April 2, 2014

Sovern Article Published in the Journal of Consumer Affairs

The leading peer-reviewed journal on consumer affairs, the Journal of Consumer Affairs, has published Professor Jeff Sovern’s article, Fixing Consumer Protection Laws So Borrowers Understand Their Payment Obligations, in a special issue titled The New Era in Consumer Protection Regulation.  Here is the abstract:

 The millions of consumers who defaulted on their mortgages in recent years should all have received disclosures mandated by the federal Truth in Lending Act (“TILA”), which requires that lenders inform borrowers of certain loan terms including monthly payments required. Yet many of those borrowers seem not to have understood what their payment obligations were. In fact, TILA, which was intended to enable consumers to borrow wisely, not only failed the subprime borrowers in that goal, but was interpreted to require lenders to provide misleading disclosures that might have persuaded borrowers that their loans were more affordable than they would turn out to be. This article attempts to substantiate the claim that the laws in place during the years in which the subprime loan buildup occurred did not provide the aid consumers needed in making borrowing decisions, and explores strategies to improve the disclosure environment.

jeff sovern

April 1, 2014

Chiu Presents New Article on Social Media, the Disclosure of Personal Information and Protecting Women

On Friday, March 28, Professor Elaine Chiu participated as a panelist in the Social Media & Social Justice Symposium hosted by Pace Law Review at the New York State Judicial Institute in White Plains, New York.  Her paper entitled, Personal Information Involuntarily Made Public: Protecting Women with Existing Practices, was selected to be part of a panel that discussed the need for greater government intervention in regulating and supplementing social media.  Professor Chiu presented on her proposal to create a domestic violence database that would identify serial batterers to the public.  This proposal was the subject of her article entitled, That Guy’s A Batterer: A Scarlet Letter Approach to Domestic Violence in the Information Age, that was published in the Family Law Quarterly.   In this presentation, Professor Chiu emphasized the importance of such information-sharing by the government in light of the high numbers of people using social media to form romantic relationships and the lack of verification of the voluntary information shared in these media.  Professor Chiu also noted that the information that people tend to disclose in social media is incomplete and often misleading and that there may be valuable lessons to be drawn from the well-established system of individual credit histories we use to protect lenders and our credit markets.   Her new paper will be published in the summer issue of the Pace Law Review.

elaine chiu

April 1, 2014

Subotnik Presents at Current Issues in Copyright Colloquium

Today, Tuesday, April 1, Professor Eva Subotnik will be the featured speaker at Columbia Law School’s Current Issues in Copyright colloquium, focusing on the topic of fair use.  Professor Subotnik will be presenting views drawn from her forthcoming article Intent in Fair Use.  An abstract for the article follows:

This Article explores the role of intent in the context of fair use.  Specifically, it examines whether a claim of fair use of a copyrighted work should be assessed solely from an “objectively reasonable” vantage point or should, additionally, allow for evidence from the subjective perspective of the user.  Courts and scholars have largely sided with the former view but have failed to explain fully why this should be the case or whether there might be countervailing benefits to considering evidence of subjective intent.  Crucially overlooked is the possibility that taking the user’s perspective into account would promote copyright’s utilitarian values by stimulating socially beneficial uses that would not otherwise occur.  In addition, formal recognition of the role intent plays in fair use would bring needed transparency to judicial practices in this area.  This Article first develops a framework for evaluating the degree to which courts, parties, and scholars have deemed conscious compliance with fair use principles relevant to the fair use analysis.  It then argues for a limited role for evidence of subjective intent, proposing criteria for when such evidence should, and should not, be weighed in the fair use calculus.

Eva Subotnik

Eva Subotnik

March 31, 2014

Warner to Serve as Delegate of the International Insolvency Institute to the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law

Professor Ray Warner will serve as a delegate of the International Insolvency Institute to the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) Working Group VI during its meeting at the UN this week.  Working Group VI is preparing a model law of secured transactions as part of UNCITRAL’s work to harmonize and unify the law of international trade.  Among other courses, Professor Warner teaches Secured Transactions and International Business Transactions at the law school.

ray

March 29, 2014

Barrett Publishes TIME Online Essay on Lawrence E. Walsh (1912-2014)

Professor John Q. Barrett has published an essay on TIME online, “Lawrence Walsh, Iran-Contra Counsel, Played It Straight.”  From 1988-1993, Professor Barrett worked for Judge Walsh as an associate counsel on the Iran/Contra investigations and prosecutions.

John Q. Barrett

John Q. Barrett

March 27, 2014

Krishnakumar on Statutory Interpretation Questions from the Hobby Lobby Argument

Professor Anita Krishnakumar responded to Will Baude’s Washington Post piece on whether legislation passed by unanimous vote should be invalidated or narrowly construed in a post on Rick Hasen’s electionlawblog.   The issue arose out of the Hobby Lobby case that was argued before the Supreme Court on Tuesday.  Professor Krisknakumar notes,  “Different legislators vote for (or against) a statute for many different reasons, and their final vote tells us nothing about those reasons.”  See the full post here.

anita

 

 

March 26, 2014

Subotnik to Present Papers at Pace Law School and Drake Law School

Professor Eva Subotnik will be presenting two papers this week.  Today, she will be presenting her paper Intent in Fair Use at the Pace Law School Faculty Colloquium.  On Friday, she will be presenting a new work-in-progress, Fiduciary Duties and the Stewardship of Intellectual Property, at the 2014 IP Scholars Roundtable at Drake Law School.  Abstracts for the two articles follow:
 
