage of fraud in this area, but that's not going to keep people in their homes.’ Public outreach will be critical for state attorneys general as they wade through the mess of foreclosures, according to Tierney…. `There are some people who could get some help through modifications but are not taking advantage of it,’ said Tierney.

NATIONAL LAW JOURNAL: Time to set a new standard
October 22, 2007

BYLINE: CAROLINE BETTINGER-LÓPEZ``On Oct. 5, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights declared in a landmark `admissibility’ decision that it had competence to examine the human rights claims of Jessica Gonzales, a domestic violence survivor from Colorado whose three children were killed when local police failed to enforce a restraining order against her estranged husband. The decision marked the first time the commission recognized that the American Declaration on the Rights and Duties of Man, a foundational human rights instrument, imposes affirmative obligations on the United States to protect individuals from private acts of violence.’’ … Caroline Bettinger-López is a human rights fellow and attorney at Columbia Law School's Human Rights Clinic and Human Rights Institute. She is lead counsel in Gonzales v. U.S., a case co-counseled by the clinic and the American Civil Liberties Union, now pending before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights.

October 21, 2007
``Despite holding a monopoly in the U.S. credit rating market and generally good reputation, the major credit agencies—Moody's Investor Services Inc., Standard & Poor's (S&P) and Fitch Ratings Ltd.—failed to warn the public of imminent bankruptcies such as Enron and WorldCom, as well as the recent subprime loan crisis. …`Ratings downgrades are often less prophesies of the future than slightly premature obituaries for terminally ill bonds,’ told John C. Coffee, Jr., professor at Columbia University Law School.’’
 
October 21, 2007
``The patients arrive every day in Chinese hospitals with disabling and fatal diseases acquired while making products for America….China's failure topermit free trade unions translates into additional cost savings for American consumers and profits for American companies, reducing the cost of manufactured imports from China from 11 percent to 44 percent, according to Columbia University law professor Mark Barenberg.’’
This story was picked up by the Los Angeles Daily News.
 
October 21, 2007
``Two St. Louis companies have been implicated so far in the options backdating scandal. It's too early to know the consequences either company will face, but so far, the situations at Engineered Support Systems (now part of DRS Technologies) and KV Pharmaceutical look starkly different. …John Coffee, a law professor at Columbia University, says that what looks like disparate treatment in backdating cases may be a result of different facts. But, he said, `It’s always a matter of interpretation. You always wonder to what degree the parties conducting that internal investigation are giving every benefit of doubt to their boss.’’’
 
 
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October 14 - 20, 2007

October 19, 2007
``Last week I wrote an item about the recent accusations of plagiarism aimed at the Yale University law professor Ian Ayres …At that time I presented the Columbia University law professor Michael Dorf's theory that many of the recent plagiarism scandals are actually matters of ghostwriting, which stem from an overreliance on research assistants….But now comes a compelling new culprit: trade-press editors. …Dorf finds the alternative theory plausible and notes that, if it's true, the explanation raises the question of how a trade-press editor could possibly think that minor wording changes relieve an author of the obligation to use quotation marks.’’
 
October 18, 2007
`` When Jessica Lenahan lost her daughters in 1999, the incident went down in Castle Rock history as the town's worst domestic-violence nightmare. … The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights agreed Oct. 5 to review Lenahan's case to decide if the Castle Rock police violated her family's human rights the night her children died. Lenahan's attorneys hope the commission's decision will create changes to domestic violence laws across the nation. `[Lenahan] is calling for legislative reforms, changes in police policy and improved police trainings regarding domestic violence,’ said attorney Caroline Bettinger-Lopez. Bettinger-Lopez is Lenahan's attorney who also works at the Columbia law school human rights clinic.’’
 
October 17, 2007
``The symbols of racism and intolerance that have rocked Columbia over the past several weeks have brought to light an ambiguous gray area in the legal definitions of racially charged episodes. … `It really comes down to intent and results,’ said James Tierney, director of the National State Attorneys General Program at Columbia Law School.
Hate crimes, said Michael Dorf, Isidor and Seville Sulzbacher Professor of Law, are bias-motivated threats that target a certain people or group, whereas bias incidents may be abstract statements that are found offensive, but are legally permissible. `There are manifestations of prejudice that are not criminalized either because legislation has chosen not to criminalize them or because they’re protected under their First Amendment rights,’ Dorf said. `Whoever did that could be held guilty of a hate crime provided that the jury found that it was done with the intention to threaten or intimidate,’ Dorf said, explaining that the historical significance of the noose would be enough evidence of racially biased motive. But law professor Jack Greenberg of Columbia Law School disagrees. `I would call it a ‘hate incident,’ but it’s not against the law,’ Greenberg said. `If somebody said ‘let’s string her up,’ that would be a crime, but nobody said that.’ An offense constitutes a hate crime, Greenberg says, when it instigates violence.’’

ASSOCIATED PRESS: S&P Downgrades $23 Billion in Securities
October 17, 2007

``Standard & Poor's said Wednesday it cut the ratings on 1,713 classes of securities, worth some $23.35 billion, backed by mortgages issued in the first six months of this year. … The downgrades show S&P `didn't have an accurate model for these types of securitized asset pools,’ said John Coffee, the Adolf A. Berle Professor of Law at Columbia Law School, in an interview. Coffee said this latest ratings cut proves S&P's methodology has been `flawed for some time,’ but he said the revisions also prove S&P is trying to understand what went wrong with the initial ratings.’’
This story also was picked up by Canadian Business, MSN and other media outlets.

