Archive for June, 2010

How to Provide Excellent Reference Services

Achieving reference services excellence in a rapidly changing environment requires adding new skills to your current arsenal. Join AALL for the August 3 webinar, Pushing the Boundaries: Excellence in Reference Services, at 12 p.m. EST, as Marie L. Radford, Ph.D., teaches you how to push the boundaries in providing reference services. Radford is an associate professor in the School of Communication and Information at Rutgers and a library consultant with expertise in reference services, management, retrieving and evaluating electronic resources, online searching, and school media.

Register by July 26.

Book Review: China Anti-Monopoly Law Guide (CCH)

Ning Xuanfeng, China Anti-Monopoly Law Guide (CCH 2010-English version). Looseleaf, anticipated 4 updates per year. At this time China Anti-Monopoly Law Guide is only available from Wolters Kluwer Asia Pacific as a looseleaf binder shipped from China or in the Asia Pacific version of Intelliconnect. Wolters Kluwer was unable to provide pricing for the U.S. market—which they ought to have readily available. For treatments of the same subject matter available in the U.S. market, consider Kluwer Law International’s Mergers and Acquisitions in China: Law & Practice ($132.00), Springer’s forthcoming Mergers & Acquisitions in China ($59.95 estimated), and West’s Mergers & Acquisitions (Business Laws of China) ($210.00).

China’s comprehensive anti-monopoly law went into effect in 2008 after more than ten years of drafting. Since the 1980s China has enacted various piecemeal laws governing monopolies and business competition. Some of the earlier laws remain in force today, complicating the current legal regime. Further muddying the waters is the lack of definition and explanation for portions of the new law. China Anti-Monopoly Law Guide explains the new law, its application in various scenarios, and how the new system interacts with the pre-existing laws.

The Guide does a good job explaining the new law in a practical manner. The author, Ning Xuanfeng, appears to be well-qualified for the task. According to her ABA bio, Ms. Ning “was actively involved in the legislative process behind” the new anti-monopoly law. The Guide provides clear explanations, good examples, and helpful diagrams.

The Guide occasionally lacks specificity, but the author acknowledges that the law has not developed sufficiently for her to provide guidance on some points of law. For example, the law requires that merger agreements not “severely restrict competition in the relevant market.” Ms. Ning acknowledges that without government clarification she cannot define what “severely” means. Ms. Ning uses various sources where she can to illuminate the law. At one point she refers to a remark made in an interview by the Director General of the Anti-Monopoly Bureau of the MOFCOM to clarify the law’s application to state-owned industries.

The English/Chinese glossary is a helpful feature, and the English translation of the Chinese law is essential for non-Chinese speakers—presumably the translations are accurate, but I cannot confirm! I accessed the Guide using the Intelliconnect platform, which continues to have a few user-interface problems. Intelliconnect does not play well with the Firefox browser, is completely incompatible with Safari and Chrome, and functions best with Internet Explorer.

China Anti-Monopoly Law Guide is an excellent purchase for practitioners who have clients engaged in business in China or contemplating entering the Chinese market. I provide a brief summary of each chapter below for those interested.

The first chapter, “Overview of China Anti-Monopoly Law Regime,” describes anti-monopoly laws throughout the world, the purposes of the Chinese law, and its extraterritorial application.

Chapter Two, “Anti-Monopoly Enforcement Agencies,” provides descriptions and jurisdictional explanations for the various agencies, some of which were created by the earlier anti-monopoly laws. The chapter also includes a diagram of the agencies and their relationship to each another.

Chapter Three, “Applicable Subjects of the Anti-Monopoly Law,” defines businesses that are subject to anti-monopoly regulation. This chapter also discusses industry associations and public organizations like administrative authorities, which also are subject to the anti-monopoly law.

Chapter Four, “Relevant Markets,” describes how to define the relevant market for the purpose of determining whether an agreement violates the anti-monopoly law.

Chapter Five, “Monopoly Agreement,” details the various types of vertical and horizontal business arrangements that can occur.

