User:BD2412/Archive - Law (third 50)

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I have archived my law-related discussions here.

Ah, taxes! Sixteenth Amendment[edit]

Dear BD2412: I have extensively edited the description of the Court's decision in Brushaber in the article on the Sixteenth Amendment. I'd like your input, as I know you made some contributions to that article. Also, I removed the statement from that article that said that the Supreme Court has always said that all income taxes are indirect taxes, as that statement is in my opinion clearly incorrect.

I contend that the Court in Pollock viewed an income tax on income from property as, in substance, a direct tax – that was the whole reason the tax was declared unconstitutional (as a direct tax, it had not been "apportioned"). The Court in Brushaber gave a very enlightening history of the treatment of the "direct" income tax (taxes on income from property) and the "indirect" income tax (essentially, all other income taxes). The result of Brushaber, however, is (as I read it) that the import of the Sixteenth Amendment has not changed from the time of its ratification in 1913 down to the present day: the requirement of apportionment (with the regard for a census or enumeration) no longer applies with respect to any Federal income tax, regardless of whether that tax is deemed to be an excise (an indirect tax, such as a tax on wages) or a direct tax (such as a tax on income from property).

Regarding the article's statement: "The Supreme Court's interpretation of the Sixteenth Amendment has evolved and adapted considerably over time." I haven't read every case on the 16th Amendment since Brushaber. However, today, Congress can still – without having to apportion or look to any census or enumeration – constitutionally tax any income, regardless of the source (regardless of whether the income tax is deemed direct or indirect). So, has the Court's interpretation really changed significantly? (Any thoughts?)

Also, it goes without saying that you did a great job on the BB69 controversy. (Well, there, I said it anyway.)

Merry Christmas! Famspear 18:28, 22 December 2005 (UTC)

Cleaning up tax articles[edit]

Regarding the tax articles, thanks. I am very heavily into Wikipedia addiction at this point and I am almost to the point of admitting I need help. (Is there a clinic for this?)

As you can tell, my main addiction right now is with trying to clean up the (mis-)information regarding direct and indirect taxes, Pollock and the Sixteenth Amendment and Brushaber, etc. One of the few things about tax protester arguments that is "good" is that analyzing them is great fun – great exercise. The very "frivolousness" of the arguments induces me to analyze even more of the legal authority that always blows their silly arguments away. I am convinced that a lot of these people really do believe (at least on some level) a lot of what they say. The human capacity for self-delusion is a very great one.

Regarding the tax protester stuff, I know I was hard on BB69 at times, but it was intended for the good of Wikipedia and I hope the treatment will in some way benefit him (I'm guessing "him") as well. One of the great things I love about life is that for me the learning process never ends. Famspear 22:09, 23 December 2005 (UTC)

Regarding Dan Evans materials: Yes, I discovered Dan Evans about a year ago. He has done such an excellent and comprehensive job of listing the protester arguments, it almost makes anybody else's work in this area superfluous! He has definitely performed a public service.

I don't know if you're familiar with it, but I use (and I guess most tax practitioners these days use) the online CCH Tax Research Network for tax research. It's like Lexis and Westlaw (i.e., expensive) – except of course it's devoted strictly to taxation. CCH is Code oriented, in that it presents all the Internal Revenue Code sections in numerical order, with the committee reports and regs grouped with the sections to which they belong. Uncodified statutes are there as well. For each Code section, CCH follows with editorial summary explanations by CCH attorneys and the digests or annotations to case law (with hyperlinks) and other authorities including the IRS revenue rulings, revenue procedures, etc. The reported cases are of course all there (Supreme Court, Appeals, Court of Federal Claims, District Court, Bankruptcy Court, Tax Court, and Tax Court Memo Decisions), with text reproduced in full. Included is all the Federal tax case law since the ratification of the 16th Amendment in 1913. As you know CCH has its own numbering system for cases, but the cases often show the West citation as well. The CCH citator is not quite as helpful as Shepards, etc., but it does the job if you're careful.

CCH has a whole section on tax protester arguments and of course all the case law on that. You could almost make a small career out of reading the cases. The irony is that tax protester arguments are, essentially by definition, arguments about an area of Federal tax law that is perhaps the most "settled" area of all. And they just don't understand that the more they litigate these nonsense theories, the worse it gets for them, as precedent continues to pile up on top of precedent. Famspear 01:39, 24 December 2005 (UTC)

Computer crimes[edit]

My penny's worth of thought says that this is a page of general interest to most who use the net. I agonised where to put it. It is not really a series of crimes against the person or against property, but encompasses both. Hence my compromise decision. Sorry about that. I knew it was forced. David91 05:42, 25 December 2005 (UTC)

