The Laboratorium
January 2005

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Copyright as Slavery

Mark Rose, in Authors and Owners (Harvard University Press, 1993), quotes from a 1586 French petition on behalf of an author’s monopoly:

In the same way, the author of a book is wholly its master, and as such he can freely do with it what he wills; even keep it permanently under his private control as he might a slave; or emancipate it by granting it common freedom; giving that freedom either purely and simply, without holding anything back, or else imposing some limits, by a kind of right of patronage, so that no one but he will have the right to print it after a certain time.

You’re Hired

After two weeks of worry about my future employment, I’m happy to say that I’ve landed on my feet. Next year, I’ll be clerking for Judge Barry, also on the federal Third Circuit in Newark. The net result of this whole episode is that my job for next year has moved across the street and up a floor. The delighted-to-work-for and respected-judicial-presence things have stayed basically the same.

The Neighbors Have Spoken

Churches have been found to have negative effects up to 850 feet away.

Robert C. Ellickson & Vicki L. Been, Land Use Controls (3rd ed., forthcoming 2005)

49 N.Y.L.S. L. Rev. 147

After two and a half years of work, my first-ever law review publication has seen the light of day. I haven’t yet gotten a physical copy, but Virtual Worlds as Comparative Law, 49 N.Y.L.S. L. Rev. 147 (2004), available at, is now showing up in Lexis and Westlaw and at the New York Law School Law Review’s site.

Warning: not of interest to the general reader. This is a technical piece surveying how massively multiplayer online games contain recognizable law. If that sounds boring, then you can skip it. But if that sounds interesting, then please dive in.


Thanks to today’s events, the American people and I are working at cross purposes: my loss is the nation’s gain.

In particular, Michael Chertoff is the new nominee to be Secretary of Homeland Security. Currently, Chertoff is serving as a federal appellate judge—and I had agreed to work as one of his law clerks next year. If, as seems likely, he’s confirmed, I’ll be out of a job.

I met a fair number of judges during the mad rush that is the clerkship application season. Even among such brainy company, Chertoff stood out. The man is smart, articulate, and thoughtful—and although he downplayed his knowledge of technology law, we had an interesting conversation about online issues. I was impressed.

Regular Lab readers know I don’t tend to think highly of the intelligence or the integrity of the George III regime, but Chertoff is the real deal. Everyone I hear from who was at Justice during his time there sings his praises, be they lefty or righty. I’d been looking forward greatly to working for him.

Thus I don’t know what I’ll be doing professionally in the fall, but I do know I’ll be sleeping easier at night.

(And no, he doesn’t look like Mr. Burns. A skull, perhaps, but Mr. Burns, no.)

Through the Looking Glass

Meanwhile, in a village near the northern city of Mosul, where the U.S. military reported that it had mistakenly dropped a 500-pound bomb on the wrong target Saturday, residents said the Americans actually hit the correct house, killing an insurgent who they said had killed Iraqi security forces.

— “After Threats, Iraqi Electoral Board Resigns”. Washington Post

Earth To

QUOTE FOR THE DAY I: “I’d much rather be doing this than figthing a war,” - helicopter pilot Lt. Cmdr. William Whitsitt, helping the survivors of the south Asian tsunami. Earth to Whitsitt: you’re a soldier.

Andrew Sullivan

Earth to Andrew Sullivan: life is better than death.