MINNESOTA SPOKESMAN-RECORDER: Columbia law professor speaks at Hamline Univ. about race and eugenics
October 17, 2007
``Fifty years after American public schools were legally integrated, and in the wake of the Jena Six controversy, race relations in America are back under the kind of scrutiny reminiscent of the 1960s. The reemergence of this issue has instigated a nationwide dialogue that Hamline University recently contributed to when renowned author and Columbia University Law Professor Patricia J. Williams appeared there to speak on September 27 about America‘s obsession with race.’’

BUSINESS WEEK: A Bruise or Two on Apple's Reputation
Issue of October 22, 2007
``For Apple (AAPL ), there may be a downside to success. …[I]s it morally or legally wrong to alter the device so it works with carriers other than AT&T? Columbia Law School professor Tim Wu thinks not. The law, particularly the Digital Millennium copyright act of 1998, doesn't make criminals out of people who `unlock’ their phones, he writes at Slate. Besides, Wu argues, Apple should just suck it up: `When people unlock phones, Apple loses revenue it was hoping for, but also gains customers who would have never bought an iPhone in the first place. That's life.’’’

October 16, 2007
`` Many laws are broken every day with impunity, but that isn’t something to worry about, says legal scholar Tim Wu. Revising cumbersome or outdated laws is often harder than simply turning a blind eye to them or providing ways around them, Mr. Wu, a professor at Columbia University School of Law, says in a series of articles on Slate.’’

CHRISTIAN SCIENCE MONITOR: Can the Democratic Party ignore Florida's primary?
October 16, 2007
``Does a national political party have to count every vote in choosing its nominee for president? Or can it enforce its rules in a way that leaves some voters ­– or even an entire state – out of the process? … `Fundamentally, lawsuits like this are about shaming the national political party into counting the votes,’ said Nathaniel Persily, a Columbia University law professor who reviewed an early draft of the lawsuit but is not involved with the case. `It seems inconceivable to me that the Democratic convention will lock its doors and leave the Florida delegation outside.’’’

 BROWN DAILY HERALD: As IRB debate grows, profs push for reform
October 16, 2007
``Though for some time there has been debate among faculty - especially in the social sciences - over procedures governing ethical oversight for research involving human subjects, there has been little institutional movement toward reform. … Columbia Law School Professor Philip Hamburger spoke on the controversy Monday… Hamburger argues IRBs violate the First Amendment. `They suppress what you say to other people. You might make that person feel bad - you might hurt their feelings,’ Hamburger said in his lecture. `If you learn something and don't have permission, you have to destroy the data. If you have permission, you have to destroy it after three years. For scientific purposes, this is frightening. How do you replicate the experiment or discover if there was fraud?’’’

 Attorney general nominee on the docket
October 16, 2007
``When Attorney General-designate Michael Mukasey goes before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday, he's likely to face tough questions on torture, warrantless wiretapping, and the politicization of the justice department. Midmorning previews the hearings with two legal scholars. Guests: Scott Horton: Adjunct professor at Columbia University and human rights lawyer…’’

INFORMATION WEEK: California Court Lets Class-Action Suit Against T-Mobile Go Forward
October 15, 2007
``T-Mobile is facing a class-action lawsuit that asks a California court to prevent the carrier from collecting money for early termination fees and from locking cell phones. … Tim Wu, a professor at Columbia University School of Law, in February published a paper on business practices by carriers that he called unfair, arguing that they are involved in every stage of the cell phone design process. Furthermore, he wrote, the practice of locking phones doesn't allow for the same openness that consumers are used to when purchasing a house phone or any other device that can work on any network.’’

FLORIDA BAR NEWS: Senate takes up attorney-client privilege bill
October 15, 2007
``A bill, supported by The Florida Bar, aimed at protecting the attorney-client privilege in federal criminal investigations, has had its first hearing in the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee. … But representatives of the U.S. Justice Department, as well as Columbia Law School Professor Daniel Richman and University of Florida Law School Professor Michael L. Seigel, spoke against the bill, saying there is little evidence of abuse and hence no need for legislative action.’’
This story was picked up by the Daily Record (Jacksonville).

LOS ANGELES TIMES: SEC's policy path wavers
October 15, 2007
``Back in June, members of the Securities and Exchange Commission offered a striking show of unity as they appeared before a House committee examining oversight of the financial markets. … What a difference a summer makes. … `Chris Cox has done a fine job of leading the commission,’ said Harvey J. Goldschmid, a former SEC commissioner and law professor at Columbia University. `But he is now entering a period where his leadership skills and ability to remain on a balanced course will be severely tested.’’’

 

NATIONAL LAW JOURNAL: Rights panel to hear U.S. domestic violence case
Issue of October 15, 2007
The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights has agreed to decide whether the United States violated the rights of a domestic violence victim whose three children were killed when local police failed to enforce a restraining order against her former husband. ... `This case is not just about Jessica Gonzales, although it clearly is very important for her,’ said Caroline Bettinger-Lopez of Columbia Law School's Human Rights Clinic, who, along with the American Civil Liberties Union, represents Lenahan. It is important for victims of domestic violence and intimate-partner violence in the United States and throughout the world, she said, adding, `We've gotten calls from the United Nations and organizations around world who see this case as a landmark one on the duty of states to protect victims of domestic violence.’’’