I agree that we ought to do something about sex crimes but corporate liability is conceptual in that it considers when a corporation may commit any offence regardless of classification, and establishing a separate page just to rehash theft, fraud, forgery committed by companies does not inspire me. I am still unhappy about international crimes because it is really a PIL topic/criminal jurisdiction topic as much as a municipal law topic. I'll finish off English deception offences, think about sex crimes, rewrite the diabolical crime page and then shift on to PIL (unless you have any requests?). David91 05:54, 25 December 2005 (UTC)


And very nicely done, too<g>. - Nunh-huh 04:21, 26 December 2005 (UTC)

Codification article, links[edit]

Dear BD2412. I notice that in the article entitled "Codification" the links to "United States Statutes at Large" and "United States Code" are red links. Clicking on those links does not get you where you want to go, even though there are indeed articles for "United States Statutes at Large" and "United States Code". Can you tell me how we get the articles to link properly? Famspear 20:09, 27 December 2005 (UTC)

Okaaayyy. The pesky, extraneous punctuation mark. Well, I guess I need to start wearing these reading glasses all the time, now. Thanks. Famspear 21:01, 27 December 2005 (UTC)

Added to lawyer list[edit]

Dear BD 2412; Re addition to lawyer list, thanks. Famspear 21:23, 27 December 2005 (UTC)


I'll do it right now. Its funny how you search for an article and don't find it, and its right under your nose. I am up for editor nomination, I hope this hasn't made me look bad! --Richard Arthur Norton (1958- ) 04:16, 28 December 2005 (UTC)

Yes, and also add as many relevant "See also" links I can think of. Take a look at the link now. I have merged the British version, but removed the non-NPOV statements and only kept the actual cases.

Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of ??? 1985? 1986?[edit]

Dear BD2412: I hope your holidays are going good. Here's an earth-shattering question. What is the official name of the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act? The Wikipedia article on it shows the name as Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1986. To be sure, it was signed into law in April of 1986. But almost every source I have seen, including the CCH tax web site, shows that the Act as signed into law actually bears the date "1985" not "1986". An unusual anomaly. Do you have access to the official United States Statutes at Large? I'm not gonna change the article unless I know the answer for sure, and maybe someone else can get to the answer faster than I can. Famspear 20:15, 28 December 2005 (UTC)

Footnote: By the way, as a newcomer I've never changed the title of an article. Does bad stuff happen if a novice tries to do that? I mean, does the main Wikipedia server blow up or anything? Famspear 20:18, 28 December 2005 (UTC)
Spengler: There's something very important I forgot to tell you.
Venkman: What?
Spengler: Don't cross the streams.
Venkman: Why?
Spengler: It would be bad.
Venkman: I'm fuzzy on the whole good/bad thing. What do you mean, "bad?"
Spengler: Try to imagine all life as you know it stopping instantaneously and every molecule in your body exploding at the speed of light.
Stantz: Total protonic reversal.
Venkman: Right. That's bad. Okay. All right. Important safety tip. Thanks, Egon.
Really, nothing bad will come of it - just be sure to check for double-redirects. Cheers! BD2412 T 20:30, 28 December 2005 (UTC)

Right. And I like your choice of cinema. Famspear 20:36, 28 December 2005 (UTC)

Oh, and if anybody does have quick access to the Statutes at Large, I think the Act is in volume 100. Famspear 20:42, 28 December 2005 (UTC)
And it's 1985, per Thomas. (hint: search for "Consolidated"). BD2412 T 21:02, 28 December 2005 (UTC)

Isn't it true that each year Congress needs to reconcile, so there is always an OBRA or COBRA for Omnibus year-end tax bills. COBRA-1989 gave former employees 18 monhs of health insurance if the terminated worker pays 102% of the premium. That is a very important COBRA as in COBRA coverage. John wesley 00:06, 11 January 2006 (UTC)

The Law[edit]

I respectfully suggest that not all law is "intended" to achieve fair treatment. For example, the laws respecting Jews in Nazi Germany intended nothing of the kind. Same to be said for racially discrminatory laws in the US.

Mike McDonnell

Tax Court article[edit]

Dear BD2412: Thanks for cleaning up my stuff on the Tax Court article. Famspear 22:52, 29 December 2005 (UTC)

Federal Tax Judge Articles[edit]

I see that you've been starting some federal tax judge articles, and while I don't dispute the notability nor the copyright nature of the articles, I do wonder about just dumping the text verbatum without cleaning it up or organizing it into a proper article format. I'm wondering if it wouldn't be better to do a short stub for each judge, with a link to the information on the government site and then have someone generate it into a digestable format. I don't know, what do you think? – MicahMN | μ 03:15, 30 December 2005 (UTC)

  • I'll get to it - bit by bit - the text dump is really the hardest part (I'm doing a certain amount of cleanup with all of them as I go) but I think it's better to have all the info here, where it can be worked on immediately. BD2412 T 03:18, 30 December 2005 (UTC)

Nitpicky detail on Corwin Amendment[edit]

Howdy, I saw on your user page that you have law experience; I'd like to see if you agree with a nitpick I have on Corwin Amendment#Effects. The prose reads:

Apart from its subject matter, the Corwin Amendment also raises an important issue of constitutional theory, namely whether a democratic constitution can prohibit certain future amendments to itself through what amounts to an entrenched clause. When viewed as an entrenched clause, the Corwin Amendment—had it been ratified—might well have been construed to prohibit the later, true 13th Amendment, ratified in 1865, which finally did abolish slavery outright uniformly in all sections of the nation and which granted power to Congress to enforce its terms.

