Yen and Gregas, ‘Liability Waivers and Participation Rates in Youth Sports: An Empirical Investigation’

This article explores whether there is empirical support for the assertion that enforcing liability waivers signed by parents increases participation in youth sports. To the authors’ knowledge, it is the first and only article to do so.

This inquiry is critically relevant to a sharp split in contract law. Youth sports providers typically condition a minor’s participation on a signed parental waiver of the minor’s ability to sue for negligence. There are many reasons to doubt the enforceability of such releases. They are contracts of adhesion, their terms might be unconscionable, and they expose minors to increased risk of injury. Nevertheless, states do not consistently invalidate these releases. Of states that have explicitly considered the question, roughly one-third enforce youth sports releases, and they do so for a very specific reason, namely a professed belief that enforcing youth sports releases increases youth sports participation. Thus, if enforcing youth sports releases does not actually increase youth sports participation, then the primary reason given for doing so evaporates.

Our article searches for empirical evidence by statistically analyzing a database constructed from a fifty-state survey of the law covering 1988-2014, high school sports participation numbers reported by the National Federation of State High School Associations over the same years, data from the National Center for Education Statistics, and data from the United States Census. We found no statistically significant relationship between enforcing youth sports releases and increased participation in high school youth sports.

Yen, Alfred Chueh-Chin and Gregas, Matthew, Liability Waivers and Participation Rates in Youth Sports: An Empirical Investigation (November 30, 2020). ASU Sports and Entertainment Law Journal, volume 10, no 1, 2020, Boston College Law School Legal Studies Research Paper No 543.

‘Is it time to move on from the AI inventor debate?’

“This Kat has long argued that the discussion of AI inventorship is premature. However, the subject of AI inventorship remains (for want of a better word) trendy. Following the widely publicised submission of two patent applications purporting to have an AI inventor, the media and conference circuit was awash with discussion on the topic. However, in a welcome injection of realism into the debate, the majority of contributors to a recent USPTO public consultation on the topic were of the opinion that AI is not yet capable of invention …” (more)

[Rose Hughes, The IPKat, 2 December]

RCD Holdings Ltd v LT Game International (Australia) Ltd: Exclusive Jurisdiction Clauses – Whither Inconvenience?’

“In the recent decision of RCD Holdings Ltd v LT Game International (Australia) Ltd, Davis J of the Supreme Court of Queensland dismissed proceedings brought in breach of an exclusive jurisdiction clause that had been expressed in ‘an arm’s length agreement reached between commercial entities’. In deciding whether to exercise his discretion not to stay or dismiss proceedings, Davis J examined whether procedural disadvantages and ‘inconvenience’ in the jurisdiction nominated in the clause were relevant considerations …” (more)

[Sarah McKibbin, Conflict of Laws .net, 3 December]

Laura Kessler, ‘Family Law by the Numbers: The Story That Casebooks Tell’

This Article presents the findings of a content analysis of 86 family law casebooks published in the United States from 1960 to 2019. Its purpose is to critically assess the discipline of family law with the aim of informing our understandings of family law’s history and exposing its ideological foundations and consequences. Although legal thinkers have written several intellectual histories of family law, this is the first quantitative look at the field.

The study finds that coverage of marriage and divorce in family law casebooks has decreased by almost half relative to other topics since the 1960s. In contrast, pages dedicated to child custody and child support have increased, more than doubling their relative share. At the same time, the boundaries of family law appear to remain quite stubborn. Notwithstanding sustained efforts by family law scholars and educators to restructure the field of family law so that it considers additional domains of law affecting families (such as tax, business, employment, health, immigration, and government benefits), the core of the academic field of family law has remained relatively static in the past 60 years. Marriage, divorce, child custody, and child support continue to dominate the topics presented in family law casebooks, representing 55% to 75% of their content since the 1960s.

Kessler, Laura T, Family Law by the Numbers: The Story That Casebooks Tell (August 1, 2020). Arizona Law Review, volume 62, no 4, 2020.

Kin Pan, ‘The Regulation of Short Sellers in Australia’

Short selling is a topic that generated a great deal of interest during the 2007-08 global financial crisis, with concerns about the practice leading to wholesale reform of Australia’s short selling regulation. Since the GFC, short selling regulation in Australia has remained largely unchanged and attracted little public attention. Yet legislation introduced in the immediate aftermath of a crisis is often defective. It is therefore not surprising that significant criticism has been levelled at short selling laws introduced in foreign jurisdictions in the aftermath of the GFC. This raises the question as to whether short selling regulation in Australia is fit for purpose. To address this question, this article examines the negative and positive narratives surrounding short sellers, which have important regulatory consequences, and the objectives of securities regulation. By considering these narratives and objectives, this article criticises Australia’s current regulation of short sellers, and offers proposals for reform.

Pan, Kin, The Regulation of Short Sellers in Australia (February 2, 2020). (2020) 37(8) Company and Securities Law Journal 540.

