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December

Dec. 4-11

 

MARKETWATCH
Dec. 4
Eben Moglen, a Columbia University Law School professor, director of the Software Freedom Law Center and widely recognized as an expert on open-source software, argued in his brief that MySQL's licensing structure should guarantee that the code underpinning the technology is likely to live on.
 
REPRODUCTIVE RIGHTS LAW PROF BLOG
Dec. 4
Carol Sanger: Much attention has been paid to the harm women suffer when they are unable to get abortions, or, from an anti-abortion perspective, what women are said to suffer by virtue of having abortions. There has, however, been little discussion of the harms women suffer by virtue of abortion regulation, even when they are, in the end, able to obtain a legal abortion.
 
MARKETWATCH
Dec. 4
Columbia Law School Professor Gillian Metzger, who has filed a brief before the court in defense of the PCAOB, and other backers of the board also contend that the SEC has very strong powers of review over the PCAOB, which they assert is why the board does not violate the constitution. Columbia Law School Professor John Coffee, a member of a PCAOB strategic advisory board, argues that it is possible the high court will require that the president have some shared power with the SEC to remove a PCOAB director.
 
CORRECTIONS: PAGE ONE (BLOG)
Dec. 4
As Michael Heller stresses in his book, The Gridlock Economy, it is important to realize that when product creation necessitates the bundling of numerous existing patents (as is the case with virtually any technological innovation), an entrepreneur with a new idea may decide not to bring a product to market for fear of thousands of potential patent infringement suits, or due to the cost of hiring the legal help necessary to clear patent hurdles
 
FINANCIAL LAW (BLOG)
Dec. 5
Michael Heller has discovered a market dynamic that no one knew existed. Usually, private ownership creates wealth, but too much ownership has the opposite effect—it creates gridlock. When too many people own pieces of one thing, whether a physical or intellectual resource, cooperation breaks down, wealth disappears, and everybody loses. Heller’s paradox is at the center of The Gridlock Economy.
 
NEW YORK TIMES
Dec. 6
The honest-services statute grew out of the Supreme Court’s earlier attempts to rein in the widening use by prosecutors of mail and wire fraud laws, said John C. Coffee, a professor at Columbia Law School.
 
GEEK & HIGH TECH (BLOG)
Dec. 6
This time, Eben Moglen has weighed in with an analysis of the objections related to the GNU General Public License version 2 (GPLv2). Moglen disagrees with the commission, and says that the GPLv2 is sufficient to protect the MySQL community apart from Oracle.
 
ASSOCIATED PRESS
Dec. 6
Katherine Franke, Columbia University's director of the Center for Gender & Sexuality Law, noted the bill came to the floor quickly, without hearings and committee meetings, as part of an agenda for an emergency session to address a fiscal crisis. “This gets shoehorned in,” she said. “It didn't get the full airing it should have ... which is unfortunately typical of the New York state Legislature.”
 
GLOBE AND MAIL (TORONTO)
Dec. 6
“This is probably the most used statute in the world of white-collar crime,” said John Coffee, a law professor at Columbia University in New York. He added that when prosecutors are in doubt, they just say “‘Oh, he breached a duty of honest services.' We don't know quite what that means but it makes life a lot simpler for prosecutors.”
 
CAN’T STAND IT ANY LONGER (BLOG)
Dec. 7
This weekend my anger reached the threshold I'm able to stand without saying a word. The reaction of Mr. Mueller to the dossier of Mr. [Eben] Moglen was only the last disgusting drop. I simply can't stand this infamy, i simply can't stand this twisting of facts and I simply can't stand the downplaying of the roles of people that really did a great job of defending open source.
 
SOLVECLIMATE
Dec. 7
"Every vote is blood," Michael Gerrard, executive director of the center, told SolveClimate. "And there's a century's worth of practice that provides the legal basis."
 
ITPRO PORTAL
Dec. 7
The [Software Freedom Law Center], which was founded by Eben Moglen, a Columbia University Law School professor, has explained in the letter that MySQL is protected by GNU General Public License (GPL) which protects open-source software even if its distribution rights are controlled by a company like Oracle. 

COLUMBIA SPECTATOR
Dec. 7
Philip Genty, a senator from the Columbia Law School, said that his school favors the resolution to change the name of the Center for the Study of Human Rights despite the fact that the Law School has its own Human Rights Institute.
 