My nitpick is in the last half of the last sentence. I'm an amateur at this but my understanding is that while the 13th amendment abolished slavery Congress would not of been able to pass federal legislation that would trump state legislation. This is why the 14th amendment was passed. By specifying that everyone is now a citizen of the United States (this was originally reserved for the Federal district used as a Capitol) Congress gets its legislative authority. Basically my thoughts are that with out the 14th amendment that Congress couldn't of enforced the 13th. In that case I think the sentence is misleading... nitpicky I know but I'm like that =) Can you give me your thoughts? Since I'm not a pro I'd like to see what you think rather than pollute a perfectly good article with a bit of nonsense. Triddle 08:44, 30 December 2005 (UTC)


I'l do that. You;re a lawyer too right? Want to comment on some of the ridiculous things they are saying on the talk page about there bing a"better system" in the UK and better trials because barristers have to jump through more hoops than USlawyers to do get into a courtroom? Rubbish in my OP.Gator (talk) 20:02, 30 December 2005 (UTC)

  • Rubbish indeed. Try getting a J.D. and having a bar exam. BD2412 T 20:03, 30 December 2005 (UTC)

Don't freaking remind me!Gator (talk) 20:09, 30 December 2005 (UTC)

Great comments although I don't remember having to take any exams to get admitted to the federal courts, just had to pay money and obtain some BS recommendations. You sure about that? I would not been admitted if that was true.Gator (talk) 21:08, 30 December 2005 (UTC)

  • I have to take one in April to practice in the Southern District of Florida - 50 questions, multiple choice (but still, it's out there). BD2412 T 21:12, 30 December 2005 (UTC)

Yeah I went to the website...what a load of crap!!!! The freaking MBRE tests on federal rules. I can't beelive they're pulling that sh_t!! I'd be pissed!!!! The District Court in Maine and the First Circuit were just a matter of paying money and getting references. That sucks dude...good luck. What's the word on that exam? Is it like the MPRE or is it a ball breaker?Gator (talk) 21:19, 30 December 2005 (UTC)

  • Supposed to be pretty easy. Also, you can come in pro hac vice for one case without having to take it. BD2412 T 21:24, 30 December 2005 (UTC)

Your opinion[edit]

Hello, I created an article on the court case People v. Goetz. I would be very interested in your thoughts (and edits), given your work in the Law wikiproject, and it's my first article created from scratch. Thanks! Tufflaw 04:04, 31 December 2005 (UTC)

Mary Ann Cohen[edit]

Thank you for your article on Mary Ann Cohen. Avriette 02:47, 2 January 2006 (UTC)

copyright question about this image [1][edit]

Hi BdAmbransom , I noticed that you are in the real world an attorney according to your user page. Could I ask you for a comment on the legality of this image which I uploaded to Wikipedia. [2] and am planning on using here Benziane . Is it useable? --CltFn 16:27, 3 January 2006 (UTC)

Thank you.--CltFn 17:27, 3 January 2006 (UTC)

Adversary Proceedings article[edit]

Dear BDAdbramson: I just made a few changes to the short article on an Adversary proceeding in bankruptcy. In particular, someone at "" had put in an edit on 14 Sept 2005 to the effect that adversaries could be filed only by the bankruptcy trustee, which I think is incorrect. I added one example of an adversary that can be filed by a creditor – objection to discharge. Although Rule 7001 does not specifically state who can file an adversary, I'm fairly confident it's not limited to trustees. Let me know if you have any thoughts. Yours, Famspear 16:23, 4 January 2006 (UTC)

  • Argh - took bankruptcy too long ago to speak intelligently on it now. It occurs to me that income tax and bankruptcy are disciplines that fit well together, tho. BD2412 T 16:28, 4 January 2006 (UTC)
Yeah, and they're similar in that most people's eyes just sort of glaze over when you start talking with them about either subject. Famspear 16:34, 4 January 2006 (UTC)

Template:Criminal law[edit]

Hi, because of law&diff=32877397&oldid=32876917 this edit you made, the template was putting articles into the nonexisting Category:Defenses to crime:Criminal defenses. I changed it to just point to another category (Category:Criminal defenses), but if you had something else in mind, please feel free to fix it. - Bobet 15:45, 6 January 2006 (UTC)

Ok thanks. I seem to have edited an older version of it by mistake so someone reverted me, but it looks all good now. - Bobet 11:45, 7 January 2006 (UTC)

