Archive for May, 2009

June issue of Spectrum online

The June issue of AALL Spectrum is available online in PDF format. This month’s articles include:June issue in its entirety

Also, readers respond to this month’s “Member to Member” question: Who is or was your favorite Supreme Court justice and why?

Paper copies mailed out to members on Monday, May 25, so look for them in your mailboxes soon.

Meet Fellow Law Librarian Bloggers in D.C. this July

If you’re a blogger and/or Twitter user and plan be in Washington, D.C., this July for the 2009 AALL Annual Meeting and Conference, don’t miss the 4th Annual Bloggers Get Together at AALL Conference on July 27, from 5:30-6:30 p.m.

Roger Skalbeck, associate law librarian at Georgetown University Law Library, and others have organized the gathering of AALL bloggers and Twitter users in an informal setting, near the convention center (at Old Dominion Brew House). The event includes a talk by Tony Mauro, National Law Journal Supreme Court correspondent.

This event is also listed on the AALL Local Arrangements Social Events Calendar and on Scheduaall. RSVP options available on Scheduaall.

Trade Secrets: law and practice, by David W. Quinto and Stuart H. Singer

Trade Secrets: law and practice, by David W. Quinto and Stuart H. Singer
(Oxford University Press: 2009)
Price: $225.00

496 pages; Includes a very detailed table of contents, a table of cases, a good index with “see” references, and an appendix with a summary of the state law on trade secrets for 22 selected states.
ISBN13: 978-0-19-533783-9
ISBN10: 0-19-533783-2

Reviewed by Betsy McKenzie, Suffolk University/Boston

The co-authors are well-established U.S. attorneys, partners in their respective firms. The Oxford University Press website identifies them, in part as:

David W. Quinto is a founding partner and head of internet litigation at
Quinn Emanuel Urquhart Oliver & Hedges in Los Angeles, CA. His
practice focuses on IP matters, with an emphasis on copyright, trademark,
trade secret and Internet-related claims.

Stuart H. Singer is a partner at Boies, Schiller & Flexner, LLP. Over the
past 20 years, Mr. Singer has successfully handled many significant and
difficult litigation cases in trial courts, arbitrations, and appeals throughout
the U.S. These have included several trials of over a month’s duration. Mr.
Singer has handled cases in a number of substantive fields, including IP,
antitrust, and constitutional law.

The authors include case analysis, but take a particularly practical approach to the law of trade secrets. Mr. Quinto notes that his interest in writing the book grew out of strategy sessions in a complex trade secret defense case several years ago. The hypothetical questions, overlaps and gray areas that were raised in the complicated scenarios were the genesis of the book. Mr. Singer had previously noted the lack of a concise, practical guide in the area, and when, first asked to review the book proposal, and then asked to join on the project, he was enthusiastic. The authors’ note states:

We wrote this book to benefit litigators who may only occasionally encounter
a trade secret misappropriation claim, as well as in-house counsel who wish
to take prophylactic measures to keep their clients out of trade secret disputes
and challenge critically courses of action proposed by outside counsel if and
when litigation does occur.

So, the book is designed to fit a perceived gap between the full-blown treatise, like Milgrim on Trade Secrets, which takes an academic and non-litigator-oriented approach to the issues, and the specialized practitioners’ materials, such as James M. Pooley’s Trade Secrets (Law Journal Press, 1997; updated biennially; 720 pp.), and Melvin F Jager’s Trade Secrets Law (Thomson-West, originally Clark-Boardman, 1985, approximately a 609 page looseleaf, but also now a Westlaw database). Quinto and Singer’s new book is aimed at informing the non-specialist, and helping the in-house counsel who must suddenly supervise a specialist in trade-secrets law.

