Harvard Law School and Ravel Law Collaborate to Improve Access to the Common Law

printerBy Carlie Bacon

The technological age has transformed the once-useful volumes lining the walls of law firms and libraries into decorative dust-collectors. Just like this blog post, the information in those books can be accessed from anywhere that you can check your email. Law is widely regarded as a conservative profession, but even so, modern attorneys and law students conduct legal research online. Why turn page after page at a desk somewhere, when you can scroll through seamless documents from the comfort of, well, anywhere?

Companies like Westlaw and LexisNexis offer access to enormous electronic databases and handy research tools, but at a cost. Subscription fees can total millions of dollars annually for large firms. Like those shelves full of books, commercial databases’ days may be numbered too. Continue reading

A Digital Library of Alexandria: Google Books Remains Fair Use

simple-design-cute-home-library-shelving-units-home-depot-shelving-home-library-shelving-highlights-790x592By Sam Hampton

In the latest development in a decade long case, the Second Circuit ruled on October 16th that Google Books was fair use and did not violate book copyrights. The service provides fully searchable digital versions of over 20 million books. This tally includes copyrighted work; additionally, the full text of many books in the public domain that have been digitized. The service works with the Google Books Library Project, which partners with major libraries to digitize the volumes; the project’s goal is “to create a comprehensive, searchable, virtual card catalog of all books in all languages.”

The lawsuit was initiated in September 2005 by a number of copyright owners, as well as the Authors Guild, a nonprofit that supports authors. Google defended its service under the fair use doctrine. The District Court granted summary judgment in Google’s favor in November 2013, from which the appeal followed. Continue reading