American Bar Association (ABA) Journal Blawg Search, News Widget, Twitter Feed, Facebook Page and Webby People’s Voice Award

The American Bar Assocition (ABA) Journal is on the ball, which is more than can be said for Microsoft Windows Live MSN Hotmail, which erroneously put the following important and obviously non-spam email from Edward A. Adams, Editor and Publisher, American Bar Association Journal, into our spambox. We publish the email here because it points to legal features of interest to our readership which are not restricted to blawgs:

You’re in the ABA Journal’s new blawg search
From: ABA Journal
Wednesday, May 28, 2008 has created four new features designed for busy lawyer/bloggers like you and your readers:

Blawg Search: We’ve partnered with, the leading legal information portal, to create a search engine covering all of the 1,800-plus blogs in our directory — including yours. It’s like Google for lawyers, pinpointing in an instant the most sophisticated and up-to-date commentary by legal professionals on any topic. Use the search box at the top of any of our pages (including our homepage:, and on the search results page click on the “Blawg Results” tab. Plus you can subscribe to an RSS feed of any search to follow the results in your feed reader.

News Widget: Now you can add continuously updated ABA Journal headlines to your blog or to personalized pages like iGoogle or Netvibes with our news widget. We’re posting 25 to 50 fresh stories every business day, so you’re sure to deliver the latest breaking legal news to your readers. Visit our widget page to grab the free code:

Twitter Feed: Are you using Twitter, the most popular microblogging platform? Then you can integrate our headlines into your personal Twitter page. Dozens of lawyers already have. Visit our page and click “Follow”:

Facebook Page: If you’re a member of Facebook, one of the most popular social networking sites, you can become a fan of the ABA Journal. Our Facebook page features our latest headlines, recent covers, and special announcements. Visit our page and click “Become a Fan”:

And to celebrate winning the Webby People’s Voice Award in the Law category, we’re letting our readers pick which of three acceptance speeches we’ll give at the June 10 ceremony. Each is just five words long — the maximum length the Webby Awards will allow. To cast your vote, visit:

We hope you find that these features, and more that will be coming in the months ahead, make even more useful and informative. We love getting feedback from our readers. If you have suggestions, drop us a line:

Where to Dine in New York City : Top 10 Restaurants by Zagat

The Sunday Telegraph of April 20, 2008 had a highly palatable article by Douglas Rogers in the Travel section, Critic’s Choice: Tim Zagat’s Gourmet Tour of New York, who (nearly) toured the New York top ten restaurants in one day with Zagat, “who knows them better than anyone”. They did not make it to all ten, but to most of them. Here is the current Zagat list of the top 10 New York restaurants (for more, see Zagat New York Restaurants):

1. Daniel 2. Sushi Yasuda 3. Le Bernardin 4. Per Se 5. Peter Luger Steak House 6. Jean Georges 7. Bouley 8. Chanterelle 9. Sushi Seki 10. L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon

Bon Appetit!

Vilnius, Lithuania to be European Capital of Culture in 2009

Via, we pass on to our readers interested in the Baltic, that Vilnius in Lithuania will be the European Capital of Culture in 2009. An interesting program is planned, so it looks like a potential New Year’s destination for international travelers.

Private Equity Joint Bids ("Club Deals") and the WatchGuard Case Revisited : The Amended Complaint Claims Directors’ Breach of Fiduciary Duty

We posted previously at LawPundit in our posting A Private Equity Joint Bid (“Club Deal”) for Acquisition of a Target Company held Not per se Illegal under the Sherman Act about “a private equity antitrust class action collusion suit (Pennsylvania Avenue Funds v. Edward Borey, et al., No. C06-1737RAJ, W.D. Wa.) which was dismissed on February 21, 2008 by Judge Richard Jones in what appears to be a case of first impression, holding that a joint bid by private equity firms (a so-called “club deal”) is legal under the circumstances of that case.

