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abetterpencil

What if printed books went by ebook rules?

I love ebooks. Despite their unimaginative page design, monotonous fonts, curious approach to hyphenation, and clunky annotation utilities, they’re convenient and easy on my aging eyes. But I wish they didn’t come wrapped in legalese. Whenever I read a book on my iPad, for example, I have tacitly agreed to the 15,000-word statement of terms and conditions for the iTunes store. It’s written by lawyers in language so dense and tedious it seems designed not to be read, except by other lawyers, and that’s odd, since these Terms of Service agreements (TOS) concern the use of books that are designed to be read.

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9780199458998

Legislating for justice

Legislating on land rights is an exercise fraught with challenges. States are reluctant and often opposed to any central legislation on the subject viewing such an exercise as an encroachment into their domain.

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9780199696444_450

The “Blurred Lines” of music and copyright: Part two

The infrequency of two high-profile songsters or their representatives going all the way to trial over claims of copyright infringement means that such a case usually receives heightened public scrutiny. This is especially so when mere sampling of the plaintiff’s song is not at issue. In recent years, few cases have drawn more public attention than the dispute between the Marvin Gaye estate and singer/songwriter Robin Thicke and song producer Pharrell Williams, over whether the song “Blurred Lines” infringed Marvin Gaye’s 1977 hit, “Got to Give It Up.”

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9780199858224_450

The “Blurred Lines” of music and copyright: Part one

A peppy beat and bassline. Cowbell. An ecstatic whoop in the background. Make a note, because all these elements now belong to family of Marvin Gaye. Or do they? The recent verdict against Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams in the ‘Blurred Lines’ case has perplexed followers of the music industry. One might think the ruling was a vindication of the rights of artists, but composers like Bonnie McKee see it differently.

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9780190227999

The evolution of Taiwan statehood

Taiwan easily satisfies the traditional requirements for statehood: a permanent population, effective control over a territory, a government, and the capacity to interact with other states. Yet the realities of global power politics have kept Taiwan from being recognized as such.

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olrllogo

A World Intellectual Property Day Quiz

Every year on 26 April, the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) celebrates World Intellectual Property Day to promote discussion of the role of intellectual property in encouraging creativity and innovation. As the recent lawsuit between the Marvin Gaye estate and Pharrell Williams showed, intellectual property law is just as relevant as ever.

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Is asylum a principle of the liberal democratic state?

Asylum is the protection that a State grants on its territory or in some other place under its control—for instance an Embassy or a warship—to a person who seeks it. In essence, asylum is different from refugee status, as the latter refers to the category of individuals who benefit from asylum, as well as the content of such protection. Recently, there has been renewed interest in the debate on asylum.

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1464374X

Why understanding the legally disruptive nature of climate change matters

It is now commonly recognized by governments that climate change is an issue that must be addressed. The 21st Conference of Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change to be held in Paris in December 2015 is the most high profile example of this, but there are also many examples of governments beginning to craft national and supranational regulatory responses.

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9780198702627

An overview of the UNIDROIT PICC, with Stefan Vogenauer

The UNIDROIT Principles of International Commercial Contracts, or PICC, were created in 1994 after decades of preparation, against what Oxford author Stephan Vogenauer calls a “romantic background” of a global commercial law, or lex mercatoria. While the UNIDROIT PICC offer a harmonizing global contract law, some objectors may say that as “principles”, they are too vague. Stefan tackles this objection in the video below, and also highlights how some practitioners may be surprised by the contents of the Principles.

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Autonomy: the Holy Grail

When within the European Union the Lisbon Treaty was elaborated, the negotiators easily reached agreement on subjecting the EU to the constraints of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR). It seemed to be an anomaly that all the Member States should be subject to the review power of the Strasbourg Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) while the EU itself was exempt from that control procedure.

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9780199573448

Diversity in policing, really?

There have been lots of recent debates, both in the police service and in the news, about the importance of having a diverse workforce. What does that really mean? Senior leaders in policing have called for police forces to positively discriminate in favour of black and ethnic minority officers (BME) in the face of a growing diversity crisis. Nationally, 14% of the population is from black and multi-ethnic communities, compared with 5% of police officers.

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Covert Policing

The perils of cell confession evidence: principles and pitfalls

Cell confession evidence – evidence from inmates alleging that the accused has confessed to the crime – is a discrete but controversial covert policing resource. This type of evidence can be volunteered to investigators by the source, though rarely is it done so unconditionally. In other cases, it is a result of the deliberate use and conduct of a covert human intelligence source, authorized under the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000.

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9780199914081

Indiana’s RFRA statute: a plea for civil discourse

On one level, I admire the public furor now surrounding Indiana’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA). In an important sense, this discussion reflects the Founder’s vision of a republican citizenry robustly debating the meaning of important values like nondiscrimination and religious freedom. On the other hand, this public controversy has, at times, regrettably reflected failure on both sides to respect their fellow citizens and confront the merits of the issue in civil fashion.

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OUP International Law

Preparing for the 109th ASIL Annual Meeting

The 109th ASIL Annual Meeting is taking place from 8-11 April 2015, at the Hyatt Regency Capitol Hill, in Washington, DC. The ASIL Annual meeting is one of the most important events on the international law community calendar, and 2015 proves to be no exception.

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OUP International Law

International law in a changing world

The American Society of International Law’s annual meeting (8 – 11 April 2015) will focus on the theme ‘Adapting to a Rapidly Changing World’. In preparation for this meeting, we have asked some key authors to share their thoughts on the ways in which their specific areas of international law have adapted to our rapidly changing world.

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Ideas with Consequences – Episode 21 – The Oxford Comment

How did the Federalist Society manage to revolutionize the jurisprudence for the most important issues of our time? The conservative legal establishment may claim 40,000 members, including four Supreme Court Justices, dozens of federal judges, and every Republican attorney general, but its strength extends beyond its numbers. From gun control to corporate political speech, the powerful organization has exerted its influence by legitimizing novel interpretations of the constitution and acting as a credentialing institution for conservative lawyers and judges.

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