LAW.COM: Subprime Crisis and Deals Drop Could Mean Tough Times for Some Lawyers
October 15, 2007
``When three private equity groups arranged to buy HD Supply Inc….the deal looked like simply another in a long chain of blockbusters. Then subprime loan defaults shot up, banks tightened their lending policies and the credit markets ran dry. … Even credit rating agencies may get swept up in the litigation, according to Columbia University Law School professor John Coffee, an expert in securities regulation and litigation.’’

NEW YORK POST: Judge with a Grudge
October 15, 2007
``Controversial and highly regarded Judge Jack Weinstein has begun holding post-trial Q&As with jurors - in front of the defendant, the prosecutors and the press - to find out if understanding the mandatory sentences that charges carried would have changed their verdicts. … `It's certainly unusual for a judge to speak to a jury about their verdict,’ said Columbia University law Professor Dan Richman. `What's been a hallmark of his career is a readiness to do that which isn't standard.’’’

ROCKY MOUNTAIN NEWS: Opinion: A phony human rights case
October 14, 2007
``A statement by attorney Caroline Bettinger-Lopez provides a revealing perspective with which to view the announcement that the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights plans to examine the conduct of Castle Rock police in the 1999 murders of Rebecca, Katheryn and Leslie Gonzales by their father, Simon Gonzales. `There's no enforcement authority, but what there is, is a lot of moral authority,’ Bettinger-Lopez, who filed the petition on behalf of the girls' mother, Jessica Lenahan, told the Rocky. … As Columbia Law School, where Bettinger-Lopez is based, puts it, `The commission will decide whether the U.S. and the Castle Rock Police Department violated the human rights of Jessica Gonzales (now Lenahan) and her children, specifically the rights to life, nondiscrimination, family/life unity, due process, petition the government, and the rights of domestic violence victims and their children to special protections.’’’

ASSOCIATED PRESS: Nobel Prizes Look to Economics
October 14, 2007
``Given the churning turmoil of global markets sparked by the U.S. subprime crisis, soaring oil prices and a renewed strength by foreign currencies, it might seem appropriate that any of those issues could figure in determining the winner of this year's Nobel economics prize. … Fromlet said Jagdish Bhagwati, a noted proponent of free trade and critic of opponents of globalization, was one of his favorites. ‘International trade is probably worth a prize,’ he said, noting that the Indian-born Columbia University economics professor was an external adviser to the World Trade Organization and served as a special policy adviser on globalization to the United Nations.’’

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October 7 - 13, 2007

REGISTER (U.K.): Freedom loving lawyers prime primer on open source code
October 13, 2007
``The Software Freedom Law Center will soon reveal the culmination of a year and half of steady revision and editing: a legal primer for free software projects… To coincide with the primer’s release, the SFLC hosted a day-long Legal Summit at Columbia Law School, consisting of panels on the key topics discussed in the primer: copyrights, reverse-engineering and clean-room development, nonprofit organizations, patents, and international law. … Eben Moglen, chairman of the Software Freedom Law Center, wrapped up the evening with a passionate restatement of the Center’s goals. He’s excited about the new office that should open in New Delhi next year and support for the millions of open source coders he envisions coming out of the subcontinent in the immediate future. Moglen sees it as his mission to defend the world’s free software programmers. As he put it, `the kid’s gotta code . . . and he can’t defend himself against the man who says, 'you’ve gotta pay me for my idea which you just had.'’’’

BLOOMBERG: Citigroup, IBM Must Face $400 Billion Apartheid Suit
October 12, 2007
``Citigroup Inc., IBM Corp. and dozens of other companies must face a $400 billion lawsuit accusing them of aiding South Africa's former apartheid regime, an appeals court said in a ruling that may make it more costly for U.S. firms to do business overseas. … The statute was rarely used before 1980, said Columbia Law School Professor Jack Greenberg, an expert on human rights law. Then lawyers began targeting companies that aided in human rights abuses, judging it would be easier to collect money judgments from big companies than from individuals. Today's decision `could really energize the Alien Tort Claims Act,’ Greenberg said.’’
This story was picked up by the International Herald Tribune and Business Report (South Africa).

NATIONAL PUBLIC RADIO: Day to Day: Iraqis Launch Legal Attack Against Blackwater
October 12, 2007
``Private security firm Blackwater USA is being sued by family members and a survivor of a shooting incident last month in Baghdad that left 17 people dead. Scott Horton, a professor at Columbia Law School, says the case will look at whether the contractors had good cause to fire their weapons. Horton says the Iraqi families and survivors are suing Blackwater in U.S. court because contractors operating in Iraq have blanket immunity granted by the Coalition Provisional Authority. The immunity protects private security contractors from prosecution in Iraqi courts.’’

