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Literary Law Guide for Authors

timothy posted more than 10 years ago | from the even-ones-in-utah dept.

Books 85

Logic Bomb writes "Everyone's favorite way to begin a post on Slashdot is 'IANAL, but...' Having said that a few times myself, when I saw this book I figured it might be nice to get at least a little formal information on what the heck I was writing about. Literary Law Guide for Authors was not quite what I was looking for, but it was extremely informative." Read on for Logic Bomb's review.

The content of the book really is as the title claims. It is a practical explanation of legal concepts, written by practicing lawyers. It is not a theoretical exploration, it is not a detailed history, and it is most definitely not criticism. The primary audience is writers who want a good understanding of the law before getting involved with the publishing industry or attempting to self-publish. The writing itself is beautifully concise and precise. Given the topic, there are passages that require long lists of examples and distinctions to maintain accuracy. If you have never encountered thorough legal writing before, it can be a bit daunting.

Literary Law Guide begins by explaining copyright in great depth. In this book, that only means 10 pages. But the table of contents for that section alone lists the following:

  • Protecting Ideas
  • When Copyright Ownership Begins
  • Showing the World That You Own Your Work
  • What a Copyright Owner Has the Right to Do
  • Scope of Copyright Protection
  • The Elements of Copyrightable Works
  • Copyright Registration
  • How to Investigate the Copyright Status of a Work
  • Where to Search for Information about Registered Copyrights
  • Transfer of Copyright
  • Reclaiming Your Copyright After Transfer
Further sections consider fair use, work for hire, copyright infringement (an important topic for Slashdot), and the complications of registering copyright for online works. The latter section even lists the rules for what portions of source code must be submitted to register copyright on software.

That's only the first half of the book's text. Trademark gets the next 30 pages. Once again the authors provide thorough explanations of concepts and actual legal procedures. The final section is on contracts. Given the book's nature, it's really about publishing contracts for writers, but the information is still useful.

The book includes a CD with a handful of Copyright and Trademark Office forms in PDF and Word files of sample publishing contracts. These materials are also printed over 90 pages in the book itself. With the exception of the contracts, this is fairly superfluous. The forms are all readily available online.

Overall, Literary Law Guide has value for several segments of the Slashdot readership. Programmers, especially those working independently, can gain invaluable information on the available means for protecting or profiting from their work. Those interested in Free content (not just software) can better understand issues surrounding licensing and the public domain. Everyone who reads the book will have a better understanding of the issues we spend so much time discussing.

Perhaps because it is targeted towards the world of traditional writing, Literary Law Guide may leave a Slashdot reader unsatisfied at the coverage of digital-age issues. However, I think the fault for that really lies with a legal structure that is, as we all know, far behind the times. A book on the law can only cover what law there is. As the authors put it, in what may be the greatest understatement on this issue I've seen:

In light of this twenty-first century reality, some scholars believe that the law lags far behind in closing the gap between yesterday's statutes and tomorrow's technology.

The final recommendation: if you want to know more about copyright and trademark than you'll easily discover using Google, this book is for you.


You can purchase Literary Law Guide for Authors: Copyright, Trademark, and Contracts in Plain Language from bn.com. Slashdot welcomes readers' book reviews -- to see your own review here, read the book review guidelines, then visit the submission page.

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fp mofo (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7301902)

i hope you're still eating it

IANAL.. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7301906)

IANAL, but this is the first post.

Re:IANAL.. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7301956)

IYWAL, you'd have known that it is not first post.

frost post (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7301913)

frosted nigs

FP (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7301915)

WOOHOO! I got first post you must love me?

I would like to thank the academy.

Re:FP (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7302001)

Suck my chalfonts.

Huh? (-1, Troll)

JRSiebz (691639) | more than 10 years ago | (#7301952)

Umm, copyright law, what's that? I don't know no stinking copyright.

IANAL (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7301968)

but I'm pretty sure that legally this is a frosty post.