I responded to your post to me[edit]

LegalEagle1798 18:33, 6 January 2006 (UTC) on my talk page

new responseLegalEagle1798 21:27, 8 January 2006 (UTC)

responseLegalEagle1798 02:08, 9 January 2006 (UTC)

Did the state defend Martha Stewart?LegalEagle1798 17:13, 9 January 2006 (UTC)

Where did you get the idea that a public defender represents the state?LegalEagle1798 22:51, 10 January 2006 (UTC)

  • The word "public" is in the name, and our tax dollars, rather than the PD's clients, pay their salaries. But make a careful distinction here - although having a PD means that the defendant is being defended by the state, the PD represents only the interests of the defendant (and so does not truly "represent" the state). BD2412 T 22:55, 10 January 2006 (UTC)

So what is it then? How many defendants are defended(represented) by the state in a criminal trial in the USA?LegalEagle1798 01:47, 11 January 2006 (UTC)

  • I think I cited a source before that said 66% in federal court and 82% in county courts (which is where states prosecute crimes). Bear in mind that far more crimes are prosecuted in state courts, and that some federal crimes like antitrust violations, false advertising, and product counterfeiting are typically brought against corporations rather than individuals. BD2412 T 02:51, 11 January 2006 (UTC)

"Internal Revenue Service" article: Is there really a "dispute"?[edit]

Dear BD2412: I noticed that someone had put up a label on the Internal Revenue Service article to the effect that the "neutrality" of the article was in "dispute," with a reference to the Talk page for that article. Yet, on the Talk page I found only a few lines of tax protester rhetoric that really only argued about the validity of the tax law, etc. Because nothing on the Talk page addressed anything in the article itself, I removed the POV label with an explanation. I'd appreciate hearing your thoughts. Famspear 01:40, 7 January 2006 (UTC)

  • I suppose they must be disputing whether the IRS is really a Puerto Rican loan collection agency. Keep the tag off unless there's a sane gripe. BD2412 T 02:47, 7 January 2006 (UTC)

Your expertise needed[edit]

Of a legal AND administrative nature. I'm having a little trouble on the de minimis article. User:Albatross2147 has repeatedly added an admittedly funny but unencyclopedic limerick into the article, claiming that law students use it to remember what "de minimis" means. Disputing this claim and pointing to the lack of randomly-inserted jokes in other articles, I have removed the limerick. The dispute spilled over into edit summaries in the article history and on the talk page. The only other relevant comment was one I made on Albatross2147's talk page. I would love to hear your comments on the dispute. Additionally, I believe Albatross has crossed the "no pesonal attacks" line, and would like to know what action you think is appropriate. - Jersyko talk 16:09, 7 January 2006 (UTC)

Random thought of the day[edit]

I was wondering today what would happen if someone were sued for copyright infringement over a work that had just lapsed into the public domain, but was still protected at the time of the infringing activity. I'd think the plaintiff could still get damages but an injunction would of course be unavailable. No point to this beyond seeing if you've ever come across this issue...  ; ) Postdlf 00:19, 8 January 2006 (UTC)

J.D. and B.A.[edit]

B.D., I noticed that you are a very recent law graduate. You will find over the years that there is a lot to the "background" of law that they never discuss in law school and it takes years of reading cases and talking with old-time lawyers to learn it. (I graduated in 1981 and was trained by people who had been practicing 15-25 years when I started out. My last boss was a 35-year attorney.)

For instance, the real reason why lawyers in the U.S. don't use the title "doctor" is that for decades the exact same degree with the exact same coursework and requirements was called an LLB. 30-year senior partners in top-tier lawfirms/judges who had an LLB would not take kindly to calling a first-year lawyer "Doctor" when they had the same training but could not use the title themselves without being accused of fraud because their diploma doesn't say "Doctor". How would it look to clients that they are dealing with the managing partner of Akin, Gump or Fulbright & Jaworski, etc., and they are not calling him "doctor" but a first-year associate or even a part-time contractor attorney introduces himself as "Doctor Robbins"?

Be careful about editing the Juris Doctor article. As a recent graduate, you simply don't know that much about things like an L.L.M., admission requirements for various states, etc. You will find that a lot of "common knowledge" among law students and graduates with less than 3 years of practice is just plain wrong. There is a lot you can't get just by visiting the web pages of a few law schools or talking to people who practice in the same region or who also recently graduated.

For instance, contrary to common belief, a four-year degree is not a requirement in any state for either a J.D., or a DDS or a DVM or an MD because they are considered "first-professional" doctorates, not "research" doctorates. (For instance, I checked New York State's list of grantable degrees under their Education law regarding the "first-professional"/academic distinction.) See my comments at 4-year degree not required and also about the defintion of "accredited".

