Exploring "Blawgs": Weblogs with a Legal Theme
Like most IT professionals, my time is precious, and the luxury of "surfing" the web for new content is one I can rarely afford. However, with the rise in popularity of RSS and newsreaders, like many other people I've found myself in information heaven once again, no surfing required. I just point my newsreader to a few dozen of my favorite feeds, and I'm in business.
Weblogs (blogs for short) might have become popular with the masses because it's easy for anyone to publish regularly in a journal format, but blogs have become popular with readers because they often offer a level of analysis and insight that many web sites don't offer. The commercial web can be incredibly valuable, but bloggers offer interpretation and punditrysomething many of us are eager to consume.
In addition to scores of technical RSS feeds from InformIT and other sites, I've started following a number of blawgsweblogs with a legal theme. A number of attorneys are using these "law blogs" as a mechanism for communication and education with their peers in the legal community, and a few are even using blogs to market to clients. Of course, this early in the game, most attorneys who are blogging are on the early-adopter curve, so more than a few of these blawgs have a technology focus.
Disclaimer: The content of this article is provided for informational purposes only. The author of this article is not a lawyer, and nothing here should be construed as legal advice. For all questions regarding legal matters, you should consult an attorney, not the World Wide Web.
The Weblog Chase?
At the forefront of blogging and the law is none other than the Harvard Law School. The law school is home to the Berkman Center for Internet & Society, which is a research center dedicated to studying "cyberspace; its development, dynamics, norms, standards; and need or lack thereof for laws and sanctions."
Blog pioneer Dave Winer is among the Fellows at Berkman, and the Center's home page is syndicated via RSS. Berkman and Harvard also host a number of blawgs related to issues of the law and the Internet, written by Fellows and students at Harvard. The Weblogs at Harvard Law site features postings from the Center's Fellows and covers a wide range of topics, from cybercrime to international intellectual property issues. The site also features a directory of all the blogs hosted at Harvard, although finding a blog there that's both informational and updated regularly will require some sifting.
One of the blogs hosted by Harvard/Berkman is GrepLaw, which covers "Geeks. Laws. Everything in between." GrepLaw is a multi-author blog that accepts reader story submissions à la Slashdot. GrepLaw is a good resource for staying on top of legal developments that impact personal rights online, trademark issues, and even liability issues confronting software developers.