Yes, I'm a lawyer . . . (-1, Offtopic)

tarzan353 (246515) | more than 10 years ago | (#7301982)

(With the disclaimer that I only am licensed to practice law in California, and although I am in the process of starting a solo practice, I am chained to a law firm for the next month or so and thus can't initiate my own cases. and this is not legal advice, yadda yadda - see sig)

Some of the aspects of this story sound legally questionable. For example, a credit card company's acceptance of an unsigned credit card application, in general. But also, since there was no signature, your wife (although extremely careless and naive for throwing her personal information in a public trash can) never consented to the "fine print" which was the ostensible hook for the company to distribute her info to spammers, telemarketers, other vermin. True, if someone fished her info out of the trash and used it for spamming, she might not have much of a remedy - although some states have put anti-spamming laws into effect, they typically only give a remedy against the spammer, and they make themselves hard to find and identify - who do you sue? But it sounds, from your account, like you can prove the unsigned application was actually submitted to VISA, and may be able to prove that VISA sold her info to the pond scum with knowledge that she had not consented. If that were so, you might have some kind of remedy against VISA or the bank that issued the VISA. If you are in a jurisdiction like California which has a privacy right incorporated in its state constitution, your position might be even stronger.

I would recommend consulting a lawyer who is licensed to practice in your jurisdiction. If you don't know a lawyer, try contacting law schools in your area or your State Bar Association to ask if there are any referral services they would recommend to look at a case of potential privacy violation. This is better than picking up the phone book at random.

Re:Yes, I'm a lawyer . . . (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7302009)

Your a couple weeks late bub.

Elliot Smith dead at 34 (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7301986)

He was found dead in his apartment of a self inflicted stab wound to the chest. He's best remembered for his Oscar nomination for the song "Miss Misery" featured in the film Goodwill Hunting. I'm sure everyone in the Slashdot community will miss him - even if you didn't enjoy his work, there's no denying his contributions to popular culture. Truly an American icon.

Girls (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7301988)

This legal summary book is written by two women, I'm not sure how much I trust it.

Re:Girls (0)

oscrmyer (568874) | more than 10 years ago | (#7302159)

Yeam Im going to go with him on that one.

Would you fuck orcs? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7301998)

Well, would you? [supermegatopia.com]

Copyright (5, Funny)

mopslik (688435) | more than 10 years ago | (#7302010)

Literary Law Guide begins by explaining copyright in great depth.

I agree. I downloaded the book off of Kazaa and thought the whole discussion concerning copyrights was well done.

Re:Copyright (1)

GrumpyDog (718306) | more than 10 years ago | (#7303850)

As an author of a book I'm about to self-publish, this is my reason I chose not to get my hard work published as an ebook. Too easy to get ripped off. I would love to see how you would defend the theft of my work. I'm a little guy with no big book company behind me and it took me five years of my hard work and life.

Re:Copyright (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7304642)

How about Microsoft/Adobe Reader?

Re:Copyright (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7305042)

How did you manage to keep it out of the libraries? Second-hand sales? Possibly thousands of people are reading your work without paying you. The horror!

Re:Copyright (1)

GrumpyDog (718306) | more than 10 years ago | (#7305923)

No PDF either, it's a new book. Going to the library is a lot different than transmitting/stealing 1000s of copies across the internet. Even libraries pay for thier books. Is it gotten to the point that anyone trying to sell anything with a copyright is evil? How am I supposed to make money to print further books?

How bout' I open my own site called "Flashdot: Nudes for nerds." steal all their content, and put adds for p0rn, home loans, and pop up adds for web cams on it; hey what the hell, copyrights suck anyways right? Steal away!

Re:Copyright (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7305962)

> How bout' I open my own site ... steal all
> their content, and put adds for p0rn, home
> loans, and pop up adds for web cams on it

It already exists, it's called Fark.

Re:Copyright (1)

mopslik (688435) | more than 10 years ago | (#7305956)

I would love to see how you would defend the theft of my work.

