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Blog Posts by Subject: Law

Legal Resources at NYPL and Elsewhere in New York City

Without a doubt, the best location in the New York Public Library to conduct legal research about legal issues that arise in either the state or the city of New York is the Science Industry and Business Library. SIBL has a selective law library that contains such essential New York legal research tools as McKinney’s Consolidated Statutes of New York (annotated with New York and federal cases and state agencies that cite the statutes) and these statutes

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Freedom of Information Day 2012 at SIBL — Wrap-Up

Thursday, March 15 was Freedom of Information Day here at SIBL. I would like to offer a big round of thanks (I'd add a round of applause, but don't have the audio file) to our speaker this year, Robert Weissman, president of the advocacy organization Public Citizen. His informative and inspiring presentation was very much appreciated!

With Weissman's permission, I have attached a copy of his PowerPoint slides (with some changes made to pages containing 

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Gilbert King's "Devil in the Grove": Thurgood Marshall and A Cry of Rape

Arguably the most important American lawyer of the 20th century, Thurgood Marshall was on the verge of bringing the landmark suit Brown versus Board of Education when he became embroiled in an explosive and deadly case that threatened to change the course of the civil rights movement and cost him his life. Author Gilbert King's new book Devil in the Grove, published later this month by HarperCollins, is the definitive biography 

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I've Got a Secret: The Bureaucrat's Delight

I've Got a Secret. From a simpler time, it's a TV show title — one that, along with To Tell the Truth, becomes a whole lot darker in meaning in many a modern context. The simple, innocent deceptions that amused TV audiences in days of yore have given way to glaring problems in the public forum where stealth can disarm legitimate opposition and carry off the prize.

One reason we observe Freedom of Information (FOI) Day (observed at SIBL on March 15, 2012) is to give ourselves a 

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Intellectual Property Day at SIBL, November 2011 — Wrap-Up

The Hat - Patents and TrademarksThe talent pool in patents and trademarks at SIBL is deep — which means we're almost always ready to answer IP questions on the spot when they come up. But I've been lucky and have had the opportunity to wear the patent and trademark hat — yes, there is one, it won first place in a contest a few years ago! And among the privileges this brings is the opportunity to invite U.S. Patent and Trademark Office representatives to come to SIBL every couple of years for public and staff 

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Hey Dude! Where's My Company? Stocks from Nonexistent Businesses

An ancient stock certificate found in a drawer after someone dies; selling shares that grandma gave us a long time ago; investment paperwork lost in a move. The stories all seem different, but in each case the question is the same — what has happened to a company since these shares of stock were purchased?

Where can we find the sad stories of the death of companies? Perhaps a company has gone into bankruptcy, succumbed to a hostile takeover, been sold to the highest bidder, changed its ticker symbol, its 

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The Trials and Tribulations of Grand Jury Service

I served on the grand jury of the Bronx County Court House from mid-September to mid-October this year. I have always wanted to serve on the jury, so I was thrilled to do so. I was questioned for possible juror services for a trial jury in Albany, NY in 2002, but I was in library school at the time, so I was glad that I was 

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Trademark — Legal Care for Your Business and Product Name

November 8 is fast approaching, and with it the Intellectual Property day at SIBL, featuring representatives from the United States Patent and Trademark Office. This seems like a good opportunity to recommend one of the Library's best sources for information about trademarks, Stephen Elias and Richard Stim's Nolo book Trademark — Legal Care for Your Business and Product Name.

Highly 

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Making Research Less Taxing — A New Resource at SIBL

In polite conversation, it is unusual for people to talk about taxes. In other situations, they may be mentioned or discussed. And as we know, they are frequently a topic for political rants and news.

The majority of people only have to deal with taxes about once a year, when the filing and payment (or refund) season for income tax comes around. Folks who choose to do their tax filing themselves may visit the Library to borrow or consult resources like The Ernst & Young Tax Guide or

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NY Bill Jackets — Legislation Uncloaked

No, no, no ... you can't try them on for size! They're not that kind of jacket — they're not clothing at all. They are, however, the most frequently asked for resource for New York State legislative history here at SIBL.

