Judge Andrew J. Guilford decries as outdated the often-seen system of using a traditional outline style with Roman Numerals. He makes the obvious point that, when you are in the middle of a document with the traditional outline style, it’s hard to figure out how what you are reading ties in with the rest of the document. I wholeheartedly agree and have long avoided the traditional style in favor of something similar to what the judge calls for.
For example, in a real estate purchase and sale agreement, the style I use looks like this:
1. Identification of the Parties.
1.01. The Seller is John Doe, whose address is 123 Main Street, River City, Texas 77777
1.02. The Buyer is Richard Roe, whose address is 456 Broadway, River City, Texas 77778.
2. Identification of Property. The Property is Lot 1, Block 3, Hypothetical Subdivision, an addition to the City of River City, Texas, a plat of which is recorded at . . .
3. Price. The Price is . . .
That way, when you are deep in the contract at 11.02.07, you can easily figure out how this section relates to the contract as a whole. It is in my view, far superior to traditional outlining. Not only that, but in my locale at least, most experienced transactional lawyers use some similar system. I’m surprised at the reservations in the linked article about whether others would find this system acceptable.
Government regulation is often necessary, and it often offers significant benefits. But those benefits cannot be measured standing alone. They also come with a cost. One of those costs is potentially stifling innovation.
An example of the risk materialized is the copyright litigation surrounding a company called “Aereo,” which streams broadcast television signals over the internet. Last June, the Supreme Court said that Aereo’s business was enough like that of a cable company that it violated the broadcasters’ copyrights in the broadcast material. But cable companies get to retransmit broadcast signals by paying a statutorily-prescribed fee to the broadcasters. Aereo said, OK, if we’re like a cable company, then we, too, get to pay the fee and retransmit the signals. Makes sense, right?
No, says the federal district court for the Southern District of New York. According to that court, Aereo is effectively a cable company for the purpose of having to pay for the signals it retransmits, but it is not a cable company for the purpose of being able to take advantage if the statutorily-prescribed retransmission fee. I have no opinion on whether the New York decision is correct legally. I am unfamiliar with the law and concede the court may have been compelled to reach that result. But if it is the law, Congress needs to fix it pronto.
The result is terrible public policy because it favors entrenched interests over those of market innovators. That’s a downside of regulation from the perspective of the public. It is a significant feature of regulation from the perspective of entrenched interests. This is the world we live in.
Making science fiction a reality:
According to a new study by the Framingham Heart Study Offspring Cohort. Excessive alcohol consumption, of course, is still a bad thing.
Ever since I was a kid in the 1950s, we’ve had periodic scares about sickos poisoning or drugging candy and even putting razor blades in apples. From the reports I have read, these scares have mostly been symptomatic of hysteria. Actual reports of such actions are rare. But the folks in Arviat, Nunavut, which is about 150 miles north of Churchill, Manitoba, have to face up to a real threat to their children. As a result, they’ll hold controlled celebrations indoors.
What is the threat? Polar bears. Arviat apparently sits on a polar-bear-migration route. With the bear population increasing, human-bear interactions are increasing. Little good can come from such interactions, especially when the human is a child.