Net neutrality has been back in the news in a big way following the D.C. Circuit Court’s decision in Verizon v. F.C.C.  to strike down many key provisions of the agency’s open-internet rules.  The decision was a monumental one, but far from then end of the debate with President Obama indicating Friday that he expects the FCC to revisit the issue in some fashion. The immediate fallout from the decision and what happens next remain to be seen, but in the meantime here’s a few links from around the web covering the issue from a variety of perspectives.

“Disruptions: Paying to Travel in the Internet’s Fast Lanes” – Nick Bilton- New York Times

“A FEMA-level fail’: The Law Professor who Coined ‘Net Neutrality’ Lashes Out at the FCC’s Legal Strategy” – Brian Fung – Washington Post

“Verizon’s Net Neutrality Victory Means More Fighting to Come – Joshua Brustein” – Bloomberg Businessweek

“Calm Down. The Courts Didn’t Just End the Open Internet.” – Ezra Klein – Washington Post 

“Netflix Neutrality: Court Ruling Won’t Boost Your Netflix Bill. Yet.” – Joan E. Solsman- CNET

The Cornell E-Rulemaking Initiative (CeRI) has been exploring technological innovation as a supplement to formal Notice and Comment rulemaking provided by the Federal Register and the Code of Federal Regulations.  Attorneys and professional associations frequently submit lengthy comments regarding important proposed rules but advocates for open government worry that participation by affected individuals is lacking.

A recent CeRI article by Cynthia R. Farina, Dmitry Epstein, Josiah Heidt, and Mary J. Newhart summarizes some of the CeRI findings: “Regulation Room: Getting ‘More, Better’ Civic Participation in Complex Government Policymaking.” CeRi’s ‘Regulation Room’ supported online participation for 5 proposed federal rules & then evaluated the impact in their recent paper.  The rules governed texting while driving, Electronic Onboard Recorders in trucks, airline passenger rights, airline kiosk and website accessibility, and consumer protections for home financing.  In addition to providing an opportunity to comment on particular sections of the proposals, CeRi members advertised the regulations on social media and then moderated comments by asking for more detailed information. The paper analyzed the effectiveness of the Regulation Room initiative by looking at the summary of the comments in the final rules as well as the type of comments forwarded to the agency.  Without the Regulation Room support, there is a participation literacy barrier: many members of the public don’t have the ability or inclination to devote a significant amount of time reading through lengthy proposed regulations, even if the proposal has a direct impact.

For more on the latest scholarly articles from CeRI and the rest of the law school faculty visit the repository at Scholarship@Cornell Law.

The Law Library is pleased to announce that it now has four additional laptops (total of six) available for students, faculty and staff to borrow.

All laptops are equipped with wireless internet access and the full Microsoft Office Suite.  Laptops may be checked out for 24 hours.

The Law Library’s latest display highlights the laws and perspectives driving the debate over the balance of privacy and security in the era of Big Data.

The controversy surrounding the National Security Agency’s surveillance programs revealed this summer have sharpened the focus on issues regarding cybersecurity and its impact on civil liberties. The library’s display presents these topics in the context of scholarly articles and books with a variety of perspectives while also highlighting various laws and Congressional hearings.

privacy display

New Display on Privacy and Surveillance

For those interested in the topic, be sure to also check out content from Harvard Law Review’s 2012 symposium Privacy and Technology featuring papers and video presentations.Additionally, the Senate Judiciary Committee’s site has a trove of witness testimony plus a webcast recording from a July 2013 hearing on oversight of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) surveillance program. For the most recent information regarding privacy and surveillance Cornell faculty and students can also access Bloomberg BNA’s Privacy Law Watch and Privacy Law & Security Report for daily and weekly updates on all things privacy law.

If you are on campus don’t miss the opportunity to attend The University Computer Policy and Law Program’s (UCPL) presentation Privacy and Cybersecurity taking place Wednesday, September 18, 1:30-3pm in the Statler Hall Amphitheatre. The featured speaker will be Lisa J. Sotto, managing partner of Hunton & Williams’ New York office and head of the firm’s top-ranked Privacy and Data Security practice.