BRIGHT SIDE OF NEWS (BLOG)
Dec. 7
Normally, an FTC probe is focused on monopolistic behavior. Clearly, with over 85 percent of CPU global sales, Intel qualifies as a monopoly. However, it isn't illegal to be a monopoly and charge whatever the market will bare. According to Scott Hemphill, a law professor at Columbia University, "What's not O.K. is conduct that's aimed at unreasonably prolonging and maintaining that monopoly."
 
NPR (All Things Considered)
Dec. 7
Professor Michael Gerrard is the director for Climate Change Law at Columbia University Law School. He says there's no doubt that EPA regulation will inflict pain on some industries. “This would be a long, detailed, cumbersome process, but it would ultimately be effective in reducing emissions from those sources.”
 
WNYC
Dec. 7
It's an object lesson in the challenges of designing a market solution to a global problem. Michael Gerrard teaches climate law at Columbia University. “The lesson I would take is that whenever someone's ox is gored they will look for some legal mechanism to get ungored.”
 
LAW 360 (Subscription Required)
High Court Justices Weigh SOX Oversight Board Fight
Dec. 7
“They were very much pushing on trying to understand what really is the nature of the SEC's oversight,” said Gillian Metzger, a Columbia University law professor who filed a brief on behalf of one of the amici for the government. “I think the result of the case does turn on the degree of SEC control.”
 
WALL STREET JOURNAL (LAW BLOG)
Dec. 7
Tim Wu, Columbia: A good law exam answer . . . is honest and perceptive. Many law students, when answering exam questions, seem to lose their humanity. They become a sort of law robot, flooding you with pages of 4 factor tests, canned nonsense, and ridiculous results. (Unfortunately, some judicial opinions read that way too.) The good students are more honest in their responses: they hone in on what is actually hard about the problem, and let their instincts drive the answer, with doctrine as their instrument.
WALL STREET JOURNAL (COMPLIANCE WATCH BLOG)
Dec. 7
A potential ruling is still months away, however, and isn't likely to directly impact auditing obligations of broker dealers, says John Coffee, a professor at Columbia Law School in New York. If the Supreme Court were to find that the PCAOB violates the Constitution's appointment clause, it could send the case back to an appellate court to determine a remedy.
 
INFORMATION WEEK
Dec. 7
Oracle will go before the European Commission on Thursday to argue that it should be permitted to continue with its $5.6 billion acquisition of Sun Microsystems. As it does so, it will have support from Eben Moglen, Columbia University law professor and director of the Software Freedom Law Center, the legal advisor to Richard Stallman's Free Software Foundation.
 
LAND USE PROF BLOG
Dec. 7
This Article critiques Michael Heller’s important contribution in the Gridlock Economy. At no point does it take the position that gridlock, or the associated anti-commons, is not a serious issue in the design of a legal system. But it does insist that gridlock is not the major source of social dislocation, or that private ownership is the major source of gridlock.
 
THE STAR (CANADA)
Dec. 8
The honest-services statute grew out of the Supreme Court's earlier attempts to rein in the widening use by prosecutors of mail and wire fraud laws, said John C. Coffee, a professor at Columbia Law School.
 
NEW YORK TIMES (Room for Debate Blog)
Dec. 9
John Coffee: Gary Cooper, Matt Dillon, Wyatt Earp — they all had to face similar challenges. Ken Feinberg, playing the U.S. Marshal, has told the bad guys down at the A.I.G. saloon that he is closing the bar and will enforce the law. As the showdown nears and the Benmosche Gang heads out onto the street, the local townspeople/shareholders have become nervous and won’t join his posse.
 
ASSOCIATED PRESS
Dec. 9
John Coffee, a securities law professor at Columbia University, told the lawmakers that restraining Picard's ability to claw back profits could slash the amount he recovers for victims.
 
WEB CPA
Dec. 9
Former SEC commissioner Harvey Goldschmid has been appointed to succeed one of the retiring trustees of the International Accounting Standards Committee Foundation, the organization that oversees the International Accounting Standards Board.
 
FINANCIAL TIMES
Dec. 9
John Coffee, a Columbia University law professor, said: “The greatest and saddest impact of the Madoff debacle will be the long-term injury to the SEC, which is beginning to recover but still has a way to go.’’
 
