James Madison Likely Revised His Notes from Constitutional Convention to Distance Himself from Controversial Statements

According to research conducted by Boston College Law professor Mary Sarah Bilder,* “James Madison likely replaced several sheets of his notes chronicling the constitutional convention to distance himself from his own statements that later became controversial,” notes the ABA Journal.

In her book, Madison’s Hand: Revising the Constitutional Convention, Bilder compares Madison original 1787 handwritten notes with the later revised notes published after his death in 1840.

“Along the way,” Bilder writes for the History News network, “he converted himself into a different Madison. In the original Notes, Madison was annoyed and frustrated. Slowly by altering a word here, a phrase there, he became a moderate, dispassionate observer and intellectual founder of the Constitution.”

He also likely replaced several sheets containing his own speeches in the years immediately after the convention to distance himself from statements that became controversial, Bilder writes.

One revision concerned slavery, Bilder told the Washington Post in an interview. As the slave trade fell into disfavor after the convention, Madison added language that suggested he had condemned it during the convention as “dishonorable to the national character.”

Madison had never spoken against slavery or used the words, while others at the conviction did, Bilder said. The words Madison claims to have spoken bore “an uncomfortable resemblance to the same comment” made by a delegate from Maryland as recorded in Madison’s original notes, she said.

Although the revisions differ, at times strongly, with Madison’s original notes, Bilder contends these differences enhance rather than detract from Madison’s later manuscript which reflects a more evolved “understanding about the convention, the Constitution, and his own role.”

*Mary Sarah Bilder is the daughter of UW Law School professor, Richard Bilder.

Wisconsin Blue Book 2015-2016 Available Online

Post written by Eric Taylor, Evening Reference Librarian:

The 2015-2016 edition of the Wisconsin Blue Book is now available on the Wisconsin Legislative Reference Bureau website.
What is the Wisconsin Blue Book?

The State of Wisconsin Blue Book remains the primary one-volume reference source about the state, documenting the organization of the state’s three branches of government (legislative, executive, and judicial).
Typically, each volume includes extensive description and statistics on virtually all aspects of life in Wisconsin, including major sections on the state’s population, geography, history, election data, educational resources, social services, finance, agriculture, industry, transportation system, etc. Various useful lists are also provided, such as of statewide associations, news media, local governmental units, post offices, political parties, etc.
[from the UWDC]

Each edition contains a feature article. This time, the article is entitled “Wisconsin in the Civil War.”
Prior editions of the Wisconsin Blue Book are available at the LRB website from the 2005-2006 edition through present. Older editions from 1853 to the 2003-2004 edition are available at the UW Digital Collections website.

“White Slavery in the Northwoods” describes major WI & MI 19th cen. sex trafficking scandal

I’m pleased to share that my article, White Slavery in the Northwoods: Early U.S. Anti-Sex Trafficking and its Continuing Relevance to Trafficking Reform, has been accepted for publication in the William & Mary Journal of Women and the Law.  It will appear in a special issue in 2016 but it’s available now on SSRN.

This article is rather special to me as the subject and research have been of enduring interest to me for many years.  In fact, the topic is an extension of my very first article (my undergrad history thesis) on the history of prostitution in Eau Claire.

This new article explains how the lumber and mining camps of Northern Wisconsin and Michigan became the center of a major sex trafficking (aka “white slavery”) scandal in the late nineteenth-century.  It’s got virgins and villains, armed guards and attack dogs, yellow journalism, lies and political finger pointing, an amazingly strong heroine, and, of course, plenty of sex scandal.

It’s a truly fascinating story – one that could be, and in fact has, been the subject of an award-winning Hollywood screen play.  But it also has enduring impact as many of the strategies that these nineteenth century anti-traffickers originated to achieve law reform are still used today – strategies that were as dubious then as they are now.

Here’s the abstract:

This article provides a unique and comprehensive analysis of the first U.S. anti-sex trafficking movement and its continuing impact on trafficking reform today. It explores the significant, yet little known campaign against the trade of young, white women, a practice called “white slavery,” which emerged in the Northwoods of Wisconsin and Michigan in the 1880s. It examines the strategies developed by these late nineteenth-century activists, specifically the use of exaggeration and sensationalism, and demonstrates how trafficking reformers are still using these techniques today despite their dubious authority and effectiveness.

Part I will consider why the Northwoods became a focal point for white slavery in the nineteenth-century, specifically exploring the impact of the economic, demographic, and social changes occurring in the region at that time, as well as the role of the burgeoning mass media. It will also examine the escalating nature of the Northwoods white slavery allegations and the public outcry that they caused. Next, it will study the strategies developed by anti-trafficking activists, specifically the use of exaggeration and sensationalism to garner support. Finally, it will investigate Wisconsin’s and Michigan’s responses to white slavery and consider why this nineteenth-century campaign failed to generate the level of national law reform achieved by later anti-trafficking movements.

Part II will attempt to glean some truth about the existence and extent of prostitution and sex trafficking in the Northwoods in the nineteenth-century, specifically acknowledging that many historians now believe that white slavery was a myth. It will conclude with a demonstration of how the exaggeration and sensationalism strategies developed by nineteenth-century anti-trafficking activists are still being used today and an inquiry into whether or not such techniques encourage effective law reform.

An earlier version of White Slavery in the Northwoods was awarded the 2014 Morris L. Cohen (Law) Student Essay Competition from the American Association of Law Libraries Legal History and Rare Books Special Interest Section.