I wouldn't. There's a reason the post was modded "funny".

so whats it mean (0)

omar.sahal (687649) | more than 10 years ago | (#7302014)

I read the whole article to find out what IANAL means, and I still don't know, so WHAT'S IT MEAN, please.

Re:so whats it mean (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7302030)

Something to do with connection between Linux/MaxOS users and homosexuality. i stands for Internet.

Re:so whats it mean (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7302042)

"I am not a lawyer"

Re:so whats it mean (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7302050)

I Abuse Non-informative Acronyms Liberally

Re:so whats it mean (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7302068)

Google knows [google.com]

Re:so whats it mean (1)

bcolflesh (710514) | more than 10 years ago | (#7302074)

IANAL - I am Near Alabama

This is so Yankees can filter posts easier.

Re:so whats it mean (0, Troll)

dotwaffle (610149) | more than 10 years ago | (#7302120)

I Am Not A Lawyer. All Lawyers are anal anyway, so i guess that makes EVERYONE ANAL!

what it means (FOF REAL) (2, Informative)

falcon5768 (629591) | more than 10 years ago | (#7302125)

Disreagrd the fuckhead troll posters, what it literally means is

I Am Not A Lawer

when discussing things that have legality issues in them course 90% of slashdot users probably didnt know that either which is why you got the stupid comments back.

http://info.astrian.net/jargon/terms/i/IANAL.html

Re:what it means (FOF REAL) (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7302254)

what it literally means is

I Am Not A Lawer


You mis-spelled Lawnmower. Don't use abbrev. on /.

Re:what it means (FOF REAL) (1)

falcon5768 (629591) | more than 10 years ago | (#7303197)

Ha your right, i never said i was a good speller though :-D

Anything analogous for songwriters? (4, Interesting)

yerricde (125198) | more than 10 years ago | (#7302083)

I'd like to see an analogous "Music Law Guide for Songwriters". Which of these books [starvingartistslaw.com] or any other book do people recommend? Until I get some hard facts on how to avoid George Harrison's mistake (Bright Tunes v. Harrisongs), the guide I wrote [slashdot.org] suggests: Don't.

Re:Anything analogous for songwriters? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7302137)

"This Business of Music" is the book you want, but only if you are ready for some serious reading.

Re:Anything analogous for songwriters? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7304825)

When I was at the Berklee College of Music they reccomended "All you need to know about the Music Business" (update almost yearly) and "This Business of Music"

I'm posting as A.C because I've already given you enough PI.

Patents (1, Informative)

DeadVulcan (182139) | more than 10 years ago | (#7302085)

Programmers, especially those working independently, can gain invaluable information on the available means for protecting or profiting from their work.

It should be noted that this leaves out entirely the third pillar of the great IP law triumvirate: patents - which often get confused with copyright by laypeople.

BTW, I am one of those laypeople... but perhaps just slightly less confused than some others.

Re:Patents (1)

yerricde (125198) | more than 10 years ago | (#7302151)

Authors of prose typically do not run into patents except in technical writing, and I'm guessing technical writing has its own set of law guides.

creator's newclear power plan for planet residents (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7302100)

get ready to see (or at least 'feel') some of the light.

don't fret about what's past. you might want to consider becoming very aware of yOUR intentions/behaviours/environment, as a means to learn to use yOUR limited resources wisely.

get a little more oxygen on yOUR brain.

consult with/trust in yOUR creator... that's the spirit, moving you. fear can only slow you down, at this point.

Where's the fun in that? (3, Funny)

Otter (3800) | more than 10 years ago | (#7302101)

I read Slashdot for important cutting edge legal theory like:
  • If you make something into an MP3, it automatically receives 1st Amendment protection against any copyright, trademark, contract or national security classification you would otherwise be violating.
  • Everything is parody of something, and is therefore invariably legal.
  • Don't ask us! Get a lawyer!
It seems to be that readership armed with actual facts and knowledge could only diminish this wellspring of creativity we've built here...