CHRONICLE OF HIGHER EDUCATION: Ten Rules for Avoiding Conflict of Interest
Issue of October 12, 2007
BYLINE: MEYER EISENBERG
``Government investigations into alleged conflicts of interest in student-aid programs continue and now have widened to include study-abroad programs. …’’ Meyer Eisenberg is a senior research scholar at the Columbia University School of Law and a visiting professor of law at Willamette University.

NEW YORK TIMES: New York Pension Fund Faces a Federal Inquiry
October 12, 2007
``The Securities and Exchange Commission has begun an inquiry into oversight of the New York State pension fund, which is drawing increasing scrutiny over claims that investment firms paid friends and relatives of former Comptroller Alan G. Hevesi in exchange for business. … John C. Coffee Jr., a professor at Columbia University and an expert on securities law, said that in this case placement agents registered as broker-dealers might be especially vulnerable in an S.E.C. inquiry, because they are tightly regulated by the agency. Several of the placement firms involved in the case are broker-dealers. `If they can find money was being exchanged for contracts by a broker-dealer, if it looks like there were kickbacks, the first thing they’ll say is that the books and records of the broker-dealer have been falsified,’ Professor Coffee said.’’

GAY CITY NEWS: Sandy Jury Foreman Explains Manslaughter, Not Murder
October 11, 2007
``As the jury of seven men and five women considered John Fox's guilt or innocence in the 2006 Michael J. Sandy homicide they quickly decided that the crime, whether felony murder, manslaughter, or robbery, was a hate crime. … `A lot of times jury verdicts end up being compromise verdicts,’ said Daniel Richman, a professor at Columbia University's law school. `There is a high degree of not just tolerance, but almost an embrace of compromise verdicts.’’’

THE BOOK STANDARD: New Website Provides Information about Contracts
October 11, 2007
``Columbia University's Kernochan Center for Law, Media and Arts and the Program on Law and Technology launched a new website on Sept. 19 to help authors and other creative types understand contracts and copyrights. … `Our goal is to help the writers, like those who don't have agents and big book contracts, or creators of all types, visual artists, independent producers who are just starting out, to get a sense of what their rights are under the copyright law, which can be very confusing and intimidating,’ Philippa Loengard, assistant director of the Kernochan Center told The Book Standard. `They do not have to be steamrolled into 'everybody does this, just sign on the dotted line.' We give them a sense of perspective of what is out there, what language is out there and what things mean.’ Jane Ginsburg, the co-director of the Center along with June Besek, went on to say that they also hope that even veteran authors and creators use the site, especially if they want to go into a certain contract of project without help from an agent.’’

NEW YORK TIMES: Blackwater Case Highlights Legal Uncertainties
October 11, 2007
``If a private in the United States military fires on civilians, a clear body of law and a set of procedures exist for the military to use in investigating each incident and deciding if the evidence is sufficient to bring charges. But when private security contractors do the same, it is exceedingly unlikely that they will be called to account. … Roughly 100,000 American contractors are working in Iraq, but there has yet to be a prosecution for a single incident of violence, according to Scott Horton, a specialist in the law of armed conflict who teaches at Columbia University. `Imagine a town of 100,000 people, and there hasn’t been a prosecution in three years,’ Mr. Horton said. `How do you justify the fact that you aren’t addressing this?’’’

NATIONAL PUBLIC RADIO: All Things Considered: Law Decides Who Owns a Dead Star's Image
October 11, 2007
``California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger recently signed into law what has been jokingly called the dead celebrities bill. … `If the right didn't exist in 1962, she couldn't have owned it, and therefore, she couldn't have passed it on,’ said Jane Ginsburg, who teaches trademark law at Columbia Law School.’’

WNYC: The Brian Lehrer Show: Sad Lesson at Teachers College
October 10, 2007
``Patricia Williams, professor of law at Columbia University, writes the Mad Law Professor column for The Nation magazine, comments on the apparent hate crime at Teachers College, Columbia University and the wider picture of race and academia.’’

 

BLOOMBERG: Calyon Trader Fired for Losses Says He's No Rogue
October 10, 2007
``The Calyon trader fired last month for alleged unauthorized trading that led to 250 million euros ($353 million) of losses said his bosses knew what he was doing and considered him a `golden child' of the New York office. … `You would think that a bank would put limits on the aggregate amount a 26-year-old could have to trade,' said John Coffee, professor of securities law at Columbia University in New York, who has served on advisory committees to the Nasdaq, New York Stock Exchange and NASD. … Derivatives can be harder to monitor than other financial assets… `Typically, these losses involve a trader who has lost more money than he should and then doubled down,' Coffee said. `It's predictable. Like someone going to the race track, losing all day and then betting the rent money in the final race to make back losses.’’’

WIRED (blog): Frontline Assembles Open Access Super Team
October 9, 2007
``Frontline Wireless announced the formation of an open access advisory council today, a group of renowned open network experts whose job will be to advise Frontline on all matters open access. … The business, academic and technology realms will be represented at first with Lyman Chapin…Amol Sarva…and Tim Wu, a professor at Columbia University School of Law, who has written extensively on wireless open networks.’’