Chapter Six, “Abuse of Dominant Market Position,” reviews the various ways a corporation can abuse its dominant market position, such as selling below cost, tying arrangements, and refusing to deal.

Chapter Seven, “Concentration of Business Operators,” explains how businesses consolidate market power (primarily through mergers and acquisitions) and the documentation, procedures, and administrative review China requires when consolidations occur within a relevant market.

Chapter Eight, “Administrative Monopoly,” discusses how the law regulates monopolies created by regional and departmental administrative authorities in China.

Chapter Nine, “Abuse of Intellectual Property Rights,” reviews how certain types of licensing agreements as well as intellectual property claims brought in bad faith can violate the law.

Chapter Ten, “Investigation of Alleged Monopoly Acts,” describes the Chinese agencies that conduct investigations of potential legal violations, the investigation process, and the penalties involved.

Chapter Eleven, “Anti-Monopoly Litigation,” discusses civil litigation permitted by the law and lawsuits companies can undertake to challenge decisions made by China at the culmination of the administrative review process.

Iantha Haight is Research Attorney and Lecturer in Law at Cornell University Law Library in Ithaca, New York.


July issue of Spectrum online

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

Also, readers respond to this month’s “Member to Member” question: What topic or article title would you like to see in Spectrum?

Paper copies will mail out to members tomorrow, Thursday, June 24, so look for them in your mailboxes soon.

Law Library Lectionary

For additional background see my July column. The law library lectionary (LLL) provides a weekly outline for outreach activities:

  1. Teaching topics;
  2. Marketing tidbits about the library;
  3. Elevator speech topics;
  4. Messages for executives/decision makers in the parent organization;
  5. Scheduled events related to law libraries or.

Each week has a theme and each outreach activity touches on that theme. For example, National Library Week, the new term of the Supreme Court, Law Day, AALL annual meeting, income tax filing, significant events related to legal bibliography or research like the first treatise, reporter, regional reporter, legal encyclopedia, loose-leaf service, citator, etc.

Expanding on the outreach activities

  • Teaching topics suggest topics for presentations that last from 5 to 55 minutes about new research tools, new features, integrating technology in workflow, time management, analyzing results and websites for quality and currency, how to conduct and participate in a reference interview, leveraging library resources, etc.
  • Marketing tidbits cover factoids to share, questions to solicit information needs, content for blogs, newsletters, etc.
  • Elevator speeches for those 15 to 30 second opportunities to answer: ”what’s new in the library?” with suggestions of answers that might resonate with the questioner more than the “1,000 reference question answered this year.”
  • Messages for decision makers address keeping the library aligned with the institution’s strategic direction and reporting relevant, measurable activities.
  • Scheduled events would include what is happening in the various types of law libraries e.g. academic year calendars, summer clerk interview season, typical start & stop dates for summer clerks.  Other events might be the scheduled release of new editions or supplements, AALL deadlines for registering for an online educational program, submitting annual meeting proposals, Spectrum & LLJ copy deadlines, dues, annual meeting registration, etc.

Necessary steps, but not necessarily sequentially:

  1. Identify the names/themes for the weeks
  2. Solicit authors, contributors, editors while building on the crowd-sourcing idea.
  3. Consider whether the LLL must be completed before sharing it in the community.
  4. Is it an AALL member benefit and kept in the member only area or available to anyone?
  5. What to use to collect the suggestions?
  6. What format to electronically publish the LLL?
  7. What are the desired characteristics of the format? Static or dynamic? A wiki or a blog? A FaceBook-like page?
  8. Could we collect or link to the training materials posted on library web sites or content created by the various SISs and chapters?
  9. Who’s responsible? The AALL Publications Committee? A single person serving as whip/cheerleader? Spectrum? A new committee? (Such a committee might be comprised of carefully selected exemplars by library type/library function who offer their best advice, past presidents, some retired librarians, and newer law librarians.) Could it be crowdsourced?