RickReinckens 03:59, 8 January 2006 (UTC)
My bad - I ought not have spoken in generalities. However, as a practical matter, no one lacking a B.A. gets into law school these days. BD2412 T 05:57, 8 January 2006 (UTC)


I have done a supplementary page on automatism (case law). I am not sure how it should fit into the general scheme of things but I felt it was necessary to explain some of the issues raised on the conceptual page. This begs the question of whether more comparative pages are required for generic topics? And what is the rule about spelling on law pages? Is it that you are consistent with the original form of English when the page was established or that you use the spelling appropriate to the law you are describing? David91 13:30, 8 January 2006 (UTC)

Jimbo as Man of the Year[edit]

How are you with trademark law? Could you take a look at Wikipedia:Administrators'_noticeboard/Incidents#Jimbo.2C_the_.28not-so.29_man_of_the_year? Thanks. Dragons flight 13:29, 9 January 2006 (UTC)

{{Tort law}}[edit]

Hi, I was hoping that wou might be able to make this template a bit shorter, it is quite massive as is - and looks bad on pages where people are using a couple of templates, like cruelty to animals. Reducing the text size might help, making the template horizontal might also be a good idea, but you're probably in the best position to judge. Thanks.--nixie 02:29, 11 January 2006 (UTC)

The template is long and thin for a reason - it's geared towards law students, and is laid out like a law-school outline. In any event, animal cruelty is not a tort. If you're cruel to your own animals, that may be a crime, but no one can sue you for it in a private action. If you're cruel to someone else's animals, that's a trespass to chattel (and possibly a crime as well), but the animal cruelty page should not have the tort template. BD2412 T 02:34, 11 January 2006 (UTC)

Helping Law Students[edit]

You might be interested in the Cyberlaw project where a group of Harvard Law School students are taking a class, where part of their exposure is to Wikipedia. I volunteered to help out. I am somewhat of a Wiki newbie, with fluctuating time availability, but experienced in a diversity of Cyber topics. I got your name from User:TantalumTelluride who says you are both a lawyer and a very active Wikipedian.

It seems to me that the students are intensively studying some topics that the Wiki community could also benefit from knowing better, especially in some contentious areas where the more inexperienced think consensus trumps the law. One of the class assignments was to figure out how Wikipedia could do a better job coping with a variety of issues. Seems to me the students reccommendations ought to have better exposure to the Wikipedian community for general discussion of their merits. There is also the fact that the next Wikimania will be held where these students are located and I wonder if there is good enough cooperation between the different interests intersecting here. User:AlMac|(talk) 13:09, 11 January 2006 (UTC)

I agree, this is a very exciting prospect - if we could get a few dozen Harvard Law folks to vet our law-related articles, that would be a boon! BD2412 T 13:43, 11 January 2006 (UTC)
There is also the notion that other law schools, and other types of professionals education could similarly follow in the footsteps of this effort. Initially it appeared to me that contributing to Wiki was a mass effort over a few days, starting Jan 3, but some of them are coming back for more, a week later. User:AlMac|(talk) 13:59, 11 January 2006 (UTC)


I am also just finishing a rewrite for the page on battered woman syndrome which should really be renamed "battered person" since it is not gender specific as a defense but no-one uses that term. I do not suppose, like automatism (case law) it should go into the template on criminal defenses, but it is symptomatic of a general problem of how to classify comparative law and pages on the relationships between concepts. The reason for my asking about the issue of language was that a person has been changing spellings and usages on some of my pages asserting a rule that all references to law should use the spellings of that law's country even though it produces a lack of consistency on the page. I have also wondered what to do when writing about both English and U.S. law on the same page and thought some guidance might issue from the law group(?). David91 04:58, 12 January 2006 (UTC)


Looking at your notices on the talkpage, I wondered a couple off seconds before posting this - no doubt you are a lawyer ;). The current INCOTW is Fundamental Rights, Directive Principles and Fundamental Duties of India. I believe that the article would be benefited by your edits to it. It appears to be close to FA status and can probly be a candidate for Portal:Law as well. Cheers!! --Gurubrahma 05:57, 21 January 2006 (UTC)

Spendthrift trust[edit]

Dear BD2412: Howdy pardner (that's Texan for hello). I saw that you started an article on the Spendthrift trust. I added some stuff with some examples from Texas law, which I think is fairly representative of the law of most states. Please let me know what you think. Famspear 21:52, 23 January 2006 (UTC)


Hi, would you mind taking a look at WP:ANI#Template:GermanGov and Template talk:GermanGov? The issue is that there seems to be a consensus on the German Wikipedia that works created by the German government are generally protected by copyright law, except for a few narrowly defined exceptions (official announcements, court orders, and similar documents). There are several images here on the English WP which are currently tagged as {{GermanGov}} but which do not seem to meet the criteria that would exempt them from copyright protection (most of them are historical images). A few users here disagree about the purpose and proper use of {{GermanGov}} and there was a debate on TfD about this. However, this struck me as pointless, since we cannot settle what is ultimately a legal question by non-expert debate. I've reviewed the image use policy on the German WP and am convinced that all of the images in question are potentially still under copyright (they were generally taken in the 1930s and 1940s, and there is generally little or no information about who created them). However, I'm not in a position to resolve this issue definitively. Perhaps you can give some advice? Meanwhile, I've decided that it's best to err on the side of caution and have replaced {{GermanGov}} with {{PUI}}. Thanks for any advice on this. Cheers,--MarkSweep (call me collect) 03:30, 31 January 2006 (UTC)

