Friday, April 03, 2009

SSRN: Social Science Research Network

SSRN [Social Science Research Network] at makes a number of papers published in U.S. journals available for download. This veritable online resource for legal and social research requires a login to view abstracts and download papers, but registration is free. I wonder when India would have a comparable service for articles published in Indian journals. A few sample abstracts from SSRN:

[1] Jason Mazzone (Brooklyn Law School), Copyfraud,
Copyfraud is everywhere. False copyright notices appear on modern reprints of Shakespeare's plays, Beethoven's piano scores, greeting card versions of Monet's Water Lilies, and even the U.S. Constitution. Archives claim blanket copyright in everything in their collections. Vendors of microfilmed versions of historical newspapers assert copyright ownership. These false copyright claims, which are often accompanied by threatened litigation for reproducing a work without the owner's permission, result in users seeking licenses and paying fees to reproduce works that are free for everyone to use.

Copyright law itself creates strong incentives for copyfraud. The Copyright Act provides for no civil penalty for falsely claiming ownership of public domain materials. There is also no remedy under the Act for individuals who wrongly refrain from legal copying or who make payment for permission to copy something they are in fact entitled to use for free. While falsely claiming copyright is technically a criminal offense under the Act, prosecutions are extremely rare. These circumstances have produced fraud on an untold scale, with millions of works in the public domain deemed copyrighted, and countless dollars paid out every year in licensing fees to make copies that could be made for free. Copyfraud stifles valid forms of reproduction and undermines free speech.

Congress should amend the Copyright Act to allow private parties to bring civil causes of action for false copyright claims. Courts should extend the availability of the copyright misuse defense to prevent copyright owners from enforcing an otherwise valid copyright if they have engaged in past copyfraud. In addition, Congress should further protect the public domain by creating a national registry listing public domain works and a symbol to designate those works. Failing a congressional response, there may exist remedies under state law and through the efforts of private parties to achieve these ends.

[2] Laurence H. Tribe (Harvard Law School), The Unbearable Wrongness of Bush v. Gore,
Bush v. Gore presented a question that most likely never should have been decided by a federal court. Properly applied, justiciability is inextricably linked both with the institutional context in which judicial intervention is sought (including the remedial character such intervention would have to take) and with the substantive constitutional principles that undergird the allegedly "political" question at issue. Unless it is demonstrable that the political and administrative process itself is so structured that the political branches cannot be trusted to abide by constitutional norms preventing an impermissible form of exclusion or dilution of an identifiable individual's or group's rights of political participation without adequate opportunity for timely correction within the process itself, the case for judicial intervention that pretermits the political process is extremely weak.

There is thus a strong connection between the veritable culture shock set off by the Supreme Court's intervention in the presidential election of 2000 and the proper characterization of the Court's action as a violation of the implicit "political process" doctrine that has governed our national life without much interruption from the outset. The structure of the Florida Supreme Court's recount order of December 8, including the role it assigned to the state court judge in addressing alleged inequalities, left open numerous avenues for correcting procedural inequities in ballot counting. And the alleged inequities were so complicated and so attenuated that to argue that the U.S. Supreme Court had before it a completed constitutional harm notwithstanding what the Florida courts and legislature, followed by Congress, might have done, seems bizarre.

[3] Tim Oreilly (O'Reilly Media), What is Web 2.0: Design Patterns and Business Models for the Next Generation of Software, Communications & Strategies, No. 1, p. 17, First Quarter 2007, (2007)
This paper was the first initiative to try to define Web 2.0 and understand its implications for the next generation of software, looking at both design patterns and business modes. Web 2.0 is the network as platform, spanning all connected devices; Web 2.0 applications are those that make the most of the intrinsic advantages of that platform: delivering software as a continually-updated service that gets better the more people use it, consuming and remixing data from multiple sources, including individual users, while providing their own data and services in a form that allows remixing by others, creating network effects through an architecture of participation, and going beyond the page metaphor of Web 1.0 to deliver rich user experiences.

[4]Amir Khandani, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), and Andrew W. Lo, MIT Sloan School of Management; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER), What Happened to the Quants in August 2007?,
During the week of August 6, 2007, a number of quantitative long/short equity hedge funds experienced unprecedented losses. Based on TASS hedge-fund data and simulations of a specific long/short equity strategy, we hypothesize that the losses were initiated by the rapid unwind of one or more sizable quantitative equity market-neutral portfolios. Given the speed and price impact with which this occurred, it was likely the result of a forced liquidation by a multi-strategy fund or proprietary-trading desk, possibly due to a margin call or a risk reduction. These initial losses then put pressure on a broader set of long/short and long-only equity portfolios, causing further losses by triggering stop/loss and de-leveraging policies. A significant rebound of these strategies occurred on August 10th, which is also consistent with the unwind hypothesis. This dislocation was apparently caused by forces outside the long/short equity sector - in a completely unrelated set of markets and instruments - suggesting that systemic risk in the hedge-fund industry may have increased in recent years.

[5]Allen Rostron and Nancy Levit (University of Missouri at Kansas City (UMKC) - School of Law), Information for Submitting Articles to Law Reviews & Journals,

This document contains information about submitting articles to law reviews and journals, including the methods for submitting an article, any special formatting requirements, how to contact them to request an expedited review, and how to contact them to withdraw an article from consideration. It covers about 188 law reviews. The document was fully updated on June 8, 2008 and was revised on March 5, 2009.