Canada’s online legal magazine.
Solo lawyer start-up guide
LexisNexis Legal Products

Archive for ‘Legal Information’

UN Report on Business and Human Rights

John Ruggie, appointed UN Special Representative of the Secretary-General on business and human rights has recently released his report, “Protect, Respect and Remedy: a Framework for Business and Human Rights.” [PDF]

From the summary:

Responding to the invitation by the Human Rights Council for the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on the issue of human rights and transnational corporations and other business enterprises to submit his views and recommendations for its consideration, this report presents a conceptual and policy framework to anchor the business and human rights debate, and to help guide all relevant actors. The framework comprises

. . . [more]
Posted in: Legal Information: Libraries & Research, Substantive Law

WorldLII Strategy Paper

I’ve happened on a paper published last year by Graham Greenleaf, Philip Chung and Andrew Mowbray, Co-Directors of AustLII & WorldLII, “Emerging Global Networks for Free Access to Law: WorldLII’s Strategies 2002-2005” on SCRIPT-ed – A Journal of Law, Technology & Society.

SCRIPT-ed is an online journal out of the School of Law at the University of Edinburgh, and is associated with the AHRC Centre for Research in Intellectual Property and Technology Law there. . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information, Technology

Free Access to Databases This Week (And Forever!)

I am a total sucker for this kind of stuff.

This week is National Library Week for our American friends.

Many commercial database vendors and aggregators are marking the occasion by providing temporary free access to their products.

For example:

  • Greenwood Publishing is providing free access to database products as diverse as Praeger Security International Online, Reader’s Advisor Online and ARBAOnline (thousand of reviews of reference works). You have to register first.
  • Gale is allowing free access to a long list of popular and academic collections like Literature Criticism Online, Science Resource Center, and the Gale Virtual Reference Library
. . . [more]
Posted in: Legal Information: Libraries & Research

Librarian Goes Head to Head With Rowling – Everybody Cries

The New York Times has a story on the copyright infringement lawsuit by J.K. Rowling against the proposed publisher of a Harry Potter Lexicon, created by Steven Jan Vander Ark, a librarian. Unable to resist some of the stereotypes associated with librarians (e.g. the very opening line: “Shhh! The librarian at the heart of…”), the Times reports that Rowling got emotional enough to cry during testimony Monday, and Vander Ark wept yesterday.

And in case you’re interested, it comes from the horse’s mouth that the “unlocking spell” Alohomora! does not come from Aloha, as Vander Ark had surmised, but rather . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information, Legal Information: Publishing, Substantive Law

Oregon Claims Copyright Over Laws

Boing Boing gives us Carl Malmud’s report that U.S. free access sites Justia and Public.Resources.Org have received take-down letters from the Oregon Legislative Counsel in connection with their publishing of Oregon’s laws. Apparently West Publishing, which has also reproduced Oregon’s laws without a licence from the state, will not receive a similar demand.

I know that Canada and Ontario claim Crown copyright in our laws but explicitly permit copying if the material is reproduced accurately and that copyright is acknowledged. . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information, Substantive Law: Legislation

Computer-Generated Literature?

Like all of us, I sometime lament the state of legal writing, particularly of the academic sort. It is often so laden with detail (each one meticulously footnoted) that the reader can’t find the main point. But I think I may finally have stumbled on the culprit.

Philip Parker, a business professor, has developed a computer program that crawls through the internet gathering information from publicly available sources, and puts the information into book form. He then prints the books on demand and sells them through So far he’s generated more than 200,000 books.

Not surprisingly, the reviews . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information: Publishing

Harvard College Thesis Repository

Not long ago we reported Harvard faculty’s important decision to make all their members’ research open access. Now some students are joining the movement. The Harvard College Thesis Repository, just established, allows those undergraduate students who wish to upload their senior theses to a database accessible by everyone. At the moment there are perhaps a dozen theses there all told; but I imagine that in time this could prove to be a useful source of research in a variety of academic fields (none of which is law, strictly speaking). If you haven’t read a senior thesis from a good . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information

The Future of Legal Academic Publishing

What is the future of legal academic publishing in Canada? I ask for two reasons. First, as the leading publisher of Canadians legal casebooks I’d rather be on the cutting edge than on the trailing edge of new developments in publishing. I’d like even less to fall off the edge! Smart companies must anticipate changes in the marketplace and position themselves accordingly. That means, not being too far in front (remember, it’s the second mouse that gets the cheese) and not being too far behind. Secondly, as a law professor I reflect often on how to improve the student learning . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information: Publishing

Cornell Fillip

This is my last working day at Cornell. I’ll continue to post next week on a few more of the outstanding aspects of this law library that I’ve had a chance to see close up, but I thought a bit of a fillip might be in order. So here are some interesting quirks and bits I’ve discovered at Cornell:

The faculty was established with the start of the university in 1886, and the law building was erected in 1932. It is a charming and imposing structure, incorporating a variety of scales and degrees of formality. The main building has been . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information

Napoleonic Series

What appears to be a personal effort by Robert Burnham, the Napoleon Series website offers some legal material from around the turn of the 18th century that will be of interest to historians and and others perhaps. On the Government and Politics page, for instance, there are links to essays on diplomatic missions and treaties, plus translations of select treaties, declarations and conventions written between 1799 and 1815, essays on some laws passed by the British Parliament during the Revolutionary and Napoleonic Eras, and the whole Napoleonic (i.e. Civil) Code in a 1805 translation. . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information: Libraries & Research, Substantive Law