‘The Disruptive Potential of Blockchain in the Law of Wills’

Bridget J Crawford, Blockchain Wills, 95 Indiana Law Journal 735 (2020), available at SSRN. Disruptive technologies, like the Internet, often drive new social and organizational arrangements: we now enjoy global interconnectedness and an ease of communication that was previously the stuff of speculative fiction. Blockchain technology has the potential to be similarly transformative, with the Wall Street Journal characterizing blockchain as a foundational technology along the lines of the electricity or the world wide web. Bitcoin was created in 2009 as a decentralized, immutable, open source method of peer-to-peer payment that uses a distributed ledger to track all transactions – and this process of recording transactions is what is known as ‘the blockchain’ … (more)

[Victoria J Haneman, JOTWELL, 3 December]

Valena Elizabeth Beety, ‘Compensating Victims of Police Violence’

Victim compensation funds exist to help victims and their families during a traumatic time of crisis. These funds cover funeral expenses, medical expenses, and mental health treatment at a critical time. Yet to be eligible for victim compensation funds, the victim often must provide a police report that identifies the assailant as the perpetrator and the harmed party as the victim.

When the shooter is a police officer, then victims don’t have police reports that identify them as victims. Instead, law enforcement identify these witnesses and subjects of violence as contributory in order to protect police officers from liability. Families of victims of police violence must use their own resources or resort to GoFundMe pages for funeral and proper burial services.

Instead, victim compensation funds (VCF) should apply to victims of police shootings and their families. Legislatures and prosecutors should amend the VCF requirements to allow victims of police violence to apply and be considered for funds. Victims of police shootings are first and foremost victims. A legally innocent civilian who has been shot by the government is a victim, particularly in a deadly shooting where the government imposed the sentence of death without any process.

This essay unfolds in three sections: identifying police violence in the United States and the disparate impact on communities of color, identifying who qualifies as a victim for Victim Compensation Funds and why police violence victims have rarely received compensation, and finally highlighting ways that state legislators or District Attorneys can provide a path for victims of police violence to be eligible for consideration of funds. These paths to compensation are particularly necessary due to the expanded doctrine of qualified immunity that undermines Section 1983 litigation seeking compensation through a civil lawsuit. Institutional bias frequently subverts success on either criminal charges against law enforcement or civil rights compensation for victims. Neither the criminal justice system nor state actors sufficiently remedy the harms of a deadly police shooting. However, compensating these victims through the state victims rights funds may re-establish some sense of justice after police use of force. This essay focuses on how this limited relief can work toward making the victim and their family whole.

Beety, Valena Elizabeth, Compensating Victims of Police Violence (November 9, 2020). Nevada Law Journal, forthcoming.

Alec Walen, ‘More Contra Moore on Absences as Causes’

Michael Moore’s 2009 book Causation and Responsibility is a landmark work on causation and the law. In it he defends a thesis that seems highly intuitive, namely that there is no such thing as causation by omission. Jonathan Schaffer has offered a compelling rebuttal, the punchline of which is that on Moore’s view beheading is not murder. Yet Moore remains unpersuaded, and many still hold to the position that he defends on omission cases. I propose here to take up Schaffer’s argument and develop it further, arguing in favor of the view that absences can be causes, both metaphysically and in morality and the law.

Walen, Alec D, More Contra Moore on Absences as Causes (October 6, 2020).

Reza Beheshti, ‘The circular economy and the implied terms of contract in English sales law’

Purpose: The purpose of this article is to examine the contractual framework for the sale of goods in order to gauge whether the English sales law regime can promote a circular business model. Examination of the contractual framework for the sale of goods to gauge whether the English sales law regime can promote a circular business model. Design/methodology/approach: Theoretical and doctrinal legal analysis. Findings: Due to the absence of rules and regulations requiring manufacturers produce goods compliant with the circular economy (CE), English Sale of Goods Act has limited capacity in holding manufacturers accountable and liable in failing to manufacture goods compliant with the CE. The only currently practical solution for this gap is that the buyers should ensure that their particular intention of obtaining goods compliant with the CE is fully communicated to manufacturers.

Reza Beheshti, The circular economy and the implied terms of contract in English sales law, Journal of Property, Planning and Environmental Law, Publication date: 16 November 2020.

Amanda Reid, ‘Social Utility of Music: A Case For A Copyright Exemption For Therapeutic Uses’

Music is more than mere entertainment; modern research shows that it can be an effective therapeutic tool. The social utility of music therapy is undertheorized and underexplored from a legal perspective. This is worrisome because copyright law directly impacts this clinical discipline. The well-known concerns about fair use uncertainty and rightsholder overreach are at play for music therapists. The high social utility of music therapy coupled with the high transaction costs to license various uses of music justify a carveout under copyright law. To ensure robust safeguards for this burgeoning field, a statutory exemption for therapeutic uses of music is warranted.

Reid, Amanda, Social Utility of Music: A Case For A Copyright Exemption For Therapeutic Uses (November 18, 2020). Cornell Journal of Law and Public Policy, volume 30, no 1, 2020.