What does IANAL mean? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7302106)

see subject.

IANAL (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7302109)

IANAL, but ILLTS (I like lawyers thinly sliced)

SCO? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7302133)

Where's today's SCO story?

poor persons copyright. (2, Interesting)

r.future (712876) | more than 10 years ago | (#7302202)

I heard os something called a "poor man's copy right" where a non published author takes a copy of his/her writing and puts in a self address stamped envelope and mails it to him/her self. The post office will stap the date that the envelope was snet on the envelope. Upon receiving the now dated writing in the mail the author should put it into a safety deposit box.

The thory here being that if someone steals the authors un-copyrighted work the author should be able to sue the thief and use th the date on a sealed envelope, and the records showing when the author put it in his/her safty deposit box as proof.

My question is if any one knows if this ever has, or would ever really work?

Re:poor persons copyright. (3, Informative)

bcolflesh (710514) | more than 10 years ago | (#7302261)

This is a myth - check #6 here:

http://www.sfwa.org/beware/copyright.html

Re:poor persons copyright. (1)

dsplat (73054) | more than 10 years ago | (#7302279)

The post office will stap the date that the envelope was snet on the envelope.

Can you prove that the envelope was sealed when it was mailed?

Re:poor persons copyright. (1)

pythorlh (236755) | more than 10 years ago | (#7303852)

Can you prove that the envelope was sealed when it was mailed?

Yep...

Put the address on the wrong side of your envelope, and the stamp across the envelope's seal. It will be quite obvious whether or not the seal was in place before the postmark was applied.

Re:poor persons copyright. (1)

ArmenTanzarian (210418) | more than 10 years ago | (#7302355)

This sort of happened in the movie Quiz Show (and indeed in real life), one of the contestants sent himself the answers registered mail. It was deemed admissable in court.

Here's the guy's testimony [gmu.edu] .

I assume this sets a precedent for dates to be established this way and would cover copyright.

Not recomended (1)

bluGill (862) | more than 10 years ago | (#7302600)

It might work. However a registered copyright is cheap, IIRC $25 + a copy to the Library of Congress. (This was 10 years ago, law has changed) At that price, if think you might need to prove latter that you wrote something, then just get a do-it-yourself copyright kit from the local book store and register your copyright in a form that is fully binding in court.

As for it might work: I've heard of it working and of it not working. There are a lot of details to get right. If you just want protection from someone else patenting your idea, best is to documents your steps for going into buisness manufacturing this.

Re:Not recomended (1)

lelnet (702245) | more than 10 years ago | (#7317452)

Moreover, even registration is not necessary unless (and until) you intend to sue somebody. Copyright is automatic for all copyrightable works, unless they're explicitly released into the public domain, and the only thing immediate registration gets you is an official record of the date of the work's creation...and with copyright being effectively perpetual these days, I don't see how that matters much either.

Re:Not recomended (1)

bluGill (862) | more than 10 years ago | (#7318341)

If you register a copyright, when you create something, you can sue for more damages. IANAL, but essentially you get not only the money they made selling your work, but also an extra amount. Check with a lawyer.

An official registration is very useful when you want to sue. If you register something you don't have to latter prove you created it, one defense of copyright violation could be that who didn't create it, but copied the work of the violator, it can be hard to defend against this. (Likely a rare situation, you can't claim it incorrectly without lieing under oath)

Lastly, copyright registration makes it more likely that the library of Congress will preserve your work for all time. You might or might not care about that.

A slight error by the author (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7302222)

Logic Bomb writes "Everyone's favorite way to begin a post on Slashdot is 'IANAL

Actually, the favorite way to begin a post on Slashdot is "I ANAL"

I'm afraid to hazard a guess as to what they mean.

