Friday, September 16, 2016

Constitution Day 2016

How well do you know the U.S. Constitution? Today is the official observance of Constitution Day, a national holiday commemorating the signing of the United States Constitution on September 17, 1787. If it's been a while since you last reviewed the Constitution's seven articles and 27 amendments, take a moment to re-read this founding document. Considering its monumental importance to the American government and its legal system, it is a surprisingly short and simple read.

You can pick up a pocket-sized Constitution at the Goodson Law Library service desk, courtesy of either LexisNexis or Westlaw. You can also print your own mini-Constitution from House Document 112-129 -- be sure to choose the "booklet" option when printing! Alternatively, the text of the Constitution is available online through the U.S. Senate, the National Archives, and at the start of every print or online version of the United States Code, as part of the "Organic Laws."

Think you know the Constitution pretty well? Test your mettle with the Constitution IQ Quiz, the ABA's 2015 Constitution trivia and the Washington Post's 2015 Constitution Day quiz.

To delve into more detailed constitutional history tidbits and trivia, search the Duke Libraries Catalog for the subject heading "Constitutional history – United states." The Goodson Law Library owns more than 1000 titles with this subject heading, and more than 2400 with the subject "Constitutional law – United States." For help navigating our large constitutional law collection, be sure to Ask a Librarian.

Monday, September 12, 2016

Directories of Governments and Non-Governmental Organizations

Pop quiz: which book in the library contains an organization chart for the U.S. Coast Guard, lists of current congressional committees and their membership, and contact information for the National Pasta Association? You'll probably never need all three of those things at once, but you should know that you can find them all in the Washington Information Directory, whose 2016-2017 edition has just landed in the Reference Collection on level 3.

Published since 1975, the Washington Information Directory compiles contact information and descriptive summaries about governmental and non-governmental organizations in and around the nation's capital. Organized by topics (such as Law and Justice) and subtopics (such as Criminal Law, or Constitutional Law and Civil Liberties), each subsection includes lists of government agencies and non-governmental organizations, along with a brief description of their missions and public contact information. The directory is an interesting way to discover relevant governmental, professional, and non-governmental organizations in a particular area of interest. The Goodson Law Library keeps only the current year of this directory, although historical editions are available elsewhere on campus.

Duke University provides access to other directories of government agencies and non-governmental organizations. For federal government agencies, some excellent sources to review are:
  • The United States Government Manual (Ref Docs. AE 2.108/2: or online)
  • Federal Regulatory Directory (Ref. JK610 .F29).
  • State governments often publish directories of their agencies and offices as well. Although not always the official title, these are often nicknamed "Blue Books" (not to be confused with the legal citation manual). The American Library Association's Government Documents Round Table has compiled a helpful list of State Government Blue Books and Encyclopedias, which can be invaluable sources of information about state government offices.

Another helpful source for locating contact information about organizations is the Leadership Library on the Internet, available to current members of the Duke University community with NetID and password. The online Leadership Library contains updated versions of the popular "Yellow Book" print directory series (e.g., Federal Yellow Book, Judicial Yellow Book). Leadership Library provides more detail about members of an organization than other general directories, including personal email addresses and direct telephone extensions.

For non-governmental organizations, another great starting place is the Encyclopedia of Associations, available online in the Gale Directory Library. This set is published in three volumes: National Organizations of the U.S., International Organizations, and Regional, State and Local Organizations. A search of all three for "pasta" would return the same National Pasta Association in the Washington Information Directory, as well as four additional organizations in the United Kingdom, Spain, and – where else? – Italy.

Need help finding information about a government agency or a non-governmental organization? Be sure to Ask a Librarian.

Monday, August 29, 2016

Finding Images Online

Need to punch up a presentation with some visual interest? Duke University's Visual Studies Librarian Lee Sorensen has created a new online portal to help you with Finding Images, along with tips for using them without running afoul of copyright laws.

The guide includes tips for locating images and maps online, such as through many of Duke's subscription databases like the AP Image Archive. Links also include copyright-free resources like Creative Commons images on the photo-sharing site Flickr or Google Advanced Image Search.