Thomas Kirchner, CFA, President & Portfolio Manager of The Pennsylvania Avenue Funds, now has a posting at his blog, The Deal Sleuth, titled Watchguard Private Equity Antitrust Litigation: The Sequel in which, inter alia, he writes that:

The dismissal of the anti-trust litigation against Watchguard and private equity funds Vector Capital and Francisco Partners got all the headlines (here, here, here) a couple of months ago, but a recently filed amendment to the lawsuit over directors’ breach of fiduciary duty makes much more fascinating reading than the somewhat dry anti-trust case.

Read more at The Deal Sleuth.

World Politics and the New Political Divide : An Iron Curtain of Autocracy is Arising In the Developing Nations

At the New York Times Sunday Book Review of May 18, 2008, David E. Sanger in Democracy, Limited reviews Robert Kagan’s new book, THE RETURN OF HISTORY AND THE END OF DREAMS, 116 pp, Alfred A. Knopf, $19.95, writing inter alia:

“Growing national wealth and autocracy have proven compatible, after all,” Kagan notes. “Autocrats learn and adjust. The autocracies of Russia and China have figured out how to permit open economic activity while suppressing political activity. They have seen that people making money will keep their noses out of politics, especially if they know their noses will be cut off.”

Kagan’s principle thesis is that “Autocracy is making a comeback.

We do not know if this is true, but it is an interesting thesis which we are going to think about, before commenting in a future posting on the present world political situation and what it portends about the future of democracy and authoritarianism.

Hat tip to CaryGEE.

J.K. Rowling Rightly Wins Child Privacy Case in the United Kingdom Pursuant to Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR)

J.K. Rowling didn’t need the Dark Arts to make the paparazzi go poof“, writes Gina Serpe at Yahoo! TV.

We have previously posted on the J.K. Rowling copyright infringement case, taking the opposing side, so it is only fair that we post about this litigated privacy case which Rowling (using her real name Joanne Murray) has now won in the United Kingdom, rightly so in our opinion.

The ruling in the case (David Murray (by his litigation friends Neil Murray and Joanne Murray) v Big Pictures (UK) Ltd [2008] EWCA Civ 446) by the England and Wales Court of Appeal (Civil Division) involves an interpretation of the concept of the reasonable expectation of privacy of children according to Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR), which provides:

Article 8 – Right to respect for private and family life

1 Everyone has the right to respect for his private and family life, his home
and his correspondence.

2 There shall be no interference by a public authority with the exercise of
this right except such as is in accordance with the law and is necessary
in a democratic society in the interests of national security, public safety
or the economic well-being of the country, for the prevention of disorder
or crime, for the protection of health or morals, or for the protection of
the rights and freedoms of others.

In the case at hand, the Murrays (“Rowlings”) brought an action against the journalistic publication of a covert long lens photograph taken of Rowling and her husband together with their then ca. 19-month old son David as they were walking from their dwelling to a cafe. (David was born on 23 March 2003. The photograph was taken on 8 November 2004. Some sources thus say 19 months while others write 20 months.)

The High Court granted summary judgment against the Rowlings, denying that their child’s right of privacy was infringed by publication of the photograph.

The England and Wales Court of Appeal (Civil Division) has now overturned that decision.

On appeal, the Court of Appeal ruled to the contrary that the case should should go to trial (or be settled), since the challenged publication of the photograph in question without consent was indeed a violation of the reasonably expected privacy right of the child under the clear circumstances of this case (a right which existed regardless of the public fame of one of the parents). writes:

There have been some fears in recent privacy cases that courts were creating an image right, the right of celebrities to exert control in all circumstances of how their image is captured and used. Sir Anthony [Sir Anthony Clarke MR] said that this was not the aim and would not be the result of this ruling….

The ruling said: “We do not think that the reality is that the parents seek through their son to establish a right to personal privacy for themselves and their children when engaged in ordinary family activities. […] it seems to us that David may have a reasonable expectation of privacy in circumstances in which his famous mother might not.