 
BLOOMBERG
Dec. 10
“I would say the walls are closing in on Mr. Hevesi,” said Columbia University securities law Professor John Coffee. “It doesn’t take a bloodhound following this trail to anticipate the payer was trying to influence the discretion of the highest official in the organization.”
 
FINANCIAL TIMES
Dec. 10
Oracle has also called two prominent figures from the open source world to support its arguments: Marten Mickos, a former chief executive officer of MySQL, and Eben Moglen, a professor at Columbia Law School and founder of the Software Freedom Law Center.
 
FINANCIAL TIMES
Dec. 10
"Madoff set the bar really high for financial misconduct," says Daniel Richman, a Columbia University law professor and a former federal prosecutor. "People used to look at a $100m fraud as a Hindenburg-type disaster but now, 'here comes another one' is the reaction. To be moved when you hear allegations these days, you look for more zeros on the number than you would have looked for before."
DENVER POST
Dec. 10
[O]thers argued that risk is part of the investment market, investors need to be more diligent and that large payouts aren't economically feasible. "The system will collapse if you cover every indirect customer," cautioned Columbia University law professor John Coffee.
 
TELEPHONY ONLINE
“[The consumer electronics] investment structure can be contrasted with broadband, where investments depend not on millions of consumers but on a handful of companies,” Derek Slater, a policy analyst for Google, and Tim Wu, a Columbia Law School Professor, wrote in a white paper on user-financed fiber last year. “It is a centralized investment model. Incentives for providers … [focus] on maximizing returns on existing infrastructure.”
 

 

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Dec. 11-18

BLOOMBERG
Dec. 11
John Coffee, a securities law professor at Columbia Law School, talks with Bloomberg's Scarlet Fu about U.S. government limits on executive compensation. Kenneth Feinberg, the Obama administrations special master for executive pay, set $500,000 salary caps for employees at four companies that received "exceptional" U.S. bailout funds.
 
BELMONT CLUB (Blog)
Dec. 13
Professor Philip Hamburger at Columbia Law School, in his paper, “Beyond Protection” recalls the nearly forgotten doctrine of Protection in connection with the problem of terrorism. Protection (and my understanding of the term is doubtless imperfect as a layman) is apparently a legal theory in which the legal rights of the defendant vary according to the degree of his allegiance to the country he sets himself against.
 
AMLAW DAILY
Dec. 14
Michael Gerrard: When I arrived at the Bella Center first thing Monday morning, things were more peaceful but still quite raucous. Tens of thousands of people converged on a very narrow gate so their credentials could be checked. Everyone had to pass through a gauntlet of demonstrators of remarkable variety--militant vegetarians, nuclear proponents, people equating cap-and-trade with genocide, representatives of small island states … and one as a dog (that meaning eludes me).
 
ASSOCIATED PRESS
Dec. 15
Matthew Waxman, a former Defense Department and State Department lawyer during the Bush administration, termed the risk of release into the United States a theoretical possibility, but extremely unlikely in practical terms. Courts tend to give the president a lot of room to maneuver in national security matters, said Waxman, now a Columbia University law professor.

THE WASHINGTON POST
Dec. 15
"This is a replica of the open-versus-closed war of the IBM mainframe versus the Macintosh for the mobile space," said Tim Wu, a professor of law at Columbia University. "And Google is settling in for a long war here."
 
FINANCIAL EXECUTIVE
Dec. 15
"In light of the Madoff debacle and the increasing competition that the SEC has received from first Spitzer and now Cuomo, the SEC knows that it cannot move slowly or it will be left in the dust by other agencies," says John Coffee, Adolf A. Berle Professor of Law, Columbia School of Law, an expert of corporate governance and securities law.
 
BLOOMBERG
Dec. 15
Michael Graetz, a professor at Columbia University Law School who wrote a 2005 book about efforts to repeal the estate tax, a top goal of many Republicans, said House Democrats have little leverage. “If all the Senate is willing to do, and all it has 60 votes to do, is a temporary extension, I think the House is going to swallow that,” Graetz said. “What’s at stake immediately is avoiding a train wreck.”
 