The materials that comprise the histories of bills and laws, at the state and U.S. Federal levels, are certainly items of interest to historians and biographers. They also have an entire other life as ammunition for lawyers arguing about "statutory interpretation." The idea here is that the "intent" of the folks who wrote, 

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Haiti's Patent Law of 1826 ...or? Help Solve the Mystery

Frederic loves a paradox. Me, I like to read detective and suspense fiction every once in a while, but abhor a real mystery — at least one that isn't easy for me to solve. With this one I've hit a dead end and can't think of a better way to find someone to carry this forward than to post it here. This document is in one of the Patent Pamphlet Volumes in SIBL's collection. Its title says: Republique D'Hayti : Loi Sur les Patentes. But I don't believe it's about patents (patents for inventions, at any rate). Can anyone tell me what this document is?

Rather 

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Resources for Affordable Housing in NYC

This post offers information about affordable, subsidized and supportive housing programs in New York City.

The various federal, state and local rules and departments governing non-market housing in New York City can be a difficult maze to navigate: there are some support and advocacy organizations at the bottom of the page that may be able to help you chart your path through the NYC housing universe. Remember you can also visit the information desk at your local library branch for help looking for housing information or 

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The Final Factors: Your IP Protection Choices

So you have your menu—and now need to choose which form of IP protection to use for your bottle or other idea. Of course if you have all the time and money in the world, maybe you can do it all. But since the question really is about business, it's important to consider what works for you before starting the final processes to protect your IP.

You're a business-person, and to sleep easier know you must choose wisely. What will it cost? How long will it take to get? How long will it 

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Trailblazers: High-Achieving Women 'Play it Forward'

Women’s History Month brings inspiring events and March 2011 has proven no exception. Earlier this month, the New York County Lawyers Association and the Financial Women’s Association co-sponsored a Trailblazers Celebration to spotlight women who have been among the first in private or government practice to achieve senior level executive positions.

The four panelists were all attorneys, three in the 

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Wrap-Up - Freedom of Information Day at SIBL 2011

Many thanks to David Barstow for his presentation here at SIBL on March 16th for our celebration of Freedom of Information Day. As a kind of wrap-up for this year's event I wanted to offer, especially for those who were not able to attend, highlights of his lecture.

The premise of his presentation was to provide a working journalist's perspective on using Freedom of 

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The Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire

The Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire, which took place 100 years ago today, was a tragic incident in New York City's history but also a turning point in the early labor movement.Read More ›

Message from a Bottle - Choosing Your IP Protection Redux

While for certain kinds of things the choice of which form of IP protection to seek is obvious, it's not too hard to think of examples where there could be more than one possibility. To illustrate this point, I would like to use for an example nothing less than a humble bottle.  

So, 

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Freedom of Information Day at NYPL: A Booklist

The recent activities of Wikileaks and Julian Assange have once again reignited the controversy of the degree to which the public has a right to unfettered access to government information.  This year, Freedom of Information Day is being observed nationally on March 16.  At The New York Public Library, Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative reporter for the New York Times, David Barstow, has been invited to 

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Pulitzer Prize-Winning Investigative Reporter David Barstow at SIBL - FOI Day, March 16, 2011

As Freedom of Information Day at SIBL—March 16th—approaches, I want to pass along the details of the event and give some background on our presenter, David Barstow of The New York Times. The session is free and open to the public—no reservations are required; we hope you will join us for what promises to be an extremely interesting presentation.

Our event will take place in room 14/15 on the lower level (turn and walk underneath the staircase) here at the Science, Industry and Business Library, 188 

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Freedom of Information Day at SIBL - Presentations from Past Years

"Sunlight is said to be the best of disinfectants." This banner quotation so often used in connection with the issue of transparency in goverment was written by U.S. Supreme Court Justice Louis D. Brandeis (pictured below) in Harper's Weekly, December 20, 1913 (before he was nominated to the court). [This quote can be viewed in the NYPL database

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