However, as the guide sagely notes, the copyright status of images found online is often unclear. Sorensen states two basic rules of image-finding on the Internet:
  1. Assume an image is copyrighted unless there is an explicit indication that it is copyright free.
  2. People and institutions frequently claim ownership to images they don’t own.
The Finding Images guide includes information about Copyright and Fair Use. Many educational uses of copyrighted material should fall under non-profit fair use, for which no additional permission is needed (although the guide notes best practices for citing even copyright-free images). For additional information about copyright clearance, or "permissions," to use images or other copyrighted material in commercial works, consult the Duke Libraries Catalog for works on copyright. Results will include Getting Permission: How to License & Clear Copyrighted Materials Online & Off.

For help with either image searching or locating information about copyright law, be sure to Ask a Librarian.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

New Research Guide to Business Associations

Confused by corporations law? Take some time to learn more about this essential law school subject. Business Associations courses are a foundation for many upper-level law school classes in corporate and financial law topics, and will also be tested on bar examinations (including the jurisdictions which have adopted the Uniform Bar Examination).

The amount of treatises and other research materials on business and corporate law topics can be overwhelming to a BA beginner. Fortunately, the Goodson Law Library is here to help. Reference Librarian Laura Scott has created a new research guide to Business Associations, now available on the library website. The new guide covers both primary law (statutes, regulations, company filings, and case law) and secondary sources. The guide details both print and electronic resources for business associations in general, as well as specific subtopics like corporate governance, Delaware law, and the roles and responsibilities of corporate officers and directors.

Of particular note are the guides to practice area resources within Bloomberg Law, Lexis Advance, Westlaw, and Intelliconnect. These online research services offer handy "practice center" landing pages which compile frequently-accessed resources on corporate law topics. While the available treatises, forms, and checklists will vary across services due to publisher copyright licensing, the dedicated practice area of your favorite research service can be a great starting place for your business-related research.

The new Business Associations guide is just one of many detailed research guides available from the Goodson Law Library. If your research topic isn't listed (such as a research guide to the law of a state outside of North Carolina), try a search of CALI's Law School custom search engine to locate research guides from other U.S. law school libraries, or Ask a Librarian to show you the way.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Lawyers at the Movies

Summer is traditionally Hollywood blockbuster season, and even the ABA Journal is getting in on the fun. This month's cover story includes a colorful round-up of The Six Types of Lawyer Movies, illustrated with "trading cards" for each category. The six types, and a famous example of each, include:
  1. The Crusading Lawyer (To Kill a Mockingbird's Atticus Finch)
  2. The Heroic Lawyer (Jimmy Stewart's character in Anatomy of a Murder)
  3. The Obtuse Lawyer (John Travolta's character in A Civil Action)
  4. The Disillusioned Lawyer (George Clooney as the titular Michael Clayton)
  5. The Vengeful Lawyer (the legal team in Runaway Jury)
  6. Buffoons in Law (Vinny Gambino in My Cousin Vinny)
The online version of the story also includes a quiz to determine Which Movie Lawyer are You? You'll need to answer a few questions to ID your Hollywood alter ego; the results also list a few other recommended movie titles in your genre.

While the Goodson Law Library doesn't own every film title which is mentioned in the article, the Legal DVDs collection on level 3 includes a sizeable majority. DVDs in this collection of law-related films and television series may be borrowed for a 3-day loan by bringing the empty case to the Circulation/Reserve desk. View a list of Legal DVD titles from newest to oldest or by Most Popular. You can also search for particular film titles in the Duke Libraries Catalog. (Are we missing a favorite legal movie? Let us know in the online Suggestion Box.) For help with locating a legal DVD, be sure to Ask a Librarian.

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

The Constitution in Your Pocket

At last week's Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, the United States Constitution made an unexpected guest appearance. Khizr and Ghazala Khan, the parents of a Muslim-American soldier who was killed in Iraq, appeared on stage after a moving video tribute to their late son. In remarks that followed, Mr. Khan, an immigration lawyer in Charlottesville, Virginia, criticized Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump for his proposed immigration ban on Muslims. Khan noted that not only would a religious bar to immigration be fundamentally unconstitutional, it would have also prevented the Khans' son from coming to America at age 2, later joining the U.S. Army, and ultimately sacrificing his life to save his fellow soldiers from a car bomber in 2004. Captain Humayun Khan was one of 14 American Muslim members of the armed forces who have died in service to their country since September 11, 2001.

