In a classic 5-4 split, the Supreme Court ruled today that foreign corporations cannot be sued for egregious human rights violations under the Alien Tort Statute. Here is our fast-and-dirty take on the opinion. In short: the majority’s opinion appears to have more to do with market fundamentalism than the administration of justice, and sets a problematic precedent for victims’ access to remedy.
In part 1, I described the creation of the +CAL copyright licenses. I explained how and why our licenses ensure that the people and environmental inputs that comprise global supply chains are protected by the same “duty of care” that we have as consumers in the United States. Wonky lawyers may be quick to see why this is big deal, but fortunately we’re not all wonky lawyers. In this part, I’m going to discuss in economic terms why our licenses are exciting and why they lay the groundwork for a new frontier in economic activism.
In March 2017, I began working with CAL on a copyright license. Our intent was to create a license that could be used by anyone to condition the use of their copyrighted works on the user’s *contractually enforceable* promise to protect human rights and the environment across the supply chains in which the copyright is used. This is a three-part post is about the creation of the license, the discovery of some exciting new potential for intellectual property commons and economic activism, and the birth of a new folk hero of the commons named activistartmachine. You can shortcut to our software license here and our Creative Commons Plus license here.
So, it’s December 20. You meant to finish your Christmas shopping early this year, like you do every year, but then life happened and here you are. Again. You want to shop local, ethical, blah blah blah, but it’s too late to order from Etsy, you missed the renegade craft fair, and there is just nothing at Ten Thousand Villages your dad would tolerate. And let’s be serious, you don’t have time for hand-making gifts for 20 people.
Environmental and human rights activists and organizations have acquired some serious enemies. Most of us know that challenging the world’s most powerful corporations is a risky business, but how risky is it?
Last week, Amnesty International released a damning report examining the role played by Shell Oil in human rights violations against the Ogoni people in Nigeria.
As we reflect on our first year in operation, we find much to be grateful for. In this short time, we have not only established a terrific board of directors, an impressive group of subject matter advisors, and obtained our 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status, we have made extraordinary progress on our substantive work as a lab.
This hour is well worth your time if you are interested in human rights law in the United States. If their conclusion about Jesner is correct, and corporate liability becomes more limited, we need to be ready with new strategies. That's what we're up to here at the Lab.
On October 11, 2017, the United States Supreme Court will hear oral argument in a case called Jesner v. Arab Bank, in which 6000 victims of terrorist acts allege that the Arab Bank enabled terrorism through serving as the financial institution of terrorist organizations. This case stands out from the pack of human rights-related Alien Tort Statute (ATS) cases on the facts in some ways, but it is the vehicle by which the Court may finally decide if corporations can be sued under the ATS.
Nike boasts of empowering women, but its garment workers tell a different story. Can you imagine the irony of sowing Equality on a shirt for a brand which is complicit in the firing of pregnant women? Wage theft? Mass faintings? Union-busting? While Nike markets themselves as champions of women’s equality, the abuses behind their factory doors expose that the only thing they champion is their own bottom line.