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Articles on Legal history

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In 1948, as Cecil George Harris lay dying after a tractor accident, he scratched a final message into the vehicle’s fender. illustration supplied by: Impact Studios/Dinalie Dabarera.

An unsent SMS, a message on a tractor, a poem: the courts say a valid will can take many forms

Courts have had to consider whether an eggshell, a tractor fender, a petticoat hem, graffiti on a wall, and a poem might be valid wills. They’ve shown surprising flexibility in judgment.
The 1988 Video Privacy Protection Act (VPPA) was meant to prevent video rental businesses from sharing their rental records and clients’ information; if companies were caught violating the VPPA, they risked a fine. Shutterstock

Online viewer privacy is regulated by an act originally designed to protect video rentals

Internet privacy laws are partially governed by the VPPA, which was implemented to protect consumers renting videos. While the technology has changed, amendments place the consumer at a disadvantage.
Jimmy John’s tried to stop its workers from toiling for other sandwich makers. AP Photo/David Goldman

How noncompete clauses clash with US labor laws

Nearly one in five employed Americans is bound by a contract restricting moves to rival companies. Here’s one way to make those arrangements less common.
Giving a reference is protected, in defamation law, by the common-law defence of qualified privilege. shutterstock

Can you sue someone for giving you a bad reference?

In many cases, a reference will contain negative things about its subject. This is part of a reference’s design: the referee should give a full and frank assessment.

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