The Court of Appeals stated:

We do not share the predisposition identified by the judge in [66] that routine acts such as a visit to a shop or a ride on a bus should not attract any reasonable expectation of privacy. All depends upon the circumstances. The position of an adult may be very different from that of a child. In this appeal we are concerned only with the question whether David, as a small child, had a reasonable expectation of privacy, not with the question whether his parents would have had such an expectation. Moreover, we are concerned with the context of this case, which was not for example a single photograph taken of David which was for some reason subsequently published.

It seems to us that, subject to the facts of the particular case, the law should indeed protect children from intrusive media attention, at any rate to the extent of holding that a child has a reasonable expectation that he or she will not be targeted in order to obtain photographs in a public place for publication which the person who took or procured the taking of the photographs knew would be objected to on behalf of the child. That is the context in which the photographs of David were taken. [emphasis added by LawPundit]

It is important to note that so to hold does not mean that the child will have, as the judge puts it in [66], a guarantee of privacy. To hold that the child has a reasonable expectation of privacy is only the first step. Then comes the balance which must be struck between the child’s rights to respect for his or her private life under article 8 and the publisher’s rights to freedom of expression under article 10….

Obviously, based on that discussion, Rowling has won the case and the defendants will have little option but to settle the case in her favor. Moreover, the case will surely be a landmark case in protecting the privacy rights of children, at least in the United Kingdom.

We definitely approve.

Hat tip to, where interested readers can find more material on the ruling, also concerning how the Rowling privacy ruling bolsters the [Information] Commissioner’s view of data protection law.

See IPKat

See also

See also Chris Cheesman at

Global Warming Is Probably Not Man-Made but Rather Caused by a Solar Cycle : Also the Solar System is Experiencing Global Warming

The Foundation for the Study of Cycles, founded by Edward R. Dewey, of which we were a contributing member* many years ago, studied long-term and short-term cycles of all kinds, including solar cycles, which we – already 30 years ago – saw as a key to understanding various cyclic fluctuations in nature and in human society.

We noticed years ago that it was not just our own planet Earth that showed evidence of global warming but also the planet Mars, a confluence of planetary melts which suggested to us then that a solar (sun-caused) explanation of some kind was likely.

We have now run across a February 28, 2007 article at National Geographic News by Kate Ravilious titled Mars Melt Hints at Solar, Not Human, Cause for Warming, Scientist Says, where Ravilious wrote:

In 2005 data from NASA’s Mars Global Surveyor and Odyssey missions revealed that the carbon dioxide “ice caps” near Mars’s south pole had been diminishing for three summers in a row.

Habibullo Abdussamatov, head of space research at St. Petersburg’s Pulkovo Astronomical Observatory in Russia, says the Mars data is evidence that the current global warming on Earth is being caused by changes in the sun.

“The long-term increase in solar irradiance is heating both Earth and Mars,” he said.

See also Russia Blog for a comment on the article.

A solar explanation is to our mind far more sensible than the far-fetched theories (e.g. orbital forcing) being propagated by some mainstream scientists that cycles in planetary ice ages are caused by minimal changes in the wobble of a planet’s orbit and tilt. We might rightly call this farcical theory of mainstream science “The Tilted Very Wobbly Theory of Climate Change”.

The trouble with this wobbly and surely incorrect theory is that global warming appears to be hitting the entire solar system, not just Mars. As written at Live Science by Ker Than in Sun Blamed for Warming of Earth and Other Worlds:

Benny Peiser, a social anthropologist at Liverpool John Moores University who monitors studies and news reports of asteroids, global warming and other potentially apocalyptic topics, recently quoted in his daily electronic newsletter the following from a blog called Strata-Sphere:

“Global warming on Neptune’s moon Triton as well as Jupiter and Pluto, and now Mars has some [scientists] scratching their heads over what could possibly be in common with the warming of all these planets … Could there be something in common with all the planets in our solar system that might cause them all to warm at the same time?”

But such facts do not disturb mainstream scientists trying to protect their private theories.

