Traditionally, the subject of legal research methods as studied at the Faculty of Laws of the University of Malta was quite a straightforward exercise. It pertained to what in the literature is called ‘doctrinal research’ or the ‘black letter’ approach to research. Essentially, this type of research restricts itself to a textual analysis of the law with reference to case law and doctrine.

The difficulty with this type of research is that it is not interdisciplinary and does not make use of qualitative and quantitative legal research tools which give a broader perspective to the dimension of law while linking it to the society which, after all, the law regulates. Law faculties overseas have moved on and are now teaching other legal research methods than the traditional doctrine research one.


Since a couple of years ago, we have introduced at the Faculty of Laws, legal research methods in a number of courses, especially those which lead to a research project, term paper, dissertation or thesis in order to broaden as much as possible the horizons of legal studying while contextualising it in the society of which we all form part.

This has helped to combine doctrinal analysis with empirical legal scholarship. We are now infusing legal research with techniques and approaches from the humanities and the social sciences. We are not, of course, the first law faculty moving in this direction – probably we are the last!

Be it as it may, what is important now is that we have made the shift towards a combined research method of both doctrinal and empirical scholarship.

Law is and remains a social phenomenon. As the Latin maxim runs: ubi societas, ibi jus. Where there is society, there is law. The socio-legal research method simply does this: it contextualises the teaching of law to the society which it regulates. Indeed, the doctrinal analysis approach has been correctly criticised in literature on the ground that it is too inward looking, that it is too limited in scope, and that it does not take on board emerging problems in society to afford a legal solution thereto.

The relevance of using other disciplines such as psychology, political science, international relations, sociology, anthropology, criminology, history, etc. contributes to broadening legal discourse. After all, as the adage goes, the law regulates the human being from the cradle to the grave. It intertwines with several other areas of human knowledge and essentially regulates them in all their manifold existences. It is so all-encompassing that it is not possible to conceive of any of the other academic subjects where the law does not have a say.

What is research methodology? Why study empirical legal research methods? Precisely because our experience tells us that when students in the Faculty of Laws are asked to draw up a research question, for either a term paper, dissertation, or a doctoral thesis, very often they are lost. They do not know what to write, or where to start from. They then consult older legal practitioners who may themselves be uncertain about the relevance of research methodologies.

Legal scholarship is about the ability to analyse a problem involving a narrowly focused question of law, and through research to provide a solution to it

Legal scholarship is about the ability to analyse a problem involving a narrowly focused question of law, and through research to provide a solution to it. This involves the ability to find relevant legal sources, extract essential points from them, apply the law to provide answers, and to communicate the reasons for the research findings through legal materials.

Indeed, law students are now taught that emergent research findings must no longer be based on personal views and opinions, but rather be evidence-based, and supported with the literature.

Research methodologies are regarded as essential by most disciplines within the social science. However, there is often a tendency within law to not devote time to any significant study of research methods. In essence, the study of methodology shapes a research question or a hypothesis, and determines what data to collect, how that data is analysed, and how to convince legal scholars and other researchers that the study and its emergent findings are truly scientific and credible.

Method is also closely related to questions of theory. This is because every legal research study begins from a theoretical basis. After identifying a problem statement, or a research question or hypothesis, it is important to determine what theories, key concepts, and models exist around that research topic.

The theoretical basis of a study will inform the reader how law is conceptualised by other legal scholars. The theoretical framework also provides scientific justification for research, that it is not just an arbitrary thought, but that it is both grounded in and based on scientific theory.


How can you determine what theories and key concepts frame a research question? This is done through a literature review, where a researcher finds out how other legal scholars have defined these key concepts.

The study of research methodologies should not be seen as something that is imposed by the Faculty of Laws, but rather as a voluntarily chosen modus operandi that can make research more challenging and robust. Training in research methods is of fundamental importance to the task of legal research that relates directly to both the formulation of research proposals, and the practicalities of actually carrying out that research.

Training in research skills acts as a mediator between personal beliefs and opinions, and the data and evidence produced through research. Moreover, students come to understand ways of integrating empirical data about people’s lived experiences into their research.

Law is a discipline in transition moving from a predominantly monodisciplinary dogmatic tradition towards multidisciplinary and empirical research. Today, law students are expected to add something new to the body of knowledge with their term paper or dissertation through engaging with empirical research.

Is legal scholarship really so different from other social sciences or the humanities that it can do without generally accepted research methodologies? In the social sciences there is consensus on how to draw up a research question, or how to use observation or in-depth interviewing for the collection of ‘uncontaminated’ primary data. However, in law there are no accepted guidelines on how to write a case note, or even how to do a proper literature review.