10.  Is an editor needed for consistency in quality & format?

11.  How about a cataloger/classifier, indexer, metatager? to organize in consistent structure?

12.  How to capture ideas from each library type and from law librarians running the full range of experience and age.

13.  How to promote the collection and then the existence of the LLL?

14.  What about roll-out? Does roll-out wait until the LLL is complete? Or, is it rolled out as it Is compiled? Should there be a phased development and roll-out?  First a quarterly edition, then a monthly edition and then weekly edition?

15.  Could it use a rapid research and deploy approach like the Smithsonian Commons?

Please share your reactions, questions and suggestions for content of the LLL on the blog.

Bollinger, Lee C.: Uninhibited, Robust, and Wide-open: A Free Press for a New Century. Oxford University Press, 2010. ($21.95|210 pages|978-0-19-530439-8|hardcover).

When some hear of the First Amendment, they normally only think of it in terms of one’s personal right to “freedom of speech,” but the First Amendment encompasses much more than the personal protection to free speech.  This amendment also grants a protection to freedom of the press.  There are some that argue that both of these phrases are synonymous and can be used interchangeably.  Then, there are others that feel that the framers of the Constitution meant for them to be equal yet separate by giving the press more protection or a different kind of protection.   Regardless of whose view you side with, it cannot be argued against that freedom of the press is constantly evolving.  How much has it evolved over the years? In what direction is it going?  How much and what influence have the happenings in the United States have on the global stage?  What meaning does freedom of the press hold when information is disseminated globally and is accessable by foreign outlets?

Uninhibited, Robust, and Wide-open: A Free Press for a New Century by Lee C. Bollinger seeks to answer these questions and more.  Bollinger is considered an expert in the area of First Amendment law.  Apart of Oxford’s Inalienable Rights series, this title is a timely discussion that forces readers to look at where freedom of the press stands on a more global stage in this current age of internet ready technology.  It takes a past, present, and future look at freedom of the press.  The title will be a successful addition to the collection of any law school library.  Its presentation is not meant to be used as a study aid of First Amendment law, but as a thought discussion of free press.

Bollinger divides his discussion into four easy to read and follow chapters.  The first two chapters are focused on exploring the past of how the United States Supreme Court has handled issues presented to it concerning freedom of the press.  Chapter one is used to lay the foundation by leading readers through a series of important United States Supreme Court cases.  Chapter two continues to build upon the foundation laid in chapter one.  Here, the discussion of the past goes deeper into the court decisions that assisted in shaping the present status relating to freedom of the press.   Reviewing the court cases shows where the Justices have disagreed and provide detail discussion behind their opinions.

With chapter three, the examination looked to where free press currently stands.  Here the author seeks to give readers an understanding of issues surrounding present day freedom of the press topics.  This chapter helps the reader to gain a clearer picture of freedom of the press as a lead way into the discussion of what should happen to deal with new challenges that may be presented as the times continue to change.

In chapter four, the author takes readers into what he sees as the future of freedom of the press.  Bollinger presents ideas that he hopes will play a role in how the press is seen in society.  Within this chapter, he argues that the world stage should take note of the happenings and doings of the United States from the twentieth century.  Bollinger feels that as society continues the critical charge of protecting freedom of the press within the United States, it should take steps to formulating a global free press platform.

In conclusion, Bollinger’s title gives readers a great starting point and road map of free press.  It was an easy read.  The information provided lead the reader to each new idea clearly.  The background and issues were well researched and logically presented.

Tiffany R. Paige, Acquisitions Librarian, Mississippi College School of Law

Book Review – RLUIPA Reader

RLUIPA Reader : Religious Land Uses, Zoning, and the Courts. Michael S. Giaimo and Lora A. Lucero, editors. ABA, Section of State and Local Government Law : American Planning Association, 2009. ($79.95| Paperback.  ISBN:  978-1-60442-358-7|  195 pages).

The Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act of 2000 (RLUIPA) prohibits a government from imposing a land use regulation in a manner which places a substantial burden on religious exercise.  The typical RLUIPA case involves denial of a land use permit or variance to build or expand a place of worship or related building.  The RLUIPA Reader offers information about the statute and case law, as well as practical advice, opinions, insights and future predictions.

