An appeals court in the US has held that in principle, someone who sends a text message to someone she knows is driving (in this case, a motorcycle) and is likely to text back while driving, can be liable for damages caused by that driver while distracted by texting [Kubert v. Best]. In the case in point, the court held that the woman who was texting her boyfriend did not know he was responding while driving, so she was not liable for the damages he caused. (He himself settled with the victims, but his insurance did not cover . . . [more]
Archive for ‘Substantive Law: Foreign Law’
Some publicity has been given to a recent Texas judgment that held that Bitcoins were a form of money, and thus a scheme by which investors hoped to increase their holdings of bitcoins was subject to securities regulations.
Is there any doubt that a similar holding would be made in Canada?
It was not necessary to find that bitcoins were a form of money in order for the investment to be a security. I recall from law school days securities that promised gains from chinchillas, for example.
The holding that bitcoins were money was needed in that particular case because . . . [more]
Earlier this year I posted about a French case that held Google liable for search suggestions that pulled up defamatory senses. (Courts in other countries have also held Google liable for this; others have not.)
The highest court in France, the Cour de Cassation, has now held that Google was not liable after all. The search results were completely automated, thus not the expression of anyone’s intention, and thus not able to be the basis of an intentional illicit act like defamation.
As the court said:
la fonctionnalité aboutissant au rapprochement critiqué est le fruit d’un processus purement automatique dans
. . . [more]
In a decision released yesterday, HM Attorney General v Davey  EWHC 2317 (Admin), the High Court of England and Wales gave leave for applications for committal orders for contempt of court against two men, each of whom had sat as a juror in a criminal case and each of whom had used the internet in contravention of instructions not to do so.
Davey posted the following message to his Facebook account at the end of the first day of the trial:
Woooow I wasn’t expecting to be in a jury Deciding a paedophile’s fate, I’ve always wanted to
. . . [more]
The Commission nationale de l’informatique et des libertés (CNIL – the French privacy authority) has recently found a company in breach of its duty to protect the personal information of its employees because the company used unduly short passwords that were too easy to guess and that were not changed often enough. (See the story on Le Village de la Justice)
According to the CNIL, the employer should have had a password policy that required longer passwords composed of letters, numbers and special characters, and that also required that the passwords be changed frequently.
It was not demonstrated that . . . [more]
One interesting scrap of legal news that passed under the radar recently was a testy exchange involving Hideaki Ueda, Japan’s human rights envoy to the United Nations at a session of the UN torture committee in Geneva, Switzerland. The donnybrook arose when a fellow envoy called-out the Japanese criminal system for not mandating electronic recording or the presence of counsel at police interrogations. Mr. Ueda sprang to his nation’s defence, only to be met by the audience’s muffled laughter. In true diplomatic fashion, Japan’s emissary responded by telling his esteemed colleagues to “shut up” not once, but twice. . . . [more]
Is clicking ‘OK’ on a web site the equivalent of a signature, or just an act of assenting with legal effect, e.g. to accept an offer to contract? Is there a useful or meaningful distinction any more between a signature and an act of assent (at least when the signature is intended to show assent)?
Recently an appellate court in the US found that clicking OK to a web form satisfied the requirements of the Copyright Act (US) that a transfer of copyright had to be in writing and signed by the transferor. The court relied on the Electronic Signatures . . . [more]
The revelations by U.S. whistleblower Edward Snowden that the National Security Agency has been conducting widespread snooping against pretty much everyone, everywhere, all the time has provoked more than just political and diplomatic fallout.
As can be expected, there are several new lawsuits.
The American non-profit investigative journalism website Pro Publica has created the NSA Surveillance Lawsuit Tracker that lists the "key legal challenges to [U.S.] government surveillance and secrecy" since 2006. The last lawsuit added to the list was filed on July 8th.
For a Canadian take on government whistleblowers, I recommend the work of the NGO FAIR (Federal . . . [more]
According to a story in today's New York Times, the US Postal Service has a program to photographed the exterior of every single piece of mail they processed — something like 160 billion pieces a year — and provides that data to "law enforcement" upon request. So if you were thinking to evade Prism by brushing up on your letter writing skills . . . return to sender.
The "Mail Isolation Control and Tracking" program simply provides the information available on "covers" without the necessity of recourse to a judge. The article notes that challenges to this practice have . . . [more]
On Thursday, the retiring English Director of Public Prosecutions, Keir Starmer QC, published final guidelines for crown counsel on the approach they should take in cases involving communications sent via social media. The approach they take could be usefully read by Canada's prosecutors.
First step is to assess the content of the communication and the conduct in question. It distinguishes between :
Communications which may constitute credible threats of violence to the person or damage to property.
Communications which specifically target an individual or individuals and which may constitute harassment or stalking.
Communications which may amount to a breach
. . . [more]
A recent decision by a New York federal judge has raised a number of issues concerning unpaid internships. It was decided in this case that two interns working on the set of the film Black Swan should have been paid, given that the work they accomplished did not meet the six criteria used for determining that an internship may be unpaid, as published in a fact sheet by the U.S. Department of Labor (which are interestingly the same criteria published by the Ontario Ministry of Labour):
1. The internship, even though it includes actual operation of the facilities of the
. . . [more]
Twitter has been ordered by French courts to reveal the names of people responsible for anti-semitic tweets (using a standard hashtag) to a number of public interest organizations. Though Twitter said it would cooperate if it received an order from the American courts acting on the request of the French courts, the Court of Appeal said it has to cooperate because the direct order of the French court.
Would such an order be made in favour of private parties here? Would the private bodies first have to begin a legal proceeding against the pseudonymous tweeters – a civil action? a . . . [more]