IAAL. If you want to learn about the law... (4, Insightful)

SPYvSPY (166790) | more than 10 years ago | (#7302269)

...read the same books that law students read in law school. Stop looking for shortcuts; there aren't any. Reading slashdot is insanely frustrating for me because the level of ignorance about the law is appalling. It is not that hard to pick up a respectable law review (those are journals of legal analysis--available in libraries and (no kidding!) online) and read an article about the topic you are interested in. Slashdot people are reasonably intelligent, and can learn things like new programming languages. I don't see why you can't decypher the law--which is pretty straightforward in most cases. Stop treating the newspaper, this website (and pretty all other websites with a very few exceptions) as your gospel for legal issues.

There is so much disinformation and FUD about the law online that you are doing yourself a disservice if you don't educate yourself from the sources that truly understand the law. Go get a law school curriculum and buy a few of the books. Read them. It's not that hard. Stop looking for shortcuts.

Re:IAAL. If you want to learn about the law... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7302309)

Slashdot people are reasonably intelligent

BWHAHAHAHAHAA!!!!!! Yeah, when they aren't too busy with the "M$ SUX, LINUX R00LZ!" or "MPAA SUX! OH LOOK A NEW MATRIX DVD IS OUT! ME BUY!" mentality they are certainly up for some prime legal discussion.

re: IAAL. if you want to learn about the law... (4, Funny)

ed.han (444783) | more than 10 years ago | (#7302352)

but, but, but...if we stop spreading FUD about the law, what will we do for posts around here?!

OK, sorry; i'm sure this'll get modded redundant in 0.3 nanoseconds but i just couldn't help it.

ed

Re:IAAL. If you want to learn about the law... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7302392)

Reading slashdot is insanely frustrating for me because the level of ignorance about the law is appalling.


Well to be honest, I've tried just what you said some time ago and to be honest, reading legal texts is insanely frustrating for programmers, because the level of chaos that comes about when non-programmers try to write a listing, in human language no less, it very quickly becomes a mess.


It's like one long list of if/then/else causes, sometimes a switch/case, but all in all very little genericity, little functional decomposition or abstrahation of recurring issues, and when they finally wrote themselve into a hole they can't get out of anymore, they throw an exception : "this situation is left to the interpretation of the judge".


I know the above sounds a bit like I'm mostly joking :) But I'm actually (mostly) serious -- most of the law seems to be the equivalent of what a first grader would throw out when you give him a problem that slightly outmatches what you can do with a quick hack-and-slash procedural attack.


(AC 'cause my login is on the fritz)

-bpe

Re:IAAL. If you want to learn about the law... (1)

PD (9577) | more than 10 years ago | (#7303118)

Add on top of that that the rudimentary implementation of inheritance works backwards. The most general classes of law (federal) override the subclasses (local law).

And there's redundant operator overloading, because of backwards compatibility to the time when French was the fashionable programming language for English court implementations. i.e. "cease and desist", "breaking and entering"

Re:IAAL. If you want to learn about the law... (1)

Planesdragon (210349) | more than 10 years ago | (#7303751)

i.e. "cease and desist", "breaking and entering"

To be anal, those aren't redundant.

Cease: Stop it right now.
Desist: Don't do it again.

Breaking: Bust open the door.
Entering: Enter a home without permission.

Re:IAAL. If you want to learn about the law... (1)

mbstone (457308) | more than 10 years ago | (#7306646)

You forgot, "Tampering, disabling or destroying."

Re:IAAL. If you want to learn about the law... (2, Interesting)

Planesdragon (210349) | more than 10 years ago | (#7302482)

...which is pretty straightforward in most cases. ...

Odd. I've been told (by laywers teaching my paralegal classes) that the law is rife with exceptions, collalaries, and special instances, and so while the general rules are easy to learn, applying them can be difficult.

So difficult, in fact, that we pay a special class of professionals to do so. ;)

At any rate, don't you think that a specific publication aimed at an audience as an introduction is a good thing? Law journals are written for lawyers, and can be as difficult to read as kernal-development listservs if you don't know at least the basics.

(An example for the peanut gallery: Reading a judge's opinion a few weeks ago, in class, I came across the term "EBT." I was wondering where electronic money was passing hands, until the professor explained that "EBT" stood for "Examination Before Trial.")

