Star Mapping the Law Docs and ‘Digg’-ing Legal Opinion

Great press release from the fed-facing open-source activist site public.resource.org.

The news in the announcement is worth celebrating and well worth the wait: a huge, free, digital archive of federal case law, including all Courts of Appeals decisions from 1950 to the present and all Supreme Court decisions since 1754!

But what I really like is the last paragraph, explaining how open-source archives circa 2007 are taking the extra step to convert two-dimensional, law record formatted content into the online sphere:

Public.Resource.Org intends to perform an initial transformation on the federal case law archive obtained from Fastcase using open source “star” mapping software, which will allow the insertion of markers that will approximate page breaks based on user-furnished parameters such as page size, margins, and fonts. “Wiki” technology will be used to allow the public to move around these “star” markers, as well as add summaries, classifications, keywords, alternate numbering systems for citation purposes, and ratings or “diggs” on opinions.

Cartoon: ‘A Fair(y) Use Tale’

Found this excellent satire/mashup via WFMU blog Apparently it’s been up on Stanford CIS blog since March. In it, cartoon characters from Buzz Lightyear to the Little Mermaid explain copyright law.

Professor Eric Faden of Bucknell University provides this humorous, yet informative, review of copyright principles delivered through the words of the very folks we can thank for nearly endless copyright terms.

LAPD Unleashes on ‘Peaceful’ MacArthur Park Rally

No time to elaborate, however, I can direct you to my immediate reaction to last night’s events posted here.

Also, LA Weekly reporter Daniel Hernandez blogs in detail about the scene at his blog.

Listen to voices of reporters, observers, and organizers describe the melee here.

KPCC on the scene reports here.

Why did the police in riot gear allegedly not have badges visible? Why did they push the few derelict anarchists throwing “missiles” into the peaceful, all-ages crowd in the park instead of isolating them? How are they possibly trained to believe they can get away with intimidating the press for filming and reporting on the scene by firing rubber bullets indiscriminately?

photo by Sarah Hayes, used with permission.

Jailed Blogger Josh Wolf Uploads Video, is Free

After 226 days in federal prison, and nearly two weeks after his father began a “non-stopvigil, Josh Wolf is free.

Wolf was jailed for longer than any journalist in U.S. history for protecting source material requested by the feds. Wolf refused to turn over video he shot of a chaotic 2005 San Francisco street protest during the G-8 summit. The courts issued him a subpoena after parts of the video (originally posted at IndyBay) were picked up by the mainstream media.

After posting the full, unedited video on his Web site (also embedded below), the prosecution announced that Wolf had complied with the terms of the grand jury subpoena, and the judge approved his release.

“Journalists absolutely have to remain independent of law enforcement,’ he said as he left the prison. “Otherwise, people will never trust journalists.’

In his post accompanying the video (which he uploaded to Blip.tv), Wolf wrote:

During the course of this saga I have repeatedly offered to allow a judge to be the arbiter over whether or not my video material has any evidentiary value. Today, you the public have the opportunity to be the judge and I am confident you will see, as I do, that there is nothing of value in this unpublished footage.

The White House and Illegal E-mail

I just read a flurry of accounts describing the many ways the Bush Administration has repeatedly violated the Presidential Records Act.

There’s an excellent segment explaining why this act requires White House officials to communicate via their official e-mail addresses and how much of the activity behind the Gonzales / AG firings scandal took place on RNC servers, where the data transmitted could be encrypted, deleted, and stay out of the public eye. You can click here and listen to the segement on this from this weekend’s On the Media:

Additionally, we now know that the White House has added five years of delay into the process of releasing presidential records (since 2001) if for nothing else than to cover their asses.

Further investigation of this issue points to conspiratorial — but heavily documented — accusations that Karl Rove is the kingpin of covert (and illegal) e-mail communications in concert with a Republicans-trusted server farm based in Tennessee.

UPDATE: Coptix is now taking credit for manufacturing the digitally altered photo referred to below.

This post at CorrenteWire explains best how a recent photo of Rove with a Coptix folder unravels into a long paper trail of activity involving the nameserver gwb43.com and Rove (he privatized his e-mail there). This method helps him, and other White House staffers, like his ex-assistant Susan Ralston, feel confident that they will not be held liable as they can destroy any evidence that might lead to a subpoena. But, alas, might the circumvention of white house communication policies alone be enough to serve a subpoena. Furthermore, the same company, Coptix, also SmartTech, is said to have been involved with filtering election results through their servers.

OK, now — I know it’s April Fool’s Day and this sounds incredibly tin-foiled-hatty as I’ve tried to relay it, but listen to the short radio piece and read the Corrente piece (and comments)…. Of course, this isn’t the first (or last) time BushCo will be caught breaking laws, but…

Finally, in another careless and potentially fatal blow (the Department of Homeland Security seems to be able to do whatever it wants):

“At an ICANN meeting in Lisbon, the US Department of Homeland Security made it clear that it has requested the master key for the DNS root zone. The key will play an important role in the new DNSSec security extension, because it will make spoofing IP-addresses impossible. By forcing the IANA to hand out a copy of the master key, the US government will be the only institution that is able to spoof IP addresses and be able to break into computers connected to the Internet without much effort. There’s a further complication, of course, because even ‘if the IANA retains the key … the US government still reserves the right to oversee ICANN/IANA. If the keys are then handed over to ICANN/IANA, there would be even less of an incentive [for the U.S.] to give up this role as a monitor. As a result, the DHS’s demands will probably only heat up the debate about US dominance of the control of Internet resources.'”

read the article DHS Wants Master Key for DNS (via slashdot).