In a particularly emotional moment, Mr. Khan asked Donald Trump, "Have you even read the United States Constitution?" He then pulled a pocket-sized copy from his suit jacket and held it up to the crowd, adding, "I will gladly lend you my copy. In this document, look for the words 'liberty' and 'equal protection of law.'"

The speech resonated with viewers, and propelled one version of a pocket Constitution to be the number 2 bestseller on Amazon this weekend, behind only the new Harry Potter book. Did Mr. Khan inspire you to carry a copy in your pocket or glove compartment?
  • Visitors to the Goodson Law Library already know that free pocket constitutions are available at our service desk, courtesy of Lexis and Westlaw.
  • If you can't make it to the Goodson Law Library in person, the American Civil Liberties Union is offering free copies of its own pocket Constitution from now until Election Day with the coupon code POCKETRIGHTS. (Response has been so overwhelming that the ACLU copies are on backorder.)
  • Other political organizations sell their own pocket Constitutions, such as the Cato Institute's for $4.95.
  • If you'd prefer a version of the Constitution with no corporate or political branding, the U.S. Government Publishing Office sells copies of a pocket Constitution (including the Declaration of Independence) for $1.50 at its bookstore.
To learn more about the United States Constitution, search the Duke Libraries Catalog for the subject heading "Constitutional law – United States" and "United States. Constitution". For help navigating our large constitutional law collection, be sure to Ask a Librarian.

Friday, July 22, 2016

Copycatwalks: Fashion & The Law

Earlier this week, Los Angeles-based artist Tuesday Bassen accused international clothing retailer Zara of stealing several of her designs for its clothing and jewelry. Her Instagram post featured side-by-side comparisons of Bassen's art next to Zara's designs, which incorporated suspiciously similar elements. Bassen was incensed by the company's response, which denied any legal wrongdoing and insinuated that Bassen is not well-known enough for the public to confuse Zara's designs for hers. In a follow-up social media post, Bassen noted that she had retained "an aggressive lawyer" and is pursuing litigation.

In fashion, runway "knockoffs" are nothing new – many clothing companies produce low-cost variations on high-end designer duds, usually taking sufficient steps to change the design enough to avoid legal problems. But lesser-known clothing designers and independent artists sometimes find their work emblazoned on an international retailer's latest designs without attribution or payment. As Zara's response indicates, it can be difficult and expensive for unknown designers to fight back against multinational corporations, particularly with no guarantee of success. Bassen lamented on her Instagram post about Zara's dismissive reply that "[just] to have a lawyer get this LETTER has cost me $2k so far."

But litigation is frequent, particularly against repeat offenders like Zara, which the Guardian noted has been the target of similar accusations in the past. (Adam J. Kurtz, another artist who has complained that Zara appropriated his designs, created the website Shop the Stolen Art, which provides links to buy the original designs directly from the affected independent artists.) Forever 21 is another retailer which often comes under fire for appropriating work by other designers and independent artists. Late last year, artist Sam Larson accused the chain of copying his artwork for a very similar t-shirt design; press coverage noted how frequently that chain, too, has been accused of fashion plagiarism.

Fashion law is a fascinating topic of legal research, which includes a number of intellectual property and other issues. For background information, try a search of the Duke Libraries Catalog for the phrase "fashion law" to see available titles, like 2013's The Little Book of Fashion Law or 2014's Fashion Law: A Guide for Designers, Fashion Executives, and Attorneys. Although more general in their coverage, many intellectual property treatises also include some discussion of fashion design; consult our research guide to Intellectual Property for additional resources.

There are also a number of excellent and up-to-date blogs dedicated to fashion law. The Fashion Law was created by Julie Zerbo, who also co-authored a chapter in Fashion Law: A Guide for Designers, Fashion Executives, and Attorneys. Sheppard Mullin maintains The Fashion & Apparel Law Blog. Arent Fox also maintains Fashion Counsel. All three blogs provide regular updates on recent litigation and fashion law news.

For help locating these or other fashion law resources, be sure to Ask a Librarian.