Myron Taylor Hall, home of Cornell Law School, under construction

In the past, many of you have told us how much you like the Legal Research Engine.  For those of you not familiar with the Research Engine, it searches a librarian-curated selection of online legal research guides from many different sources to help users easily find the guide covering their topic of interest.

We really appreciate everyone’s compliments on, and use of, the Research Engine.  We have had to take it down, however, to perform maintenance and update content.  It should be running again this fall with an improved search engine experience.  An announcement will appear here as soon as it’s up to snuff and ready to use.

Fall break is coming soon to Cornell Law School.  If you’re traveling somewhere, have you thought about what you’ll read on the plane or listen to in the car?  Cornell Law Library offers downloadable e-books and audiobooks for check-out via OverDrive to its students, faculty, and staff.

Some of the currently available audiobooks include An Edible History of Humanity by Tom Standage, discussing food’s influence over the course of history, and  the comic novel Company, by Max Barry.  In e-books we have fiction, including the thrillers 12.21 by Dustin Thomason and Headhunters by Norwegian author Jo Nesbo, among others, as well as nonfiction such as Poor Economics: A Radical Rethinking of the Way to Fight Global Poverty by Abhijit Banerjee and Esther Duflo (“vital reading for anyone serious about confronting poverty”–Timothy Ogden, Stanford Social Innovation Review).

Don’t see the title you want? Make a suggestion!  Contact Nina Scholtz or Dan Blackaby with your suggestions, comments, and questions.

The Trial Pamphlets Collection is an exciting digitization project undertaken by the law library with funding of $155,700 from the  Save America’s Treasures Grant Program.  The digitized collection, drawn from our Special Collections, consists of pamphlets capturing a formative period in American history ranging in date from the late 1600s to the late 1800s.  The pamphlets contained contemporary accounts of trials that involved prominent citizens or that dealt with especially controversial or lurid topics.  We are indebted to  Law Library Associate Director for Special Collections and Administrative Services Thomas Mills and the entire project staff  for their remarkable contributions in making this project a reality.  Additional content will be added in the upcoming months.

To visit the Trial Pamphlets Collection, go to:


Students, please be aware that the CALI website will be down for scheduled maintenance on Sunday, September 2 from 8:00 am to Noon, Eastern Time.  This maintenance will affect all components of the site.  After 12, everything will return to full operation.

Today only, the rulebook™ app is offering free downloads of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, Criminal Procedure, Evidence, Appellate Procedure and Bankruptcy Procedure and the U.S. Supreme Court Rules for your iPhone or iPad.  Each set of rules normally costs $1.99.  The app itself is free — just install the app and then download the rules.  The app allows searching, highlighting, annotating, and bookmarking, and you can also keep multiple rules open at the same time.

Rulebook™ is also be the only place you can download the Bluebook to your iOS device.  It’s $39.99 via the free app.

If you decide to use rulebook™, be sure to let the library know what you think of its interface and functionality.  Thanks!

The Cornell University pilot online participation initiative Regulation RoomRegulation Room announced this morning it has opened a space for public comment on the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau‘s proposed rules (regulations) about new consumer mortgage protections.  These proposals are prompted by problems revealed during the mortgage crisis:

“The CFPB’s rules would help ensure that mortgage companies communicate effectively with borrowers, keep good account records, and avoid certain practices that harm consumers. The proposed rules focus on ensuring that all consumers receive accurate and timely information about the status of their home mortgages, and that borrowers who are in trouble are told about their options for receiving help.”

If you’re not yet familiar with Regulation Room, it’s designed and operated by the Cornell eRulemaking Initiative (CeRI) and hosted by the Legal Information Institute (LII).  CeRI experiments with how Web 2.0 outreach and participation technologies can expand the kinds of voices that take part in federal agency policy-making.  Regulation Room visitors will find the 800+ pages of CFPB explanation organized and condensed into 10 “issues posts,” written in plain language with links to a glossary and primary documents.  The unique targeted commenting function allows users to link their comments to specific topics, and to have threaded discussion with others.  Student moderators, trained in group facilitation techniques, mentor effective commenting and stimulate discussion.  Regulation Room will send a detailed summary of the comments to CFPB.  Particular target audiences for this discussion are individual consumers and small community banks and credit unions.

To learn more about Regulation Room and CeRI, read Cornell University Law School‘s Spotlight and Regulation Room’s About.

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