The book does a nice job of laying out the major issues a non-specialist needs to understand in this complicated area. For instance, trade secrets law in the United States is nearly exclusively a creature of state law. And states fall into three major categories of practice. There are two versions of a Uniform Trade Secrets Act, 1979 and 1985, which differ substantially. Some states, such as Massachusetts and North Carolina, have separate definitions of what is protectable as a trade secret, Massachusetts through court decisions, and North Carolina, through statute. And some states, such as New York, New Jersey and Texas, have no statutes at all to define what is protectable as a trade secret. Other states follow the Restatement, Third, of Unfair Competition. One can see what complex waters these are. The appendices do a nice, succinct job of laying out the current law with citations. Keep in mind, however, that this volume is not designed to be updated. There is not any pocket part addition contemplated; one will have to shell out for the next volume whenever that happens, or update these citations through Shepards or Keycite.

The litigation issues are presented from both the plaintiff’s and the defendant’s point of view. There is even a chapter on considering criminal prosecution. But the book also spends a good deal of time on issues of prevention as well. The authors detail corporate policies, plans to prevent trade secret problems in the first place. A lengthy chapter in hiring and firing employees also aims at prevention.

Another helpful feature are sample forms and letters. Trade secrets law often crops up where an employee leaves one company and founds another or is hired by a competitor. The employees often are required to sign non-compete forms or similar agreements to prevent them taking the intellectual property of the former employer and using it for the new employer. There are many versions of non-compete forms, reminders, letters and compliance requests and it is a much-used term in the index. The book presents the issues in a very accessible, practical way.

I would recommend the book for academic libraries with a strong collection and specialty in intellectual property law, including trade secrets. It is especially written for practitioners who do not specialize in trade secret law, but are called upon to pick up the issue or supervise outside counsel who are specialists. It is certainly a fine book for that niche market. For a library without a desire to have a comprehensive collection in the area, it is awfully expensive and overlaps the very useful Milgrim, Poole’s and Jager’s. In the alternative, it may be a good, much less expensive alternative for a smaller library, without an intellectual property focus, that wants an introductory text with a more practitioner-oriented bent. It is not a serial, which may actually be an advantage, from the budget standpoint.

Book Review: The Complete CAN-SPAM Act Practice Guide: Including Regulations, Case Law and Related Statutes

The Complete CAN-SPAM Act Practice Guide: Including Regulations, Case Law and Related Statutes.  Ian C. Ballon.  2008.  Thomson West Publishing.  422 pages.  Paperback.  $79.00

On July 3rd 2007, the largest damages award ever granted under the CAN-SPAM Act was handed down ($223,777,500.00 plus attorney fees) in the case of MySpace, Inc. v. Wallace, 498 F.Supp.2d 1293 (C.D. Cal. 2007).  The lead counsel for MySpace was Ian C. Ballon, an attorney who has been nationally recognized in the fields of intellectual property and new media.  In The Complete CAN-SPAM Act Practice Guide, Mr. Ballon discusses the CAN-SPAM Act in detail, utilizing his extensive knowledge of electronic media and federal/state law to provide potential litigators with the tools they need to be successful.  While Mr. Ballon is clearly the leading expert in his field and this book covers all the appropriate material, it is targeted to a very specific audience, and should be added to collections only of those with a very specific need. 

Although the book is listed on the Thomson West website as being 422 pages, there are only ninety-one pages of actual text.  The vast majority of the book is dedicated to the appendix, which consists of such things as the section of the U.S. Code containing the CAN-SPAM Act, sections of the C.F.R. providing CAN-SPAM regulations, various state anti-spam laws, and court documents from one of Mr. Ballon’s CAN-SPAM cases.  Chapter 1 provides an overview of the CAN-SPAM Act, and if you’re looking for a short, concise summary of the law, it alone will probably suit your needs.  Almost every sentence in this nine page opening chapter is footnoted, leaving even less room in this already short chapter for text (generally, at least one fourth of every page consists of nothing but footnotes; on some pages the footnotes cover almost three quarters of the page). 

Chapter 2 is the longest chapter of the book, and unfortunately, the most tedious.  Entitled “Scope of the Act’s Coverage,” this chapter discusses what types of businesses and messages are covered under the act.  While this information would be invaluable to someone who was interested in learning if a particular type of business is covered by the act, it does not make for interesting reading.  A researcher would be advised to glance through the table of contents and look for the specific type of business they are interested in, as the TOC subdivides the chapter (“2[B][ii] – Legally Mandated Notices,””2[B][vi] – Affiliated Third Parties”).  As with Chapter 1, this chapter is extensively footnoted, showing the reader exactly what sections of the U.S. Code, C.F.R., and case law Ballon used to determine if the business/type of transaction is covered by the act. 

