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Archive for July, 2009

A Few Comments on Wilson Colony

One of the biggest challenges facing the Supreme Court of Canada in my view is how to address religious claims. In some ways, the recent Supreme Court of Canada decision in Alberta v. Hutterian Brethren of Wilson Colony, 2009 SCC 37 illustrates why that is. While the case poses the usual question of what are the limits to the realization of religious beliefs in a pluralist society (rather than the limits to government activity when contrary to the religious beliefs of particular adherents), it is also a good example of how the majority’s and dissenting judges’ characterization of the . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law

Droit.org

Droit.org, the web presence of L’Institut Français d’Information Juridique, is one of the many participants in the glorious global project to make law freely available, as you can see on CanLII’s “international” page. Droit.org presents a simple, elegant front page, offering you three options: Journal officiel (akin to our Gazette), Codes (where all of France’s legal codes are made available), and Novelles (containing news feeds from a variety of sources having to do with law).

I wonder whether the design effort that produced the attractive front page is continuing, because the design of the rest of the . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information, Legal Information: Libraries & Research, Legal Information: Publishing

Google Revisited

Many of us think of Google merely as your friendly, neighbourhood search engine. But Google is more than just a home page. Questions are increasingly being raised about Google’s dominance in several areas including on-line advertising, privacy and, more recently, copyright (read: “Google Books”). Google is now coming out swinging even on telecommunications policy matters, having appeared at the CRTC’s recent hearing on ISP Internet tariff management practices (ITMPs). Konrad von Finckenstein, the Chairman of the CRTC, was pleased that Google “as one of the large players on the Internet”, was actively participating in the process. In asking “Is . . . [more]

Posted in: Firm Guest Blogger, Substantive Law, Technology: Internet

140 Characters of Defamation

[HT to Chicago Bar Tender] Anatomy of a Twitter lawsuit:

  • One 140 character tweet, reading: “You should come anyway. Who said sleeping in a mouldy apartment was bad for you? Horizon realty thinks it’s okay”
  • Side note: account in question was public, with twenty total followers.
  • Realty Co. takes exception, and replies with a $50k defamation suit.
  • And… the heavy-handed response goes viral (84 media stories & growing strong) causing more damage than ever imagined.

Chalk up another vote for the “do nothing” response. :) . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law

Updated List of Most Popular LAWPRO/practicePRO Downloads Just Posted

Having just passed the halfway point of 2009, we crunched the numbers on the most popular year-to-date article and resource downloads from the LAWPRO and practicePRO websites. There are a few new additions to the top ten, and past favourites have swapped places. The updated most popular LAWPRO/practicePRO downloads list appears here.

It looks as if more lawyers are looking at their firm finances, as the always popular sample law firm budget spreadsheet jumps up to become the most downloaded resource over the last six months. The sample law firm business plan came in at #9.

Peg Duncan’s amazing . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law, Practice of Law: Marketing, Practice of Law: Practice Management, Technology

Zen and the Art of Legal Research and Texts

I made a comment some time ago on a posting originally made by Ted Tjaden on the nature of legal research. I was very busy at the time and did not take the time I should have to make myself clear. Now that Simon F’s piece on “Tomorrow’s Texts” and the comments on it are open for discussion, they offer me an opportunity to elaborate.

I suggest that, in responding to what Ted said and Simon’s topic, we consider the purpose expressed by Robert Pirsig in “Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance”, viz., an inquiry into “quality” and . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information, Legal Information: Libraries & Research, Legal Information: Publishing, Reading

This Week’s Biotech Highlights

The Bank of Canada announced this week that the recession is coming to an end, and although U.S. numbers don’t look quite so good, things were turning around for biotech as well. Nothing breeds a good investment mood like successes, and this week had plenty.

  • First off, Venture Capital stats for Q2 in the U.S. showed biotech and healthcare as garnering the biggest share of investments, and Human Genome Sciences scored a big clinical success with its Lupus treatment, which really changed the mood on Wall Street.
  • Medarex shareholders got a friendly $2.1 billion (with a “b”) offer
. . . [more]
Posted in: Substantive Law, Substantive Law: Legislation

Quebec and Ontario Move to Attract Foreign Film Productions

Recently, the Quebec and Ontario governments announced changes to enhance certain tax credits aimed at the film and television industry with the goal of bringing more foreign based productions into these provinces. In doing so, both governments have recognized the increasing global competition to attract film and television productions with the use of government incentives.

Canada was already a pioneer in the development and implementation of government incentives when it introduced the current system of tax credits in 1997. The success of Canada’s tax credit model in attracting film and television projects to the major production centers of Vancouver, . . . [more]

Posted in: Firm Guest Blogger, Substantive Law

Sweating the Small Stuff: Copyright in a Yodel, a Tweet, and the News

Small is sometimes beautiful; and sometimes, too, it’s valuable—if you hold the copyright. Three illustrations of this “small meets copyright” story have cropped up recently with somewhat different twists to the tales.

Up first is the yodel—you know, that voice-break corruption of singing common to cowboys and Alps dwellers. It seems (see the article in the Guardian) that one of the favourite beer hall songs in Germany and Austria, Das Kufsteinlied, which sings (mostly) of the beauty of the village of Kufstein in the Tirol, contains a chorus of the absolute favourite yodel in Germany and Austria. The . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law

Google’s Legal Agenda

Well Google has been the subject of many Slaw comments, but it’s on the legal side that it’s hit the news recently.

It won an important decision before Justice Eady of the English High Court in which the court held that Google was not liable as a publisher of defamatory comments when comments made in an internet forum about Metropolitan International Schools, a British company that operates Internet-based training courses, surfaced in the top rankings of a Google search for the company. Of course now the Schools’ highest hit is Eady’s judgment.

“When a snippet is thrown up on the

. . . [more]
Posted in: Firm Guest Blogger, Legal Information, Substantive Law, Technology, Technology: Internet