Re: West Publishing v. Mead Data Central

From: Alan Sugarman <sugarman[_at_]>
Date: Fri, 16 Sep 1994 09:47:49 -0400 (EDT)

Well, not actually so. The trial transcript in the 1988 West v. Mead trial, which was three years after the District Court preliminary injunction decision, subsequently appealed to the 8th Circuit, tells an altogether different story. An average volume of West has 1500 or so pages. The paperbound advance sheets are assembled on a pre-set scheduled (i.e., there is a Federal Reporter volume once a week). For the advance sheets, the decisions are assembled based upon what is available. A computer, albeit with control of widows etc, paginates the cases. Once the 1500 page or so limit is reached, a new volume number is assigned. Within an paperbound advance sheet volume, cases are generally but not always organized by court. But, even this arrangement does not exist in the permanent bound volume because the volumes are assemble from 2 or 3 paperbound advance sheets. The arrangement as finally appears has no usefulness or meaning, so even if one granted to you that there was some creativity, which I do not, the result of the creativity provides nothing of use (that is the order of the cases in the book had no usefulness). Indeed, the span of dates of the decisions in a typical volume spans as much as 4 or 5 months.

     You may wish to read the Joyce/Patterson article. They also reviewed the West v. Mead 1988 trial transcript and their conclusion is totally different from yours. In addition, their law review article, the sole purpose of which was to criticize the 8th Circuit decision, was cited with approval by the Supreme Court 7 times in the Feist decisions.

Alan Sugarman

Publisher of Federal Appeals on Disc CD-ROM Intervenor-Plaintiff in Matthew Bender and HyperLaw v. West pending in the SDNY.


On Thu, 15 Sep 1994, Buford Terrell wrote:
> >At 5:39 PM 9/9/94 -0400, Buford Terrell wrote:
> >>... West held that the page numbers were
> >>the creative (albeit barely) result of the editorial process.
> >
> >I was under the impression that the text was virtually passed through
> >a word processing program that did the page breaks automatically. Did
> >any of the editorial process come out in court to indicate how much
> >"sweat" or "creativity" actually goes into the pagination decisions?
> >
> >---
> >Glenn Tenney Fantasia Systems Inc.
> The court discussed how West would choose the order in which the cases
> were reported, compose and set the headnotes and syllabus introducing
> the cases, and determine whether to begin a new case on the same page or
> go to a new one. These activities all involve some editorial judgment
> and are the actions that drive pagination even if the page breaks are
> actually set by the software. West does not simply stack up the slip
> opinions and let the software sequence them. I'm willing to recognize
> a minimal amount of creativity in these processes.
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> Buford C. Terrell Knowing ignorance
> Professor of Law is strength
> South Texas College of Law Ignoring knowledge
> 1303 San Jacinto, Houston, TX 77002 is sickness
> (713)646-1857 terrell[_at_] --Dao De Jing
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Received on Fri Sep 16 1994 - 13:50:05 GMT

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