The Federal Reserve System and the US Dollar[edit]

Dear BD2412:

Recalling the BB69 matter back in December, a somewhat interesting discourse (with, shall we say, some "similarities") has been developing with an editor named "Xode" at the discussion page Talk:United States Dollar at:

under the heading for Factuality Dispute. I am in no way comparing Xode's conduct to the outrageous behavior of BB69. The similarity lies in part in the way certain editors seem to be on a "mission" to educate everyone on what they perceive as some great injustice and, I argue, want to use Wikipedia as a soapbox as part of that mission. When you see the materials Xode is promoting regarding the Federal Reserve and the banking system and compare them to the tax protester rhetoric, I think you'll know exactly what is going on. Your input on that Talk page would bring a lot to the table! Yours, Famspear 22:17, 31 January 2006 (UTC)

PS: Xode's User Talk page is interesting too. Yours, Famspear 22:20, 31 January 2006 (UTC)

USUFRUCT Doctrine[edit]

Do you know it, does it apply to trusts. Doesn't that need to put in? John wesley 20:39, 2 February 2006 (UTC)

  • Ouch - rings no bells here! I just know that it exists, and deals with property. BD2412 T 20:40, 2 February 2006 (UTC)
Usufruct! Wow. Louisiana law – not a common law state of course. I think usufruct (i.e., "use of the fruit"??) is the Louisiana French "Code Napoleon" analog to the common law concept of an equitable or beneficial property interest. That's about all I remember at the moment. Famspear 20:50, 2 February 2006 (UTC)

Heads up[edit]

thought i'd give you a quick heads up ... yet another legal debate over the validity of articles like:

This appears once again initiated by Dragons flight (and posted as Copyvio by Michael Snow). The case referred to as definative here is Eckes v. Card Prices Update please go weigh in at Wikipedia:Copyright_problems/2006_February_4. Your opinion is highly valued.  ALKIVARRadioactive.svg 12:03, 4 February 2006 (UTC)


Hey, just wanted to let you know that I replaced all the law templates' images with Image:Scale of justice.png image. Eg, they all went from law&oldid=37237252 to law&oldid=38167973. ~ Cheers Achille 2006-02-04 18:00

Intellectual property question[edit]

Is there a simple answer to this? If I want to draw my own illustration of something and upload it under GFDL, how far removed must it be from copyrighted work? Can I trace a photo? (I assume not). Can I look at a photo and kind of reproduce its general outlines? Can I use a photo for reference but alter the general layout? —Bunchofgrapes (talk) 03:56, 15 February 2006 (UTC)

  • Ooooh, now that's a good one - you're speaking of derivative works, which you can parody or make fair use of - drawing a photo without copying the lines will generally be good enough to get you out of infringement-land. Your drawing will not substitute for the photo commercially, and you're doing it for Wikipedia, an educational purpose. BD2412 T 04:03, 15 February 2006 (UTC)

Irwin Schiff bites the dust again[edit]

Dear BD2412: In case you haven't seen it yet, I've updated the Irwin Schiff article to reflect his sentencing earlier today for last fall's conviction on criminal tax protester related activities. He certainly got zapped. It's sad because he's an old man – but for heaven's sake he certainly did everything he could (in my opinion) to bring all this on himself. I hope that a few other misguided people will take the right lessons from the example of Schiff's life. Yours, Famspear 22:16, 24 February 2006 (UTC)

  • I was actually going to write to remark on your good work in updating all the relevant articles. Any idea just how old Schiff is? That would be useful to add as well. Cheers! BD2412 T 22:20, 24 February 2006 (UTC)

Thanks. I believe he's 77 years old; I saw that somewhere on the net. The Federal Bureau of Prisons web site shows his age as 78. (They still show him on their system – as having been released on June 18, 1993 from his prior jail term.) I'll look around and see how well I can tie this fact down before I add it to the article.

By the way, didn't you start the article on the judge, Kent Dawson? I think I saw something about his having received numerous threats after Schiff's conviction in October. Famspear 22:27, 24 February 2006 (UTC)

  • Yep - I'll look for them. BD2412 T 22:29, 24 February 2006 (UTC)

Dear BD2412: I've added a little more to the article on Schiff (re his age and his diminished capacity argument). Famspear 22:42, 24 February 2006 (UTC)

Kent Dawson article[edit]

Dear BD2412: As you may have already noticed, I responded to your query on my Talk page. I also went ahead and removed the material, with an explanation on the Talk page for the Kent Dawson article.

