Law

Review: Bielstein, Permissions, A Survival Guide

May 16, 2006
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Review: Bielstein, Permissions, A Survival Guide

Museum News has praised Susan M. Bielstein’s Permissions, A Survival Guide: Blunt Talk about Art as Intellectual Property. From the review: " gives life to what could be the driest subject ever with chapters such as ‘Permissions: A Love Story,’ ‘Privacy Woes and the Duchess of York,’ and ‘Doing and Saying Whatever It Takes.’ And besides enjoying the tongue-in-cheek prose, readers will learn how to determine if an artwork is copyrighted, how to get a high-quality reproduction, and what ‘fair use’ is." If a picture is worth a thousand words, then it’s a good bet that at least half of those words relate to the picture’s copyright status. Art historians, artists, and anyone who wants to use the images of others will find themselves awash in byzantine legal terms, constantly evolving copyright law, varying interpretations by museums and estates, and despair over the complexity of the whole situation. Susan Bielstein offers her decades of experience as an editor working with illustrated books. In doing so, she unsnarls the threads of permissions that have ensnared scholars, critics, and artists for years. . . .

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Senator Harry Reid on The Medical Malpractice Myth

May 10, 2006
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Senator Harry Reid on The Medical Malpractice Myth

On Monday, May 8, on the Senate floor, Democratic Leader Harry Reid gave a speech about medical malpractice legislation. The Senator’s analysis drew extensively on The Medical Malpractice Myth by Tom Baker. Reid said: “Over the weekend, I reviewed an insightful book entitled The Medical Malpractice Myth by Professor Tom Baker and published by the University of Chicago Press. . . . In this book, Professor Baker methodically debunks the most common myths in the medical malpractice debate.” Reid summarized the major claims of the book and utilized them to oppose two Senate bills that would impose significant limitations on medical liability lawsuits. Our excerpt from the book introduces Baker’s argument. . . .

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Review: Baker, The Medical Malpractice Myth

May 5, 2006
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Review: Baker, The Medical Malpractice Myth

Choice: Current Reviews for Academic Libraries recently reviewed Tom Baker’s The Medical Malpractice Myth: "This excellent study should be read by anyone interested in the contentious issue of medical malpractice reform. Highly recommended." Tom Baker—a leading authority on insurance and law—pulls together the research that demolishes the myths that have taken hold about medical malpractice and suggests a series of legal reforms that would help doctors manage malpractice insurance while also improving patient safety and medical accountability. Read an excerpt. . . .

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Harcourt on the "Language of the Gun"

April 12, 2006
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Harcourt on the "Language of the Gun"

Last week, Bernard Harcourt lectured at the University of Chicago Law School. His lecture was based on his book Language of the Gun: Youth, Crime, and Public Policy. In the book, Harcourt recounts in-depth interviews with youths detained at an all-male correctional facility, exploring how they talk about guns and what meanings they ascribe to them in a broader attempt to understand some of the assumptions implicit in current handgun policies. The University of Chicago Law School Faculty Blog features an audio file of Harcourt’s talk, along with slides that accompanied his presentation. . . .

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Review: Yoo, The Powers of War and Peace

April 10, 2006
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Review: Yoo, The Powers of War and Peace

The Claremont Review of Books recently reviewed John Yoo’s The Powers of War and Peace. Joseph M. Bessette praised the book in a lengthy review, in which he concluded that " makes a compelling case that Congress need not formally authorize many, perhaps most, military commitments abroad, for which the president possesses ample constitutional authority. It is rare that one scholar fundamentally recasts the debate on a constutional issue of pressing public importance. In The Powers of War and Peace, John Yoo has done exactly that." John Yoo, formerly a lawyer in the Department of Justice, here makes the case for a completely new approach to understanding what the Constitution says about foreign affairs, particularly the powers of war and peace. Looking to American history, Yoo points out that from Truman and Korea to Clinton’s intervention in Kosovo, American presidents have had to act decisively on the world stage without a declaration of war. They are able to do so, Yoo argues, because the Constitution grants the president, Congress, and the courts very different powers, requiring them to negotiate the country’s foreign policy. Yoo roots his controversial analysis in a brilliant reconstruction of the original understanding of the foreign . . .