There are few books currently available on RLUIPA.  Major practice sets such as Zoning and Land Use Controls by Patrick J. Rohan contain a basic discussion of the statute and case law. This book goes beyond the basics and offers perspectives and advice from practitioners.  Moreover, the RLUIPA Reader is intended not only for attorneys, but for community planners and the parties involved in RLUIPA situations – the religious land use applicant, local government, neighbors, and the Civil Rights Division of the Justice Department, which enforces RLUIPA.

This book is useful for any academic law library, county law library, city law department or a law firm library, if the firm has a substantial practice in zoning law.  The RLUIPA reader is a must for any school with a heavy emphasis on urban planning and/or land use law.  Students will find the book interesting, easy to understand and a great resource for writing a paper.  This book brings out the highly controversial nature of RLUIPA, as well as highlighting several interesting fact situations from actual RLUIPA cases.

Each chapter of the book has a different author or authors.  The authors are community planners, attorneys practicing in the area of land use or municipal law, or law professors specializing in land use.  From the description at the beginning of the book, one can see that all the authors have considerable education and experience in land use law and religious land use issues.  The editors are attorneys specializing in land use and also have backgrounds in city planning.

The chapters are written in a straightforward manner.  The authors cite to many relevant cases, statutes and legislative history documents and there are footnotes at the end of each chapter.  Each chapter ends with a conclusion and/or discussion of what to expect in the future.  While each chapter has a different author, the work flows together and each chapter builds on each other.

The first chapter of this book summarizes U.S. Supreme Court jurisprudence concerning Constitutional rights to religious freedom.  A 1990 case, Employment Division v. Smith held that neutral, generally applicable laws could not be challenged under the Free Exercise clause.  This decision prompted religious and civil rights groups to lobby for federal legislation imposing strict scrutiny of laws found to substantially burden a religious individual or institution.  Chapter 2 discusses two earlier attempts at such legislation.  This chapter also discusses the legislative history of RLUIPA.

The next three chapters offer different perspectives of RLUIPA: from an attorney who represents religious land use applicants, an attorney who represents neighborhood groups, and a review of Department of Justice documents.   The second half of the book offers practical information including a summary of RLUIPA case law, advice from a local government lawyer, how local governments can avoid RLUIPA challenges, advice from a planner and top ten tips.  The last chapter discusses whether RLUIPA should be reformed or repealed.  The end of the book contains an appendix reprinting the land use provisions of RLUIPA, a table of cases and an index.

In conclusion, this book is valuable for anyone needing practical information and insights into RLUIPA, as well as a basic discussion of the statute, legislative history and case law.

Sue Altmeyer, Electronic Services Librarian, Cleveland Marshall College of Law

Book Review: CCH’s Law, Explanation and Analysis of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act

CCH’s Law, Explanation and Analysis of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, Including Reconciliation Act Impact. Wolters Kluwer, 2010. [$149.00 | 2 volumes (2110 pages) | Soft cover: 9780808022879 (Vol. 1), 9780808023425 (Vol. 2)].

CCH has closely adhered to the company’s familiar provision of publications with a combination of primary materials and analysis through its new title on the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA). Hailing the PPACA as “the largest expansion of federal health care policy in over four decades”, CCH includes explanations of all provisions of the act and the primary law itself, as well as the text of a congressional committee report and finding tools to help navigate between their analysis and the official text. As to whether this is worth purchasing, I would suggest it for several reasons, though I do take issue with the print format usability. CCH does not yet have competition for this particular issue in print; and, as a fairly inexpensive publication with CCH’s reputation to back the quality of information, this a good buy for any law library.