ESTADAO (Sao Paolo)
Dec. 16
“This law restricts the capacity of the government to bring the prisoners to the U.S, and I believe that the Obama administration will try to raise some of these restrictions to convince the Congress that it has a good plan to guarantee the security of the American citizens,” said Associate Professor Matthew Waxman.
 
CORPORATE COUNSEL
Dec. 17
"That remedy reflects the fact that Windows is part of the plumbing—the basic infrastructure—of the information economy," said Scott Hemphill, an associate professor at Columbia Law School who has written about antitrust issues. "The agreement implements a preference for a level playing field, particularly for other software makers that rely on working with Windows to survive."
 
USA TODAY
Dec. 17
Last month, Intel agreed to pay AMD $1.25 billion, and curb some of these practices, in exchange for AMD dropping a long-standing civil antitrust lawsuit. "The FTC's requested relief goes much further," says C. Scott Hemphill, antitrust professor at Columbia Law School.
 
WALL STREET JOURNAL
Dec. 17
Andrzej Rapaczynski , a Columbia University law professor said at a conference last weekend in Berlin convened by Columbia's Center on Capitalism and Society. "It fell under attack by the American risk-loving system. There is now a certain feeling that the world has been victimized by the U.S.," he observed. As a result, he suggested, "a correction of a fundamental ideological kind is under way." It seems to prize stability over risk even at the cost of less innovation.
 
MARKETWATCH
Dec. 17
"I believe that people now expect there will be clearance," said Eben Moglen, a professor at Columbia Law School and founding director of the Software Freedom Law Center, who attended the confidential oral hearings at the EC in Brussels. "I think the likelihood is that the merger will be approved by the European Commission and that matters will take their more linear course."
 
EXAMINER.COM
Dec. 17
“While experts readily acknowledge that climate change hits the world’s poorest people hardest,” said Peter Rosenblum, Lieff Cabraser Clinical Professor of Human Rights and Co-Director of the Institute, “little attention is being given to how strategies for coping with climate change also threaten to exacerbate the problem.”
 
ONEWORLD.NET
Dec. 17
“Over the past two decades, human rights has emerged as a common language of ethical obligations, a shared standard of human protection, and a framework for assessing economic and social development,” [Peter] Rosenblum and Olivier De Schutter, the U.N. Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food, write in the report’s foreword.
 

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Dec. 18-Jan. 1

NEW YORK TIMES (The Local Blog)
Dec. 18
“The crucial thing is that it’s really open to anybody, and it happens that this is the only group that’s done something,” said Kent Greenawalt, a Columbia Law School professor specializing in constitutional law and church and state.
 
ABOVE THE LAW
Dec. 18
The debate, held at the Cornell Club and sponsored by the Federalist Society, was moderated by Professor Scott Hemphill of Columbia Law School. Hemphill began the proceedings with a brief overview of the topic. Several years ago, Google started scanning millions of books from the collections of major libraries. In 2005, the company was sued by a group of authors and publishers for copyright infringement. The suit, a class action, is in the process of being settled.
 
ITWIRE
Dec. 18
He was quoted by Peter Judge of eWeek as saying: "Even Eben Moglen [Columbia law professor and founder of the Software Freedom Law Center] approved of the deal and said it was compliant with the GPLv2 license agreement." Such a claim is surprising considering that Moglen is well-known as a co-author of the GPLv3 which introduced a clause that would prevent such deals from happening in the future.
 
JEWESSES WITH ATTITUDE (Blog)
Dec. 18
In Jane Eisner’s Forward editorial this week, she writes about Israel’s move to extend legally mandated maternity leave benefits In the editorial, Jane writes about Mechon Hadar, an egalitarian yeshiva on the Upper West Side whose chair, Ariela Dubler, made instituting paid parental leave a priority.
 
SENTENCING LAW AND POLICY (Blog)
Dec. 18
Research conducted recently by Stephen Ansolabehere of MIT and Nathaniel Persily and Jamal Greene of Columbia Law School found that 58 percent of Americans thought it very or somewhat important for the Supreme Court to exhibit "empathy" in judging. 
 
AM LAW LITIGATION DAILY
Dec. 18
Michael Gerrard: I’ve been attending events around Copenhagen and talking to many lawyers and non-lawyers about what they see happening with carbon regulation. My general sense is that if the conference yields a positive signal for the future of carbon regulation it is likely to lead to an explosive growth of renewable energy and energy efficiency projects, which will in turn lead to a very considerable amount of legal work.
 
