Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Legal Issues with Pokemon Go

Pokémon GO is an augmented reality video game that lets players catch digital monsters that appear on an in-game map of the surrounding area. You might have heard about this recent unpublished study, which found that drivers playing the game were responsible for a dramatic increase in automobile accidents. This is just one example of the real-word consequences surrounding the game. While the game is not the cultural phenomenon that it was when it came out in July 2016, it is still one of the top grossing according to Google Play and sites like App Annie. The game's popularity and unique connection between game play and a player's surroundings have led to a number of legal issues, which this post will briefly discuss.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Native American Heritage Month

How are you marking Native American Heritage Month this November? This site brings together material from the Library of Congress, National Archives and Records Administration, National Endowment for the Humanities, National Gallery of Art, National Park Service, Smithsonian Institution and United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.

The Law Library of Congress blog traces Native American Heritage Month's history—via public laws and presidential proclamations—from American Indian Week in 1986 to its current name (1995). For statement from our executives, see Governor Inslee's proclamation and President Trump's proclamation.

We have recently updated our Indian & Tribal Law research guide, listing online and print resources for researching all aspects of federal Indian law and the law created by tribal governments.

Friday, November 17, 2017

Upcoming Library Holiday Hours

The Reference Office is closed all day on Wednesday, November 22. The law library will be open until 3:00 PM that day.

The library will then be closed to the public from 3:00 PM on Wednesday until 8:00 AM on Monday, November 27. You can find all of our current hours on our Hours page.

We hope you have a pleasant and restful Thanksgiving break!

Monday, November 6, 2017

Happy Birthday to John Philip Sousa

John Philip Sousa was an internationally famous composer and conductor. He also was a copyright activist and was one of the founding members of ASCAP, along with Irving Berlin, James Weldon Johnson, and Victor Herbert. In honor of his birthday today, here's a telegram he sent:


The  Chairman and Members of Congress, Committee on Patents, Washington, D.C.:

Earnestly request that the American composer receives full and adequate protection for the product of his brain; any legislation that does not give him absolute control of that he creates is a return to the usurpation of might and a check on the intellectual development of our country.


That telegram is just one small portion of the six-volume Legislative History of the 1909 Copyright Act (1976), available in HeinOnline's Intellectual Property Law Collection.

By the way, the reason we Sousa fans can sing "Happy Birthday" to JPS today (his 163nd birthday) is that a court ruled that the tune was in the public domain. See Ben Sisario, Details of 'Happy Birthday' Copyright Settlement Revealed, N.Y. Times, Feb. 9, 2016. There's a limit to the protection composers receive for the products of their brains.

black & white photo of Sousa next to cartoon of cake with candles

Graphic: photo of John Philip Sousa (circa 1900) from Library of Congress, with a little embellishment.