This is a brand new title covering brand new law for an extremely controversial and dense topic. As such, you have to expect the organization of the material to be fairly complex. The first volume includes an Introduction that covers a brief history of health care legislation in the United States, with a focus on legislative action through 2009-2010. This is followed by a detailed explanation of how the material in the book is arranged. The analysis portion contains “Highlights” (quick summaries of major provisions in the acts) and “Explanation” sections. The explanations follow the organization structure of the law and include the legislative background, editorial aids, charts, captions which cite to specific law sections, cross references and effective dates of each section. The plentiful cross-references and citations to the text of the acts offer a great deal of support and authority for the explanations provided by CCH staff. The first volume ends with a subject index. Volume two contains the official text of the PPACA, Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010 and a Joint Committee on Taxation report. The last resources in volume two are tables of effective dates and many more tables cross referencing Social Security, Employee Retirement Income Security, and Internal Revenue Code sections.

Not surprisingly, CCH offers this title in both print and electronic format. Access to the e-version is complimentary if you subscribe to several CCH Internet products (see health.cch.com/health-reform/ for more information). As my library does not subscribe to any of those online CCH titles (nor do we have an IntelliConnect subscription), I cannot detail my thoughts on the e-version. As for the print, it is a soft cover two volume set. CCH has additionally provided a companion web site to expand access to key legislative materials. While the cost is relatively low, and the publication does provide a comprehensive compilation of primary text and analysis, the format does not lend itself to easy usability. My conclusion is that in order to get the title published as quickly as possible in print, CCH chose the soft cover format over loose-leaf. I would not be surprised to find this item converted to a loose-leaf format, which would greatly enhance usability, as well as enable more current updating. Of course, this is a double-edged sword. Becoming a loose-leaf binder will not only almost certainly significantly raise the publication price, but also bring in yet another CCH binder subscription with the thinnest paper in the world, making filers throughout all libraries that much more eager to file away.

Katie Lynn is the Electronic Services Librarian at the Wyoming State Law Library in Cheyenne, Wyoming.

Book Review — Guide to Global Real Estate Investment Trusts

Guide to Global Real Estate Investment Trusts.  Stefano Simontacchi and Uwe Stoschek (eds). Walters Kluwer, 2010. ($358 | Paperback:  978-9041-12846-1 | various pagings).

Real estate investments have been in the news a lot in the last year.  Although real estate investment trusts (REITs) have not been as prominent as credit default swaps, learning about how REITs work in an international context seems like a good idea.  The Guide to Global Real Estate Investment Trusts provides readers with a basic and comprehensible explanation of REITs and how they function internationally, particularly focusing on tax issues.  Written for a broad audience including investors and regulators, this book provides a valuable entry point for those of us who are not experts in REIT law but would like to understand how it works.  As such the title would fit well into a library with a general law collection, such as an academic library or a library at a firm that handles financial services or tax matters.

Stefano Simontacchi and Uwe Stoschek did a good job of organizing the contents.  The reader first encounters a “General Report” that describes REITs and the existing global frameworks that govern them.  The Report also describes in great detail tax issues that may affect a REIT or its investor.  The General Report is followed by individual country reports for 19 countries located in North America, Europe, Oceania, and Asia.  The country reports were generally written by practitioners in the particular jurisdictions—often, though not always, the practitioners were affiliated with PricewaterhouseCoopers. The country reports all followed the same organizational structure, allowing for easy comparisons across jurisdictions.

The Guide meets its goal of accessibility.  The country reports, for example, begin by describing the “key characteristics,” which includes a non-standard citation to the relevant law and the structure of REITs in the country, as well as the relevant regulatory agency or body.  With that context, a novice can then understand the more complete information available, such as requirements regarding capital; distribution; accounting; and advertising or the country’s tax scheme for REITs.  Unfortunately, though laws may be mentioned by name, there is no Table of Authorities or similar tool that would be useful for attorneys hoping to find or view a primary source document from a particular country.  Investors and other non-expert readers will find the four page list of abbreviations helpful when navigating the Guide.  Finally, the authors of each country report include their electronic contact information, making the authors extremely accessible to the readers.

The editors recognized the challenge of continuing to update the title.  This is not surprising, given the growing number of countries that have authorized REITs.  As the authors note, there are now more than 30 countries in which REITs are authorized, and the majority of those laws were passed in the last 10 years (General Report-5).  Identifying countries newly authorizing REITs and updating the current information will be a project of significance.