The alternative – equally unsubstantiated – notion that man is primarily responsible for global warming fails to explain, for example, why Lake Baikal, the greatest repository of fresh water in the world, has been experiencing a temperature increase over the last 137 years, far longer than can be explained by man-made causes. Rising lake temperatures over such a long period of time suggest a bigger influence than man’s humble changes to the environment. Man again, elevates himself above nature here, which is often a mistake. Indeed, most people, in mainstream science and out, have simply been “brainwashed” by wobbly orbits or man-made climate change theory and thus are not open to contrary discussion.

We find Abdussamatov’s thesis – contrary to the very weak science against the theory – to be much more plausible in looking to long-term cycles in solar activity as the primary cause for a global warming which has hit not just Earth but the rest of our Solar System. Just look at these photos of sun cycles and read these pages about how the Sun works. It is quite clear that when the Sun is in a periodic “glowing” phase, the entire solar system must heat up fairly quickly. Earth is a mere speck of dust as compared to the size and impact of the Sun.

Indeed, the existence of solar cycles is undisputed, and no one doubts that these cycles affect the climate:

1. Long-term Variability in the Length of the Solar Cycle
by Michael L. Rogers and Mercedes T. Richards, Penn State University

by Shahinaz M. Yousef, Astronomy & Meteorology Dept., Faculty of Science, Cairo University

3. Radiocarbon content variations and Maunder Minimum of solar activity

The question is one of degree – literally – which the mainstream scientists are currently incompetent to measure accurately. In our view, longer-term cycles such as the ice ages will be related to longer-term solar cycles covering thousands of years.

Comments on this topic by others:

UnSpace cited in more detail to Abdussamatov’s findings as follows:

Today, I was able to find the book “Multi-Wavelength Investigations of Solar Activity: Proceedings of the 223th [i.e. rd] Symposium of the International Astronomical Union Held in Saint Petersburg, Russia June 14-19, 2004,” edited by Alexander V. Stepanov, Elena E. Benevolenskaya and Alexander G Kosovichev. Pages 541-542 had the article “About the long-term coordinated variations of the activity, radius, total irradiance of the Sun and the Earth’s climate” by Habibullo I. Abdussamatov,1 Pulkovo Observatory, Saint Petersburg, Russia.

I found the following quote to sum up the essential arguments presented:

“Moreover, according to the data of Borisenkov (1988)2, in each of the 18 deep Maunder-type minima of solar activity, revealed over the span of the last 7500 years, the cooling of climate had been observed, while warming occurred during the periods of high maxima. Thus, the integral radiation has always been essentially higher at the maximum, and it had noticeably decreased at the minima. Therefore, quasi-periodic variations of the solar activity during both the 11-year cycle and 80- and 100-year cycles are accompanied by proportional variations of the integral flux of solar radiation, which result in geophysical effects. (p. 541)

National Post


* If you read my 1975 article “The Kondratiev Cycle and Saros Cycle in Eminent Births 1700-1800 : Compared to Prices in Southern England for the Same Period

here is why grain prices, for example, and solar activity are causally related, in plain common sense, as found at

Two centuries ago, the astronomer William Herschel was reading Adam Smith’s Wealth of Nations when he noticed that quoted grain prices fell when the number of sunspots rose. Gales of laughter ensued, but he was right. At solar maxima, when the sun was at its hottest and sunspots showed, temperature was warmer, grain grew faster and prices fell. Such observations show that even small solar changes affect climate detectably. But recent solar changes have been big.


Read also this recent article (May 1, 2008) in the New York Times by Andrew C. Revkin
In a New Climate Model, Short-Term Cooling in a Warmer World
and the various related articles linked at that web page, e.g.
the New York Times Global Warming page.

See also the Tom Nelson anti – Global Warming blog, which is giving us a bit of traffic, thank you.

Another Update: – New Storm on Jupiter Hints at Climate Change

The Reference Frame – Jupiter

SEO Black Hat writes at Global Warming on Mars, Pluto, Triton and Jupiter that:

Global Warming on Mars, Pluto, Triton and Jupiter strongly points towards the Sun or Some other cosmic force being the cause of the recent global warming on Earth.