The remaining chapters of the book are a much easier read, as they are in more of a discussion format, and not a dry list of items such as Chapter 2.  Everything is carefully footnoted by Ballon, and Chapter 12 (“State Laws Regulating Unsolicited Commercial E-mail”) covers statutes and case law from a variety of jurisdictions. 

Academic libraries would probably greatly benefit from having this book in their collection.  For students studying the CAN-SPAM Act or other issues relating to electronic media, this source could prove invaluable.  Practitioners in the field would also probably get great use from Ballon’s work, regardless of their particular jurisdiction.  However, if none of your patrons are interested in this field, it is unlikely this book will be the catalyst that sparks their interest. 

Lance Burke, Reference/Access Services Librarian, Elon School of Law.

Prepare for the Next Step in your Career

Positioning yourself for the right career choices requires focused effort. It takes deliberate steps to increase your value proposition. Be proactive by joining your colleagues on June 26 at 12 p.m. EDT for Preparing for the Next Step in your Career.

Explore the qualities, skills, and abilities necessary to compete and succeed in today’s environment. Find out what employers seek in candidates and what you can do to reach the next step in your career.

Speakers include Judy Meadows, state librarian of Montana, past AALL president, and chair of the Leadership Development Special Committee; and Germayne Cade of Korn Ferrry/FutureStep, a global recruitment and executive search firm for middle management professionals.

Register by June 22.

Save Time and Money with Your Next License Agreement Negotiation

Negotiating licensing agreements for e-resources is often a burden. The Shared Electronic Resource Understanding (SERU) allows libraries and publishers to forgo the traditional negotiation process in favor of using a set of “common understandings.” AALL’s June webinar, The Shared Electronic Resource Understanding (SERU): Can It Work in My Library, to be held June 9, at 1 p.m. EDT, is sponsored by the New England Law Library Consortium and the AALL Committee on Relations with Information Vendors.

Hear how both librarians and publishers feel about SERU and how SERU is used in practice. What are the legal implications of SERU? Is it feasible in the law library setting? Using a contracts perspective, librarians and publishers alike can learn how using SERU will affect their business relationships.

Registration fees are only $10 for both AALL members and non-members. Register by June 5.

Temple Law Library celebrates National Library Week

Left to right: Roberta West, LEAP program director; Burton Benenson, bibliographic assistant

Left to right: Roberta West, LEAP program director; Burton Benenson, bibliographic assistant

Left to right: John Necci, law library director; Dorothy Lee, law school special events director; Burton Benenson, bibliographic assistant

Left to right: John Necci, law library director; Dorothy Lee, law school special events director; Burton Benenson, bibliographic assistant

In keeping with the 2009 National Library Week theme, “Worlds Connect @ Your Library,” the Temple Law School Library held the Carnivale di Venezia Friday, April 24, with its own theme of Unmasking Legal Research.

Held on the third floor library lobby, the festivities featured a mask ball.  The space was converted into a mini Venetian Republic with rafters festooned with the Venetian colors of red and gold and gondola poles of red and white.  Replicas of familiar Venetian sights and a gondola silhouette completed the scene.  Venetian snacks, cicetti, and non-alcoholic bellinis were served.  A violinist and cellist playing Italian airs added to the ambiance.  A digital slide show of the sights of Venice, using photos from a staff member’s  personal collection, entertained attendees.

 Paul Carino is acquisitions librarian at Temple University Law School Library in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Photos by Stephen Pavlo. 

