Articles Posted in 2010


O Tannenbaum, a public domain Christmas carol, extols the venerable Christmas tree. While the lyrics may be seasonal, the melody is truly evergreen, having been remixed into other popular songs, such as Michigan, My Michigan. Now, you can hum the tune 365 days a year. Go Blue!

In the spirit of the holidays, let’s take a look at a few Christmas tree bills and laws:

Posted in: Legal News

As the holidays get into full swing and folks begin to make their lists of presents for young and old alike, we thought it might be a good idea to point everyone to some helpful online consumer resources. In particular, we wanted to mention two Justia web sites which allow users to look-up information on recalled items and goods.

Recall Warnings

We created the Recall Warnings site with Nolo Press to provide easy access to thousands of product recalls and and consumer alerts from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. The recalls cover a variety of products such as toys, child furniture and outdoor play items, adult clothing and accessories, products for pets, and household appliances and electrical equipment.  You can browse through various categories of goods or, if you are interested in learning more about a particular brand or item, you can also search the site.  In addition, you may create RSS feeds to help you be an up-to-date and savvy consumer all year round.

Posted in: Legal News

A few weeks ago, a friend at Justia celebrated his birthday. And, you know how it goes. There’s a cake involved and everyone sings that special unique song known for that occasion: “Happy Birthday.” Well, it turns out that the Happy Birthday song is copyrighted. So, for any reproduction, one must ask for permission from the copyright holder or pay a licensing fee.

Now that the holidays are coming, I started wondering about the copyright status of several of the popular songs that we hear everywhere we go during the month of December. If you like to take holiday videos and share them with your family and friends on the web, you should be aware that since January 2009, YouTube has been silencing videos with copyrighted music. So, you cannot just add any song to give your video a touch of holiday spirit.

Posted in: Legal News

It’s been a fun month at Justia. We launched our new Justia Legal Answers service, and we’ve been hard at work adding free law (shhh, we’ll tell you all about it soon). And of course, we’re still blogging and Facebooking [ed: not a word] away.

Here’s a sampling of the content that generated the most buzz on our Facebook page and this blog.

The highest number of page views and comments this month was for Nick’s Introduction to Wizarding Law. Everyone loves Harry Potter–and who knew there was a legal angle there? Great stuff!

Posted in: Justia News
Tagged: facebook, onward

Black Friday and Cyber Monday have come and gone, but there’s still time to get terrific gifts for lawyers and clients.  Here are some of our favs:

  • The Apple iPad —  It’s sleek, small, and über cool. It holds nifty free legal apps like Fastcase to find state and federal statutes and cases and Oyez’s PocketJustice that let’s lawyers listen to Supreme Court oral arguments.  When your attorney friend is done raging at opposing counsel’s latest outrageous offer to their client, the attorney can vent his or her anger by playing Angry Birds or Star Wars Falcon Gunner. Plus, it makes them (and everyone they meet) think that they’re a swell lawyer, right?
  • Adopt a Volume of the Federal Reporter — No, we’re not crazy (at least not all the time)!  For $1,200, you can actually make a tax-deductible donation to Public.Resource.Org to support scanning a volume or two of the first series of the Federal Reporter of the United States in the name of your favorite lawyer or law firm.  The donation is to help them “adopt” a volume of federal case law  from 1880 – 1924 that is now in the public domain.


Election Day 2010 is but a faint memory as we head towards the s-l-o-w end of the year. With Thanksgiving behind us and Christmas just around the bend, we all recognize that the abundance of joy and good tidings that this winter season brings comes only from hard work. After all, someone has to pay for all that online holiday shopping. And, as we seek to right the direction of our fair nation, we should certainly offer thanks to our dedicated members of Congress for not heading home early for the holidays. Proving that no lame ducks exist in a recession, our political class continues to put in an honest day for their six-figure pay.

Posted in: Laws, Legal News

Given that some of our favorite Justia supporters and friends are law librarians and to help get us all into the holiday spirit of the season, we thought it might be fun to put together a list of library and legal-themed gifts for those folks who keep us on track and organized when it comes to legal research and information. (And for those of our readers who practice law, fear not. We have a separate list coming out for you this week as well!)

Posted in: Legal Research
These presents aren’t going to wrap themselves, folks.

You’re at work, but you’re on Amazon and Overstock searching for deals, right? It’s Cyber Monday–the online equivalent of Black Friday, where the web stores are jammed with consumers distracted at work. Amazon and Target even have special sales on this day and advertise with the adwords “Cyber Monday.”

I guess I’m a scrooge [ed: Ebeneezer Scrooge was a banker, not a lawyer], but the first thing I thought of was how much tax money the state governments were going to get screwed out of today. And thus, a blog post was born.

It turns out that a 1992 US Supreme Court Case, Quill Corp. v. North Dakota 504 U.S. 298 (1992) held that retailers are exempt from collecting sales taxes in states where they have no physical presence (nexus), such as a store, office, or warehouse. The case dealt with a catalog/mail order business, but it has since been applied to Internet retailers. The Court felt that requiring businesses to collect sales tax from 50 states with different rules would amount to an undue burden on interstate commerce.

Posted in: Legal News, Privacy
  • Free Law – Justia truly believes that the law belongs to the people. It was created for us, by us. That is why we are thankful for Law.Gov, the brainchild of passionate Government open source advocate Carl Malamud of Public.Resource.Org.
  • Google – We are thankful for Google and its continued support of free law by awarding the non-profit a $2 million grant to jump-start the Law.Gov initiative. The grant was one of five awarded to Google Project 10^100 winners, a contest to help as many people in the world as possible.
  • Facebook – We are thankful for Facebook because we really like making friends. 🙂
  • Twitter – We are thankful for Twitter. We love tweeting about the law like little birdies 🙂


One of the pro bono projects we’ve been able to work on here at Justia is the Stanford Fair Use & Copyright site.  For those of you who may not be familiar with it, the site is a terrific resource for anyone interested in learning more about copyright in general, as well as for researchers more focused on exploring issues related to the fair use of copyrighted materials.  We frequently update the site, so we encourage even those of you who may already be familiar with it to stop by and check it out!

Posted in: Laws, Legal Research