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Archive for the ‘Legal Information’ Columns

Sharenthood: Turning Childhood Into Lucrative Content

In the 1920s, Jackie Coogan became one of Hollywood’s first child stars after playing the titular role of “The Kid” alongside Charlie Chaplin. Having starred in several box office successes, Coogan’s childhood career had earned him an estimated $4 million (roughly $62 million today). When Coogan tried to access his earnings in his 20’s, however, he discovered that his mother had spent nearly his entire fortune. In response to public outcry, California passed the Coogan Act, which aimed to safeguard a portion of child actors’ earnings until they reached adulthood and to protect them from abuse and exploitation. The Coogan . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues, Legal Information, Legal Publishing

Newly-Launched Jurisprudence Database of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights

At the beginning of this year, in January 2024, the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (IACtHR) based in San José, Costa Rica launched its first ever AI-powered case law database.This free legal source aims to provide an easy to use access to the regional court’s jurisprudence and important information regarding its procedure and composition. Recently, I had the tremendous opportunity to interview the Court’s Head Librarian, Ana Rita Ramírez and get more information regarding the process of producing this database and its future growth.

What was the journey to carry out this project?

This project represented an ongoing commitment by . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information

Tips Tuesday: Finding User Manuals

This is a slightly more niche tip, but if you’re ever asked to find a a user manual, the Internet Archive has you covered. The Internet Archive Manual Library is “a collection of manuals, instructions, walkthroughs and datasheets for a massive spectrum of items. Manuals covering electronic and mechanical products, instructions on mixing or blending items, and instruction sets for software and computer items are all included.”

If you can’t find the user manual you need there, you can also search for user manuals at and

Susannah Tredwell . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information

2024 New Year Update on US Legal Research

2024 is off to a good start with several online U.S. legal information stories from the Law Library of Congress.

On January 18th, 2024 The Law Library of Congress In Custodia Legis blog posted a blog post by Jennifer Davis on the Anniversary of the Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act.

“Felix Cohen noted that, “[f]rom the earliest years of the Republic the Indian tribes have been recognized as “distinct, independent political communities’” (Cohen 1941, 122). Despite the early nation-to-nation relations between tribal nations and the United States, self-determination was not codified. After termination policies of . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information

The Value of the Debrief for Project Success

It’s difficult to find the balance between beating yourself up for a failure and reviewing what went wrong in an attempt to uncover the lessons learned. I try not to stew on past mistakes and quite frankly, rarely categorize less ‘successful’ projects that way. All my project experiences have improved me professionally and helped to fine tune my processes for the next project.

Whether a project is perceived as a success or a failure, I can’t stress enough the value of the debrief. Hindsight really is 20/20. On a project we need a bit of distance to reflect on what . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information, Practice of Law

All Citations Should Include Hyperlinks (If Possible)

As a general principle, citations in scholarly works have two purposes: to prove that the point is supported by evidence, and to allow the reader to find the evidence that the author is citing to. The pain of citations comes from the requirement that these citations be made as brief as possible by painstakingly utilizing a series of standardized abbreviations. The requirement to abbreviate arises mainly from a historical limitation: the scarcity of paper and ink.

I hear from other scholars that readers increasingly choose to read scholarly works in electronic formats and it seems likely that this trend will . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information

Tips Tuesday: Monitor Websites Using VisualPing

If you need to monitor changes to a website, one option is VisualPing

VisualPing allows you to monitor either visual changes or changes to the text; if you’re monitoring text, you can limit alerts to when specific keywords are added or deleted. You can also specify the degree of the changes (e.g. “tiny (1%)” or “gigantic (50%)” which, depending on the frequency of changes to the page, can be extremely helpful.

If the website you are monitoring requires specific actions to retrieve information (e.g. fill in a form or click on a button), VisualPing has the ability to do . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information

Upcoming Presidential Elections in Mexico; a Primer

2024 has been called one of the busiest and record-setting election years ever. This year alone, over 2 billion people in more than 50 countries from all regions of the world will participate in presidential, legislative, regional and/or local elections. As I sit to write this post, during this month of January, Bangladesh, Taiwan and the Comoros Islands have already conducted presidential elections. Finland and Tuvalu are coming up next. If you want to get to know any country in the world, elections can be a great window into what are the major international and domestic trends affecting the jurisdiction. . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information

Let’s Plays: A Copyright Conundrum

Were you ever scolded as a child for playing too many video games? Did your parents tell you that your Game Boy was rotting your brain or that you would never make any money playing Donkey Kong? Or (perish the thought) have you ever been the parent doling out such lectures? Well, I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but these common reprises about video games—particularly about their earning potential—might be outdated by a decade or so. In fact, in the creator economy, video game content creators are among the highest paid. As far back as 2014, . . . [more]

Posted in: Intellectual Property, Legal Information

Numbers and Stats: Evaluation and the Legal Profession

Many people in the legal sector are working toward making the legal profession, and society as a whole, more equitable, which has led to calls to increase diversity in the legal profession. Employers and educators have tried to achieve more impartiality by integrating quantitative metrics, such as LSAT scores, grades, and litigation statistics, into their selection processes.

This is better than selecting candidates based primarily on criteria like family legacy, but these processes still aren’t perfect. The selection of athletes a a good comparison. Elite athletes are a group of people with well-defined and generally available statistics going back to . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information, Practice of Law: Practice Management

Tips Tuesday: Finding International Arbitration Cases Online

There are a number of resources that provide the text of international arbitration cases. If you do not have access to any of the paid resources, free resources include:

  • United Nations Commission On International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) CLOUT database. This was established “​​to collect and disseminate information on court decisions and arbitral awards relating to UNCITRAL texts”. Each case in CLOUT includes a short summary.
  • Unilex. This is a “database of international case law and bibliography on the UNIDROIT Principles of International Commercial Contracts and on the United Nations Convention on Contracts for the International Sale of Goods
. . . [more]
Posted in: Legal Information

An Open Letter on Open Access

Dear Tri-Agency,

I was delighted to see your announcement last summer that the Tri-Agency, representing Canada’s major research funders (CHIR, NSERC, SSHRC), have decided to review your Open Access Policy on Publications. Your continuing efforts to increase the public’s ability to consult research and scholarship through this policy are admirable. Having seen your invitation for public input on the review process, I wanted to make a small contribution, as a professor of education who started a Public Knowledge Project 25 years ago to support public access to research, and as a school teacher before that . . . [more]

Posted in: Intellectual Property, Legal Information, Legal Publishing