MS. MAGAZINE: International Tribune to Consider Failure to Enforce a Domestic Restraining Order in the US
October 9, 2007
``
An International Human Rights Tribunal has accepted a petition by a US mother of three small girls who were murdered by her estranged husband after local police refused to act. The case marks the first time the Commission had indicated that countries in the Americas, including the US, may be responsible for protecting victims from private acts of violence under the American Declaration on the Rights and Duties of Man. …It has no enforcement authority, but 'a lot of moral authority,' according to Lenahan's attorney, Caroline Bettinger-Lopez of Columbia Law School's Human Rights Clinic.’’

 

FINANCIAL TIMES: Free trade or protectionism?
October 9, 2007
```Turn to the leading US newspapers these days and you will read about the ‘loss of nerve’, even ‘loss of faith’, in free trade by economists’, writes Jagdish Bhagwati, professor of economics and law at Columbia University and senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations. But, he argues, `free trade is alive and well.’ … Mr Bhagwati will answer FT readers’ questions on free trade in an online discussion on Thursday October 11 at 3.30pm BST (10.30am EDT).’’

COLUMBIA SPECTATOR: Specialists Discuss Chemical Weapons Convention After Ten Years
October 9, 2007
``In commemoration of the 10th anniversary of ratification of the Chemical Weapons Convention, diplomats discussed the progress of the plan to destroy all chemical weapons at an event in Low Library yesterday….Lori Fisler Damrosch, the Henry L. Moses professor of law and international organization, moderated the panel and asked its members about the status of non-lethal chemical weapons.’’

FRONTLINE (India): The Spectre of Free Information
October 6-19, 2007 issue
``Interview with Eben Moglen. Eben Moglen is Professor of Law and Legal History at the Columbia University Law School, founder director of the Software Freedom Law Centre, and general counsel for the Free Software Foundation, Boston. Free software is software that gives users the freedom to use it on any number of computers, to share it with others, to study and modify it and to redistribute the modified version. Moglen was involved in developing Version 3 of the GNU General Public Licence (the licence with which most free software is distributed) along with Richard M. Stallman, founder of the free software movement.
 
October 9, 2007
``Gloria Gamarano's statue of the Virgin Mary has been with her family for more than 45 years. Until two months ago, the statue decorated the small garden that wraps around the condominium she owns …. Now, though, it sits behind the home, a casualty of a potentially unlawful community rule at the complex that bans religious statues in … common areas….Diane Houk, an adjunct professor at Columbia University Law School and executive director of the Fair Housing Justice Center in Manhattan, said the ban on religious statues may violate residents' civil rights under the federal Fair Housing Act. `A homeowners' association may prohibit individual owners from placing any objects in common areas and gardens,’ Houk said, `but when it imposes rules and fines against owners that only apply to displaying religious statuaries, then they may be violating fair housing laws that prohibit discrimination based on religion.’’’
 
October 8, 2007
`` Two years after Jessica Lenahan exhausted all of her legal appeals, including one to the U.S. Supreme Court, she learned Friday that her case will be heard by an international human rights tribunal. Lenahan, whose estranged husband killed their three daughters in 1999, has said that Castle Rock police could have prevented their deaths if they had enforced her restraining order against him. `There's no enforcement authority, but what there is, is a lot of moral authority,’ said attorney Caroline Bettinger-Lopez. The commission will make a ruling in six to 12 months on whether the U.S. violated Lenahan's human rights, Bettinger-Lopez said.’’
Caroline Bettinger-Lopez is a Fellow and attorney with the Columbia Law School Human Rights Clinic.
 
October 8, 2007
BYLINE: MICHAEL C. DORF
`` Last week, a federal court jury in New York City delivered a resounding verdict in favor of Anucha Browne Sanders, and against the New York Knicks. Browne Sanders had charged that Knicks President and former NBA great Isiah Thomas sexually harassed her during her tenure as a Knicks executive…. Judge Gerard Lynch (who also happens to be my Columbia Law School colleague) did not appear to err in any of his legal rulings, and the jury's conclusions on the facts were sufficiently supported by the evidence to receive substantial deference on appeal.
Michael C. Dorf is the Isidor & Seville Sulzbacher Professor of Law at Columbia University.
 
October 8, 2007
``John Coffee Jr., one of the nation's preeminent corporate scholars, believes that timid professional gatekeepers -- lawyers, accountants and securities analysts -- failed to blow the whistle on their crooked corporate bosses and, therefore, are at the root of the corporate frauds from Enron to the back-dating of stock options to the subprime mortgage crisis. `In every financial debacle, one can usually identify a 'gatekeeper failure' -- that is, an intermediary on whom investors relied who failed to give the warnings expected of it,’ Coffee told a couple of hundred lawyers in Minneapolis last week.’’
 
October 8, 2007
``Jammie Thomas makes $36,000 a year but says she's not looking for a handout to pay a $222,000 judgment after a jury decided she illegally shared music online. …International intellectual-property treaties assume that simply making a work of art available can violate the copyright, said Jane C. Ginsburg, an intellectual-law professor at Columbia Law School. `It would be hard to see how we could be living up to our international obligations if the law were interpreted differently,’ she said.’’
 
This story was picked up by The International Herald Tribune, Philadelphia Inquirer, Houston Chronicle, San Francisco Examiner, Los Angeles Daily News, Tennessean, Denver Post, Virginian Pilot, Fortune, AOL, E-Commerce News, Time Online, CNNMoney.com, WINS radio, and other outlets.
 
