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Reconciling Property Rights and Human Rights When It Comes to Knowledge. Part II.

In Part I of this two-part column, I examined the fate of a current California legislative initiative intended to expand access rights to state-sponsored research. While the bill continues to move through the legislature, my previous post discusses how the publishers lobby swiftly managed to amend the bill, eliminating its six-month reduction of the twelve-month embargo period (allowed publishers to delay providing open access after publication). While attesting to their support for open access, in principle, the publishers held that reducing (by six months) the public’s wait to see this research violated their property rights and threatened the future . . . [more]

Posted in: Intellectual Property, Legal Publishing

Human Progress

I married my wife in 1954. She confirms that over the 64 years of our marriage I have generally been an optimist about human progress. I am also an optimist about human progress in the future.

Steven Pinker in his book, Enlightenment Now (2018), argues that since the 18th century the ideas of the Enlightenment have resulted in significant human progress. The ideas are reason, science and humanism. Some areas of human progress include health, wealth, life expectancy, education, knowledge, expansion of the voting franchise, reduction of violent crimes and wars, elimination of child labor, reduction of severe punishments, and . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Publishing

Evolution of Traditional Law Publishing Marketing Techniques

I was asked recently to express some views on a topic on which I have never claimed any significant expertise, that of how to market books published on law and related professional topics (for the expertise, see the forthcoming 6th edition of Alison Baverstock’s book, How to Market Books). The fact that it still needs to be done by many publishers makes it a relevant issue but to some observers, perhaps a little distanced from the real world or simply in different types of publishing, it might seem odd that anyone should discuss such a topic at . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Publishing

From Lexis, “Canada at 150: Building a Free and Democratic Society” and a New “Rule of Law Report”

Promoting awareness of what is being done and what can be done

My former colleague Jay Brecher has drawn my attention to the new Rule of Law Report published by Lexis Nexis. The company has long offered its support for the principle of the rule of law. More public service than corporate self promotion (although a bit of that too), Lexis has shown a genuine commitment to creating awareness of the efforts by the “little guy” to support the rule of law in Canada and elsewhere, as evidenced here by this new Rule of Law Report.

The inaugural issue reflects . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Publishing

CanLII’s Recent Announcements: Putting It All Together

Following CanLII’s multiple announcements in the last weeks and months, we wouldn’t blame anybody for failing to see the big picture from these individual pieces. I thought I would use this column to recapitulate and give some perspective.

Individually, the steps we took in the last few years can be seen as merely incremental, but the overall result is that CanLII became a radically different beast, for the better of course. This post strings together these individual announcements with the objective of presenting a clearer picture of what CanLII has become, and to show its the increased potential.

Let’s start . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Publishing, Legal Technology

Solex : Lexum’s Latest Search Engine

In the movie The Man with the Golden Gun, the Solex is a revolutionary device that is meant to solve the 1973 energy crisis. After killing its British inventor, an elite assassin steals the Solex to sell it to foreign powers. James Bond is dispatched to find the assassin and recover the precious device. Because this is a James Bond movie, as a matter of course, there’s also a laser.

Solex also stands for SolrCloud Lexum plugins, the latest iteration of the search engine Lexum deploys in all its products.

Lexum has used a wide variety . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Publishing

Reconciling Property Rights and Human Rights When It Comes to Knowledge. Part I.

I no sooner had a minor breakthrough of on my SLAW March 9th, 2018 blogpost – on Twitter and Infojustice Roundup – which proposed copyright reforms to increase public access to research, than I ran head-on into the realpolitik of such legislative measures. In the earlier blogpost, I had briefly set out reasons for Canada to be the first nation to use copyright reform to turn its open access research policies into a federally legislated human right to know. Then, little more than a month later here in California (where I teach), Assemblyman Mark Stone introduced a bill to . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Publishing

Modern Legal Practice

I was invited recently to take on the role of editor of the journal, Modern Legal Practice, which is published by Globe Law and Business. I was honoured to be asked and quick to accept, even though my role as an associate editor on the Italian Law Journal and Slaw columns give me less time for other pro-bono and non-law focused activities.

Modern Legal Practice is a relatively new and growing journal which deals with a broad range of topics to do with the practice of law, embracing business and the development of it, strategy, leadership, governance, risk . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Publishing

Making the Best Better

In a recent article on legal practice Ken Grady offered this thought:

As we often hear today, lawyers need to become fans of data. The age of talking to a lawyer who gives an opinion based on the 10 or 15 cases she has handled is past (or it should be). Clients should recognize that advice based on such weak datasets is meaningless and should call out their lawyers for basing opinions on it. Excellence means knowing more than the average player. It means having that depth and breadth of knowledge that is hard to match. Law firms need to

. . . [more]
Posted in: Legal Publishing

Let Canada Be First to Turn an Open Access Research Policy Into a Legal Right to Know

Canada’s three federal research funding agencies – the Canadian Institutes of Health ($1 billion annual budget in 2016-17), the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada ($1.1 billion), the Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada ($380 million) – instituted an intellectual property law exception in 2014. It effects the publication of research and scholarship resulting from grants which they have awarded. What began with CIHR in 2008, evolved six years later into Tri-Agency Policy on Open Access Policy on Publications. Under this policy “grant recipients are required to ensure that any peer-reviewed journal publications arising from . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Publishing

The Risks of Litigation

Why do businessmen try to avoid litigation?

Consider the lawyerly advice that a poor settlement is better than a good lawsuit. This proverb asks one to consider the money and effort required for a trial, in addition to the risks of a trial.

Most civil legal claims are settled before trial. According to a survey by the U.S. Department of Justice, over 95 percent of civil cases (in state courts) are settled or dismissed without a trial.

Many cases are settled because trials are notoriously risky.

Some lawyers say that there are several risks. One risk is the credibility of . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Publishing

Driving Mister Butterworth – 200 Years of Law Publishing

Butterworths was founded in 1818 by Henry Butterworth. I know that this momentous anniversary is being marked and celebrated far and wide. Now more frequently but not always described as Lexis Nexis, the business, with its classic brand name, remains by any measure or description, one of the handful of information icons of the Common Law world.

My own direct connection to Butterworths was fleeting, having worked for it for a short time only in London and Toronto in consequence, in 1996, of its acquisition of Tolley Publishing, where I was divisional chief executive of Tolley Professional Information. However, . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Publishing