News from the Reference Desk Category: Legal

Westlaw access

While we have reduced services, you will be able to access Westlaw. You will be directed to a registration page which will give you access to Westlaw primary, secondary, litigation, and Practical Law resources for 20 hours over 14 days.

You can follow this link to get started: Westlaw

Gale LegalForms

Gale LegalForms provides professionally written legal documents used by attorneys and law firms. You’ll find downloadable forms covering real estate, wills, power of attorney, bankruptcy, small business—practically any area of law—alongside helpful tools like a Law Digest and Attorney Directory. Take charge of your legal affairs with Gale LegalForms.

Browse Legal Definitions alphabetically, or search to build a better understanding of terms you may encounter within forms.
• Link to federal and state Tax Forms.
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• Build your knowledge of key cases, laws, and concepts by browsing or searching the Law Digest.
• Click Legal Q&A question categories to view sample inquiries and attorney responses from across the country.
• Explore LegalLife Articles to find a straightforward explanation of legal matters surrounding common life events.

Employers no longer can ask for past salary information

Governor JB Pritzker has signed into law an amendment to the Illinois Equal Pay Act that bans employers and employment agencies from asking about applicants’ past wage and compensation histories or using such information to screen candidates for a job. The new law takes effect on September 29, 2019. The idea behind the new prohibition is to help break a cycle where predominantly female and minority workers have received lower pay for performing the same or similar work as male and non-minority workers. Employers are more likely to perpetuate this situation if they base the new employees’ pay on what they had previously earned.

Employers can be penalized for asking the applicant or the applicant’s current or former employers for wage or salary history. The prohibition does not apply if a job applicant’s salary history is a matter of public record or if the applicant is a current employee applying with the same employer. If an applicant voluntarily provides wage or salary history, the employer has not violated the law and would not be penalized. This information, however, is not to be used to make a hiring decision or to determine the applicant’s salary. Likewise, the new law does not prohibit an employer from asking an applicant what they desire to make at the new position. Department of Labor staff also are available to answer questions from both employers and employees on the new law and can be reached on DOL’s Equal Pay Act Hotline: 866-372-4365.

Copyright Trends: Cobbler Nevada, LLC v. Gonzalez

Copyright infringement has been a hot topic since the 18th century for print materials, and exceedingly relevant for digital files since the era of Napster in 1999. In recent years, entities like copyright trolls and other digital watchdogs are always on the lookout to acquire significant monetary gain through litigious means, even if the accused is not the infringer, but unknowingly provides the means to do so. For example, our Library safeguards against infringement liability by requiring patrons not partake in “conduct which violates Federal, State, or local law including copyright and licensing infringement,” according to our internet service policy. Copyright trolls frequently win cases against service providers, but a recent ruling is fighting this trend.

On August 27, 2018, the United States Court of Appeals (Ninth Circuit) decided that the owner of a senior living home which provides internet service to occupants will not be held responsible for copyright infringement inflicted by an unnamed guest or occupant. Here is a synopsis by Stanford University Libraries and here is the Cobbler Nevada, LLC v. Gonzalez court publication itself. Whether or not the results of this substantial case will make any lasting changes to copyright policy remains to be seen.

Cook County Marriage Applications

Cook County Clerk David Orr recently announced a new online feature allowing soon-to-be newlyweds the opportunity to fill out most of their marriage application license information online.  Illinois law requires that before a couple marries, they must appear before the clerk in the county where they will be married to sign and complete their marriage license application and pay the fee ($60 in Cook County).  In the past the couple had to complete the whole process in the Clerk’s office.  Now they can start the process at home by going to this section of the county clerk’s website.  The process will still need to be completed at the Clerk’s office but with the online application feature the time spent there will be less than 10 minutes.  For more information about marriage application procedures and requirements please go online to the Cook County Clerk’s website.

The Cook County Clerk’s office has also made an index of Cook County marriage records 50 years or older available online at Cook County Genealogy Online.  This is only an index.  You must still pay for a copy of the actual record.  For $16.75 you can purchase a copy of the full record online with a credit card and receive the record immediately as a zip file.  Cook County Genealogy Online also includes indexes of Cook County birth records 75 years or older and Cook County death records of 20 years or older.