October 7, 2007
``The Democratic Party isn't having much luck making sense of its presidential calendar. The result is continuing confusion. …The latest installment of this political soap opera came this past week as the Democratic National Committee officially stripped Florida of its convention delegates as a penalty for the state party's decision to hold its primary on Jan. 29. …`My feeling is that what this case is about is shaming the party into doing what is right, which is counting all the votes,’ said Nathaniel Persily, an election law expert on the faculty of Columbia University's law school who consulted on the case with the Florida plaintiffs. `Given everything that's happened in Florida elections in recent years, it's inconceivable that the party is going to go down this road.’’’

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October 1 - 6, 2007

October 6, 2007
``U.S. prison officials are investigating how a federal prosecutor from Florida indicted in an Internet sex sting committed suicide in his cell two weeks after a failed attempt. …Segregated cells can make it easier for an inmate to commit suicide, said Columbia Law School professor Philip Genty, an expert on prisoners' rights. `Studies show that isolation leads to greater risks of suicide,' he said. 'He should have been under more or less constant observation.’’’
 
October 6, 2007
``A refusal by the Democratic National Committee to seat Florida's delegates to the national convention next year would be an act of discrimination against black voters, a lawsuit filed Wednesday contends …Columbia University School of Law Professor Nathaniel Persily, an expert on elections law who consulted with Nelson's and Hastings' attorney in this case, said there are Supreme Court cases that can give Floridians some hope. He said courts also have held that an individual has a constitutional right to vote in a primary election and that a political party cannot take actions that result in denying, diluting or diminishing that vote.’’
 
October 6, 2007
``Mid-Hudson Pattern for Progress hosted a conference on Friday that focused on how municipalities can benefit from shared services and how they can get funding from the state when they do so. …Richard Briffault, associate dean at Columbia University Law School, said in the keynote address at Friday's event that while the shared services program has merit, the state needs to do more to get the word out. `It's a good idea. It's a way of increasing the efficiency of services while driving down the costs, while allowing some municipalities that have limited capacity to make deals with municipalities that have more capacity,’ Briffault said. `But the state should take a bigger role…’’’
 
October 6, 2007
`` The financial landscape of Canada and many other countries has changed very significantly over the past two decades. What has emerged has been a greater focus on financial markets that are globally integrated, with rapid innovation of financial instruments, often customized to the particular needs of borrowers and investors. … Most recently, the Columbia Report, as it is now known, written by Prof. John Coffee of the U.S., highlights among other issues, the apparent lack of enforcement in Canada, a gap that a national regulator could address.
 
October 5, 2007
``This week on `Journal,’ Don Mathisen talks with Ron Pollack, executive
director of Families USA, about President Bush’s veto of the State Children’s Health Insurance Program. Also on the show - Nathan Persily, professor oflaw at Columbia University Law School discussing the U.S. Supreme Court’s
new term….’’

THE NATION: Strange Culture
October 5, 2007
BYLINE: PATRICIA J. WILLIAMS

``In May of 2004, Steve Kurtz's life was turned upsidedown. Kurtz, a founding member of an award-winning collective Critical Art Ensemble, was a tenured professor of art at SUNY Buffalo. His work and that of the Collective was of a kinetic conceptual sort, much of it aimed at informing audiences about the lack of regulation and potential risks of genetically modified food. Shortly before his show was set to open at Mass MoCA, a museum in North Adams, Massachusetts, Kurtz's wife of 20 years died in her sleep of natural causes. When emergency medical technicials responded to his 911 call, they saw in his home petri dishes--part of scheduled installation--filled with harmless bacterial cultures. They called the FBI. At that point, the nation was still reeling from the 2001 anthrax scares that had shut down everything from Congress to the Supreme Court to the New York Post. Kurtz was detained on suspicion of bio-terrorism.’’
 
October 5, 2007
``In a decision deemed as affirmation that mandatory retirement plans at law firms are not immune from age discrimination laws, Sidley Austin LLP has agreed to pay $27.5 million to resolve allegations by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission that 32 former partners were forced out because of their age. …Suzanne Goldberg, a law professor at the Columbia University School of Law, said the Sidley Austin settlement will make law firms `think twice’ about downgrading large groups of older employees. `I think it's a serious warning signal to law firms that they cannot hold themselves above the law and cast off senior lawyers simply because of their age,’ Goldberg said. `There is a serious problem of age discrimination in the workplace and that problem pervades law firms as much as it pervades other places.’’’
 
October 5, 2007
``Florida's senior congressional Democrats sued their national party Thursday, alleging the decision to strip Florida of a role in choosing the party's presidential nominee violates the Constitution as well as the Voting Rights Act. …Nathaniel Persily, a professor of election law at the Columbia Law School, said that the suit faces hurdles but that the argument has merits. Generally, national parties are considered private organizations with First Amendment rights to do as they please, but sometimes they merge with state governments to conduct primary elections, he said. That carries certain responsibilities for voting rights. `The thing that's key here is to view it as a collusion between the DNC and the Republican-run state government of Florida.’’’