Re:IAAL. If you want to learn about the law... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7303027)

I'm a lawyer too and your advice is stupid. There's nothing like a good concise book for principles.

A case book/law review is great for a discussion of evolution and exceptions teaching the essential role of the facts of any case. Unless someone wants to be a lawyer, the case book/law review is a waste of time.

"I can't believe the ignorance of lawyers when it comes to computers. They should be reading MCSE manuals to learn how to run windows."

bs. (1)

yaar (680953) | more than 10 years ago | (#7303182)

we do the code, you do the code - err, law. if an attorney can write software, great, but it's not reasonable to expect it. reality is, we non-lawyers bitch and moan, leaving it up to the ambulance chasers to make a case of it. as long as law intersects with tech, techies are going to continue commenting. according to the reviewer, who i assume is a tech, this book explains the law as it relates to copyright, which i doubt first year law texts even cover in depth. thanks but no thanks.

Re:IAAL. If you want to learn about the law... (1)

drfireman (101623) | more than 10 years ago | (#7303260)

Part of the reason people don't do this is because if you want to understand something that is, as you say, "pretty straightforward in most cases," a nice summary is much more useful than plowing through law school curriculum, a process that could easily take many years for someone who is also trying to earn a living writing. I do like the idea of consulting a law review, if it's easy to find good reviews that will bring a layperson up to speed on the basics in a given area. But although I agree that treating the newspaper and web sites as sources for legal education is not generally a good idea, that's why the authors of this book wrote a book. It may not have been subject to the same kind of review as an article in a law review, but it's also more likely to cover the material in a way that will be useful to non-lawyers. (Whether or not this book succeeds at that, I don't know.)

I'm not sure how you can say on the one hand that basically all legal web sites are garbage and on the other hand that people should seek out law school curricula to educate themselves. As far as I can tell, a large proportion of the reputable web sites concerning IP law are hosted by universities. At least that's true of nearly all of the ones I've been steered towards, I assume that's a fair sample. Is your point that we should consult the primary sources these web sites list as part of their curricula, but not the other content at those same sites?

Re:IAAL. If you want to learn about the law... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7303348)

Hate to rain on your parade, but if the law is so simple then this book is all one needs. On the other hand, one of my former cube-mates was going thru law school a few years ago and would bring his books in to work with him. When he could, he would study and he would bounce Q/As off me. The law is not simple in all too many ways.

When was the last time you looked at the size of an old fashioned hard cover law library? It'll blow your eyeballs out!!

Re:IAAL. If you want to learn about the law... (1)

dvdeug (5033) | more than 10 years ago | (#7304350)

It is not that hard to pick up a respectable law review [...] and read an article about the topic you are interested in.

You're telling me unlike every other discipline I know of, a law journal is comprehensable to the outsider?

Go get a law school curriculum and buy a few of the books.

To understand the rules that govern me, I should invest hundreds of dollars in books? Something's screwed up here, and it's not the people who don't want to have to study the law.

a shortcut if you don't like legal casebooks (1)

gyc (66821) | more than 10 years ago | (#7304678)

A good shortcut that's much easier than reading law school casebooks is do what law students do: buy legal outlines, nutshells, audio tapes, hornbooks (ok maybe not hornbooks), etc. for the subjects you're interested in. The authors of them condense law and legal precedent into an organized and easy to follow book. Legal textbooks are terrible for learning the law because they're *designed* to confuse you.

Re:IAAL. If you want to learn about the law... (1)

eskayp (597995) | more than 10 years ago | (#7305693)

IANAL, neither am I a coder. I found Catherine Crier's book "The Case Against Lawyers" to be an understandable (to us mere mortals) treatise on what is dysfunctional in our legal/political system. She also suggests some patches to make the system more user friendly, secure, and reliable. Read that as more understandable to laymen, resistant to hacking by the powerful, rich, and connected, and more consistent in providing justice to each of us. Existing legal tomes are about as comprehensible as MS spaghetti code. Need I say more?