Jupiter and the Cyclicity of Sunspots

European Union Lisbon Reform Treaty : Consolidated EU Version in All Official Languages

EU Law Blog has a posting linking to the newly released consolidated European Union Treaty which incorporates the amendments made by the Lisbon Reform-Treaty (.pdf and Word formats).

The Harry Potter Legal Saga : To Whom Do the Characters Truly Belong?

We have been in England and Scotland for several weeks, including a visit to Alnwick (pronounced “Anick” in England), the location inter alia of the Alnwick Garden and the Alnwick Castle, a Harry Potter film location.

Speaking of Harry Potter, the current issue of Law@Stanford writes:

The Harry Potter Lexicon trial, in which the law school’s Fair Use Project (FUP) defended a book publisher against a copyright lawsuit brought by J.K. Rowling and Warner Bros., was covered by the “New York Times,” “Associated Press,” “CNN,” and many others. The “Wall Street Journal” “blogged” the trial, including FUP Executive Director Anthony Falzone‘s closing arguments, on its law blog. [Subscription may be required.]

We posted recently at Literary Pundit about that J.K. Rowling copyright case, a posting which engendered the following comment:

Macklin said…

When Steven Vander Ark’s publisher, RDR Books, told him it was okay to publish a printed version of Vander Ark’s Harry Potter Lexicon Web site, which is largely derived from work by Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling, Vander Ark accepted that without further question and proceeded with the project. That cavalier attitude is no surprise when one considers he had been trying to market this idea to two other publishers.

When did it become okay to lift someone else’s copyrighted material and present it as one’s own? That’s why, “in the name of scholastic pursuit”, I’ve made a copy of Vander Ark’s Web site to use as my own Web site. Oh, it’s okay. I’ve changed the name of the site and reorganized it a little. My version is called Harry Potter’s Maxicon. Different enough, right?”

Here is what we replied to that comment:

Please note that I use the term “Harry Potter” in this posting and that it is completely legal for me to do so. That already reveals to us an important legal principle.

J.K. Rowling makes a significant error in thinking that her characters “belong” to her only, as she has allegedly stated.

They belonged solely to her only as long as she kept them private and unpublished.

Once she published them – and for magnificent profit at that – the characters entered society. People buy her books, if you will, to enter “her” previously private fantasy world. She reveals her private world and they pay for it – it is a strict economic trade-off. Once they have read her books, those characters become a part of their lives too, and copyright law can not change that fact.

If, for example, I were to write a book on the influence of the Harry Potter books and the characters in them on my life, there is nothing that J.K. Rowling could do to stop it. It is my life and if she has published books that I have read and that have had an influence on me, I can write about them, mentioning characters and episodes in those books that were of importance to me. This would be called a “transformative” use of any of J.K. Rowling’s materials.

Publications such as compilations, lexicons, encyclopedias, etc. are other means by which people deal with materials to which they and others have been exposed and which have had a significant impact on them or others. Without such (legally) transformative reference materials, our fiction and non-fiction world would be a T.S. Eliot wasteland. Literature lives on not only because it is read, but because it is discussed, cited, mentioned, referred to, compiled, abstracted, etc. in myriad forms.

In my opinion, Rowling and many other copyright and patent holders have a confused sense of our copyright and patent laws, thinking that these laws give them absolute control over their creations.

No one denies that it would be a flagrant copyright violation to copy a Harry Potter novel and sell it as “pirate” ware or under another author’s name. But that is not the issue here.

Rather, Rowling is claiming that only SHE has the right to put out a lexicon about her books, from her point of view.

In my opinion, the law must resist this kind of control over human thought at every cost. No one prohibits Rowling from turning out her own lexicon, but she should not be allowed to prohibit others from doing so.

In the old Soviet Union, there was only one kind of truth, the kind found in Pravda. In J.K. Rowling’s world, apparently only her own lexicon would be the whole truth and nothing but the truth.

Sorry, but that is not a world that I want, and that is not a world envisioned by the copyright laws.