NEW YORK TIMES: Bloomberg Concedes Closer Ties to Company
October 5, 2007
``After a week of distancing himself from the company he founded and owns, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg said yesterday that he talked regularly to senior executives at the firm and was kept abreast of what was happening there. … Being consulted on matters such as lawsuits does not appear to violate his pledge to the Conflicts of Interest Board, said Richard Briffault, a professor at Columbia Law School. `The way he describes it, what he’s doing is consistent with the commitment he made’ to the board, said Mr. Briffault, who specializes in local government law and conflicts of interest.’’

MIAMI HERALD: Nelson, Hastings sue their party
October 5, 2007
``A lawsuit accusing the national Democratic Party of stripping away the voting rights of four million Florida Democrats in the 2008 presidential primary was met with apprehension from legal experts as well as some party leaders uneasy about prolonging the family feud. … Columbia Law School Professor Nathaniel Persily, who reviewed the lawsuit before it was filed, said he doubted the DNC would follow through on its zero-tolerance threat. `I can't imagine they're going to lock the Florida delegation out of the convention hall,’ he said. `Since we know that's unlikely to happen, this lawsuit may be a way to shame the Democratic party into changing its primary rules.’’’

CHARLESTON POST AND COURIER: City to exit wireless project
October 5, 2007
``The city of Charleston plans to unplug its tiny patch of free wireless Internet service Wednesday, two years after it announced an ambitious plan to weave a blanket of cyber signals over the peninsula. … Tim Wu, a professor at Columbia Law School, recently called municipal Wi-Fi `telecom's Bay of Pigs’ in an article he wrote for Slate.com. Wu noted that ambitious public Internet projects in a number of cities have died when a private-sector provider ran into trouble.’’

SLATE: The iPhone Freedom Fighters
October 4, 2007

BYLINE: TIM WU
``Apple is not happy with its customers. Disobedient iPhone owners are unlocking their iPhones (modifying them to work with carriers other than AT&T) and installing `unauthorized’ third-party apps. Last week the company struck back with a software update that acts much like a virus. It wrecks the operation of third-party applications and can turn unlocked iPhones into `bricks.’ Is Apple on the right side of this fight? Is it really wrong or illegal to unlock your iPhone? Well, I figured, there's only one way to find out.’’ … Tim Wu is a professor at Columbia Law School and co-author of Who Controls the Internet?           

ASSOCIATED PRESS: Harassment case reflects 'climate' change
October 4, 2007
``Changes in attitudes toward sexual harassment in the workplace in the past 15 years might easily boil down to a tale of two Thomases: Clarence and Isiah. … And while the outcomes of the two cases couldn't be more different, that early accusation helped lead to a sea change that paved the way for Tuesday's eye-popping $11.6 million verdict for the Knicks' accuser, according to Columbia University law professor Suzanne Goldberg. `For many years, many people thought sexual harassment was just part of the job,’ she says. `And now there is a stronger framework of laws prohibiting sexual harassment and also more awareness on the part of men and women that sexual harassment is wrong.’’’
This story was picked up by the Seattle Post-Intelligencer.

FORWARD: Larry Summers Can Come to My House Any Time
October 3, 2007
``… My own instinct back when Columbia’s invitation to Ahmadinejad hit the news was to apply Justice Louis Brandeis’s classic dictum, “Sunlight is the best disinfectant.” What better way to discredit the Persian thug than to give him the platform to discredit himself, which he was sure to do? Then, however, I read the words of David Schizer, dean of Columbia’s Law School, and thought they had much merit: ‘This event raises deep and complicated issues about how best to express our commitment to intellectual freedom, and to our free way of life. Although we believe in free and open debate at Columbia and should never suppress points of view, we are also committed to academic standards. …’’’ 

WASHINGTON POST: SEC's Lone Democrat to Leave
October 3, 2007
``The Securities and Exchange Commission's lone Democrat yesterday confirmed that she would leave before next year's presidential election, raising the possibility that the investor protection agency could operate without representation from an opposing political party in the final months of the Bush administration. … Nazareth `helped to create the balance which is absolutely necessary for the commission's investor protection mission,’ said Columbia University law professor Harvey Goldschmid, a Democrat who served at the SEC until 2005.''

TORONTO STAR: SEC left one-sided after Democrat quits
October 3, 2007
``
The only remaining Democratic commissioner at the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission will leave to return to the private sector, but hasn't yet set a departure date, the SEC said yesterday. … Cox seemed `sympathetic to increased proxy access, but he seems to have lost the allies that would be on his side,’ said Columbia Law School professor John Coffee.’’

ABC NEWS: 'Anita Hill Lifted the Veil'
October 2, 2007
``Anita Hill is not the only one who believes things have changed since she testified before that Senate panel 16 years ago, accusing Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas of sexual harassment during his confirmation hearings. … `Anita Hill lifted the veil and made this part of the public conversation,’ said Suzanne Goldberg, a law professor at Columbia University. … `A woman who brings a charge of sexual harassment risks being labeled as a whiner, a complainer … and risks being fired,’ Goldberg said.’’

NEW YORK TIMES: Jury Awards $11.6 Million to Former Knicks Executive
October 2, 2007
