Tuesday, February 12, 2002

around the law

sea turtles
A reader of Delaware Law Office sent in the following link. The Ocean Conservancy's Ocean Action Network has issued a call to action regarding regulations involving sea turtles and shrimp trawler nets. They are asking for help in influencing the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) in that ageny's shaping of proposed changes to regulations that would make Turtle Excluder Devices (TEDs) on shrimp trawls larger, so that larger sea turtles can escape the nets used to catch shrimp. Research shows that many smaller and medium sized turtles are escaping, but large ones are still getting caught up in nets. The size of the escape mechanism doesn't affect the number of shrimp that are caught by the shrimp nets. They've set up a letter for you to use, and edit, to send to the NMFS if you are interested. (Thank you, Rachael)

death penalty errors
Another submission we've received, from Jessica Fitzpatrick (thank you, Jessica), on an alarming study about the rate of errors in death penalty cases:
Calling agressive dealth penalty sentencing a "magnet for serious error," a study released by law professors from Columbia Law School reports that more deadly errors involving innocent people are likely to manifest in states where the death penalty is sought zealously. The study also found that other factors, such as areas that have higher African American populations, areas where judges face political pressure, and overburdened legal systems can also lead to to errors, where innocent people are sentenced to death.

The study follows a similar one, released in 2000, which reported that 68% of all death penalty cases reviewed from 1973 to 1995 were found to contain errors and reversed. Relying on those findings, as well as the fact that since the re-introduction of the death penalty in 1973, nearly 100 death row inmates were later exonerated (some in the nick of time), the study concluded by recommending a death penalty sentence for only the "very worst of the worst."

certification, standards, and labels on food
In what has the makings of a good beginning to a useful resource guide, the Consumers Union Group has issued a Guide to Environmental Labels. Many people like making environmentally sound choices when they shop for food. This is an information source to help those people find out more about the products they've chosen, to let them see what the label on the product actually means. Information about certification programs and standards is also covered by the data base provided. (via metafilter)

replacement tire safety problems
This is disturbing. Claims of tread separation are springing up in tires being used to replace the 13 million recalled from Firestone.

creative commons licenses
Stanford professor Lawrence Lessig, who has written a couple of books on legal issues relating to the internet, is involved in a venture called Creative Commons, which will be unveiled in a few months.
In a boon to the arts and the software industry, Creative Commons will make available flexible, customizable intellectual-property licenses that artists, writers, programmers and others can obtain free of charge to legally define what constitutes acceptable uses of their work. The new forms of licenses will provide an alternative to traditional copyrights by establishing a useful middle ground between full copyright control and the unprotected public domain.
This approach will address some of the problems that Lessig sees in the present application of copyright law.

tracing spam
Just how do you find the company behind that spam in your inbox? A report on MSNBC from a Wall Street Journal reporter called Tracking spam to the source discusses some of the problems the author faced when he tried to find out more about the people and companies behind the spam.

I received an email today asking if I had heard more about a program called mailwasher. It included a link to the mailwasher.net site where this software is available for free. I checked a number of sites which had reviews of the program, and they all seem to be positive. Mailwasher allows you to review your emails while they are still on the server, and return some of them as if they had bounced because the address was bad. What this should do is to hopefully have a spammer remove your email address from his or her list because they believe that it is a bad email address. The program also lets you set up your own black list to filter out emails from certain addresses. It looks like a useful program.

Another site to consider visiting if you're interested in tracing and reporting spam is Spam Cop, which provides a useful service to help you identify and send complaints to the networks where spam originates.
- William Slawski

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