REVENUE WATCH INSTITUTE
Dec. 18
Professor Peter Rosenblum of Columbia Law School was the principal facilitator of the workshop. Rosenblum's recent work has focused on the confluence of natural resources and human rights issues around the world, particularly emphasizing mining and oil contracts in Africa.  He is also co-author, with Revenue Watch Institute Legal Fellow Susan Maples, of RWI's report Contracts Confidential: Ending Secret Deals in the Extractive Industries, released earlier this year.
 
NEW YORK TIMES
Dec. 19
Matthew Waxman, a Columbia University law professor who was deputy secretary of defense for detainee affairs in the Bush administration, said that the move offered some risk for the Obama administration because “in the past Yemen has failed to keep even high-profile terrorist suspects in prison for long, and because it has a weak government that at times has wavered in its anti-Al Qaeda agenda. There is reason to be cautious.”
 
NEW YORK TIMES
Dec. 22
Matthew Waxman, who was assistant secretary of defense for detainee affairs in the Bush administration, said the Obama administration would need lawmakers’ support for its long-term post-Guantánamo plans. Invoking emergency powers to unilaterally buy Thomson, he said, would be “poking Congress in the eye in a way that would be very counterproductive.”
 
PROJECT SYNDICATE
Dec. 23
Ronald Gilson: The plot of the morality play set in motion by the United Kingdom’s announcement of a 50% tax on bankers’ bonuses has now taken form. And it is a play that holds an important lesson about how politicians are managing – or mismanaging – demands for financial reform.
 
THE FASTER TIMES (Blog)
Dec. 23
I’m in awe of professors like Larry Lessig, Tim Wu, and the many excellent journalists (and other experts) in this field who can explain these concepts so clearly so often.)
 
POLITICO
Dec. 26
“I’d expect Yemen’s handling of returned Guantanamo detainees to come under intense U.S. scrutiny,” said Matthew Waxman, a Columbia law professor who was an assistant Defense secretary for detainee affairs under President George W. Bush. “In the past, the Yemeni government has not shown great capacity or reliability, but the U.S. hopes to build a stronger partnership and improve that record, in part because it has few other options in this important region.”
 
NEW YORK TIMES
Dec. 26
“Not all American jury pools have the diversity and open-mindedness that New Yorkers are famous for,” said Daniel C. Richman, a Columbia law professor and former federal prosecutor in Manhattan. “I suspect people elsewhere would probably be a whole lot quicker to close their ears to anything the defendants had to say.”
 
REUTERS
Dec. 29
John Coffee, a law professor at Columbia University, said the Securities and Exchange Commission became a significantly tougher enforcement agency in 2009 and will probably issue lots more criminal referrals next year. "The brief era of light-touch regulation... is gone, apparently," he said.
 
BLOOMBERG
Dec. 29
Goldman’s economists also meet and talk with traders, analysts and strategists at the firm, along with the bank’s clients, as part of the process of drafting their research. When their research is published, the firm’s policy is to release it simultaneously to employees and clients. John Coffee, a professor at Columbia Law School says that’s not always the case. “Information never gets to anyone at the same time, and the bigger customers usually get it first,” Coffee says.
 
WALL STREET JOURNAL
Dec. 30
"If Congress couldn't do it this year, why will they be able to do it next year?" says Prof. Michael Graetz of Columbia University, who worked both at Treasury and for Congress. He calls the lapse "congressional malpractice."
 
FORBES
Dec. 31
In his book Death By a Thousand Cuts, Columbia University law professor Michael Graetz describes how a small group of family-owned businesses banded together in the early 1990s to abolish the estate tax entirely. They established various organizations for this purpose, commissioned studies and lobbied Capitol Hill. Among their most effective accomplishments was getting every Republican to habitually refer to the estate tax as the "death tax."
 
NEW YORK TIMES
Dec. 31
Daniel C. Richman, a former federal prosecutor who teaches criminal law at Columbia University, said that it was rare to have a judge issue a lengthy opinion at a pretrial stage. While cautioning that he had not read the opinion, he said that rulings like this one, consisting heavily of factual findings rather than merely legal interpretation, were “hard to challenge on appeal.”

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