Some scepticism about the study of research methodology in law has to do with old quarrels about whether law is a science or not. Old-time legal scholars claim that law is different from other sciences, but do not explain how and why, and what the justification for this is. While they argue that multidisciplinarians do not understand what it means for law to be a normative science, multidisciplinarians contend that doctrinal research merely defends personal opinion.

Changes in the law are first and foremost intended to solve societal problems. However, a major difficulty when changing the law is that there is very little empirical evidence, based on people’s lived realities, available to lawyers to generate arguments in favour of reform.

Clearly, there is no longer room for one dominant methodology that separates law from society, and that overlooks the sociological, philosophical, political and moral implications of law. In today’s law schools it is now accepted that legal research based on narrative and the black letter approach, without any empirical content, is hollow and passé.

Author : Camilleri-Cassar, Kevin Aquilina

Source : http://www.timesofmalta.com/articles/view/20170313/opinion/Legal-research-methods.642262

Categorized in Online Research

Experts from all over the world have been pointing out the dark side of the deep web for quite some time now. However, new research goes to show there are plenty of legal reasons to use the darknet, as the number of legitimate sites far outpaces the number of underground marketplaces. This is quite a surprising outcome, although it will not put government’s minds at ease by any means.

The Darknet Is About More Than Online Crime

The research unveiled by Terbium Labs is quite interesting to take note of. Most people only know the deep web for its criminal activity, and law enforcement is cracking down on these illegal trades. But every story has two sides to it, and it turns out the number of legitimate deep web sites is far bigger than most people give it credit for.

The deep web offers users an additional layer of anonymity and privacy, which is often associated with online crime.However, there are other reasons to demand more privacy when browsing the Internet. Although the research only pulled data from 400 different sites, it goes to show there are multiple legitimate use cases on the deep web.

As one would come to expect, the results showcase there are many different categories of content to be found on the darknet. Drugs, Fraud, Counterfeits, and Hacking are all prominent site directories, but they only represent a small portion of all onion-based platforms. In fact, 6.8% of all search results returned adult content, which is also deemed as “legal.”


Other legal content one can find on the deep web ranges from hosting Facebook – which is often accessed through the Tor browser – to graphic design firms, political parties, and regular forums to discuss IT-related content. All of this content could easily exist without Tor, were it not for the software to offer more privacy and anonymity.

The research also highlights some worrisome development in the “illicit content” category, though. Even though most deep web discussions revolve around drugs and weapons, they only represent a fraction of what is going on among criminals. Exploitation is a serious offense, and it is becoming more prominent on the darknet than ever before. Exploitation ranges from pornographic, violent content, or any other type of illegal activity involving children.

Weapons of mass destruction are notoriously absent from this darknet findings report. Although exploring 400 web sites may not be the best way to target discussions about WMDs, it goes to show biological agents have not found their way to “traditional’” deep web platforms just yet. But that doesn’t mean it is not there for those who know how the look for it.

The main thing to take away from this research is how one cannot classify the deep web as just a place for criminal activity. However, since no one can grasp the full complexity of the darknet, to begin with, further research is warranted. For now, there is no reason to dismiss the positive side of the deep web, as there are more legitimate use cases than assumed at first.

Source:  livebitcoinnews.com

Categorized in Research Methods

The harsh reality is that very few people have heard of the Deep Web, and those that do mostly believe it is illegal. For the most part, they’re not actually all that wrong. As we all know, Deep Web also called the hidden web is a hive of illegal activity, however, that said there are also a vast number of perfectly legal sites on the hidden web that will both entertain and shock you. Here is a list of Deep Web Sites.

For most people that I have talked to, these weird, yet somehow gripping sites are what really draw them in.

Your TOR usage is being watched
The Deep Web has a strange sort of community, a mix of crypto-anarchists, bored hackers, and people with such strange ideas that they make 4chan look like a children’s crèche.

Be prepared to find these places somewhat offensive, with no censoring whatsoever, threads in Deep Web forums often tend to get somewhat out of hand.

However, I would advise anyone to go to them, of course in the knowledge that the sites are pretty NSFW, they are a real eye-opener as to what people are like without any of the constraints we put on ourselves so that we conform to societal norms.

The Hidden Wiki is probably as close as you could get to a homepage for the Dark Net.

However be warned that it does not shy away from the darker areas that exist, it has links to many of the various drug sites, as well as some links (you’ll know which ones) that if you click, you’ll be committing a serious offence.



What it also has however, are many links to some of the more intriguing areas of the Deep Web, such as to a website where people confess their sins, along with forums where like-minded people can discuss their various ideas, ranging from world-domination to their favorite Adventure Time characters.

The Hidden Wiki also provides links to strange sites with constellation style designs on them, and others that discuss the rising Illuminati threat.

It also links to sites such as Operation Genesis, a sort of Deep Web social network with hundreds of thousands of users.

HackerThe Deep Web is undoubtedly a weird place. Where else could your book club go from discussing 1983 by George Orwell, to a particular piece of erotic Jungle Book fan fiction? While it is known mostly for the illegal activity that it permits to happen, it is heart-warming to see how many people visit the Deep Web to see its legal, albeit extremely weird, sites.

Source : https://darkwebnews.com/

Categorized in Deep Web

Copyright law is one of the grayest areas on the internet, and violations happen more often than a troll comment gets posted to YouTube. Well maybe not, but potential copyright violations can be confusing to navigate if you don’t know how the laws apply to your particular situation, especially around the issue of copyrighted music and audio.

Often creators don’t even realize they are violating copyright laws. But we’re here to help. Although I have to mention up front that this is not legal advice and cannot substitute for a good copyright attorney, following these steps can help to ensure that you’re the only person who can earn money from the works you produce.

Using Copyrighted Music and Audio in Video: Post Contents

In this post we discuss the legal implications of using copyrighted music in your videos, and confirm royalty-free, public domain options. We also highlight some of the biggest myths about copyright and music:

Music Copyright 101: What Audio Can You Use and When

The easiest way to avoid copyright violations is to create 100% original content. But what about using sound effects or a soundtrack in your video? The most important question to ask here is, “Am I inhibiting the original creator’s ability to earn money from this work?”. Whether or not the creator is making money from their work, you cannot inhibit their ability to do so.

Examples would include having the entire track from Justin Bieber’s 'Baby' playing in the background of your latest video. Not only would that lack a certain taste in good music but that’s just not going to fly in terms of copy4right. Somebody could potentially rip his audio directly from your video, removing their need to buy his record to listen to his music. That’s a major no no.

New to creating video and want to know the basics of copyright in relation to music, footage, and images? YouTube have a great overview which is definitely worth watching to bring you up to speed:

When IS it OK to Use Another Creator’s Music in Your Video?

It's a complicated topic but if you want to use music that someone else has created then you'll need to know the legal implications of doing so. Obtaining permission really depends on the specific piece itself and whether it needs a license or not:

  1. In the purest sense, the only time that you do not need to secure special permissions to use a work is when that work is in the public domain. Some older works have made their way into the public domain and according to the Public Domain Information Project that includes: “Any Song or Musical Work Published in 1922 or Earlier is in the Public Domain in the USA. No Sound Recordings are PD in the USA due to a tangled complexity of Federal and State Law”. You would think the traditional “Happy Birthday” song is in that list, but it’s not. Do NOT use it!
  2. If what you are using isn’t in the public domain, you WILL need to obtain a license to use it. The more formal the license the more protected you are when using it. Also keep it mind that many recordings have not only a copyright for the song, but also for the recording of the song itself. In that case, you will need to obtain two licenses.

Music that is Royalty Free is still free to use, but it is NOT in the public domain. There is a distinct difference between the two. Permission must still be granted for royalty free recordings. Generally, these permissions are usually blanket permissions that apply to anyone though and are very easy to obtain. Things like this would include music from the now widely used site incompetech.com, run by Kevin MacLeod. Surprisingly enough his Royalty Free music is used so often that the odds are you’ve heard something he’s made at least once. He’s the most well-known musician that you may not know.

With Epidemic Sound you only need one license as they own 100% of the rights to the  music. So you can forget about copyright claims and get full monetization from day one. Over 150,000 YouTube creators use their service, so you’re in with good company, and with over 30,000 tracks and hundreds of new tracks released monthly, you can can always find something you like - from house to hip hop! You can get a free 30 day trial and if you like their service, you can pay as little as £10 a month for all you can eat music!

Best Sites for Royalty-Free Music to Use in Your Video

Royalty free is attractive because the legal responsibilities with it are completely minimized. It is the closest you can get to public domain, yet still retain some legal rights if you are the original creator. The nice thing here is that your music or work can become widely used and gain exposure for original creator, yet it benefits the community at large with a free service. These works are free and allow you to use them without penalty or fees. Each site may have some stipulations on the way in which you use the work, so be sure to read the type of license they grant. Some good examples of royalty free music sites are:

Please Note: Royalty-free doesn't necessarily mean FREE to use - you will still have to pay something for the license. However, there are also some websites that offer free, royalty-free music sites that you could explore. If you are partnered with an MCN, some of those networks also have a royalty-free music library available to members.

Music: The Difference Between Sharing and Stealing

There is a very real difference between sharing someone's musical composition, and taking the same track and using it solely for your benefit, or personal gain. Let's take a look at both approaches:

  • Sharing is posting the link to your favorite artist’s latest song on your Facebook wall or Twitter page. Emphasis here is on the link. In this case, the owner retains the digital copy of the piece in question and you are simply sharing the way to find it.
  • Stealing is taking a copy of the music and loading it to your YouTube channel or Soundcloud. When you upload somebody else’s music or content to your own page, it removes the artist’s ability to monetize it and likely violates copyright.

Is Performing a Cover Version of a Song Copyright Violation?

Simply put, chances are yes. Of course it’s a lot more complicated than that in the long run, but realize that by its very nature a cover is your artistic interpretation of somebody else’s work. Some ways to avoid a copyright violation here include:

  • Create a cover that is transformative. That is to say, you’ve put such an original, creative spin on the piece of work that it is unrecognizable as the original.
  • Use the YouTube search feature before you cover a song to check the music rights associated with it. Doing the research will save you real problems later.
  • Use royalty free tracks that are licensed to you
  • Explore the options available to you via YouTube's own Audio Library.

What Will Happen if I Use Copyrighted Work in My Video?

Well, if you very, very lucky, at best, nothing will happen. But you had better hope you aren’t making money from that piece of work. One major determining factor is whether or not money is being made from the use of the copyrighted work. Make enough money and you are bound to catch the attention of somebody who wants a slice of your earnings. Some other things that could occur:

  • On YouTube, your Account may receive a strike (3 and you’re OUT!)
  • Your audio may be muted
  • Ads may be placed on your videos, the benefits going to the original artist/publisher
  • You could be sued by the owner of the work you are using

In December 2014, YouTube launched a new feature within its audio library that will give the creator a glimpse of what action the site will take against a video that uses copyrighted music as part of its soundtrack.

ContentID: How YouTube Determines a Copyright Violation

YouTube has a complex copyright tracking system called ContentID. It is an automated system that matches your content against a database of copyrighted material. If your video is flagged by the system, you will receive a notice and an opportunity to dispute the flag but your content may be monetized or blocked if you do not win that appeal.

You may think you just created the most amazing, original video and that there is no way for it to trip up on the Content ID system. Wrong. Did you use stock audio from your editing program? Chances are that this music may only be approved for personal use and uploading it to YouTube and monetizing it could have just violated that license. Always check the usage rights before you post content that includes something from a third party source.

What is “Fair Use?” and How Can I Benefit From It? 

First of all what is “fair use”? Basically fair use is a set of exceptions that limit the power behind copyrights when the usage of a piece of work is considered “fair”. A lot of the guidelines surrounding fair use are governed by the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). Fair use is really the ultimate grey area when it comes to copyright violations, but a few guidelines from section 107 of the DMCA can help you determine if what you are doing is fair use:

(1) the purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of a commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes;

(2) the nature of the copyrighted work;

(3) the amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole; and

(4) the effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work.

The fact that a work is unpublished shall not itself bar a finding of fair use if such finding is made upon consideration of all the above factors.

How to obtain permission for a song?

This can often be a major stumbling block and deal breaker when it comes to using copyrighted music. It can be difficult to contact the copyright holders, which often extend much further than just the artist. If you are a musician, https://loudr.fm/ is a great source for distribution and can be utilized to manage the copyrights held by other artists.


6 of the BIGGEST Myths about Copyright, Music, and Video

So, know that we've looked at some of the biggest concerns regarding copyright, music and video, let's take a look at some of the biggest myths surrounding the topic. This should clear up any questions you may have, or give you the extra knowledge you need as a video creator, or marketer:

  1. Nobody has contacted me, so I must not be violating their copyright.

The fact of the matter is the internet is a huge place. Copyright can be difficult to detect depending on the power1 behind it, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t being violated. The longer you benefit from somebody else’s copyright, the harsher the penalty may be when you are discovered.

  1. My work is just a fan video, so I’m covered.

Maybe. This one is a little complicated. The type of use is very important, but not the only way to determine if copyright has been violated. This type of use would fall under fair use and the four points we mentioned earlier should be considered.

The only time you have a nearly full-proof chance to monetize these works is if it’s a parody. Comedy, and specifically criticism, is heavily protected by US laws.

  1. I didn’t enable ads on/monetize my video, so it’s automatically fair use.

That’s not going to work. The original copyright holder may still be able to force a takedown of your material, even when it is used completely within that law. There are a lot more factors at play in fair use than whether or not something is monetized. Not monetizing a work is a great first step to covering your behind, but it’s not the only thing to worry about. The nice thing is that you’ll generally be safe from a major lawsuit when using something properly within fair use guidelines.

  1. I didn’t see a copyright notice, so it must not have one.

Think again. In the US and most other major countries, everything created is copyrighted and protected immediately, with no action required by the creator. A notice may increase the strength of that copyright and the damages received in the case of a violation, but it is absolutely not required.

  1. I found it on the public internet, so it must be in the public domain.

Not at all. As a matter of fact chances are more likely it is copyrighted material. Postings to the internet are not automatically in the public domain and do not grant any permissions for use just by being there.

  1. I wrote a little disclaimer in my description box crediting the artist and claiming I had no intention to violate copyright laws so I’m safe.

Nope. Somewhere, someone started the idea that this would absolve you of your copyright sins, but the fact of the matter is, if you are violating copyright laws, saying you didn’t intend to violate them doesn’t absolve you and you may still be punished to the full extent of the law. When it doubt, leave it out!

Resource Guide: Copyright, Law, Music and Video

 Source :  http://tubularinsights.com

Categorized in Internet Ethics

Legal research can be the bane of every lawyer and law student's existence.

From poring over textbooks in law libraries to trawling through cases online and offline to prepare for submissions, it is a process that can take hours.

To ease the burden, a group of local entrepreneurs - some of whom are former lawyers - have designed a website that helps lawyers search faster, keep notes and organise their research better.

Launched in January, Intelllex, meaning "intelligent law", has already attracted more than 1,000 users - about half of whom are lawyers and the rest law students.

The service is currently free, but a subscription fee is likely to be introduced next year. Lawyers said it has reduced their research time by 30 to 60 per cent, meaning they can handle more cases.

Mr Chang Zi Qian, one of its four co-founders, said: "The base of legal information is growing exponentially as more cases are reported and at a faster rate. Lawyers have to take into account what is happening around the world and things are more complex than decades ago.

"Demands of clients have also increased. They want all angles and arguments covered and that means a lot more work.

"We're trying to use artificial intelligence and machine learning to solve the problem of knowledge management."

The 30-year-old Singapore Management University law graduate, who served his apprenticeship in commercial litigation at Rajah & Tann Singapore, added that sometimes, partners ask for "fact-specific research" or "quick-turnaround for answers", which can be tough to obtain with existing legal platforms.

His website uses a search algorithm that understands legal case relationships so that it offers more relevant cases, commentaries and statutes across countries.

It focuses on jurisdictions which adopt common law like Singapore, and is able to pick out the legal context of a word or phrase instead of the plain English meaning.

It can also save results for future reference and organise cases according to each lawyer's needs.

"A junior litigation lawyer spends 35 per cent of his time every day doing research," said Mr Chang. "You cannot be billing the client (for) every hour because you have to remain competitive in pricing."

Mr Chang, who spent about four years at the National Research Foundation under the Prime Minister's Office (PMO), enjoyed studying law but wanted to be an entrepreneur.

He and the other co-founders left their jobs a year ago to focus on the start-up full time.

One of them, Mr Edmund Koh, 31, worked as a lawyer in banking and financial disputes at Wong Partnership for four years. The others are Ms Li Jianxin, 28, formerly chief operating officer of an IT start-up based in the United States and Ms Felicia Ng, 28, who worked in talent management at the PMO's Public Service Division.

The team plans to open a Hong Kong office next year.


Lawyers said the service helped to speed up their workflow. Mr Kelvin Ong, 30, a litigation lawyer who has been using Intelllex every day since April, said it consolidates not just cases, but other reference materials not found on other platforms, and offers more relevant results.

"As a litigator, research is our bread and butter," he said, adding that it reduces about 60 to 70 per cent of his research time.

Mr Ronnie Tan, 56, managing partner at Central Chambers LLC, a mid-sized firm with about 23 lawyers, said the access to wider content such as research papers and legal publications on Intelllex saves practitioners from going to other sources like Google.

"When I ask them for research on a point that could be very obscure, they can get back to me within 45 minutes, which is very good," he said. "If they are more efficient, they have the capacity to handle more files."

Source : http://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/cutting-tedious-legal-research-with-intelligent-search-engine

Categorized in Search Engine

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