Can you email me? (1)

bbqBrain (107591) | more than 10 years ago | (#7344095)

Hey, I remember an exchange with you in the past where you said something funny, and I put in my sig (see below). You also made some valid point about the topic, which I can't recall now. Anyway, I wanted to get in touch with you now because I'm considering a law degree and was hoping for some pointers. Your email address is hidden, so I'm stuck posting this reply and looking like a bit of a tool. :-) Anyway, you can email me at steveh (at) amnesiac.net

Thanks.

Re:IAAL. If you want to learn about the law... (1)

tyrione (134248) | more than 10 years ago | (#7345298)

Your comment wreaks with arrogance. I especially found the following retort absolutely riveting:

Slashdot people are reasonably intelligent, and can learn things like new programming languages. I don't see why you can't decypher the law--which is pretty straightforward in most cases.


Learning a programming language is equivalent to learning any foreign language one uses for oral communication. The level of competence is directly proportional to quality and correct usage the language can provide.

It's not the language at fault when one fails at grasping its value.

From my experience, with quite a few lawyers, I have yet to come across one that commands the one tool they should have mastered, Oration.

And don't get me started with most attorneys lack of charisma when it comes to in-court appearances. The Justice system is not about Truth, it is about the State not losing, at any cost, when it takes a case.

I've watched quite a few cases where information critical to cases is not admissible as it would weaken the State's case(s).

With regards to Civil Law, one sees the Judge as more of a pure Mediator, more objective and impartial--two aims of that position which I was under the impression are requirements of that position for both Criminal and Civil Law. Call me an idealist, but Separation of Powers in the US Constitution is rather clear about the Judge being an impartial referee where the Defense and Prosecution Teams battle for the Prize--a win.

I haven't read this book but I will say this book for me would be a primer that when I want to address publication needs, with legal counsel, I will have a stronger grasp of the ins/outs needed saving me time which saves me money.

To me an Attorney is like a Stock Broker. They are there to follow my requests, give specific background information on issues, but ultimately there to execute my requests, no more no less.

For the record my degree is Mechanical Engineering and you'd be surprised how many Attorneys act as if they know more about M.E. than an educated, accredited M.E.

CS is a second degree.

The answer to the question (2, Funny)

omar.sahal (687649) | more than 10 years ago | (#7302331)

I read the whole article to find out what IANAL means, and I still don't know, so WHAT'S IT MEAN, please.

This means I Am Not A Lawyer (IANAL).
It does not mean "IANAL - I am Near Alabama, so Yankees can filter posts easier." as some have suggested bcolflesh (710514)

Neither does it mean I Abuse Non-informative Acronyms Liberally

New question, Is there any way of filtering out posts from those near Alabama (or any states like IOWA, Ohio etc)?

Book Preview (1)

SmilingBoy (686281) | more than 10 years ago | (#7302345)

Literary Law Guide for Authors was not quite what I was looking for [...]
Had you used Amazon's new full text search and preview, this would not have happened.

Law doesn't matter if you can't afford the lawyers (4, Insightful)

angst_ridden_hipster (23104) | more than 10 years ago | (#7302348)

The fundamental problem is that to defend your rights, you need money. It doesn't matter what the law is.

I was recently in a situation where I was slapped with a cease and desist order for something which was perfectly within my legal rights. I could cite extensive case law demonstrating that I was within my rights, and that I was not infringing on anyone else's rights.

But in the end, it came down to the fact that I was being slapped by a company with money, and I can't afford the lawyers. There's not money in it for the lawyers, so they won't do it on a contingent basis. It's much, much too small a case for an organization like the EFF.

So I end up being screwed. The simple fact is that law is irrelevant if you can't afford the lawyers to enforce it.

Re:Law doesn't matter if you can't afford the lawy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7302471)

Tell us what you did, what they did, who they are and what they threatened you with, and we'll all wander over to their houses at three in the morning and amputate their hands at the wrist with 8 inch meat cleavers.