``A jury ruled today that Isiah Thomas, the coach of the New York Knicks, sexually harassed a former team executive and that Madison Square Garden, the owner of the team, improperly fired her for complaining about the unwanted advances. … `Dolan made up a reason, and everyone at the Garden had to scramble to justify the reason,’ said Anne C. Vladeck, the lead lawyer for Ms. Browne Sanders.’’

Anne Vladeck is a lecturer-in-law at Columbia Law School.

ARS TECHNICA (blog): Two new from Wu: Free federal court opinions, free copyright info
October 2, 2007

``Columbia Law professor Tim Wu
has been a busy man lately. In addition to kicking off the debate about `wireless network neutrality’ earlier this year, Wu has helped to launch two recent projects designed to bring power to the people. First up is AltLaw, a site that tries to make legal opinions easier to find. … The site was started in part by Columbia's Program on Law and Technology, which Wu directs. The Program is also a cosponsor of the new site KeepYourCopyrights.org, which helps creators, well, keep their copyrights.’’

NEW YORK LAW JOURNAL: Stakes Are High for State's Judicial Election Process
October 2, 2007
``Oral argument will be held tomorrow at the U.S. Supreme Court in the case that has had New York's political and legal establishments on tenterhooks for nearly two years since Eastern District Judge John Gleeson found unconstitutional the state's convention system for nominating Supreme Court candidates. … Looking at the current makeup of the court, Nathaniel Persily, a professor of election law at Columbia Law School, predicted that even though there are no cases directly on point, the challengers' arguments will ‘quite likely appeal to the Supreme Court's four liberal justices (Justices Stephen G. Breyer, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, John Paul Stevens and David H. Souter). Justice Anthony M. Kennedy is a question mark, said Mr. Persily, who has no connection to the case but has voiced ‘frustration over anti-competitive practices by entrenched incumbents and political parties.’’’

BALTIMORE SUN: 'On time' payment lesson in relativity
October 2, 2007
``Joe Clements Jr. was extremely peeved about his Baltimore Gas and Electric bill. … `If you're somebody who really wants to avoid late fees, then the only response you have is to send things more and more days before the deadline,’ Ronald Mann, Columbia University law professor, told Sun intern Sara Murray. ‘The second way is to pay online,’ Mann said. … Late fees are a major revenue stream for credit-card companies, Mann said, adding that the combination of late and over-limit fees jumped by 50 percent from 1990 to 2002.’’

FINANCIAL WEEK: Congress’ impasse saves rating agencies—for now
October 1, 2007
``
Credit rating agencies, under fire for their alleged culpability in the subprime mortgage crisis and ensuing credit market bust, escaped Washington’s grip last week—at least temporarily. … Testifying before the Senate Committee, Columbia University Law School professor John Coffee said such transparency would help prevent future credit debacles. Rating agencies with poor track records should have their SEC registrations revoked, Mr. Coffee said.''

COLLECTANEA (blog): Know Your Copyrights
October 1, 2007

``Tim Wu and others from Columbia University have apparently been working on a useful Web site for creators- Keep Your Copyrights. It provides information about copyright for different types of creators (writers, photographers, etc.).’’
Information about Keepyourcopyrights.org also appeared recently on Boing Boing.

CNET NEWS: GPL defenders say: See you in court
October 1, 2007
``
For years, violations of the General Public License, or GPL, have been met with quiet discussions to resolve compliance problems that can result when open-source software is used improperly. Now, however, the Software Freedom Law Center is taking a hard-line approach, filing a copyright infringement lawsuit against Monsoon Multimedia for allegedly failing to abide by requirements of the GPL. … Ravicher co-founded the SFLC along with one of the biggest legal guns in the free and open-source software arena--Eben Moglen, the Columbia Law School professor who for years represented GPL creator Free Software Foundation and who also oversaw the creation of the new GPL version 3.’’
This story was picked up by the New York Times.

AMERICAN LAWYER: Brother, Can You Spare a Tranche?
October 1, 2007
``When three private equity groups arranged to buy HD Supply, Inc., early this past summer, the deal looked like simply another in a long chain of blockbusters. Then subprime loan defaults shot up, banks tightened their lending policies, and the credit markets ran dry. … Even credit rating agencies may get swept up in the litigation, according to Columbia University Law School professor John Coffee, an expert in securities regulation and litigation.’’

FINDLAW: The Senate Approves the "2007 Mental Health Parity Act": Achieving Equal Treatment for the Mentally Ill
BYLINE: SHERRY F. COLB
October 1, 2007
``On September 18, the Senate unanimously approved the proposed "2007 Mental Health Parity Act." The legislation, if passed, would require group health plans of employers (of 50 or more employees) offering mental health coverage to provide the same level of benefits for mental conditions as they do for other medical conditions. President Bush has promised to sign such a bill. If enacted, this law would represent a significant development, both concretely and symbolically.’’ … Sherry F. Colb, a FindLaw columnist, is a Visiting Professor at Columbia Law School.
 

 

 

 

 THE ATLANTIC MONTHLY: Beyond Belief
October 2007
''Paul Samuelson, an undisputed titan of 20th-century economics, was once challenged by the mathematician Stanislaw Ulam to name a single proposition in all social science that was both true and nontrivial. It took a while, but Samuelson finally thought of a good answer: the principle of comparative advantage. ... Jagdish Bhagwati, a preeminent trade scholar also of Columbia, helped to theorize this danger in the 1950s. As he explained, 'immiserizing' trade can arise only under quite unusual circumstances.''

October 2, 2007October 1, 2007 This story was picked up by the

 

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