Law.Gov Report Contest

From our great friend Carl Malamud:

Public.Resource.Org is pleased to announce the Law.Gov Report contest. A series of 15 workshops were conducted that resulted in a strong consensus on 10 core principles. Those workshops also produced a huge amount of material to work with including presentations by many of the leading lights in the field.

We’ve put a great deal of thought into how to do the report on this process that has been requested by members of Congress, the Courts, and the Administration and have concluded that we should take a page from the playbook of the founding fathers, which is to get a consensus on some high-level concepts (in their case the Constitution, in our case the Law.Gov principles) and then allow many people to all explain what those concepts mean (in their case, The Federalist Papers, in our case this contest being announced today).

The Law.Gov Report is a contest. We will accept submissions as a written essay or as a video essay.  The topic is really quite simple: What Does Law.Gov mean? You can write about one of the principles, or all of the principles, or any other take on the topic.

For the video essays, there is a tremendous amount of high-resolution footage available you can draw with talks by luminaries such as Vint Cerf, Larry Lessig, John Podesta, and many others. We have released final mixes of the first 27 talks and the remaining high-res footage will be available by mid-November.

If you submit an essay, please keep a couple of points in mind. First, you must attach a liberal license to your work or we will not accept it. That means at a minimum a Creative Commons license that allows derivative works with attribution, and we’d prefer if you simply used CC-Zero or Public Domain. You must also submit your work in a form that we can use for republication. In the case of a written essay, you can submit in PDF, but we’d also like revisable form text such as HTML or a word processing format. For your video, this needs to be high-resolution (you should shoot for at least NTSC size and at least several megabits per second on the encoding) and a relatively open codec (H.264/MP4, MP2, WebM).

The winning written essay will receive a prize of $5,000. The winning video essay will also receive a prize of $5,000. Submissions are due before Memorial Day (May 31). Winners will be announced the day after Labor Day at a prize ceremony in Washington, D.C.

The Memorial Day deadline was set so that students can consider making this a class project. We hope that professors in law schools, i-schools, journalism schools, and any other discipline will let their students know about this contest and offer them credit in their classes for preparing a submission.

Public.Resource.Org has put $10,000 into the Law.Gov Report Prize Fund. If others wish to contribute prizes such as books, conference tickets, lunch with a justice, or other items of educational value, please contact us.

If you have questions about the contest, please ask them on this list or contact Carl Malamud at Public.Resource.Org. (You can find his email address on the about page.)

Here are a few resources for you to work with:

1. The Law.Gov videos on YouTube

2. The Law.Gov videos on the Internet Archive

3. Directory of final footage

4. Miscellaneous additional law.gov materials

Columbia Science and Technology Law Review Goes Open Access

From an announcement on their website:

Letter from the EIC

Hello, and welcome to Volume X of the Columbia Science and Technology Law Review.

Starting with this volume, we’ve made two significant changes to how we publish, and I wanted to write this note to explain those changes and why we did them.

First, we’ve decided to meet the standards set out by the Open Access Law Program and formally seek to become an Open Access Law Journal. To that end, we’ve refined our author agreement (already very liberal) to explicitly ensure that authors retain their copyrights, and we’re making our agreement public on our website. At the same time, we’re also embracing open publication, formally putting our articles under a Creative Commons Non-Commercial No-Derivatives license, and allowing our authors to distribute themselves under even more liberal licenses if they so choose.

Second, in order to meet the standards set forward by the Durham Statement on Open Access to Legal Scholarship, we’re moving our backend from our own server to professionally maintained, archival-quality services run by the Columbia Library. We were already publishing in the relatively open PDF format. As a result of these two choices, we can now be fully confident that our digital scholarship has the same permanence and long-term “shelf life” as a paper journal- a big step forward for digital scholarship in general.

For readers of our journal, these two small changes should not have much impact. Expect the same high quality content, delivered more reliably, and with clearer terms explaining your ability to use and share our scholarship with others. In addition, as a result of our partnership with the Columbia Libraries, in coming volumes you’ll see new functionality on our website, like subscriptions via email.

For authors, both current and future, we expect that these changes will improve our already high citation rankings. It will also clarify your rights and make sure that your writing benefits you, first and foremost. Authors interested in these benefits, should, of course, feel free to contact us about publication!

It has been a pleasure and an honor to serve with a terrific, patient staff this year; we hope you enjoy and learn from the results, as we have.

Sincerely,

Luis Villa

Editor-in-Chief, STLR Volume X

 

More on the Durham Statement here, here, and here.

Case Law Just Wants to be Free

Case Law Just Wants to be Free

An Accelerating Trend

by Robert J. Ambrogi

Legal.Online column in May 2008 Oregon State Bar Bulletin

An excellent, must-read summary of the past, present and future of open access to court cases.

“. . . in the information age in which we now live, private control over the distribution of public case law seems anachronistic.”