The procedure by which the IRS legally seizes and sells property of taxpayers without going to court is actually an interesting one (but only if you're a tax geek like me, of course). Might be a source of a future article for me, or an addition to an existing article. Yours, Famspear 01:29, 27 February 2006 (UTC)

I did see that - appropriate response, I think, especially after reading the .pdf, with its scrawled, handwritten odd assertions. BD2412 T 02:26, 27 February 2006 (UTC)

Thorny copyright question[edit]

Hi! User:Bunchofgrapes suggested I consult you about a thorny copyright question. If you've got the time and inclination, could you take a look at User:Bishonen/Andrées luftfärd, please? It's the seed, I'm hoping, of a Featured article about an ill-fated polar expedition by hydrogen balloon in 1897. The balloon crashed and the three explorers eventually perished on the ice. Heartbreakingly, it took two months of doomed and unimaginable efforts to reach populated areas before they gave up and died. They were very well equipped, for instance with weapons and tools, and seem to have lived mainly on polar bear meat. They left amazing records behind: diaries, maps, and photographs. (Aerial photography exploration had been the scientific purpose of the expedition.) When the remains of the explorers were found in 1930, these records were there too, including rolls of film, from which both copy-negatives and positive, retouched, prints were immediately produced. The story of the photographs from 1930 to the present is told in detail here (based on a doctoral dissertation, so it's presumably a reliable source).
So: do you think I can use the photos? Specifically the one I'm already using (please see its image description page), but I also expect to find some cool photos in books I've ordered, that could be scanned. On the one hand, the photographer died in 1897; on the other, the undeveloped film rolls were retrieved from the pack ice 33 years later, more or less damaged (only 93 out of 240 frames yielded any images at all), and the positive prints needed – or were at that time regarded as needing – drastic retouching. I assume Martinsson holds copyright in the digitally enhanced versions he has recently produced, but what about the 1930s prints? Does any copyright inhere in the retoucher? Old photos have always been retouched, haven't they? (Perhaps not quite as radically as these.) Grenna Museum in Sweden claims copyright in the 1930 paper copies, but that doesn't mean much, I presume, since museums obviously have no shame. I'm hoping I'll be able to use any scans of these paper copies that may be about, or that I could make myself from books. I'm pretty sure the present image in User:Bishonen/Andrées luftfärd is such a scan.
Incidentally, I've ordered a second-hand copy of the 1930 book "With 'The Eagle' towards the Pole", which credits the three explorers as its posthumous authors: apparently it contains the original material found on the ice, including maps they drew. Those maps should be in the public domain since they were drawn by men who died in 1897, right? Right...? Oh, man, I hope I can use this brilliant material. Thanks in advance for taking a look, if you do, and for considering it, if you don't! Bishonen | ノート 23:13, 27 February 2006 (UTC).

  • Yes. The "author" of a photograph is the one who snaps the picture, for he decides exactly what elements to capture. Restoring the picture gives no copyright to the restorer, as is well settled in the famous case of Hearn v. Meyer, 664 F. Supp 832 (S.D.N.Y. 1987), where an illustrator attempted unsuccessfully to claim the copyright for his restored versions of original Wizard of Oz illustrations. The authors of these photos, maps, and journal entries have been dead well beyond 70 years; all they have done is in the public domain. BD2412 T 23:41, 27 February 2006 (UTC)
    • Poor Hearn. That is an interesting but of information though. Perhaps adding a mention of it to WP:PD would be appropriate? Dragons flight 00:00, 28 February 2006 (UTC)
      • \o/ Yes!! \o/ Thank you, BD! Er, are you saying even Martinsson can't stop anybody using his digitally enhanced versions? That seems almost cruel. Come to think of it, perhaps Martinsson knows it, and that's the reason he's only put thumbnails, as far as I can see, on the web. Did you see his cool panorama, obviously planned by Nils Strindberg but never noticed before Martinsson did? And Dragon, wow WP:PD is complicated! Scary, also, the way their focus is on when stuff was published, rather than created. I get an impulse to stick my fingers in my ears and hum loudly when I see that. Maybe you would like to put this case in there...? Because I daren't touch it. Bishonen | ノート 01:04, 28 February 2006 (UTC).