Re:Law doesn't matter if you can't afford the lawy (2, Informative)

Planesdragon (210349) | more than 10 years ago | (#7302601)

The simple fact is that law is irrelevant if you can't afford the lawyers to enforce it.

If you get slapped with a lawsuit like that, and genuinely cannot afford to hire a lawyer, you may be able to have one appointed for you--even in a civil matter.

You can also purchase legal insurance, or if worst comes to worst, represent yourself.

Re:Law doesn't matter if you can't afford the lawy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7303071)

This is retarded. Represent yourself. Or go to the court house and you'll find plenty of law students wandering around. Hell, call up a law school and they often have clinics to help.

Re:Law doesn't matter if you can't afford the lawy (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 10 years ago | (#7303698)

" I could cite extensive case law demonstrating that I was within my rights, and that I was not infringing on anyone else's rights."

then there was no reason you couldn't have defended yourself.

You could have also looked for a lawyer that will do pro bono work.

In some circumstance, you can get one appointed to you.

The fact is, you LET yourself get screwed.

Re:Law doesn't matter if you can't afford the lawy (1)

mbstone (457308) | more than 10 years ago | (#7306613)

Um, stop talking about "the lawyers" in the abstract and get to know a lawyer or two. Include a lawyer among your circle of friends. Buy a beer for a lawyer. Tell a lawyer that he or she can call you at 4:00 A.M. and you will be happy to support his or her Windows problem du jour. If you can't find a lawyer to befriend find a law student. Hell, date one.

He doesn't have a link to where I buy it though! (2, Informative)

kabocox (199019) | more than 10 years ago | (#7302531)

He didn't include in newly required link so that we could all purchase the book through him so he'd get a commission. Come on people if you review a book remember to throw up a quicky Amazon link so you get a commission.

1. Write Book Review.
3. Add link to personal home page.
3. Post Review on Slashdot.
4. Make $.02 in comission from all the slashdot sales.

same price at amazon (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7302588)

Ref: Amazon has this book for the same price as bn [amazon.com]
Spend $5 more to get free shipping.

Re:same price at amazon (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7303783)

Attention. Known spammer. Address details as follows:

Abdullah Haydar (abdullah@abdullah.net)
5867644119
FAX: 5094635868
42252 Barchester Rd
Canton, MI 48187
US

Please report this person!

Re:same price at amazon (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7304457)

Show me one piece of spam he's ever sent you. He already told you that he posts the links for commission. I don't know why you guys hate this loser so much. If you don't want to buy from Amazon, ignore his posts. If you do and don't want him to get commission, just type www.amazon.com in your browser.

Re:same price at amazon (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7304517)

You're wrong...it's this guy: Anthony Martin, (310) 532-8393, 17450 Van Ness Ave, Torrance, CA 90504

Important info missing... (1)

Wdi (142463) | more than 10 years ago | (#7302691)

not a single word that this book is about US law. Only US law. Nothing else. A law that is notably different from other laws the international readership of Slashdot may be working under.

Scholars!!! (1)

kryzx (178628) | more than 10 years ago | (#7303229)

...some scholars believe that the law lags far behind...

The author called us Scholars!!! Woohooo!!

TV for Writers (1)

DevilsEngine (581977) | more than 10 years ago | (#7303622)

I understood the writing game well enough, or thought I did until one of my series sold to TV. Then I learned the hard way that neither I, nor my literary agent, was equipped to play in this ballpark. One little phrase that had special meaning only in the TV business cost me all of my per show royalties. I'll know better next time, but it was one hell of a costly lesson.

Any legal book on getting unpaid overtime? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7306348)

Any book like this about unpaid overtime for IT workers?

Now that my job moved to India, can I get my hours paid? I took note of every hours/week worked for the last 3 months when I learned of the 'new Indian coders'. I could get 5K just for these 3 months!

That would help now that I am out of a job!
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