I’d love to hear your comments on the article.  You can find my email address on my profile page.


Hein Online adds an email delivery option


Good news for all you Hein-heads out there (I am certainly one of them). Hein Online recently added a great new feature to their interface where you can email a link to a Hein PDF…and anybody can access it, whether they are authenticated by Hein or not.

Granted the link will expire after 7 days (if the user isn’t authenticated…if they are it will never expire), but that is still more than enough time to share research or a great article with a colleague or student that may not know how to access Hein or not have access at all.

For full directions on how to email these PDFs straight from your Hein search, check out Hein’s blog post. Happy Hein-ing!

CA District Court Invalidates “Happy Birthday” Copyright

Yesterday, a U.S. District Court for the Central District of California judge ruled that the long-claimed copyright in the song, “Happy Birthday” is invalid.

From the New York Times:

The decision, by Judge George H. King of United States District Court in Los Angeles, is a blow to the music publisher Warner/Chappell and its parent company, the Warner Music Group, which have controlled the song since 1988 and reportedly still collect some $2 million annually in licensing fees for it.

If the judge’s ruling stands, “Happy Birthday to You” would become part of the public domain. “Since no one else has ever claimed to own the copyright, we believe that as a practical matter, this means the song is public property,” said Mark C. Rifkin, a lawyer for the plaintiffs.



Scholarly Content from ProQuest Now Discoverable in Google Scholar

According to a press release from ProQuest, “the full text of its scholarly content – including journals and working papers – is now indexed in Google Scholar, enabling Google Scholar users to seamlessly discover and access their library’s ProQuest collections.”

Here’s more:

The collaboration between Google and ProQuest enables authenticated ProQuest users to be recognized at the ProQuest platform after they search using Google Scholar and connects them to full-text scholarly content in their libraries’ collections. Users who are not recognized are sent to a landing page with the abstract or an image of the first page, protecting all rights holders. To read full text, the users authenticate themselves using their library credentials. There is nothing for libraries to set up – the linking is seamless and automatic.

I’m a big Google Scholar user, especially when doing multidisciplinary research.  It’s a tremendous free resource for scholarly content.  I’ve long appreciated that Hein Online Law Journal Library content is discoverable via Google Scholar and am pleased that ProQuest will be now also.

Hat tip to Virtual Library Cat’s Eye View

Lenz v. Universal ruling: Fair Use must be considered…even with a dancing baby.


Today the Ninth Circuit Court ruled in favor of Stephanie Lenz in a Fair Use case that may have long-reaching consequences.

In 2007, Lenz posted a 29 second video to Youtube of her baby dancing and bouncing to the Prince song “Let’s Go Crazy”. Universal, at the time the owner of the copyright on that song, sent Youtube a request to have it removed since they claimed it violated copyright.

Now, after an extended legal tussle, the 9th circuit has come down with a pro-fair use decision,  with Circuit Judge Richard Tallman writing (for the 3-0 panel) that:

“Copyright holders cannot shirk their duty to consider in good faith and prior to sending a takedown notification – whether allegedly infringing material constitutes fair use,”

Copyright holders, following this ruling, may be held much more accountable (and perhaps legally liable) if they do not take fair use into account when issuing take-down orders. It seems that there may be a smaller amount of these orders sent out in the future if this decision holds up.

For more on the ruling and it’s potential implications, read Thomson Reuters review of the case and decision.

Click here to read or download the decision itself.


Study Identifies Gaps in the Research Sources Being Taught in Law School

Rebecca S. Trammell, Law Library Director of Stetson University College of Law has recently completed a dissertation on Technology & Legal Research: What Is Taught & What Is Used in the Practice of Law.

Using data from three sources (the 2013 ALWD Survey; a review of syllabi; and the 2014 law school legal research survey), the study asks whether law schools are instructing students in the legal research resources used by attorneys in the practice of law.

According to Trammell, the answer is no.  Here’s an excerpt from page 79:

The results of the law school legal research survey indicate significant gaps in law school instruction in state administrative law for both the attorney’s home state and other states and for state case law research for states other than the attorney’s home state. In addition, law school instruction is not focused on several tools used in law practice, specifically legal forms, legal news sources, experts, information about judges, jury verdict information, and finding and using public records. Based on the use of these resources by practicing attorneys, instruction in these areas would result in law students’ gaining more practice-ready skills.

Availability of Westlaw at UW Law Library

Please be advised that public access to Westlaw will no longer be available at the UW Law Library after August 30th.  We have cancelled our subscription to Westlaw Patron Access.  Access to Westlaw is now limited to UW Law School students, faculty, and staff.

However, LexisNexis Academic is still available at the UW Law Library as well as all of the other UW Madison campus libraries.

We are sorry for any inconvenience that this may cause.

Free Tool to Convert, Merge/Split, Compress & Unlock PDF Files

I recently discovered a new, free tool called Smallpdf that allows you to do some sophisticated PDF management that you can’t do with the free Adobe Acrobat Reader.

For example, with Smallpdf, you can convert your PDF into many different types of file formats, including JPG, Word, PPT, or even Excel – or from any of those formats to PDF.  You can also merge multiple PDFs into one file or, conversely, split a single PDF into multiple files.  You can also compress your file size or unlock password protected files.

Hat tip to TechBits