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Author event: Harcourt at U of C Law School

April 4, 2006
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Author event: Harcourt at U of C Law School

On April 5 at 12:15 p.m., Bernard Harcourt will speak at the University of Chicago Law School’s Fourth Annual Chicago’s Best Ideas series. Harcourt will lecture on "Language of the Gun: A Semiotic for Law & Social Science." The event is free and open to the public. Harcourt is author of Language of the Gun: Youth, Crime, and Public Policy. Legal and public policies concerning youth gun violence tend to rely heavily on crime reports, survey data, and statistical methods. Rarely is attention given to the young voices belonging to those who carry high-powered semiautomatic handguns. In Language of the Gun, Bernard E. Harcourt recounts in-depth interviews with youths detained at an all-malecorrectional facility, exploring how they talk about guns and what meanings they ascribe to them in a broader attempt to understand some of the assumptions implicit in current handgun policies. In the process, Harcourt redraws the relationships among empirical research, law, and public policy. We will publish Harcourt’s new book, Against Prediction: Profiling, Policing, and Punishing in an Actuarial Age, later this year. See our earlier post about the subject of that book. . . .

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Testing the theory of broken windows

March 10, 2006
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Testing the theory of broken windows

Malcom Gladwell, posting to his blog yesterday, discussed the book by Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner, Freakonomics, and the implications of the arguments in that book for his “theory of broken windows,” which Gladwell developed in The Tipping Point. Concludes Gladwell, “I prefer to think of Freakonomics not as contradicting my argument in Tipping Point, but as completing it.” Then he goes on to say: “Since Tipping Point has come out, there have been a number of economists who have looked specifically at broken windows—and tried to test the theory directly. Some have found support for it. Others—particularly Bernard Harcourt at the University of Chicago—find it wanting. If you crave a rigorous critique of broken windows, read Harcourt. He’s every bit as smart as Levitt.” Later this year we will publish Harcourt’s new book, Against Prediction: Profiling, Policing, and Punishing in an Actuarial Age which will include Harcourt’s argument against the theory of broken windows. We also published Harcourt’s book Language of the Gun: Youth, Crime, and Public Policy. . . .

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Review: John Yoo, The Powers of War and Peace

March 8, 2006
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Review: John Yoo, The Powers of War and Peace

Commentary recently reviewed John Yoo’s The Powers of War and Peace: The Constitution and Foreign Affairs after 9/11. From Andrew C. McCarthy’s review: "An essential guide for thinking about national-security challenges in an era of transnational terror networks that flout the laws of civilized warfare.… Yoo’s thesis in this book is strongest as an argument grounded in text—the text, that is, of our founding law.… In a world beset by the constant threat of sudden destructive force, a robust and firmly grounded view of presidential power is imperative.… For showing how that power derives from the very system the framers bequeathed us, John Yoo deserves our deep thanks." Read an interview with John Yoo. . . .

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Sticking it to the Tax Man

March 8, 2006
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Sticking it to the Tax Man

The snow has melted, birds are chirping, and the W2s roll into the mailbox. It can only mean one thing: tax season. Many of us will grumble about how we’re paying too much, while the rich are getting off easy. But what can we do about it? What alternative is there? In Fair Not Flat: How to Make the Tax System Better and Simpler, tax law expert Edward J. McCaffery proposes a straightforward and fair alternative. A "fair not flat" tax that is consistent and progressive would tax spending, not income and savings. And if it were collected at its lower levels through a national sales tax, most people would not have to file a return. A supplemental tax on spending for the wealthiest individuals would make the national sales tax progressive. Under McCaffery’s system, a family of four would pay no tax on their first $20,000 in spending, and 15 percent on the next $60,000. Only the few families who spend more than $80,000 a year would be subject to the supplemental tax. Necessities would be taxed less than ordinary and luxury items. No one would be taxed directly on savings. The estate and gift or so-called death tax . . .

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Review: Mark D. West, Law in Everyday Japan

March 7, 2006
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Review: Mark D. West, Law in Everyday Japan

The Japan Times recently praised Mark D. West’s Law in Everyday Japan: Sex, Sumo, Suicide, and Statutes. In the review, Jeff Kingston writes: "This is a superb book that explores the interaction of law, society and culture over a range of intriguing topics. In seven captivating case studies, Mark West shows how law influences people’s behavior and perceptions in everyday situations. Rather than trumping law, social norms are powerfully shaped by it. We learn that Japanese respond to incentives and penalties in ways very similar to people in other societies.… By choosing themes off the beaten track of legal analysis, West demonstrates that even the quirkiest phenomena can be analyzed. He ‘examines the incentives created by law and legal institutions in everyday lives, the ways in which law intermingles with social norms, historically engrained ideas, cultural mores, and the phenomena that cannot easily be explained.’ And he does so in a delightfully engaging manner." Compiling case studies based on seven fascinating themes—karaoke-based noise complaints, sumo wrestling, love hotels, post-Kobe earthquake condominium reconstruction, lost-and-found outcomes, working hours, and debt-induced suicide—Law in Everyday Japan offers a vibrant portrait of the way law intermingles with social norms, historically ingrained ideas, and cultural mores . . .

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