University of Pittsburgh

Faculty News

Tuesday, September 27, 2011 - 11:01am

This week, Professor John Burkoff published the newest edition of his treatise, Criminal Defense Ethics: Law & Liability 2d (West).



Monday, September 26, 2011 - 1:29pm

Professor David Harris served as a panelist at the invitation of the writer and director of Camino, a play presented by the Hiawatha Project.  Professor Harris discussed the play's immigration and criminal justice themes in a post performance session with the audience.  Camino, which is based on the deportation of former Pittsburgh resident Milton Mieja in 2009, is one of the first works of art to focus on the impact of private prisons on the immigration debate.


See information on Camino here.

Sunday, September 25, 2011 - 8:24pm

On Saturday, September 24, 2011, Professor Rhonda Wasserman attended (via web conference) a meeting of the American Law Institute Members’ Consultative Group on the Restatement of the Law (Third) on the U.S. Law of International Commercial Arbitration. 

Tuesday, September 20, 2011 - 5:38pm

On Friday,  Sept. 16, Professor Haider Ala Hamoudi presented a paper at a conference at St. John’s University School of Law.  The subject of the conference was religion and bankruptcy; Professor Hamoudi's paper was entitled “The Surprising Irrelevance of Islamic Bankruptcy.”   The Conference was sponsored by the American Bankruptcy Institute, the Center for Law and Religion at St. John’s Law School and the Center for Bankruptcy Studies.


Link to the conference decription here.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011 - 5:31pm

Visiting Associate Professor of Law Annemarie Bridy was interviewed recently on "Surprisingly Free," a program hosted by Jerry Brito of George Mason University’s Mercatus Center.   Distributed as a weekly podcast, "Surprisingly Free" features "in-depth discussions with an eclectic mix of authors, academics, and entrepreneurs at the intersection of technology, policy, and economics.”  Professor Bridy discussed the scalability of online copyright enforcement, the subject of a law review article she recently published.


Link to the interview here.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011 - 5:14pm

Professor Michael Madison, Faculty Director of Pitt Law’s Innovation Practice Institute, spoke on Tuesday, September 13 at American University’s Washington College of Law at a celebration and book launch for a new volume from the University of Chicago Press, Reclaiming Fair Use: How to Put Balance Back in Copyright.  The authors of the book are AU law professor Peter Jaszi and AU Professor of Film and Media Arts Pat Aufderheide.

Professor Madison has served for several years on Boards of Legal Advisors associated with collaborative research by Professors Jaszi and Aufderheide to produce “Codes of Best Practices” in fair use for a variety of creative communities.  Those codes are intended to align the competing policy goals of copyright’s fair use doctrine with the practices of communities of actual creators -- documentary filmmakers, archivists, media studies teachers, online video creators, poets, and others – and have been widely praised for offering a measure of legal clarity to creative communities that are often daunted by copyright’s apparent complexity.

At the celebration on Sept. 13, Professor Jaszi credited a 2004 law review article by Professor Madison,  A Pattern-Oriented Approach to Fair Use, 45 Wm. & Mary L. Rev. 1525 (2004), with supplying the theoretical foundation for the work represented in the Best Practices projects and in the new book.


Link to The Codes of Best Practices project at American University’s Center for Social Media


Link for Book Launch for Reclaiming Fair Use


Link for "Reclaiming Fair Use"


Link to Recent New York Times Op-Ed Advocating for a Best Practices Approach to Fair Use for Poetry Criticism



Sunday, September 18, 2011 - 8:51pm

Professor and Associate Dean Anthony Infanti presented his paper, titled "Internation Equity and Human Development," at the Critical Perspectives on Tax Policy conference at Emory University School of Law in Atlanta, GA, on September 17, 2011. The paper will be featured as a chapter in a forthcoming book.  

Sunday, September 18, 2011 - 8:44pm

 Professor Douglas Branson explained conflicts of interest in not-for-profit entities, specifically a charter school, in the September 4 edition of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.   The case involved a non-profit which owned real estate and leased it to a second non-profit for use as a charter school.  The two corporations shared several directors (interlocking directorates).  Professor Branson explained that, in such a case, regardless of the amount involved or apparent fairness of the transaction, proper treatment requires full disclosure, decision-making by only the disinterested directors, and credible findings of why the proposed transaction might be deemed fair to each corporation.

Thursday, September 15, 2011 - 9:35am

Congress has passed and sent to the President a bill that adopts Professor Arthur Hellman’s suggested approach for overruling a Supreme Court decision on federal jurisdiction. President Obama will sign the bill on Friday, and Professor Hellman’s proposals will be enacted into law as part of the Judicial Code (Title 28).

The bill is H.R. 1249, the “America Invents Act.” One section of the bill incorporates provisions known as the “Holmes Group fix” because they overrule the Supreme Court’s 2002 decision in Holmes Group, Inc. v. Vornado.

The Holmes Group decision involved the appellate jurisdiction of the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. The Supreme Court held that the Federal Circuit cannot review a case in which the complaint does not allege a patent law claim, although the answer contains a patent-law counterclaim. The decision was criticized for contravening Congress’s intent to create a uniform body of patent law by having all patent appeals heard by the Federal Circuit.

The “Holmes Group fix” originated in a hearing of the House Judiciary Committee in March 2005. A bar association proposed overruling Holmes Group by revising the provision of the Judicial Code defining the “original jurisdiction” of the district courts in patent cases.  Professor Hellman agreed that Holmes Group should be overruled, but he cautioned the committee that the association proposal could have unanticipated consequences.  He suggested a more narrowly tailored package of amendments.

The Judiciary Committee agreed with Professor Hellman and unanimously endorsed a bill embodying his proposals. Although that bill did not reach the House floor, the principal elements of the “Holmes Group fix” were incorporated into the “America Invents Act.” They will become law when President Obama signs the bill on Friday.

The “Holmes Group fix” amends two sections of the Judicial Code dealing with intellectual property cases and adds a new provision allowing removal of certain IP cases from state to federal court.

A detailed account of the legislative history of the “Holmes Group fix,” including Professor Hellman’s role, can be found in the House Report on the 2006 bill here.  

Thursday, September 15, 2011 - 6:01am

Professor David Harris participated in the Urban Institute Round Table on Stop and Frisk Practices in the U.S. on September 12 and 13 in Washington, D.C.  The Round Table group consisted of the leading scholars of police practices in criminology and the legal academy, the police chiefs of major cities in the U.S., and officials from the U.S. Justice Department with responsibility for law enforcement.  With more and more cities using intensive stop and frisk practices as cornerstones of crime control efforts, the discussion focused on the effectiveness of this strategy, its costs to the public, and its iimpact on police/community relations.

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