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The Mishpat-Update #1

Welcome to the first Issue of the weekly Mishpat-Update

After several delays, the Mishpat-Update is finally on it's way. The last delay was actually a happy one - My first son was born a little earlier than expected :-) Now that everything has calmed down this newsletter can get going. This issue will be a little different from the rest - it will be an introduction to the features of Mishpat-Net and the Mishpat-Update.


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In this issue:

1. What is Mishpat-Net
2. The name "Mishpat-Net"
3. Cyberlaw Books
4. Global Strategist game
5. The Mishpat Award
6. Internet course for Lawyers.
7. Cyberlaw News
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1. What is Mishpat-Net
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Mishpat-Net http://mishpat.net started as a project originally meant to facilitate online research of Israeli law. After a couple of days it became clear that there was no justification for such a site because there were less than 200 links gathered (including government agencies). I should also mention that there is another good site with Israeli law links: Haim Ravia's http://www.law.co.il

Therefore I decided to change the focus of Mishpat-Net and it will deal mainly with cyberlaw and international law. Currently there are more than 2000 legal links in our database, so the Israeli law section is less than 10% and as the database grows it becomes a less significant part of the site.

Our directory certainly is the biggest legal resource on the web, and by the summer we shall probably reach the size of the Internet Legal Resource Guide http://www.ilrg.com and pass the 5,000 links benchmark - all of them dealing with different aspects of the law.

The difference between Mishpat-Net and other great legal resources such as http://findlaw.com is that we pay more attention to "small" sites - legal sites about the law in Jordan, Vietnam, South Africa etc. are approximately a third of our database and we list not only American sites and law schools but those of other countries as well.
As part of the focus on International law we are creating a "countries" section that will list laws of all nations available online - this will hopefully be done by mid April.

Currently only about 250 links are organized in the different categories (more than 200 different pages) but the search option from our home page http://mishpat.net searches the whole database. hopefully all links will be in place by the end of March.

The Mishpat-Update will update you as this project makes progress. You are all welcome to suggest sites at http://mishpat.net/admin/suggest.html

Because of the early focus on Israeli law (by April Israeli law won't be the top category on the site) and the connection with the Israeli Lawyers Online guide (at http://law-firm.co.il ), approximately half of the Mishpat-Update readers are Israeli. I believe that the switch to international law will bring many new subscribers from around the globe.

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2. The name "Mishpat-Net"
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Mishpat is the Hebrew word for law (and it is also means justice, case, trial and judgment). The name Mishpat-Net was chosen as a symbol of the connection between the ancient origins of the law (Mishpat is a biblical word that is also in use in modern hebrew) and the modern society in which the law functions ("Net") and the impact of the information society on the rule of law.

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3. Cyberlaw Books
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In future issues of the Mishpat-Update we will review books about law and the information society, cyberlaw and computer law. All books mentioned will be available from Amazon.com, the largest online bookstore. If you want to write a review about a book, send it to mailto:comments@mishpat.net and we will publish it if it meets our editorial standards, with attribution to the writer.

In the meantime, we created a cyberlaw bookstore with 15 books offered at a 10%-30% discount from Amazon.com. You can find it at http://mishpat.net/books/cyberlaw.html Detailed reviews of the books will be added to the site within a few months, but full reviews are available at Amazon.com. just click on one of the titles on http://mishpat.net/books/cyberlaw.html and you will be transferred to the matching page on Amazon.com.



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4. Global Strategist
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Global Strategist is the unique GLOBAL investment game in which players learn about global investing, winning real cash prizes in the process. Unlike other investment games, Global Strategist players construct portfolios by selecting combinations of over 40 of the world's leading stock markets, rather than individual stocks.

There is a 1 to 15 chance of receiving cash prizes (losers too) in the paid games. Smaller prizes are given out in the free games. I tried this game and the rules are simple - just decide what percentage of your virtual portfolio you want to invest in Australian bonds or french stocks and watch how the real markets effect your profile.

To join the fun (free games available) just click the Global Strategist banner on the bottom of our homepage http://mishpat.net a new window will open and all you have to do is join (FREE) and play the game.

As I have said: I joined and invested in 12 countries so just click and play.
Have Fun!!!



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5. The Mishpat Award
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The Mishpat Award for top legal sites is given every month to five law related web sites selected by the Mishpat-Net staff. The main criterion for evaluation is the value of information on the site, but appealing graphic layout, loading time, interactivity and easy navigation are also considered. The award winners will be listed in a special section on the web site, and will be reviewed in the Mishpat-Update newsletter.

The competition is new so we will announce the first winners at the end of March 1999. If you run a website be sure to submit your site at http://mishpat.net/awards/apply.html



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6. Internet Course for Israeli Lawyers
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Since many of you are Israeli I'll take this opportunity to tell you about a new Internet course designed to meet lawyers needs we are starting together with Maytad Ltd. It will cover topics such as using E-mail effectively, Online legal research, law related discussion groups, legal cyberspace issues and more.

For further details call Maytad Ltd. 04-8344311 (Israel)



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7. Cyberlaw Updates
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Each week the Mishpat-Update will bring you the latest news about online and computer law, with links to the full reports available online.

* Is The Lycos MP3 Index Legal? *
Lycos launched its MP3 (a popular music format) service. The problem is that there's no easy way that Lycos can automatically determine if a file violates any copyright (most MP3 files online are "pirated"). No doubt MP3 users will love the service, but it could force Lycos to deal with liability issues. Read a special report from the Search Engine Watch
http://searchenginewatch.com/sereport/9903-mp3legal.html

* Virginia Law Would Make Internet Spamming a Crime *
Virginia adopted legislation yesterday that criminalizes sending mass, unsolicited electronic mailings, or spam.
http://www.computerworld.com/home/news.nsf/CWFlash/990225virginia

* French decision on liability for hosting free Web sites *
A French appeals court has recently ruled that a provider of a free Web hosting service is liable for invasion of privacy as a result of the posting of nude photographs of a French model on one of the hosted sites.
http://www.oreilly.com/people/staff/andyo/ar/anonymity_snare.html

* Bells win partial victory in ISP ruling *
The FCC ruled today that calls to ISPs (Internet service providers) are essentially long distance, a decision that could save big local telephone companies hundreds of millions of dollars.
http://www.news.com/News/Item/0%2C4%2C32789%2C00.html?dd.ne.txt.0225.02

* Microsoft antitrust trial continues *
http://www.news.com/News/Item/0,4,32935,00.html
http://www.lawnewsnetwork.com/stories/mar/e030199o.html

* Judge slams anti-abortion site *
A federal judge has ordered anti-abortion activists to stop contributing to the Nuremberg Files.
http://www.news.com/News/Item/0%2C4%2C32977%2C00.html?dd.ne.txt.0226.04

* Professor Appeals To Publish Crypto Code *
Peter Junger, a law professor at Case Western Reserve University, will take his challenge of controversial regulations that ban the unlicensed export of encryption software to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit. Junger, backed by the American Civil Liberties Union, is challenging the Commerce Department rules, arguing that it is a prior restraint of his right to free speech.
http://www.news.com/News/Item/0,4,33187,00.html

* Spammers are trying to build an antitrust case *
spammers are trying to build an antitrust case against backbones and ISPs who have anti-spam policies. An interesting use of the web to build a class action suit.
http://www.lawmall.com/bb2/

If you know of any cyberlaw updates please send them to mailto:news@mishpat.net

This is all for this time,
see you next week

Yedidya M. Melchior
Editor

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