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August 30, 2010

Guidance on Open Meetings and Public Records Compliance

The Wisconsin Department of Justice has recently posted updated guides to open meetings and public records compliance.

In addition, Attorney General Van Hollen will be hosting free seminars to promote public awareness of and compliance with the state's open meetings and public records law. The seminars will be held in Madison (September 20th), Milwaukee (September 27th) and Wausau (October 5th). A statewide video conference seminar will also take place with viewing sites in Green Bay, La Crosse, Rice Lake and Racine on October 12, 2010.

Seminars are free and open to the public, though advance registration is required due to limited seating. Registration opens September 1st.

Source: The Wheeler Report

August 27, 2010

Archive of Milwaukee Journal/Sentinel Articles

Thanks to Bev Butula on her Wisconsin Law Journal blog for sharing that the Milwaukee Journal/Sentinel now offers an archive of articles from 1884 - 2007. The search box is located on the JSOnline homepage on lower right.

Coverage includes the following, although there do appear to be some gaps:

  • Milwaukee Journal - 1884 to 1995
  • Milwaukee Sentinel - 1909 to 1995
  • Milwaukee Journal/Sentinel - 1995 to 2007

The user can search by specific date or keyword. This is nice if you want to see the headlines from a specific day or have a very specific keyword in mind. But, there was no way to combine the two search type to search for a keyword in a date range. It also doesn't seem to allow phrase searching in quotes. These would certainly be an improvement.

Archived news articles are also available in Google News from the 1890s to the present. To access the archives, go to the advanced search page and enter "Milwaukee" in the Source box. Note that there are several advanced search features available here, including keyword by date range.

See Bev's post for a comparison of the search features of both databases.

Both databases are "powered by Google" so the content view is identical - a full view of the paper, complete with adds. The user can reduce or enlarge the view and move around the sections of the page. Unfortunately, there is no way to download print the articles, other than doing a screen capture.

August 26, 2010

New Rules for Gift and Credit Card Now in Effect

This past Sunday, August 22, certain changes relating to gift cards went into effect thanks to the Credit CARD Act of 2009. Now @ MPL highlights some of the changes:

Store gift cards and gift cards with a Visa, MasterCard, American Express or Discover brand logo sold on or after August 22, 2010 will be good for at least five years from the date the card is purchased. You can still be charged inactivity fees, but only if you haven't used your card for at least one year. Additionally, if the physical card expires before the five years is up you can get the balance transferred to a replacement card for free. For more details see the complete list of new rules for gift cards from the Federal Reserve Website.

There are also new credit card rules that went into effect this week. And in case you missed it, in February of this year there was another set of new credit card rules.

US Dist Ct Holds that Content on Social Networks Visible Only to Restricted Users is Protected

From Law Technology News via Law.com:

On May 26, a federal court issued an opinion in a discovery dispute that applies outmoded federal electronic privacy laws from the 1980s to Facebook and MySpace. The ruling could permanently change the way "social networking" sites are viewed by businesses and those involved in litigation. The decision also appears to offer the first in-depth analysis on the effect of "privacy settings" found on many social networking sites and whether information is protected from discovery by federal privacy laws.

Read the full article for more on the implications of the 1986 Stored Communications Act to today's social networks.

Program on Researching Patent and Trademark Information

Milwaukee Public Library will be hosting a program presented by the U.S. Patent and Trade Office on Researching Patent and Trademark Information. The program will cover:

  • Overview of Patents, Trademarks, Copyrights and Trade Secrets / Making the Best Use of the USPTO Website
  • Conducting a Patent Search, Step by Step
  • Invention Promotion Firms: How to Ask the Right Questions
  • Conducting a Trademark Search, Step by Step

The all day program on Wednesday September 8 is free, but registration is required. To register, contact Judy Pinger - Business and Technology Coordinator at 414.286.3247 or email jeping@milwaukee.gov.

August 24, 2010

40th Anniversary of the Sterling Hall Bombing - Share your Story

Today marks the 40th anniversary of the Sterling Hall bombing on the UW Madison campus.

Have a story to tell about your memories from the student protest movement or the bombing on August 24th, 1970? The Wisconsin Story Project wants to hear from you.

Come to the Story Booth this week in the west corridor of Memorial Library on the UW Madison campus. Hours are Monday August 23rd - Sunday August 29th, 9am-6pm (10am-6pm weekend)

Listen to some memories made available on iTunesU from the Campus Voices program of the UW-Madison Oral History Program.

WI No Call List Deadline Approaching

Want to add your cell phone or land line to the state no-call list to block phone calls from telemarketers? If so, the deadline is Sept 1st to have your number blocked starting Oct 1st. The next chance to sign up won't place numbers on the list until Jan. 1st.

Remember that registration must be renewed every two years. If you've forgotten when you last registered, you can sign up again just to be safe.

Sign up at the WI Dept of Ag, Trade and Consumer Protection web site or call 1-866-9NO-CALL.

August 23, 2010

Cited Unpublished Court of Appeals Opinions to be Included in Appendix

From the latest InsideTrack:

Litigants in Wisconsin's appellate courts who cite unpublished court of appeals opinions soon must include copies of those opinions in appendices accompanying any brief, petition, or response in which the opinion is cited. The changes go in effect on Jan. 1, 2011.
Read the full article for more.

August 5, 2010

Forget the Weather - What's the Mosquito Activity Forecast?

Here's a fun one from The Weather Channel: the Mosquito Activity Forecast. Ok - maybe not fun. More like scary... useful... educational...

Thanks to Bev Butula for passing it on in her WLJ blog.

August 4, 2010

Guide to Researching the History & Intent of WI Administrative Rules

The latest InsideTrack from the State Bar of Wisconsin has an excellent guide on Investigating Wisconsin Administrative Rules.

Author, Bev Butula writes:

Many issues we research center around the rules established by administrative agencies. It is often beneficial to gather background information, reports, and analysis similar to a legislative history when investigating a specific rule. This article highlights a few websites to assist in collecting relevant information on recent and pending Wisconsin administrative rules.

August 3, 2010

Law Library of Congress Launches Blog

From the Gov Docs list:

The Library of Congress added its fourth blog today entitled In Custodia Legis: Law Librarians of Congress (http://blogs.loc.gov/law/). In Custodia Legis is Latin for in the custody of the law.

One role of the Law Library of Congress is to be a custodian of law and legislation. As part of this, our team of bloggers covers current legal trends, collecting for the largest law library in the world, a British perspective, a perspective from New Zealand, developments and enhancements in THOMAS, and cultural intelligence and the law.

Hat tip to my colleague, Margaret Booth

Latest UW Law School Faculty Scholarship

Here is the latest faculty scholarship from the UW Law School Legal Studies Research Paper Series via SSRN.