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Archive for ‘Substantive Law: Foreign Law’

Google Street View Case Granted a Rehearing

The United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit granted a new hearing this past Friday in Joffe v. Google, Inc., while affirming the decision in September that denied a motion to dismiss by Google.

Google had requested the class action be dismissed on the basis that their actions in collecting information for Google Street View was not illegal due to an exemption in the Wiretap Act, on the basis that they transmitted the data over a WiFi network. The Street View vans had used the service set identifier names and media access control address from routers . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law: Foreign Law, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

French Veil Ban Goes to European Court of Human Rights

On November 27, 2013, the European Court of Human Rights held a Grand Chamber hearing (which was broadcast on the Internet) in the case of S.A.S v. France (Application no 43835/11). The case concerns a French Muslim woman’s complaint that French law prohibits her from wearing a full-face veil in public. As of April 2011, French Law no. 2010-1192 prohibits concealment of one’s face in all places open to the public in France. The penalty for breaking the law is a fine of up to €150 and/or compulsory citizenship classes. Separate penalties are provided for anyone forcing a woman to conceal her face in public.
Posted in: Case Comment, Justice Issues, Miscellaneous, Substantive Law, Substantive Law: Foreign Law

UN Database on Gender in Constitutions

UN Women, the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women, a three-year-old organization, has made available online a database of those provisions in nations’ constitutions that concern gender. The Constitutional Database covers 195 countries and provides relevant passages in both the original language and English translation. It is possible to download the entire database in PDF.

The database is searchable, of course, with filters available for country, region, or type of provision (e.g. reproductive rights, marriage family rights, equality…).

[Hat tip: Blogging for Equality] . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues, Legal Information: Publishing, Substantive Law: Foreign Law

Christmas Movies and the Restatement of Torts

There is a new blog post over at In Custodia Legis, the blog of the Law Library of Congress in Washington, that discusses Christmas movies with a law-related theme.

Obviously, the post mentions Miracle on 34th Street.

But check out the final paragraph that manages to connect the movie Gremlins to a discussion of The Restatement of Torts. . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous, Substantive Law: Foreign Law

Browsing History – Does Knowledge of Site Administrators’ Access Give Consent to Disclosure to Law Enforcement?

A recent US decision held that a person’s browsing history on web dating sites – not just his profiles, which were clearly intended for public use – could be disclosed to police because the person had authorized the administrators of the sites to know what he was looking at. The case, People v Holmes, involved a high-profile defendant in a criminal case (the person who shot up the Colorado movie theatre – allegedly), but these cases should not turn on whether the person claiming a privacy right is sympathetic.

The key for the court is contained in this passage . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law: Foreign Law, Technology: Internet, ulc_ecomm_list

Electronic Land Transactions in the United States

It has been suggested to me, at a couple of levels of hearsay, that that “the US government had to implement a provision to require the financial institutions to accept electronic signatures on agreements of purchase and sale [of land] for the purposes of financing.”

Can anyone tell me what is behind this statement? I have several questions, besides this general one:

  • had to implement’ – meaning ‘as a condition of validity’? or ‘to make some particular policy effective’?
  • ‘to require the financial institutions to accept e-signatures’ – really? Mandatory acceptance of e-signatures? *Any* e-signatures or only those with
. . . [more]
Posted in: Substantive Law: Foreign Law, Technology, ulc_ecomm_list

Law Library of Congress Report on Adjudication of Sexual Offenses in Military Justice Systems

The Law Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. has published a new comparative report on the handling and adjudication of sexual offenses in the military.

The report examines how the military justice systems of Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Israel and the United Kingdom deal with alleged sexual offending by service members.

The Library occasionally publishes reports that compare the laws on a given theme in a number of countries.

Earlier comparative law reports from the Law Library of Congress have covered topics such as:

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

UK Defamation Act 2013 – Rules for Website Owners

The amendments to the Defamation Act passed in the UK earlier this year will come into force on January 1, 2014. There is a draft regulation on website owners’ liability for defamatory comments posted on their sites. There is quite a back-and-forth process.

Is a scheme like this a good idea for Canada? It is a kind of ‘notice and notice’ system, in which the original poster of the allegedly defamatory statements have to identify themselves (via the website operator) for litigation by the complainant, or the statements are deleted.

Here is Pinsent Mason’s description:

[Website operators have

. . . [more]
Posted in: Substantive Law: Foreign Law, ulc_ecomm_list

US Court Dismisses Copyright Lawsuit Against Google Books Project

Judge Denny Chin of the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit in New York today dismissed the copyright violation lawsuit that US author groups had launched against Google.

The search giant has been digitizing tens of millions of books to create a massive online library / bookstore but the project was opposed in a lawsuit by US publishers and author organizations that started in 2005. The publishers’ group split off and settled earlier.

The judge wrote that the ambitious project respects authors’ rights and is a case of “fair use” (equivalent to fair dealing in Canadian copyright . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law: Foreign Law, Technology: Internet

Buying Personal Information in Bulk: Not So Fast!

An attempt by a Canadian online dating service, Plenty of Fish, to buy the database of a bankrupt competitor has run aground on privacy considerations (in Texas, of all places).

This has echoes of a situation a decade ago where the database of a toy company was going to be acquired. My recollection (subject to correction by Slaw readers) is that the purchase was derailed by public outcry more than by operation of law.

How would you go about making sure that your clients’ databases of personal information are saleable assets – or can this be done in Canada (or . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law: Foreign Law

Will Blog Comments Support Cross-Examination?

It has been held in a US case that allegations made in comments on blog posts are not sufficiently reliable to be used in cross-examination. In this case an expert was testifying in a product liability case that the defendant’s products had never caught fire before (as the plaintiff’s had). The plaintiff’s counsel wanted to point to a number of comments in blogs about fires in some of the same manufacturer’s products. The court denied the right to use those examples.

Is that right? How much reliability do you need? Are blog comments the cross-examiner’s Wikipedia? (It was not suggested . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law: Foreign Law, Technology: Internet, ulc_ecomm_list

Inuit Lose Again in Europe

Almost exactly four years ago, the European Parliament passed Regulation (EC) No 1007/2009 restricting the marketing of products made from seals to:

only where the seal products result from hunts traditionally conducted by Inuit and other indigenous communities and contribute to their subsistence.

and incidentally:

the placing on the market of seal products shall also be allowed where the seal products result from by-products of hunting that is regulated by national law and conducted for the sole purpose of the sustainable management of marine resources. Such placing on the market shall be allowed only on a non-profit basis. The nature

. . . [more]
Posted in: Justice Issues, Substantive Law: Foreign Law