 

 

Book Review: Privacy and Confidentiality Issues: A Guide for Libraries and Their Lawyers

Privacy and Confidentiality Issues: A Guide for Libraries and Their Lawyers.
98 pages, 2009, soft cover, American Library Association (ALA)

The privacy and confidentiality of library patrons concerned many public libraries after September 11, particularly because of the passage and enforcement of the Patriot Act. Theresa Chmara, a litigator who has represented the American Library Association, the Freedom to Read Foundation, and the American Bookseller’s Association, provides concise and useful guidelines for libraries about these and other related issues in Privacy and Confidentiality Issues: A Guide for Libraries and Their Lawyers. This work is highly recommend for public library directors but should be required professional reading for all library directors. Additionally, library schools, which have an obligation to educate future librarians about the First Amendment concept of privacy in the context of the library, should purchase this book. It also serves as a great edition to a law school’s First Amendment collection for the same reasons as well as to bolster an academic collection that may lack practice oriented sources in this area.

Chmara’s text is well organized utilizing a question and answer format. This format makes it an ideal reference source. The chapters are also structured logically around issues facing libraries: instances where privacy and confidentiality conflicts arise, the First Amendment, privacy and confidentiality in the context of the Internet, relevant state statutes dealing with privacy, minors rights to privacy under the First Amendment, federal statutes, and the development of library privacy policies. The beginning of the book offers an overview of basic First Amendment principles. This is a thorough discussion and includes the definition of a public forum and how public libraries fit into the same doctrine (as a designated public forum), the right to receive information, restrictions that libraries can lawfully impose, and the legal tests and standards applicable to libraries. Of potential usefulness, Chmara explains how a library’s legal counsel should research and prepare responses to the government intrusion on a library’s privacy rights.

This work also underscores concepts of criminal procedure laws and principles as they apply to libraries. Specifically, in the chapter devoted to state privacy and confidentiality statutes, Chmara examines the varied state protection of library records. To allow readers to further access the relevant information, Chmara provides a fifty-state survey of confidentiality and privacy laws as an appendix. Although she emphasizes that the statutes in the Appendix must be updated and further researched, the Appendix is an efficient resource and informative starting point.

As an academic law librarian and legal research teacher, I enjoyed reading this text. It served as an excellent review of First Amendment principles as they apply to libraries. It also gave me greater insight into the daily functions of public libraries. First, with the installation of the computers and the Internet service in public libraries, librarians dealt with an assortment of challenges from members of the public viewing sensitive material on the Internet to creating Internet usage policies and monitoring the same. Similarly, since September 11, public libraries have been under greater scrutiny by law enforcement officials at local, state, and federal levels. Privacy and Confidentiality Issues: A Guide for Libraries and Their Lawyers offers digestible and practical guidance for libraries facing these challenges as well as reminds a more general audience of the enduring First Amendment principles protecting our libraries.

Julie Graves Krishnaswami is the Faculty Services Librarian and a Legal Research Professor at City University of New York School of Law (CUNY).

Day in the Life Photo Contest Winners

AALL is pleased to announce the winners of this year’s A Day in the Life of the Law Library Community photo contest. Nearly 30 members froTatiana Vorobieva, research assistant to the FCIL Librarian at LSU, researches French customary law in the 1535 edition of the Grand Coutumier of the Duchy of Normandy.m 23 different law libraries across the country submitted 82 photos to the contest.

For the second year in a row, Vicenc Feliu, foreign, comparative, and international law librarian at Louisiana State University Paul M. Hebert Law Center Library in Baton Rouge, took the best picture overall. This year he won for “Absorbing the Law” (right), which shows Tatiana Vorobieva, Feliu’s research assistant, researching French customary law in the 1535 edition of the Grand Coutumier of the Duchy of Normandy.

Congratulations to all the winners, and many thanks to each and every member who participated and shared their photos with AALL. In addition to viewing the winners, you may check out all the contest submissions online. Look for more information about the winning photos in the July issue of AALL Spectrum and at the 2009 AALL Annual Meeting and Conference in Washington, D.C., July 25-28.

Take the Lead in Law Librarianship

AALL is now accepting applications for the 2009 AALL Leadership Academy, to be held October 16-17 in the Chicago area.

Law librarians in the early stages of their careers can get ahead in the profession by learning their unique strengths and how they can bring value to their organizations through personal visibility.

Applications are due by June 30, and participants (fellows) will be selected and notified by mid-August. Fellows will participate in pre-engagement exercises, have an opportunity to obtain a mentor, and receive ongoing leadership development opportunities.

Apply today!



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