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World Intellectual Property Day

April 22, 2015
World IP Day 2015

April 26 is World Intellectual Property Day, marking the date when the World Intellectual Property Organization Convention came into force in 1970. World Intellectual Property Day was established in 2000 by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), a self-funding agency of the United Nations whose “mission is to lead the development of a balanced and effective international intellectual property (IP) system that enables innovation and creativity for the benefit of all.” World IP Day offers an opportunity each year to join with others around the globe to celebrate innovation and creativity and how IP fosters and encourages them.

The theme for this year, as announced by WIPO, is “Get up, Stand up. For music,” based on the popular reggae song written by Bob Marley and Peter Tosh that has become an anthem for human rights.

Learn more about World IP Day:

WIPO’s World IP Day site includes links to a global map of World IP Day activities and to a message about World IP Day from WIPO Director General Francis Gurry.

The United States Copyright Office is partnering with the Copyright Alliance to host a program in recognition of World IP Day on Tuesday, April 28, at 10:30 a.m. in the Montpelier Room (6th Floor, James Madison Memorial Building, Library of Congress). “The presenters will discuss a number of interesting music issues, including how musicians and composers are creating in the modern age, the Copyright Office’s recent music licensing study, and novel issues that arise in the registration process for sound recordings and compositions.”

Enjoy World IP Day, and stand up for your music!

Emancipation Day

April 14, 2015

April 16 marks the passage of the District of Columbia Emancipation Act of 1862.  The Act ended slavery in the District, freed those held as slaves, compensated those who had legally owned the freed slaves and offered money to newly freed slaves to emigrate.  The Act ended what abolitionists called the “national shame of slavery” in the nation’s capital.

The Emancipation Proclamation, freeing slaves held in Confederate states, was not effective until January 1, 1863.  Slavery was finally abolished with the ratification of the Thirteenth Amendment on December 6, 1865.

Emancipation Day is celebrated in the District every April 16 with a parade and other events.

17th Amendment

April 8, 2015

On April 8, 1913, the direct election of United States Senators was authorized by ratification of the 17th Amendment to the Constitution.  Previously, the Constitution required election of Senators by state legislatures.  The election of Senators by legislatures was a compromise between the drafters of the Constitution, known as the Connecticut Compromise.  The House would be directly elected by the people and representatives would be apportioned by population of each state.  The Senate, which would represent states equally with two Senators from each state, would be elected through a more deliberative process in state legislatures.

However, by the late 19th Century, the process for electing Senators had bogged down in some state legislatures.  The rise of the Progrerssive movement also pushed for direct election of Senators.  With calls for a Constitutional Convention to make changes to the Constitution, in 1912 Congress finally agreed on a joint resolution for the proposed amendment for direct election.  The amendment was sent to state legislatures and ratified a year later.

Hugo Grotius

March 17, 2015

The Hugo Grotius display is the first in a series of library displays in which we will be providing little-known information about famous legal figures.

Hugo Grotius (1583-1645) is widely known as “the father of international law,” but he was also imprisoned for his anti-Calvinist writings in 1619. After 20 months of his imprisonment, during which he was allowed shipments of books and linens from home, his wife arranged for his escape by boring holes in the book trunk and hiding him in it. Because the guards were so accustomed to her frequent visits, they stopped inspecting the trunk, and Grotius fairly easily made his escape.

Among the items displayed is the very rare, original 1619 trial court sentencing document, The sentence of eternal imprisonment pronounced against Hugo Grotius in the extraordinary trial for laesa maiestas, Rotterdam, May 18, 1619.

The Library’s Grotius collection is one of the largest and most comprehensive in the country.  For more information, see an overview of our Special Collections.

The library display is located on the first floor, near the circulation desk.


Congratulations to Our Lawlapalooza Kindle Winner

February 12, 2015

We’re pleased to announce that our 2015 Lawlapalooza Kindle winner is Jonathan Bialosky.  Scott Pagel, Director and Professor of Law, presented Jonathan with his Kindle.  Find out more about Lawlapalooza 2015.

Thanks to all who attended our research fair and made it a great success!

Lawlapalooza 2015 – You’re Invited!

February 5, 2015
Lawlapalooza Banner
Wish you were more informed about library services and resources or knew how to do legal research better?  Come to Lawlapaloozaa research fair hosted by the Jacob Burns Law Library.
Date: Wednesday, February 11, 2015
Time: 11am– 3:00pm
Location: Stockton Hall Lounges
GW Law students can earn pizza and enter a drawing for a Kindle Fire HDX by chatting with representatives from vendors who provide the Library with products and electronic resources and by viewing a librarian-created Information Blast to learn more about Library services available to help you succeed.
See our online guide to Lawlapalooza to learn more!

Downton Abbey and the Law

February 2, 2015
Library Display

As any Downton Abbey fan knows, the popular show includes lots of plot twists and turns based on British law in the early 20th Century.  A male only entail that tied up the title and the estate created the first dramatic crisis for the Earl of Grantham, when the Earl and his wife learn that his heir perished along with his son on the ill-fated Titanic.  Without a male heir, the estate and the title would be no more as Lord Robert’s daughters were not eligible to inherit.  The family turned to Matthew Crawley, a male third cousin once-removed, who fittingly was a solicitor.

Just as this season hits its mid-point on PBS, our first floor Downton Abbey display takes a closer look at some of the legal issues that were central to the last four seasons, including the entail and death taxes.  (Unfortunately, Mr. Bates’ legal woes are just too big for our display case!  Tune in to find out more about Mr. Bates and his trials and tribulations.)  Included in our display is the text from the recent bill before the British Parliament to end male only primogeniture for aristocratic titles, how death taxes would have affected the estate after Matthew’s death, and some fun quotes from our favorite Downton Abbey characters.

Be sure to stop by before this season ends!


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