University of Pittsburgh

Faculty News

Friday, April 1, 2011 - 9:36am

Last week’s rejection of the proposed settlement of the lawsuit between Google and a group of authors and publishers has thrown the future of the Google Book database into question. A federal court in New York declined to approve the settlement, recognizing that while there was a benefit to society from the widespread digitization of books, the proposal “simply went too far.” The court indicated that the settlement was a “forward-looking business arrangement” that would give Google too much power to exploit books at the expense of authors’ rights to control their copyrights.


Read Professor Pike's full article here

Thursday, March 31, 2011 - 10:54am

Professor Anthony Infanti presented a paper on March 30 at a symposium at Georgetown University Law Center. The symposium, organized by the Georgetown Journal of Gender and the Law, covered the intersection of tax law, gender, and sexuality. Professor Infanti, the principal presenter for the panel on the intersection of tax with sexual orientation and gender identity, discussed his paper entitled “LGBT Taxpayers:  A Collision of ‘Others.”

Link to the symposium program

Tuesday, March 29, 2011 - 4:27pm

Professor Rhonda Wasserman commented on a federal court order permitting lawyers to file under seal all documents relating to a class action settlement.   The order shields from public scrutiny not only the terms of the settlement, but also the notice of the settlement, any transcripts of hearings regarding the fairness of the settlement, and any objections to the settlement filed by class members.  Professor Wasserman told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review that such secrecy is at odds with the public scrutiny needed to protect the interests of absent class members who are not directly involved in the negotiation of the settlement.


 Read the full story here

Tuesday, March 29, 2011 - 11:00am

West Publishing Company has just published Professor John Burkoff’s new casebook: Criminal Law: A Contemporary Approach.  This casebook is the newest addition to West’s Interactive Casebook Series.  West’s “interactive” texts are made available to students simultaneously in hardcopy and online editions.  The online edition includes extensive hyper-linking to cases, statutes, other legal materials, and supplementary online resources, e.g. oral arguments of cases.  Professor Burkoff’s co-authors on this book are Russell Weaver at Louisville and Catherine Hancock at Tulane.

Monday, March 28, 2011 - 11:04am

The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review highlighted the annual Distinguished Intellectual Property Lecture on March 24 at Pitt Law, and Professor Dan Burk of UC Irvine, this year’s speaker, in a piece that talked about the event’s sponsor, the Innovation Practice Institute, and the IPI’s goals for supporting the region’s innovation economy.

Professor Burk’s lecture focused on legal issues surrounding virtual worlds and videogame technologies.  During his visit to Pittsburgh he also met with faculty and students at the Entertainment Technology Center, a program of Carnegie Mellon University.


Sunday, March 27, 2011 - 11:05am

Professor Benjamin Bratman commented on a local woman’s suit against an employer that required her to take religious training sessions as part of her employment. According to her suit, the woman worked successfully as for the bathroom remodeling company, but when she refused to continue attending the training, the company forced her out. Professor Bratman said that once the burden shifts to the company to explain its actions, it would have a difficult time explaining why the religious training is necessary to the company’s operation. “What in the world does religious proselytizing and religion have to do with remodeling bathrooms?”


Thursday, March 24, 2011 - 11:08am

Professor John Burkoff commented on the defense motions in the ongoing case against State Sen. Jane Orie.  Earlier this month, the judge stopped jury deliberations and declared a mistrial because documents submitted to the court by the defense appeared to have been forged.  The defense has now asked that the judge recuse himself from the upcoming retrial of the case, and has also asked that the court bar any retrial on grounds of double jeopardy.  Professor Burkoff said that “this is more of the offensive tactic of trying to paint this as a political prosecution. It seems the odds on [the judge] ruling in their favor on this are slim to none.”


Thursday, March 24, 2011 - 11:06am

On March 24, 2011, Professor Ronald Brand attended the meeting of the Secretary of State’s Advisory Committee on Private International Law, where he provided for the group an overview of the EU Commission proposal for revisions to the Brussels I Regulation on jurisdiction and the recognition and enforcement of judgments in civil and commercial matters.

Thursday, March 24, 2011 - 11:05am

Professor George Pike, Director of the Barco Law Library, will be a panelist at a program about the impact of Wikileaks on law, poitics, and scholarship.  The event,  “Wikileaks: Current Critical Issues in Media Culture,” will take place on March 28, 12-1:30pm, in Room 501 of the Cathedral of Learning.  It  is  sponsored by DM@P (Digital Media at Pitt), and along with Professor Pike will feature Professor John Beverly (Hispanic Languages & Literature), and Steve Slota (School of Information Sciences).  The discussion will be moderated by Professor Annette Vee of the English Department.  Those wishing to attend are asked to email Prof. Vee at by Friday, March 25 to confirm a place for the event.


Wednesday, March 23, 2011 - 11:09am

Professor Doug Branson commented on the lack of women on corporate boards in Pittsburgh in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s March 22 “Top 50 in Business” special section.  Professor Branson, author of “The Last Male Bastion: Gender and the CEO Suite in America’s Public Companies,” said that despite registering a small increase in women directors between 2009 and 2010, Pittsburgh remains “a good ol’ boy town,” adding, “[i]t’s kind of like we take one step forward, then two steps back.”


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