Another difficulty the editors recognize is the pending proposals made by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) to improve the legal and tax aspects of the REIT systems in the European Union (lxi).  The authors responded to this difficulty by including two appendixes.  The first is a public discussion draft of Tax Treaty Issues Related to REITs that was issued by the OECD, along with the call for comments.  The second is the Informal Consultive Group’s (ICG) subsequent report to the OECD with recommendations regarding the taxation of REITs.

REITs are becoming an increasingly popular investment tool for those who do not have enough money to invest solely in a property, but who would like to invest in real estate and have a little extra money.  The Guide is surprisingly accessible and remarkably interesting, and it will provide those investors with a better understanding of how the investment functions and its tax consequences.

Margaret (Meg) Butler (Margaret.butler@nyls.edu) is international law reference librarian and professor of legal research at New York Law School in New York City.

Book Review: 2010 Quick Reference to European VAT Compliance

Quick Reference to European VAT Compliance. Christ Platteeuw and Pedro Pestana da Silva, Editors. Kluwer Law International, 2010. ($281 | 808 pages | Paperback, with CD-ROM: 978-90-411-2851-5).

Kluwer Law International’s 2010 Quick Reference to European VAT Compliance is a detailed guide on reporting requirements and procedures for corporations and other organizations with tax obligations in Europe. The editors are a partner (Platteeuw) and an attorney (Pestana da Silva) from Deloitte, and it is written by the firm’s European Indirect Tax Compliance Centre. The imprimatur from authorship by one of the Big Four looms large, as one can imagine that department’s lawyers and accountants consulting such a reference in their daily work. Many practitioners in the subject area could find great use for it, but those professionals might prefer it on a bookshelf in their own office instead of their library.

This reference outlines the Value Added Tax (“VAT”) systems of all twenty-seven European Union member nations, as well as Iceland, Norway, and Switzerland. Although the entire volume is quite long, each country’s individual profile is kept to a reasonable length (about twenty pages). If a researcher were only concerned with (for instance) Luxembourg at the moment, she could cover all the relevant material in a very short amount of time.

Each of these chapters is broken down in a consistent way. The first section for each country is concerned with whether a VAT registration is required for any particular organization. The second deals with the designation of a local Fiscal Representative by foreign companies. The third section explains the timing and other specific requirements while registering or deregistering. The fourth and final section for each nation covers what actually has to be reported in three key systems. The periodical VAT return is usually filed on a monthly or quarterly basis (varying by country), with a summary filing once a year. The European Sales Listing, focusing on intra-community trading, is filed quarterly. The Intrastat filings (which are used for statistical purposes more than fiscal ones) are usually monthly.

The balance of the reference focuses on general information about the VAT in Europe. After an introduction featuring a history of the VAT system, basics are outlined. The reader gets an explanation of how imported goods are treated differently from goods purchased domestically, and how goods supplied to another member of the community are treated differently from goods supplied outside the community. There is a lot of focus on the Registration and Reporting systems, with less information on recordkeeping and auditing. All of this would probably be an advisable read for someone just getting into work on the topic, but it is organized in such a simple and concise manner that it makes a good reference tool as well.

The volume also comes with a CD-ROM of forms and appendices. The choice of technology is a bit antiquated for 2010, but the contents are valuable. The forms number in the hundreds, because many of the countries need their own versions of a few basic reporting forms. The eighteen appendices contain a number of helpful charts that allow quick comparisons among several nations of VAT compliance requirements.

One of the stated purposes of the book was to serve as a guide for non-Europeans who are suddenly forced to think about VAT compliance in Europe. In this respect, it will likely be a very successful tool. It nevertheless remains unnecessary for most libraries. It is designed for those few collections devoted to practitioners in finance or tax who could suddenly find themselves representing an organization trading goods in Europe.

Reviewed by Jacob Sayward, Serials Librarian at Fordham Law’s Leo T. Kissam Memorial Library



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