Intent in Fair Use
This Article explores the role of intent in the context of fair use.  Specifically, it examines whether a claim of fair use of a copyrighted work should be assessed solely from an “objectively reasonable” vantage point or should, additionally, allow for evidence from the subjective perspective of the user.  Courts and scholars have largely sided with the former view but have failed to explain fully why this should be the case or whether there might be countervailing benefits to considering evidence of subjective intent.  Crucially overlooked is the possibility that taking the user’s perspective into account would promote copyright’s utilitarian values by stimulating socially beneficial uses that would not otherwise occur.  In addition, formal recognition of the role intent plays in fair use would bring needed transparency to judicial practices in this area.  This Article first develops a framework for evaluating the degree to which courts, parties, and scholars have deemed conscious compliance with fair use principles relevant to the fair use analysis.  It then argues for a limited role for evidence of subjective intent, proposing criteria for when such evidence should, and should not, be weighed in the fair use calculus.
 
Fiduciary Duties and the Stewardship of Intellectual Property
Intellectual property laws are primarily justified on the grounds of spurring authorship and inventorship.  But, particularly in the case of copyright law, with its lengthy term of protection as well as the possibility of termination rights, works of authorship that are in fact produced will be tended to and exploited by others long after the creator’s death but before they enter the public domain.  This Article will explore several threads that are raised by the prospect of downstream stewardship of IP: what is the right legal prism through which to understand the nature of later-in-time decision-making that occurs with respect to the exploitation of a work?  For example, should these stewards in some sense be conceived of as authors themselves by virtue of the control they exert over these works?  Does their status depend on whether they are exercising rights in an individual role (say, as a family member) or in a fiduciary capacity (say, as a trustee)?  This Article will examine the nature of downstream control exerted in the context of copyright law, making applicable comparisons to the laws governing patents and rights of publicity, in an attempt to offer a coherent theory of the nature and legal consequences of downstream control of intellectual property. 
Eva Subotnik

Eva Subotnik

March 20, 2014

Sovern Co-Authors Op-Ed on The Hill and is Quoted in Fox Business News Story

Professor Jeff Sovern co-authored an op-ed, Consumer Contracts Should Not Be Secrets, for The Hill’s Congress Blog of the Capitol Hill newspaper with Theresa Amato, executive director of Citizen Works.  The op-ed describes the authors’ quest to determine credit card terms and calls for more transparency of credit card terms.  Sovern and Amato explain:

[W]hen the Illinois legislature considered a bill in 2012 that would require standard form contract terms to be available to consumers on the web, it ran into stiff opposition and the bill died.  The Illinois Retail Merchants Association argued that posting contracts would enable competitors to see them.  Of course, those same competitors should be able to obtain the contracts the way any consumer would now—by agreeing to them.

While many consumers may have little interest in reading contract terms, consumers who do want to know what they are agreeing to – and in many cases the rights they are giving away to their potential detriment — should have the ability to find out before accepting the terms.  Consumer contracts should not be secrets.  Nor should it take hours, much less lawyers, to find them. It should require a mouse click, not a quest.

Professor Sovern was also quoted in a Fox Business News article, Medical Card Pays for Endorsements.  The article notes that the CareCredit medical card, which pays for most endorsements of  its credit card and has been fined by regulators for deceptive marketing, is supported by over 100 professional health care groups, including the American Dental Association.  Professor Sovern commented that “[the paid endorsements are] troubling because medical professionals tend to build up trust.  Patients might trust their provider to steer them into the best deal, without knowing that a paid endorsement influenced the provider’s choice.”

jeff sovern

March 17, 2014

Salomone at the Council for European Studies’ International Conference of Europeanists

On Friday, March 14th, Rosemary Salomone, the Kenneth Wang Professor of Law, served as discussant on two panels at the Council for European Studies’ International Conference of Europeanists in Washington, D.C.  The first was a panel of paper presentations on the subject of “Educating Migrants: Money, Institutions, and Impact.”  The second was a discussion on “immigrants and emigrants” from Sabina Donati’s book, “A Political History of National Citizenship and Identity in Italy: 1861-1950″ (Stanford University Press, 2013).

Rosemary Salomone

Rosemary Salomone

March 15, 2014

Wade on Public Distrust of Big Business

Dean Harold F. McNiece Professor of Law Cheryl L. Wade posted ‘Today’s Headlines: The Public Does Not Trust Big Business” on the Corporate Justice Blog on March 14th, 2014.  Professor Wade has been a regular contributor to the blog since 2010. In this most recent piece, she writes

More than ten years after the massive fraud that brought down companies like Enron, WorldCom, Adelphia, and Tyco, badly governed and socially irresponsible companies continue to harm workers, consumers and communities.  This is true even after the passage of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002, and the 2010 Dodd-Frank Act.  In Enron’s aftermath, there was a great deal of discussion about whether the company was an outlier.  Observers tossed around the famously overused bad-apples metaphor.  Enron, WorldCom, Adelphia, Tyco, etc., were just a few bad apples, the argument went.  Yet, in 2014, we continue to grapple with what seems to be inadequate governance and deplorable social irresponsibility that too frequently occurs.

Wade_lores_web

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 73 other followers

%d bloggers like this: