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Full-Text Articles in Law

Government By Code? Blockchain Applications To Public Sector Governance, Pedro Bustamante, Meina Cai, Marcela Gomez, Colin Harris, Prashabnt Krishnamurthy, Wilson Law, Michael J. Madison, Ilia Murtazashvili, Jennifer Brick Murtazashvili, Tymofiy Mylovanov, Nataliia Shapoval, Annette Vee, Martin B. H. Weiss Jun 2022

Government By Code? Blockchain Applications To Public Sector Governance, Pedro Bustamante, Meina Cai, Marcela Gomez, Colin Harris, Prashabnt Krishnamurthy, Wilson Law, Michael J. Madison, Ilia Murtazashvili, Jennifer Brick Murtazashvili, Tymofiy Mylovanov, Nataliia Shapoval, Annette Vee, Martin B. H. Weiss

Articles

Studies of blockchain governance can be divided into analyses of the governance of blockchains (such as rules and power dynamics within a given network) and governance by blockchains (such as how blockchains can be implemented to improve self-governance of community-based peer production networks). Less emphasis has been placed on applications of distributed ledgers to public sector governance. Our review clarifies that the decentralization and distributive features that enable blockchains to link up loosely connected private organizations and public agencies to improve efficiency and transparency of government transactions. However, most blockchain applications lack clear advantages over the conventional digital recording of ...


Contract Schemas, Roseanna Sommers Oct 2021

Contract Schemas, Roseanna Sommers

Articles

This review draws on the notion of “contract schemas” to characterize what ordinary people think is happening when they enter into contractual arrangements. It proposes that contracts are schematically represented as written documents filled with impenetrable text containing hidden strings, which are routinely signed without comprehension. This cognitive template, activated whenever people encounter objects with these characteristic features, confers certain default assumptions, associations, and expectancies. A review of the literature suggests that contract schemas supply (a) the assumption that terms will be enforced as written, (b) the feeling that one is obligated to perform, and (c) the sense that one ...


The Separation Of Voting And Control: The Role Of Contract In Corporate Governance, Gabriel V. Rauterberg Jun 2021

The Separation Of Voting And Control: The Role Of Contract In Corporate Governance, Gabriel V. Rauterberg

Articles

The default rules of corporate law make shareholders’ control rights a function of their voting power. Whether a director is elected or a merger is approved depends on how shareholders vote. Yet, in private corporations shareholders routinely alter their rights by contract. This phenomenon of shareholder agreements—contracts among the owners of a firm— has received far less attention than it deserves, mainly because detailed data about the actual contents of shareholder agreements has been lacking. Private companies disclose little, and shareholder agreements are thought to play a trivial or nonexistent role in public companies. I show that this is ...


Deal Protection Devices, Albert H. Choi Jun 2021

Deal Protection Devices, Albert H. Choi

Articles

In mergers and acquisitions transactions, a buyer and a seller will often agree to contractual mechanisms (deal protection devices) to deter third parties from jumping the deal and to compensate a disappointed buyer. With the help of auction theory, this Article analyzes various deal protection devices, while focusing on the two most commonly used mechanisms: match rights and target termination fees. A match right gives the buyer a right to “match” a third party’s offer so as to prevent the third party from snatching the target away, while a termination fee compensates the buyer when a third party acquires ...


Contract Design When Relationship-Specific Investment Produces Asymmetric Information, Albert H. Choi, George Triantis Jun 2021

Contract Design When Relationship-Specific Investment Produces Asymmetric Information, Albert H. Choi, George Triantis

Articles

Under conventional contract theory, contracts may be efficient by protecting relationship specific investment from holdup in subsequent (re)negotiation over terms of trade. This paper demonstrates a different problem when specific investment also provides significant private information to the investing party. This is fairly common: for example, a manufacturer invests to learn about its buyer's idiosyncratic needs or a collaborator invests to learn about a joint venture. We show how such private information can lead to subsequent bargaining failure and suboptimal ex ante relationship-specific investment. We also show that this inefficiency is worse if the parties enter into a ...


The Vulnerable Sovereign, Ronald A. Brand Jan 2021

The Vulnerable Sovereign, Ronald A. Brand

Articles

The connection between sovereignty and law is fundamental for both domestic (internal sovereignty) and the international (external sovereignty) purposes. As the dominant forms of government have evolved over time, so has the way in which we think about sovereignty. Consideration of the historical evolution of the concept of sovereignty offers insight into how we think of sovereignty today. A term that was born to represent the relationship between the governor and the governed has become a term that is used to represent the relationships between and among states in the global legal order. This article traces the history of the ...


The Hague Judgments Convention In The United States: A “Game Changer” Or A New Path To The Old Game?, Ronald A. Brand Jan 2021

The Hague Judgments Convention In The United States: A “Game Changer” Or A New Path To The Old Game?, Ronald A. Brand

Articles

The Hague Judgments Convention, completed on July 2, 2019, is built on a list of “jurisdictional filters” in Article 5(1), and grounds for non-recognition in Article 7. If one of the thirteen jurisdictional tests in Article 5(1) is satisfied, the judgment may circulate under the Convention, subject to the grounds for non-recognition found in Article 7. This approach to Convention structure is especially significant for countries considering ratification and implementation. A different structure was suggested in the initial Working Group stage of the Convention’s preparation which would have avoided the complexity of multiple rules of indirect jurisdiction ...


The Behavioral Effects Of (Unenforceable) Contracts, Evan Starr, Jj Prescott, Norman Bishara Nov 2020

The Behavioral Effects Of (Unenforceable) Contracts, Evan Starr, Jj Prescott, Norman Bishara

Articles

Do contracts influence behavior independent of the law governing their enforceability? We explore this question in the context of employment noncompetes using nationally representative data for 11,500 labor force participants. We show that noncompetes are associated with reductions in employee mobility and changes in the direction of that mobility (i.e., toward noncompetitors) in both states that do and do not enforce noncompetes. Decomposing mobility into job offer generation and acceptance, we detect no evidence of differences in job search, recruitment, or offer activity associated with noncompetes. Rather, we find that employees with noncompetes—even in states that do ...


Making Employment Arbitration Fair And Accessible, Theodore J. St. Antoine May 2020

Making Employment Arbitration Fair And Accessible, Theodore J. St. Antoine

Articles

Mandatory arbitration agreements require employees, as a condition of employment, to agree to arbitrate all employment disputes instead of filing court suits. The Supreme Court has approved such agreements but many labor experts oppose them. The U.S. House of Representatives has passed a bill to prohibit pre-dispute agreements, the common form for mandatory arbitrations. This article argues that the House bill would have the practical effect of virtually eliminating employment arbitration. Instead, proposals are presented for either legislative or judicial steps to ensure that employment arbitration is fair and accessible. Requirements would include: (1) voluntary agreements on the part ...


Consumer Psychology And The Problem Of Fine Print Fraud, Roseanna Sommers, Meirav Furth-Matzkin Mar 2020

Consumer Psychology And The Problem Of Fine Print Fraud, Roseanna Sommers, Meirav Furth-Matzkin

Articles

This Article investigates consumers' beliefs about contracts that are formed as a result of fraud. Across four studies, we asked lay survey respondents to judge scenarios in which sellers use false representations to induce consumers to buy products or services. In each case, the false representations are directly contradicted by the written terms of the contract, which the consumers sign without reading. Our findings reveal that lay respondents, unlike legally trained respondents, believe that such agreements are consented to and will be enforced as written, despite the seller's material deception. Importantly, fine print discourages consumers from wanting to take ...


Designing And Enforcing Preliminary Agreements, Albert H. Choi, George Triantis Feb 2020

Designing And Enforcing Preliminary Agreements, Albert H. Choi, George Triantis

Articles

Preliminary agreements—variously labeled as memoranda of understanding, letters of intent, term sheets, commitment letters, or agreements in principle—are common in complex business transactions. They document an incomplete set of terms that the parties have agreed upon, while anticipating further negotiation of the remaining provisions. They often create legal obligations, particularly a duty to negotiate in good faith. This duty has been the subject of a substantial number of judicial opinions over the past few decades and yet continues to be regarded as a confusing and unpredictable issue in contract law. Legal scholarship is hamstrung in its analysis of ...


Tools For Data Governance, Michael J. Madison Jan 2020

Tools For Data Governance, Michael J. Madison

Articles

This article describes the challenges of data governance in terms of the broader framework of knowledge commons governance, an institutional approach to governing shared knowledge, information, and data resources. Knowledge commons governance highlights the potential for effective community- and collective-based governance of knowledge resources. The article focuses on key concepts within the knowledge commons framework rather than on specific law and public policy questions, directing the attention of researchers and policymakers to critical inquiry regarding relevant social groups and relevant data “things.” Both concepts are key tools for effective data governance.


Provisional Measures In Aid Of Arbitration, Ronald A. Brand Jan 2020

Provisional Measures In Aid Of Arbitration, Ronald A. Brand

Articles

The success of the New York Convention has made arbitration a preferred means of dispute resolution for international commercial transactions. Success in arbitration often depends on the extent to which a party may, in advance, ensure that assets or evidence is secured in advance, or that the other party is required to take steps to secure the status quo. This makes the availability of provisional measures granted by either arbitral tribunals or by courts important to the arbitration process. In this chapter I consider the existing legal framework for such provisional measures in aid of arbitration. I give particular attention ...


Are Literary Agents (Really) Fiduciaries?, Jacqueline Lipton Jul 2019

Are Literary Agents (Really) Fiduciaries?, Jacqueline Lipton

Articles

2018 was a big year for “bad agents” in the publishing world. In July, children’s literature agent Danielle Smith was exposed for lying to her clients about submissions and publication offers. In December, major literary agency Donadio & Olson, which represented a number of bestselling authors, including Chuck Palahnuik (Fight Club), filed for bankruptcy in the wake of an accounting scandal involving their bookkeeper, Darin Webb. Webb had embezzled over $3 million of client funds. Around the same time, Australian literary agent Selwa Anthony lost a battle in the New South Wales Supreme Court involving royalties she owed to her ...


The Cisg: Applicable Law And Applicable Forums, Ronald A. Brand Jan 2019

The Cisg: Applicable Law And Applicable Forums, Ronald A. Brand

Articles

Despite being in effect for over thirty years, a debate continues on whether the United Nations Convention on Contracts for the International Sale of Goods (CISG) has been a success. With 89 Contracting States, it clearly is widely accepted. At the same time, empirical studies show that private parties regularly opt out of its application. It has served as a model for domestic sales law, and as an important educational tool. But has it been a success? In this article I consider that question, and suggests that the scorecard is not yet complete; and that it will perhaps take significantly ...


The Past, Present And Future Of The Cisg (And Other Uniform Commercial Code Law Initiatives), Harry Flechtner Jan 2019

The Past, Present And Future Of The Cisg (And Other Uniform Commercial Code Law Initiatives), Harry Flechtner

Articles

As the keynote speaker of the Spring 2019 CISG Conference, Harry M. Flechtner, Professor Emeritus, University of Pittsburgh School of Law, candidly shares his perspectives on the development and progress of the Convention on the International Sale of Goods (CISG) through the years. He begins with his initial introduction to the convention and then reflects upon several important issues and challenges facing the CISG, particularly involving uniform international law initiatives. Professor Flechtner looks hard at what's working and what's not and with a critical eye he draws attention to crucial matters yet to be resolved. While his perspective ...


Ostrom Amongst The Machines: Blockchain As A Knowledge Commons, Herminio Bodon, Pedro Bustamante, Marcela Gomez, Prashabnt Krishnamurthy, Michael J. Madison, Ilia Murtazashvili, Jennifer Brick Murtazashvili, Tymofiy Mylovanov, Martin B. H. Weiss Jan 2019

Ostrom Amongst The Machines: Blockchain As A Knowledge Commons, Herminio Bodon, Pedro Bustamante, Marcela Gomez, Prashabnt Krishnamurthy, Michael J. Madison, Ilia Murtazashvili, Jennifer Brick Murtazashvili, Tymofiy Mylovanov, Martin B. H. Weiss

Articles

Blockchains are distributed ledger technologies that allow the recording of any data structure, including money, property titles, and contracts. In this paper, we suggest that Hayekian political economy is especially well suited to explain how blockchain emerged, but that Elinor Ostrom’s approach to commons governance is particularly useful to understand why blockchain anarchy is successful. Our central conclusions are that the blockchain can be thought of as a spontaneous order, as Hayek anticipated, as well as a knowledge commons, as Ostrom’s studies of self-governance anticipated.


No-Hire Provisions In Mcdonald's Franchise Agreements, An Antitrust Violations Or Evidence Of Joint Employer?, Andrele Brutus St. Val Jan 2019

No-Hire Provisions In Mcdonald's Franchise Agreements, An Antitrust Violations Or Evidence Of Joint Employer?, Andrele Brutus St. Val

Articles

As the archetypical franchisor and industry leader, McDonald’s has come under much public and legal scrutiny in recent years for its business practices and its effects on low-wage and unskilled employees. Its no hire provision—which is a term included in its franchise agreements with franchisees that bars franchisees from hiring each others employees—has been found by economist to suppress wages and stagnate growth. This provision is being challenged under antitrust law while its employment practices are being disputed under labor law. McDonald’s is defending its business practices by presenting two seemingly contradictory defenses. This article explores ...


Online Dispute Resolution, Ronald A. Brand Jan 2019

Online Dispute Resolution, Ronald A. Brand

Articles

This chapter was prepared from a presentation given by the author at the 2019 Summer School in Transnational Commercial Law & Technology, jointly sponsored by the University of Verona School of Law and the Center for International Legal Education (CILE) of the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. In the paper, I review online dispute resolution (ODR) by considering the following five questions, which I believe help to develop a better understanding of both the concept and the legal framework surrounding it:

A. What is ODR?

B. Who does ODR?

C. What is the legal framework for ODR?

D. What are ...


Harry Flechtner--A True Teacher/Scholar, With Rhythm, Ronald A. Brand Jan 2019

Harry Flechtner--A True Teacher/Scholar, With Rhythm, Ronald A. Brand

Articles

This is a tribute to Professor Emeritus Harry Flechtner upon his retirement from the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. Professor Flechtner was a leading scholar on the United Nations Convention on Contracts for the International Sale of Goods (CISG), a stellar teacher, a musician who used that skill in the classroom as well as the Vienna Konzerthaus, and a genuinely nice person.


Is Blockchain The Next Step In The Evolution Chain Of [Market] Intermediaries?, Marcela Gomez, Pedro Bustamante, Martin B. H. Weiss, Ilia Murtazashvili, Michael J. Madison, Wilson Law, Tymofiy Mylovanov, Herminio Bodon, Prashabnt Krishnamurthy Jan 2019

Is Blockchain The Next Step In The Evolution Chain Of [Market] Intermediaries?, Marcela Gomez, Pedro Bustamante, Martin B. H. Weiss, Ilia Murtazashvili, Michael J. Madison, Wilson Law, Tymofiy Mylovanov, Herminio Bodon, Prashabnt Krishnamurthy

Articles

The blockchain is a decentralized solution for handling transactions where we are concerned (among other aspects) with the accuracy and verification of transactions. One of its main promises is to eliminate the need for centralized entities or intermediaries and legal enforcement. Rather than trusting self-interested human intermediaries, the blockchain provides an alternative that relies on transparent computational protocols (Werbach 2018).

In this paper, we delve into this broker-less claim and analyze whether the blockchain needs an intermediary to allow for widespread access to its functionality and whether the blockchain itself is an intermediary. The latter would turn the blockchain into ...


Contracts Mattered As Much As Copyrights, Robert W. Gomulkiewicz Jan 2019

Contracts Mattered As Much As Copyrights, Robert W. Gomulkiewicz

Articles

Scholars have begun to appreciate the fundamental role that contracts played in the development of copyrights. Contracts gave copyrights vitalilty. This article explores the network of book publishing contracts that formed the legal infrastructure for a pre-modern “internet” at the dawn of copyright law in Great Britain in the eighteenth century. Drawing on insights from archival research, the article shows how this network of copyright contracts advanced an important goal of copyright: the spread of ideas and information throughout all parts of society. Appreciating the historical significance of copyright contracts provides valuable context for modern debates about copyright policy. Indeed ...


The Private Law Critique Of International Investment Law, Julian Arato Jan 2019

The Private Law Critique Of International Investment Law, Julian Arato

Articles

This Article argues that investment treaties subtly constrain how nations organize their internal systems of private law, including laws of property, contracts, corporations, and intellectual property. Problematically, the treaties do so on a one-size-fits-all basis, disregarding the wide variation in values reflected in these domestic legal institutions. Investor-state dispute settlement exacerbates this tension, further distorting national private law arrangements. This hidden aspect of the system produces inefficiency, unfairness, and distributional inequities that have eluded the regime's critics and apologists alike.


A Case Of Motivated Cultural Cognition: China's Normative Arbitration Of International Business Disputes, Pat K. Chew Jan 2018

A Case Of Motivated Cultural Cognition: China's Normative Arbitration Of International Business Disputes, Pat K. Chew

Articles

The centuries-old conception of judges and arbitrators as highly predictable and objective is being dismantled. In its place, a much more textured, complicated, and challenging understanding of legal decision-making is being constructed. New research on “Motivated Cognition” demonstrates that judges and arbitrators are more human than mechanical, pouring themselves – and the cultural and institutional contexts within which they act – into their decision making. This article extends the emerging model of Motivated Cultural Cognition, a form of Motivated Cognition, to the global stage, investigating arbitration of business disputes between two world-powers: United States and China. Through a first-of-its-kind empirical study of ...


Is The License Still The Product?, Robert W. Gomulkiewicz Jan 2018

Is The License Still The Product?, Robert W. Gomulkiewicz

Articles

The Supreme Court rejected the use of patent law to enforce conditional sales contracts in Impression Products v. Lexmark. The case appears to be just another step in the Supreme Court’s ongoing campaign to reset the Federal Circuit’s patent law jurisprudence. However, the decision casts a shadow on cases from all federal circuits that have enforced software licenses for more than 20 years and potentially imperils the business models on which software developers rely to create innovative products and to bring those products to market in a variety of useful ways.

For over two decades, we could say ...


Contracts Ex Machina, Kevin Werbach, Nicolas Cornell Nov 2017

Contracts Ex Machina, Kevin Werbach, Nicolas Cornell

Articles

Smart contracts are self-executing digital transactions using decentralized cryptographic mechanisms for enforcement. They were theorized more than twenty years ago, but the recent development of Bitcoin and blockchain technologies has rekindled excitement about their potential among technologists and industry. Startup companies and major enterprises alike are now developing smart contract solutions for an array of markets, purporting to offer a digital bypass around traditional contract law. For legal scholars, smart contracts pose a significant question: Do smart contracts offer a superior solution to the problems that contract law addresses? In this article, we aim to understand both the potential and ...


Contracting Out Of The Fiduciary Duty Of Loyalty: An Empirical Analysis Of Corporate Opportunity Waivers, Gabriel Rauterberg, Eric Talley Jun 2017

Contracting Out Of The Fiduciary Duty Of Loyalty: An Empirical Analysis Of Corporate Opportunity Waivers, Gabriel Rauterberg, Eric Talley

Articles

For centuries, the duty of loyalty has been the hallowed centerpiece of fiduciary obligation, widely considered one of the few “mandatory” rules of corporate law. That view, however, is no longer true. Beginning in 2000, Delaware dramatically departed from tradition by granting incorporated entities a statutory right to waive a crucial part of the duty of loyalty: the corporate opportunities doctrine. Other states have since followed Delaware’s lead, similarly permitting firms to execute “corporate opportunity waivers.” Surprisingly, more than fifteen years into this reform experiment, no study has attempted to either systematically measure the corporate response to these reforms ...


Opening The Red Door To Chinese Arbitrations: An Empirical Analysis Of Cietac Cases (1990-2000), Pat K. Chew Jan 2017

Opening The Red Door To Chinese Arbitrations: An Empirical Analysis Of Cietac Cases (1990-2000), Pat K. Chew

Articles

This article reveals evidence-based details of the China International Economic and Trade Arbitration Commission (CIETAC) arbitral proceedings (1990-2000), allowing unprecedented insights into Chinese international business arbitration. It begins by confirming the prominence of Chinese foreign trade and foreign investment in the global economy and CIETAC’s critical role in securing that prominence. Among other results, the empirical study of CIETAC awards finds: (i) the parties were of diverse nationalities, most commonly with disputes between a Chinese party and a foreign party; and (ii) the majority of cases were sales and trade disputes, although a sizable number were investment/joint venture ...


Ip Things As Boundary Objects: The Case Of The Copyright Work, Michael J. Madison Jan 2017

Ip Things As Boundary Objects: The Case Of The Copyright Work, Michael J. Madison

Articles

My goal is to explore the meanings and functions of the objects of intellectual property: the work of authorship (or copyright work) in copyright, the invention in patent, and the mark and the sign in trademark. This paper takes up the example of the copyright work.

It is usually argued that the central challenge in understanding the work is to develop a sensible method for appreciating its boundaries. Those boundaries, conventionally understood as the metaphorical "metes and bounds" of the work, might be established by deferring to the intention of the author, or by searching for authorship (creativity or originality ...


A Complainant-Oriented Approach To Unconscionability And Contract Law, Nicholas Cornell Jun 2016

A Complainant-Oriented Approach To Unconscionability And Contract Law, Nicholas Cornell

Articles

This Article draws attention to a conceptual point that has been overlooked in recent discussions about the theoretical foundations of contract law. I argue that, rather than enforcing the obligations of promises, contract law concerns complaints against promissory wrongs. This conceptual distinction is easy to miss. If one assumes that complaints arise whenever an obligation has been violated, then the distinction does not seem meaningful. I show, however, that an obligation can be breached without giving rise to a valid complaint. This Article illustrates the importance of this conceptual distinction by focusing first on the doctrine of substantive unconscionability. I ...