Can you try this link[edit]

When I try Intention in English law I ger the following message, "Fatal error: Unknown function: () in /usr/local/apache/common-local/php-1.5/CommonSettings.php on line 700 (" Is this a quirk of my machine or is there a problem somewhere? David91 17:44, 28 February 2006 (UTC)

I get the article, so I think the quirk may be in your system - try purging the cache? BD2412 T 18:18, 28 February 2006 (UTC)

Intellectual property question[edit]

Someone has asked me to delete the first revision of Redbank Plains State High School because they don't like their IP address showing up in the history. While I sympathize with the user, I'm not sure it can be done under the GFDL. Then again, the only thing unique to the first revision seems to be the word "situated"- the rest doesn't seem copyrightable to me, but this ain't my area. Thoughts? Thanks! CanadianCaesar The Republic Restored 19:30, 6 March 2006 (UTC)

An interesting quandary... how do we know that the person requesting deletion of the first entry was the person who supplied it? In any event, it is true that there is really nothing there to attribute, and no one to attribute it to. Hence, I'm going to boldly go ahead and delete that entry, and if anyone cares to complain, the edit can still be restored later. BD2412 T 20:23, 6 March 2006 (UTC)

SCOTUS infoboxes[edit]

I noticed you replaced the {{United States Supreme Court Case}} template with the Postdif infobox. I have since replaced that one with {{SCOTUSRecentCase}} as it mirrors the Postdif one. I was hoping that when replacing the boxes in the future you could simply use the SCOTUS series? Assawyer 00:10, 7 March 2006 (UTC)

  • Very good - and I will indeed. Cheers! BD2412 T 00:35, 7 March 2006 (UTC)


We seem to have stopped interacting but I risk disturbing you out of old times sake. I will not mind if you do not advise. I seem to have run into a problem with Battered woman syndrome. An editor who will not discuss reasons, wishes to change the legal term of art into either the medical "battered person syndrome" or a term of his/her own devising "Battered syndrome". It is obviously a concern over sexism whereas actually the lawyers are using the syndrome to counter specific gender bias in the way the law works (ironic in a way). If I am being childish in resisting a change away from the term used by almost all the published literature, just say so and I will walk away. Dispassionate advice would be welcomed. David91 16:58, 11 March 2006 (UTC)

Thank you for the moral support. David91 17:27, 11 March 2006 (UTC)

The mixture of real work and adminship has taken away a valuable writing editor. I hope you feel that the sacrifice has been worth it. All the best. David91 04:04, 14 March 2006 (UTC)

Followup to thorny question[edit]

Hi, BD, just to follow up on my "Thorny copyright question" above: my page about the polar explorers who died in 1897, although their photos weren't found till 1930, is now live, as S. A. Andrée's Arctic balloon expedition of 1897, in case you'd like to see how great some of the photos that lay buried in the snow look in it. (Well, I think they do. :-)) Thanks again for your help! Bishonen | ノート 21:50, 13 March 2006 (UTC).

Guess what[edit]

Our friend has struck at battered person syndrome and battered syndrome by copying the entire page of battered woman syndrome and wiping out the medical oriented material at battered person syndrome. Shall I revert it or will you? David91 15:54, 14 March 2006 (UTC)

What an ingenious reponse!!! I will clean up the redirects. David91 16:03, 14 March 2006 (UTC)


Dear BD2412: An anon user at IP has just inserted what may be a huge text dump in the article on Copyright. I believe that topic is an area in which you possess expertise. Yours, Famspear 16:43, 15 March 2006 (UTC)

Dear BD2412. Well, the material was shortly thereafter reverted by another editor, and things seem quiet right now. The material appears to have been a text dump copied from

Yours, Famspear 18:58, 15 March 2006 (UTC)

Yep, and yep. Thanks for the note, tho. BD2412 T 19:03, 15 March 2006 (UTC)


Thanks. I wasn't quite sure, since they aren't specifically part of the "Criminal Prosecution". I just thought they deserved a spot somewhere and couldn't find a better place. See ya. --LV (Dark Mark) 01:51, 21 March 2006 (UTC)

Talk: Jury nullification[edit]

Dear BD2412: An anonymous editor at has been dumping enormous amounts of text this morning (23 March 2006) on the Talk page for the Jury nullification article. I don't know whether this presents copyright problems or not, or whether it matters that it's only on a Talk page. Just thought I'd let you know, as this is your area of expertise. Yours, Famspear 17:55, 23 March 2006 (UTC)

Pro Bono[edit]

I see that your wikiholism has taken strong hold, and suggest a partial distraction. Why not try some pro bono legal-wiki-work at I am a legal services back-up center attorney who set up the site, and am part of the team on McWaters v. FEMA. We have had great contributions, but until recently no wiki editors. The site (and Katrina survivors) could really use the help. Thanks! Castellanet 01:08, 25 March 2006 (UTC)

Law-related article...[edit]

Hi BD2412,

I assume, since you were at the top of the list, that you are the founder of the Law WikiProject? How do I join?

Also, I wrote an article over at Judge Richard Casey. I was wondering if you or somebody from your WikiProject could review it and make any necessary corrections. (Federal trial transcripts are public domain, right...?)

Thanks --Hyphen5 05:34, 25 March 2006 (UTC)

I didn't start it - I just re-started it when it had been dormant for a while. And to join, just add your name to the list! The article looks good (and yes, U.S. federal trial transcripts are public domain). BD2412 T 06:02, 25 March 2006 (UTC)