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Archive for the ‘Legal Publishing’ Columns

Applying the Logic of Intellectual Property Incentives Outside the Law

One common interpretation of intellectual property law is that it is not so much about protecting a creator’s natural law property rights (as is the case with bicycles and beachfront properties). Rather, intellectual property law is about motivating individuals to create and invent for the benefit of all. It has been carefully structured and revised over the years, by this reading, to spur on individual and corporate investment in fostering and consuming novelty. In the eighteenth century, when intellectual property took its modern legislative form, the intent was boldly declared to be the encouragement of learning and to promote the . . . [more]

Posted in: Intellectual Property, Legal Publishing

NMOneSoure 2.0: Open Access to New Mexico Legal Information Is Now Powered by Lexum

New Mexico is one of the few U.S. States where the official publishing of legislation and case law is centralized in the hands of a specialized enterprise agency, the New Mexico Compilation Commission (NMCC), created in 1941. Over the last fifteen years, the State of New Mexico has been its own self-publisher of its official laws. NMCC has been providing three distinct online services: its agency website for posting slip opinions, formal and unreported opinions and new court rule amendments on behalf of the Supreme Court of New Mexico; a free, word-searchable online database of unannotated statutes at the request . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Publishing

The Gift to Law Publishing of the English Language

As someone of relatively proud Irish and Italian heritage, among others, no doubt, and while daily rejoicing in the good fortune of being able to have the City of London, England, as my primary place of work and residence, nevertheless, I would not necessarily put England and “Englishness” at the top of any preference lists. I value my many English friends, family members, colleagues, neighbours and acquaintances enormously and with much affection but I rate the place, apart from London, its history, traditions, political structures and culture, no higher than those of any other great country; I am . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Publishing

Tiger Woods and Changing the Game

Tiger Woods won the Masters on April 14, 2019. His fifth Green Jacket at Augusta National, earned 22 years after his first when he demolished world-class competition with a 12-stroke margin of victory in a tournament where first and second place are typically separated by a single, well-placed putt. I vividly remember that 1997 final, as it fell smack in the middle of my 3L final exams and I thought (correctly) that the best use of my time that day was to sit my then-infant daughter on my lap and watch history unfold rather than break the spine on that . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Publishing, Practice of Law

AI4A2J

The title of this post stands for Artificial Intelligence for Access to Justice. It sounds a little like buzzword festival. Rest assured however – there is no mention whatsoever of block chain or design thinking further down in the text.

A few months ago we sent out an invitation to industry partners to join Lexum Lab (Lexum’s R&D team) to test a few AI / Deep Learning applications that are in the making. More specifically, Lexum Lab and the Montreal Institute for Learning Algorithms (MILA) are collaborating on the development of a link prediction algorithm for law. . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Publishing, Legal Technology

Calling for Greater Public Accountability in Big Pharma‘s Patent Collaborations

My beat on SLAW.ca is typically, if not all too predictably, the copyright trials and tribulations of scholarly communication. I’d be the first to admit that matters of access to this body of knowledge are relatively straightforward compared to what takes place next door with patent licensing, especially when pharmaceuticals are involved. Still, such patents disputes, which often involve government, university, and industry, can shed light on my interests in legal reforms that restore some part of intellectual property law’s original intent to promote the progress of science and encourage learning for the benefit of all.

This has led me . . . [more]

Posted in: Intellectual Property, Legal Publishing

Rule One: Calculate Precisely Why You’re Trading Your Mustang for a Horse

I was bemused, recently, when a highly-respected and knowledgeable professional publisher intimated to me a partial preference, presumably based on a degree of evidence, for content which was aimed at lawyers, that did not rely on or make significant reference to rules. It caused me to ponder, as a sometime law publisher and one who holds certain systems of rules in high esteem, on their value, not least for purposes of providing information to lawyers and their like.

It is not within my competence to attempt to deal in any depth with the complex jurisprudential analysis that has always . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Publishing

For Want of a Distinction: The Copyright Act and the York University Appeal

A year ago in this blog, I addressed York University’s appeal of the federal court’s decision against its clams to “fair dealing” in its instructors’ reproduction of course materials in Canadian Copyright Licensing Agency (CCLA) v. York University. I am returning to this case, even as the appeal proceeds, because I’ve begun to think that it reveals the extent to which the Copyright Act is currently unable to serve both party’s legitimate rights and interests.

Judge Michael L. Phelan’s ruling in the original case, rendered July 12, 2017, denied York’s claim that the copying of materials by instructors . . . [more]

Posted in: Intellectual Property, Legal Publishing

Bilingualism in New Brunswick

On June 15, 2010 I wrote a column for Slaw titled “Evolution of Bilingual Judgments in New Brunswick”. The judicial process was only a part of the struggle of New Brunswick francophones against assimilation.

Francophones, speaking French at home, account for about 30% of the New Brunswick population of 730,000.

I was a practicing lawyer in New Brunswick in the 1960s when the court process functioned only in English. A trial in French was not available. The land registry was only in English, you could not file a mortgage in French. Files maintained by lawyers were only in . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Publishing

Open Access for Law Book Content

It was in my role as a director of Dunedin Academic Press that recently and with some trepidation, I attended a series of workshops on open access (OA) in relation to scholarly monographs. Issues surrounding open access, as they apply to the academic journals market are now substantially rehearsed but they are less so in relation to books and the various markets for them. While most of the discussion and progress made thus far is in the academic market and primarily in such fields as humanities and social sciences, it certainly made me ponder, perhaps with a degree of anxiety, . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Publishing

Interested in Testing the Potential of AI on Your Own Dataset?

For the last year or so, our Lexum Lab team has been playing around with machine learning algorithms. ”Telling the fortune” of users based on their search history was one option, but this example showed us that it may not turned out according to plan. Instead our team came up with two applications promising to considerably enhance legal information retrieval. And we are currently looking for partner organizations who are interested in trying them out.

The first one is called Facts2Law. Using the latest deep learning techniques, it predicts the most relevant Canadian case law (and eventually legislation) when presented . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Publishing, Legal Technology

The United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement: A Call for a Little Give and Take

After much Trump-inspired drama over Canada’s participation in his new North American trade accord, the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) was issued on September 30, 2018 (with final ratification by the three countries still pending at this point). While there is much ado about cheese, milk, and automobiles to it, intellectual property rights also figures prominently in the agreement. Its intellectual property provisions seek “the promotion of technological innovation… to the mutual advantage of producers and users… [in] a balance of rights and obligations.” While this would seem to make it all about patent regulation, it also allows for a need . . . [more]

Posted in: Intellectual Property, Legal Publishing