Access to Law Wins at D.C. Circuit in ASTM International v. Public.Resource.Org – Public Knowledge

“Today, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia issued its opinion in the case ASTM International v. Public.Resource.Org. 

The Court was asked to consider whether online posting of building codes (and other standards) incorporated into the law by reference constitutes a fair use. Public Knowledge maintains that these standards, once incorporated into law, are no longer protectable by copyright, and filed an amicus brief with Library Futures, EveryLibrary, and Authors’ Alliance arguing this position. The Court of Appeals did not address whether or not these standards remained under copyright, but did hold that posting them online for nonprofit purposes constituted a fair use….”

The transparency of quantitative empirical legal research published in highly ranked law journals (2018–2020): an observational study

Abstract:  Background: Scientists are increasingly concerned with making their work easy to verify and build upon. Associated practices include sharing data, materials, and analytic scripts, and preregistering protocols. This shift towards increased transparency and rigor has been referred to as a “credibility revolution.” The credibility of empirical legal research has been questioned in the past due to its distinctive peer review system and because the legal background of its researchers means that many often are not trained in study design or statistics. Still, there has been no systematic study of transparency and credibility-related characteristics of published empirical legal research.

Methods: To fill this gap and provide an estimate of current practices that can be tracked as the field evolves, we assessed 300 empirical articles from highly ranked law journals including both faculty-edited journals and student-edited journals.
Results: We found high levels of article accessibility, especially among student-edited journals. Few articles stated that a study’s data are available. Preregistration and availability of analytic scripts were very uncommon.
Conclusion: We suggest that empirical legal researchers and the journals that publish their work cultivate norms and practices to encourage research credibility. Our estimates may be revisited to track the field’s progress in the coming years.

Copyright Law in Academia (Urheberrecht in der Wissenschaft) | German Federal Ministry for Education and Research (BMBF)

Authors: Till Kreutzer and Georg Fischer, iRights.Law;

English abstract (via

The updated and completely revised handout “Urheberrecht in der Wissenschaft” (Copyright in Science) provides practical and comprehensible answers to typical questions on copyright for teaching and research.

These include, for example, the use of third-party materials or the creation and publication of one’s own copyright-protected works.

German original abstract:

Die aktualisierte und vollständig überarbeitete Handreichung “Urheberrecht in der Wissenschaft” beantwortet praxisnah und verständlich typische Fragen zum Urheberrecht für Lehre und Forschung.

Diese umfassen etwa die Verwendung von Materialien Dritter oder die Erstellung und Veröffentlichung eigener urheberrechtlich geschützter Werke.

Open Access: No Closed Matter – EJIL: Talk!

“The move to Open Access publishing has been driven in large part by a desire to make research publicly available and to make knowledge less exclusive. The journals that we edit have long been committed to these objectives. Yet as emerging forms of Open Access publishing are gaining greater recognition, it is important to address some of their potential unintended consequences. These include: (1) a risk that certain groups of authors will no longer be able to publish their work because of a lack of access to funding or to institutions with funding; (2) a risk that editorial decisions may be perceived as being shaped by the author’s affiliation, as such affiliation may influence the ability to pay publishing fees; (3) a risk that authors lose the freedom to decide where to submit their work due to their institutions’ selective agreements with publishers or research council instructions; and (4) the risk that journals’ financial viability becomes more and more dependent on the quantity of articles for which Open Access fees are charged, rather than the quality of curation. While the journals that we edit are moving toward full Open Access, we share these concerns to encourage a discussion with our authors, readers, publishers, fellow editors and academic communities about how best to address these risks. Understanding these concerns requires first addressing the rise of Open Access and its different forms, including the funding structures….”

Oyez! Oyez! Oyez! Sound Recordings of the Supreme Court of the United States Now Fully Digitized – The Unwritten Record

“The Moving Image and Sound Branch is pleased to announce that the sound recordings of RG 267: Records of the Supreme Court of the United States have been fully digitized and are available for listening and download through the National Archives Catalog….”

Das Zweitveröffentlichungsrecht und die Causa Konstanz –

From Google’s English:  “Finally, in 2023, the Federal Constitutional Court wants to decide in the dispute over the right of secondary publication. The core question is whether scientists can be required to publish their articles freely accessible a second time after twelve months. What makes the regulation so offensive that law professors complained about it? …

In the open letter, the new statutes are described as “legally encroaching”, as a “violation of the fundamental right to academic freedom” and as “a violation of the guarantee of intellectual property”. Although one is “not against the idea of ??open access itself”, as the letter says literally, “but against the path taken by the university of converting the possibility of secondary publication into a compulsory instrument that is discredited in this way.” The new The regulation is therefore unanimously ignored by the professors of the law faculty. They would not republish their publications in the Open Access repository of the University of Konstanz….”

Open Access without Open Access Values: The State of Free and Open Access to Law Reviews

“This study examines 648 currently published law journals to determine the amount of freely available content and whether the journals have adopted open access behaviors. Although most of the journals have volumes available online for free, the usual hallmarks of open access, including open licenses and clear reuse policies, are absent.”

