: The Blawgraphy
Life of a Law Student, University of Houston Law Center

Please note: I'm no longer updating this particular blog, but keep it around for archival purposes. Visit me at the current blog at

James Boyle on The Public Domain: enclosing the commons of the mind

Watch the video of Boyle’s presentation above, stream the MP3 below or download the audio file or video file.

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

James Boyle is professor of law and co-founder of the Centre for the Study of the Public Domain at Duke University and author of The Public Domain: enclosing the commons of the mind.

In his new book The Public Domain, Professor James Boyle describes how our culture, science and economic welfare all depend on the delicate balance between those ideas that are controlled and those that are free, between intellectual property and the public domain —the realm of material that everyone is free to use and share without permission or fee

Intellectual property laws have a significant impact on many important areas of human endeavour, including scientific innovation, digital creativity, cultural access and free speech. And so Boyle argues that, just as every informed citizen needs to know at least something about the environment or civil rights, every citizen in the information age should also have an understanding of intellectual property law.

Is the public domain as vital to knowledge, innovation and culture as the realm of material protected by intellectual property rights? James Boyle thinks so and visits the RSA to call for a new movement to preserve it. If we continue to enclose the “commons of the mind”, Boyle argues, we will all be the poorer. (Mar 10, 2009 at the RSA)

End Discrimination Against Wisconsin Law Students, Let the Take the Bar

For years, law students at Marquette and the University of Wisconsin schools of law have suffered a singular indignity. Wisconsin has been alone in subjecting the students from its two law schools to an archaic practice known as the Diploma Privilege, long ago abolished in other, more progressive jurisdictions. So firmly ingrained is the practice in the customs and mindset of the Wisconsin bar that even its victims attempt to defend it. Beverly Moran, The Wisconsin Diploma Privilege: Try It, You’ll Like It, 2000 Wis. L. Rev. 645 (2000).

The insidious operation of the diploma privilege is twofold. First, while not explicitly excluding Wisconsin law students from taking the bar, the Diploma Privilege substantially deprives them of that opportunity by admitting them to practice without it. Second, any Wisconsin graduate who dares to sit for the bar having graduated from those schools is swiftly subjected to shame and ridicule by his peers. Such an attorney is marked with a badge of inferiority, as it is assumed that while smart enough to pass the Wisconsin bar, the attorney was not smart enough to realize he or she didn’t have to take it in the first place.

Fortunately for the downtrodden and oppressed law students of Wisconsin, a young civil rights attorney has agreed to take their case, pro bono. While, as an out of state law student, Christopher Wiesmueller is a member of the privileged class of the Waukesha bar that was actually encouraged to take the bar, his innate sense of moral justice and absolute equality of law students eventually overcame his inherited prejudices. He filed suit on behalf of the disenfranchised who for so long had passed up the BarBri fliers as an unattainable pipe dream. Undaunted by dismissal at the trial level, Wiesmueller recently appeared before the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals, arguing that the rule violates the Constitution’s dormant commerce clause.

Listen to an mp3 of the oral argument below:

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Should he succeed, Wiesmueller’s name will no doubt be shouted from the rooftops in Milwaukee and Madison.

Houston Tonight: Legal and Business Considerations for Bootstrapping a Start-up

One great idea, the Caroline Collective, hosts another great idea tonight – Werkadoo Workshop: “Legal and Business Considerations for Bootstrapping a Start-up” with presentation by Nhan H Nguyen:

On the second and fourth Wednesdays of each month, Werkadoo presents free business classes at the Caroline Collective.

This Wednesday, April 8, they’ve invited Nhan Nguyen to speak about “Legal and Business Considerations for Bootstrapping a Start-up.”

The class begins at 6pm — hope to see you here!

Where? 4820 Caroline Street, Houston, TX 77004

Law Student Slap Down at the People’s Court

2L law student gets slapped down after disrespecting Judge Marilyn Milian in the The People’s Court. Via VC.

Read the rest of this entry »

Blawgraphy: Subscribe by Email

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner