The Pocket Part: UConn Law Library Blog

LGBTQ+ Rights: New Hein Database!

In honor of Pride Month, head over to HeinOnline to see its LGBTQ+ Rights database, the newest addition to the Social Justice Suite. This collection charts the gay rights movement in America, showing the civil rights codified into law in the 20th and 21st centuries, as well as the inequalities that still exist today.

All titles in this collection have been assigned one or more title-level subjects relating to their scope, and are further divided into six subcollections, whose areas of focus constitute Marriage and FamilyEmployment DiscriminationMilitary ServiceAIDS and Health CarePublic Spaces and Accommodations, and Historical Attitudes and Analysis. The database includes an interactive timeline, as well as court cases, scholarly articles, books, pamphlets, and reports.

To learn more about the newest database check out HeinOnline’s blog here and for additional research, check out Uconn Law’s Research Guide, Sexuality, Gender Identity and the Law.

screenshot of a webpage introducing HeinOnline's LGBTQ+ Rights

Summer and Post-Graduate Access to Westlaw, Lexis, Bloomberg, and Other Library Databases

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Bloomberg Law, LexisNexis and Westlaw all have summer access provisions and usage policies for continuing and graduating students.  Read below for more information!

Westlaw

Returning Students

You may use your Westlaw account through the summer for noncommercial research, such as law school activities, research assistant assignments, work for a nonprofit, or in an unpaid internship.

Graduates

Graduates can register for Westlaw’s Graduate Elite Program, which provides for six months of access after graduation.  Graduates also have access to the Knowledge Center eLearnings and tutorials for 18 months after graduation.

In order to extend access you will need to opt into GRAD ELITE by logging into www.lawschool.tr.com. Use the drop-down menu by your name to go to GRAD ELITE Status or go directly to https://lawschool.westlaw.com/authentication/gradelite.

Lexis

Returning Students

Lexis access continues through the summer with no restrictions on time or usage.

Graduates

You will have access to Lexis until December 31, 2022, with no registration required, or restrictions.  Use the same Lexis account log on credentials you used in law school.  If you are working for a nonprofit organization, you may be able to extend your access even longer through the ASPIRE Program

Bloomberg Law

Returning Students

Bloomberg access continues through the summer subject to yearly individual Docket allowance.

Graduates

2021 graduating students will have unrestricted access to Bloomberg Law for 6 months with no special registration required (if students register for Bloomberg Law access before graduation)

Other Library Databases

Returning Students

Returning students have full access to all of our databases, such as Hein and Proquest throughout the summer.

Graduates

Alumni are always welcome to use the library and seek research help from the reference librarians.  If you stay in the area as you begin your legal careers, remember that the majority of our electronic resources can be accessed by any patron from within the library, including Westlaw.

Bloomberg Law, LexisNexis and Westlaw all have summer access provisions and usage policies for continuing and graduating students.  Read below for more information!

Westlaw

Returning Students

You may use your Westlaw account through the summer for noncommercial research, such as law school activities, research assistant assignments, work for a nonprofit, or in an unpaid internship.

Graduates

Graduates can register for Westlaw’s Graduate Elite Program, which provides for six months of access after graduation.  Graduates also have access to the Knowledge Center eLearnings and tutorials for 18 months after graduation.

In order to extend access you will need to opt into GRAD ELITE by logging into  www.lawschool.tr.com. Use the drop-down menu by your name to go to GRAD ELITE Status or go directly to lawschool.westlaw.com/authentication/gradelite.

Lexis

Returning Students

Lexis access continues through the summer with no restrictions on time or usage.

Graduates

You will have access to Lexis until December 31, 2022, with no registration required, or restrictions.  Use the same Lexis account log on credentials you used in law school.  If you are working for a nonprofit organization, you may be able to extend your access even longer through the ASPIRE Program

Bloomberg Law

Returning Students

Bloomberg access continues through the summer subject to yearly individual Docket allowance.

Graduates

2021 graduating students will have unrestricted access to Bloomberg Law for 6 months with no special registration required (if students register for Bloomberg Law access before graduation)

Other Library Databases

Returning Students

Returning students have full access to all of our databases, such as Hein and Proquest throughout the summer.

Graduates

Alumni are always welcome to use the library and seek research help from the reference librarians.  If you stay in the area as you begin your legal careers, remember that the majority of our electronic resources can be accessed by any patron from within the library, including Westlaw.


Public Laws & Proclamations – Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, 2022

Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander Heritage MonthAsian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, celebrated in the month of May, originated in 1978 when Congress passed a joint resolution that became Pub. L. 95-419. This law directed the President to issue a proclamation designating the week beginning on May 4, 1979 as Asian/Pacific American Heritage Week. Pub. L. 95-419 was amended in 1990 by Pub. L. 101-283  which expanded the observance of Asian/Pacific American Heritage week to the month of May in 1990. Finally, in 1992, Congress passed Pub. L. 102-450 which permanently designated May of each year as “Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month.”

Pursuant to Pub. L. 102-450, American Presidents have annually issued proclamations designating May as “Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month”. President Biden issued A Proclamation for Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, 2022 which can be found here.

Presidential Proclamations are policy statements issued by the president to the public. Although often ceremonial, they can have legal effect (examples are proclamations regarding national emergencies, foreign policy, and federal land management). An example of this would be President Biden’s Proclamation 10315 (revoked on December 28, 2021) which suspended entry of certain individuals in countries where the Omicron variant of COVID-19 had been detected.

This informative CRS Report Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month Speech Resources: Fact Sheet provides excellent summary of both Public Laws and Proclamations pertaining to Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month. Also by CRS, the publication, Presidential Directives: An Introduction, discusses the differences between presidential directives.

The Law Library display features an assortment of academic and leisure reading books selected in honor of Asian Pacific American Heritage Month for 2022. Be sure to stop by and check one out for summer reading!


New State Legislation Restricting Books in Libraries and Schools

Book Ban Legislation: the latest entry from The Pocket Part

The recent introduction of state legislation targeting books available in public and school libraries has resurfaced the idea of banning books. Several states have pending legislation that would prohibit libraries from carrying certain books in their collection, or even prosecuting librarians who included materials determined to be offensive or obscene.

Conflicts over the content of books available in libraries, however, have been happening for decades. The Bible, The Merchant of Venice, Catch-22, and Harry Potter have all been the subject of litigation related to book challenges in school and public libraries. The American Library Association tracks the most frequently challenged book each year. In 2020, Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You by Ibram X. Kendi and Jason Reynolds, To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee, and The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison were among the top ten most challenged books.

The American Library Association began advocating for the freedom to read in the 1980s with the introduction of Banned Books Week, which is celebrated every year in libraries across the country. UConn Law Library’s Banned Books research guide provides information on frequently challenged books, major cases on challenged books, and pending legislation.


Precursor to Public Service: University of Connecticut Law Wives’ Legacy

Silver Punch BowlThe silver punch bowl and ladle on display in the law library was given to the School of law for the dedication of the new law building on May 1, 1964.   Engraved “From the Law Wives, May 1, 1964”, this set was a gift from the University of Connecticut Law Wives club. Formed on September 20th, 1961, University of Connecticut Law Wives club’s mission was to educate the law wife in the “problems and responsibilities of the profession her husband is about to enter” and to sponsor a yearly scholarship benefiting a “needy law student”. 

Initially founded to provide educational, social and civic activities for wives of students, activities later evolved to include bloodmobiles, food drives and children’s holiday parties.  Funds raised for scholarship and books funds benefited law students, families, and ultimately, clients of these newly minted attorneys. The club was renamed “University of Connecticut Law Partners” in 1973 to reflect the changing demographics of the law school student body.

The invariable signs of “wear and tear” on this silver bowl reflect the many occasions this bowl has made a cameo appearance at

Archive papers

 staff retirements, baby showers, and notable events commemorating the life and career events of UConn Law’s students, faculty and staff.  This gift provides a lens to a past era which highlighted altruism and public service, and inspired the public service opportunities  available to law students today.  These include UConn’s not-for credit Pro-bono pledge program ,  for-credit clinics and field placements, and the Public Interest Law Group (PILG),  a student organization developed to encourage UConn law students to perform work in the public interest field during their education and into their professional careers. 

Although UConn Law Wives Club is no longer in existence, the initial mission of dedication to scholarship and philanthropy was the precursor for the school of law’s present commitment to social activism.  It continues to serve as a tribute to the legacy of UConn Law Wives and reminder of its pioneering dedication to volunteerism and good works.


Database Spotlight! NAACP Papers

This February, in honor of African-American History Month , UConn Law Library is featuring 3 important digital resources: the NAACP Papers as produced by ProQuest.  The collection is organized into the following groups:

NAACP Papers: The NAACP’s Major Campaigns – Education, Voting, Housing, Employment, Armed Forces

Major campaigns for equal access to education, voting, employment, housing and the military are covered in this module. The education files in this second module document the NAACP’s systematic assault on segregated education that culminated in Brown v. Board of Education in 1954. Files from 1955 –1965 focus on the NAACP’s efforts to implement the Brown decision as well as to combat de facto segregation outside of the South.  Click here to go to the LibGuide page for this module

This NAACP module consists of the working case files of the NAACP’s general counsel and his Legal Department staff for the period from 1956 to 1972. The files document the NAACP’s aggressive campaign to bring about desegregation throughout the United States, particularly in the South.  In total, this module contains over 600 cases from 34 states and the District of Columbia. The cases in this module pertain to school desegregation, abuses of police procedure, employment discrimination, freedom of speech, privacy, freedom of association, and housing discrimination.  Click here to go to the LibGuide page for this module

One of the highlights of this NAACP module are the records on the Scottsboro case, one of the most celebrated criminal trials of the 20th century. This module also contains the key NAACP national office files on the campaign against lynching and mob violence, and NAACP efforts to fight against discrimination in the criminal justice system. Click here to go to the LibGuide page for this module

The NAACP Papers contains excellent material to support the law school community’s research projects on social justice and civil rights topics. If you have any questions about this content, contact our reference team!


Back in the Stacks! UConn Law Library Reopens!

We’re back in business! 

The UConn Law Library will reopen with the start of in-person classes on Monday, January 31. The hours will be as follows:

Library Hours

Monday – Thursday 8:00am-10:00pm*

Friday 8:00am-5:00pm*

Saturday 9:00am-5:00pm*

Sunday 11:00am-7:00pm*

 *Law Husky ID card access only after 7:00pm, and all day Saturday & Sunday.

When we reopen, we will be fully enforcing masking rules in all of our spaces per the University’s campus guidance.

Questions?  You can contact any of the reference librarians during normal reference hours.  

Still have questions? Send us an email at lawlibrary@uconn.edu and we will do our best to help you!

See you all back in the stacks!  Welcome Back!


January 2022: Law Library Services Update

Happy 2022

Hello 2022 and Welcome Back!

As we transition temporarily to online learning, here is an update to the UConn Law Library Hours and services for the month of January 2022.

The Thomas J. Meskill Law Library’s newly posted library dates and hours are as follows:

January 3-9:

The library building will be closed to all patrons from January 3 through January 9. Reference services will continue remotely through email and virtual chat Monday through Friday 9am-5pm.

January 10-30:

The library will be open only for course reserves, scanning, printing, and Library2Go pickups. Reference services will continue remotely through email and virtual chat during normal reference hours.  Study rooms, study spaces, and the stacks will be closed to all patrons.  The library hours will be as follows with keycard access only: 

Monday-Thursday: 9am-7pm 

Friday: 9am-5pm

Saturday: 9am-5pm

Sunday: 11am-7pm

Library2Go –  a scan-on-demand service that gives you remote access to the library’s physical collection. This service enables you to request digital scan and physical books remotely.  Detailed instructions are available here.  ‘

Please note that Course Reserves are not part of the Library2Go services – reserve and course reserves will continue to be accessed in person at the Access Service Desk.

Reference Assistance

Anne, Adam, Maryanne, and Tanya will be available to virtually answer your questions in January during normal reference hours.  You can contact any of the reference librarians by: scheduling an online research consultation, emailing refdesk.lawlib@uconn.edu, or sending us a Chat.  Also, don’t forget about our research guides and library catalog for accessing databases, and articles and books online.

Still have questions? Send us an email at lawlibrary@uconn.edu and we will do our best to help you!


It’s a Wonderful Life….How a Copyright Glitch Created a Christmas Cult Classic

It's a Wonderful Life movie posterThe 2021 holiday season marks the 75th Anniversary of It’s a Wonderful Life.  Based on Philip Van Doren Stern’s short story The Greatest Gift, the 1946 Frank Capra film tells the tale of a despondent man (James Stewart) who contemplates suicide on Christmas Eve.   His guardian angel grants him a chance to see what life for his friends and family would be like if he had never been born.   Although a now a holiday favorite, the film was a box office flop and a major blow to director Frank Capra’s reputation.

Indeed, this movie might have been a forgotten footnote in film history if not for a filing error with the U.S. Copyright Office.  Then-copyright owner Republic Pictures missed filing the renewal application, causing the film to lapse into the public domain.  This oversight enabled TV networks, who were looking for cheap holiday-oriented content, to program it heavily for more than two decades without paying any royalties to its producers. It was during this near-constant airplay that the film was rediscovered by the American public – earning its status as a holiday classic.

So how did this happen? The The US Copyright Act of 1909 governs copyrightable works created before 1964. The Act created two distinct copyright terms for each individual work: a 28-year initial term and a 28-year renewal term. The initial term applied automatically, but the copyright owner had to file a renewal application with the U.S. Copyright Office to acquire the second term. If the owner failed to file a renewal application before the first 28-year term expired, the work automatically entered the public domain. This was the case in 1974, when 28 years had passed, Republic Pictures failed to file a renewal for the film’s copyright protection. The upshot of this was that since the film was in the public domain,  anyone could show the film without obtaining permission or paying royalties.

However, in 1993, Republic Pictures claimed that although they had failed to renew copyright over the film in 1974, they still retained rights to the original story, The Greatest Gift, (available in most public libraries) upon which the screenplay for It’s a Wonderful Life is based.  As a backup, in 1993 they also purchased rights to the film’s music. As a backup, in 1993, it purchased the rights to the film’s musical score by Dimitri Timokin from his family, which had been copyrighted separately.  Relying on the Supreme Court case Stewart v. Abend, 495 U.S. 207 (1990), which held that only the copyright owner of a story has the right to exploit derivative works such as films, Republic Pictures regained control of the picture.

Equipped with the Supreme Court decision concerning the underlying story and with the copyright in the music for the film’s soundtrack, Republic Pictures alerted all television networks to stop playing It’s a Wonderful Life without the payment of royalties. They then entered an licensing arrangement with NBC, where It’s a Wonderful Life is shown a few times each December.  Others may also license the film for broadcast. On the local front, you can catch a viewing on the big screen at Cinestudio, located on the campus of Hartford’s Trinity College from December 19th – December 24th.

The film’s days of 24 hour free programming may be over, but thanks to the film’s revival from those those decades of repeated airplay, It’s a Wonderful Life gained a new cult status.  It is now available for streaming on Amazon Prime, making it poised to capture the next streaming video audience.  The film’s message of kindness, community and hope is timeless. Thankfully, a new generation can now receive Capra’s message anytime, on demand.


Veterans Day, November 11, 2021

2021 Veterans Day displayTo put it mildly, this has been a difficult year.  Despite all of the discord and uncertainty, however, it is important to take a moment to remember that it is because of veterans that we are able to express our thoughts and emotions freely, have meaningful debates on vital issues, strive for positive change, and exercise our rights as Americans.  In the words of President Biden, “For generations, millions of Americans have answered the call to serve — taking the sacred oath to defend and preserve our Nation’s ideals of liberty and democracy.  These patriots represent the best of us.  On Veterans Day, we honor their service, dedication, and valor and are forever grateful for their sacrifice.”

As Governor Lamont said, “There are nearly 280,000 veterans of the United States Armed Forces who call Connecticut home, and we are indebted to the sacrifices they have made in their lives in order to protect and serve our great country.”  In the words of Lt. Governor Susan Bysiewicz, “There will never be enough words or the right words to express the gratitude we feel toward our Connecticut veterans. . . . Every day, we should take the opportunity to thank those who served, not just on Veteran’s Day. It’s important to remember that we are able to enjoy the freedoms we have today because of their courage, their bravery, and their sacrifice.”

This week, please take a moment to thank all of our veterans for their service. Learn about why we celebrate Veterans Day on November 11, how you can volunteer to help veterans in your neighborhood, how you can get involved with UConn Law’s VALOR (Veterans and Armed Forces Legal Out Reach) Society, or how UConn supports veterans and their families.

At the library this week, we asked our patrons to honor individual veterans by adding their names to our display. The UConn Law Library, along with UConn students, faculty, and staff, thanks all of our veterans for their courageous service.