Tackling the Law of Text and Data Mining for Computational Research – Duke University Libraries Blogs

“Over the last several years, Duke, like many other institutions, has made a significant investment in computational research, recognizing that such research techniques can have wide-ranging benefits from translational research in the biomedical sciences to the digital humanities, this work can and has been transformative.  Much of this work is reliant on researchers being able to engage in text and data-mining (TDM) to produce the data-sets necessary for large-scale computational analysis. For the sciences, this can range from compiling research data across a whole series of research projects, to collecting large numbers of research articles for computer-aided systematic reviews. For the humanities, it may mean assembling a corpus of digitized books, DVDs, music, or images for analysis into how language, literary themes, or depictions have changed over time….

The techniques and tools for text and data-mining have advanced rapidly, but one constant for TDM researchers has been a fear of legal risk. For data-sets composed of copyrighted works, the risk of liability can seem staggering. With copyright’s statutory damages set as high as $150,000 per work infringed, a corpus of several hundred works can cause real concern. 

However, the risks of just avoiding copyrighted works are also high….”

Library Futures | Library Futures Releases Policy Paper: Digital Ownership for Libraries and the Public

“Library Futures is excited to announce that we are launching our policy paper on digital ownership for libraries. 

With broad availability of digital content, libraries and consumers should have more rights and access, but in fact, they have fewer. In the past several years, we have seen a dramatic digital shift by book publishers and ebook platforms away from traditional sales toward licensing content, particularly to the public sector, such as libraries. Licensing has resulted in a deeply broken system around ebook lending, impeding libraries from serving the needs of their communities while also creating critical access issues. This means that significant collections, archives, and repositories of digital content are inaccessible, unaffordable, or subject to exploitative terms that make it difficult for libraries to purchase materials to lend and preserve. A small group of large publishers and distributors dominate the ebook market and charge high costs for digital resources, forcing libraries to license rather than own works as they have traditionally with print resources.

In response, Library Futures recommends policymakers adopt an approach of digital ownership that extends the current paradigm for print works and allow libraries to both maintain the benefits of print collections and innovate even further toward providing new methods of access, preservation, and education by creating new lending models, equitizing access for underserved communities, and contributing to a more democratic balance. To that end, we have outlined some approaches to solving this issue through structural, community-based, and technical means: 

Legal reform: This can include judicial remedies through the courts, legislative action on the part of Congress, or regulatory intervention by an authority such as the Federal Trade Commission.

Collective action: Community intervention can be a powerful way to act concertedly to stand against entities that are prohibiting libraries from exercising their rights, such as boycotts and grassroots action, state legislative initiatives, and the collective use of incentives and accountability measures for publishers. 

Library-owned infrastructure: The library community can build its own infrastructure to ensure that it is oriented towards the needs of their users and provides libraries with the choice to own their digital content. This is not without its challenges (practical and resource-wise), but sustainable infrastructure can put control of digital content back into the hands of libraries and users….”

Modular model contracts for OA Books (Vertragsgenerator für Open-Access-Buchpublikationen) | AuROA

The biggest goal of the joint research project AuROA is standardising Open Access book publishing by developing legally secure, versatile model contracts. These cover important subjects such as usage rights, agreed services as well as publishing licenses. The basis for developing the contracts are the individual steps in the project: the stakeholder process, the catalog of services, and the discussion of quality criteria. The contracts are intended to provide a legally secure framework for the high standards of scientific publications as well as to reduce uncertainties and reservations about Open Access among all parties involved.

The contracts are made permanently and freely available to authors, publishers and libraries as well as other interested parties.


Der Vertragsgenerator wurde vom Team AuROA an der Universitätsbibliothek Duisburg-Essen in Zusammenarbeit mit der Kanzlei entwickelt, um Unsicherheiten sowie Vorbehalte gegenüber Open Access abzubauen. Die häufig ungleiche Kenntnis über Vertragsinhalte birgt die Gefahr eines einseitigen Macht- und Wissensgefälles. Infolgedessen dient der Vertragsgenerator als Basis für eine gleichberechtigte Zusammenarbeit von verschiedenen Akteur:innen innerhalb der Open-Access-Publikationslandschaft. Grundlage ist die Vergabe einer CC-Lizenz durch die Autor:innen, die weitere Nachnutzungen durch diverse Publikationsdienstleister ermöglicht.

POLICY BRIEF: Opposing Attempts to Criminalize Librarianship through State Obscenity Laws

“In 2023-2024, we anticipate that many legislators whose bills failed the last session will reintroduce language in this session and anti-access activists will be inspired to sponsor their own regressive initiatives. The EverLibrary Institute is releasing a new Policy Brief “Opposing Attempts to Criminalize Libraries and Education Through State Obscenity Laws” to help state library associations anticipate this legislation and prepare properly to oppose unnecessary politicized changes to settled state law….”

Supreme Court To Launch Project For Free Digital Access To Verdict Reports

“In another step towards digitalization of the judiciary, the Supreme Court will launch on Monday a project which will provide free access to official law reports of its verdicts to law students, lawyers and the general public.

The Electronic Supreme Court Reports (e-SCR) project will be unveiled on the direction of Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud as an initiative to provide the digital version of the court’s judgments in the manner as they are reported in the official law report – ‘Supreme Court Reports’.

A team comprising officials of Judges’ Library and Editorial Section worked tirelessly and within a short span of 15 days, almost 34,013 judgments were split to create a database suitable for meeting the requirements of the search engine developed by the Supreme Court with the NIC, Pune….”