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Archive for ‘Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions’

Anonymous Speech

The Ontario Divisional Court is going to hear an appeal of the Warman v Wilkins-Fournier case, in which the issue is whether an internet intermediary (here a blog site) must disclose the names of people alleged to have defamed someone.

The Ottawa Citizen has the story.

The trial decision requiring disclosure is at 2009 CanLII 14054 (ON S.C.)

Both sides are suitably apocalyptic in their predictions of disaster if they lose. (Canadian Civil Liberties Association and CIPPIC intervened against disclosure.)

Those opposing disclosure (on court order) say that whistleblowing and populist activism will be chilled or will dry up if . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions, ulc_ecomm_list

Google Decision From Judge Magi Available Here

The full 111 page decision of Judge Oscar Magi of the Milan Ordinary Tribunal imposing liability on Google was released today and is available here.

Slaw readers may recall that on February 24 Judge Magi imposed six-month sentences (suspended) on three Google executives for allowing the posting on Google Video of a mobile-phone video showing a handicapped youth being harassed by his Turin classmates in September 2006. The company took two months to remove the video, which was posted in Google Italia’s “Most Fun Videos” section and received 5,500 hits before being removed.

“La Rete non è una prateria . . . [more]

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

Moderating Comments and Liability

A recent judgment of the England and Wales High Court, Kaschke v Gray & Anor [2010] EWHC 690 (QB), dealt with a potential libel that occurred in a post on a blog,, that opens its facilities to “Labour grassroots” to “discuss the issues important to them.” As, which has the story, says

Hilton claimed in his defence against the libel charge that, though he ran the site, he did not edit or vet the articles and should qualify for the same safe harbour that was granted to search engines or ISPs.

That safe harbour is granted under . . . [more]

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

Caveat Emptor

A recent small claims case in NS has reinforced the point that if you are thinking of getting a tattoo you might want to apply a spell-checker or perhaps you might want to stop using your spell checker so that your eye might be better trained to spot spelling mistakes. In this case the individual saw the preview of the word and the stencil on her arm where “beatiful” (aka beautiful) was spelled incorrectly. The adjudicator ruled that “…the Claimant is the author of her own misfortune. The Claimant saw the phrase on the computer, on the stencil and then . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

Jury Confirms Novell Owns Unix Copyrights – Linux Remains Free

We have not heard much about this lately, partly because a summary judgment in 2007 stated that Novell owned the Unix code. A jury confirmed last week that SCO had not acquired the copyright to Unix from Novell in an asset purchase agreement.

The significance of this to the world at large is that Linux was derived from Unix. SCO launched a long standing battle claiming it owned Unix, and thus had rights to certain code within Linux, and thus the right to be compensated for Linux use. 

Apparently, SCO is not yet giving up though – there is some . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions, Technology, Technology: Office Technology

This Week’s Biotech Highlights

This week the biotech world was consumed with questions about genes, and patents, and patents on genes.

U.S. District Court Judge Robert Sweet issued a summary judgment ruling (pdf) that Myriad Genetics’ patents on the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes were invalid, as were the patents on Myriad’s tests using those genes. Meh. The commentary (including here at Slaw) has been interesting and the public airing of patent policy is much needed and generally productive; but I don’t think the ruling is that big a deal.

In a case of superior serendipity, last week also marked the ten-year anniversary . . . [more]

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

New Case on Employee Privacy Expectations for E-Mails

The situation on privacy expectations of e-mails for employees continues to develop both in Canada and the U.S. A unanimous decision released by the New Jersey Supreme Court this past week in Stengart v. Loving Care Agency, Inc. adds to this area.

Prior to leaving the employer to file a discrimination suit, the employee exchanged 7-8 e-mails with her lawyer through a personal Yahoo! e-mail account through the company’s laptop computer. The employer then retrieved these e-mails through the Temporary Internet Files cache and used them in preparation for the suit. The trial court initially ruled that the employee had . . . [more]

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

Defamation – Liability for Linking

The Supreme Court of Canada has granted leave to appeal to the plaintiff in the British Columbia case of Crookes v Newton 2009 BCCA 392.

The Court blog has a summary of the facts and of the appeal judgment.

Basically, the question is whether someone who posts a link to a defamatory publication has him/her/itself published a defamation. The BCCA held 2:1 that in some circumstances the link could be defamatory — but only if in context the poster of the link called particular attention to it and indicated agreement. The majority held (as had the trial court) that . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions, ulc_ecomm_list

Human Gene Patent Rejected by NY Court

A New York court has struck the patents held by Myriad Genetics Inc. for BRCA1 and BRCA2 which have been linked to breast and ovarian cancer in Association for Molecular Pathology, et al. v. United States Patent and Trademark Office, et al.

Parties including The American Civil Liberties Union, Public Patent Foundation, and Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law argued that the patents were unconstitutional. The decision challenges the famous quote about patentable subject matter from Diamond v. Chakrabarty, 447 U.S. 303 (1980),

…a person may have invented a machine or a manufacture, which may include anything

. . . [more]
Posted in: Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

Alberta Judge Comments on First E-Trial

At the end of the reasons for judgment in Alberta’s first electronic trial in 1159465 Alberta Ltd. v. Adwood Manufacturing Ltd.the Honourable Mr. Justice A.W. Germain of the Court of Queen’s Bench provided a schedule to the reasons for judgment in which he reflects on the process and some of the legal issues to have cropped up. It’s at page 61 of the PDF of the judgment. . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

Ontario Court of Appeal on Mootness

The Ontario Court of Appeal recently released an interesting decision involving that funny-sounding concept, mootness. Indeed, the case involved a “stale” matter arising from a non-adversarial process where ultimately there was no actual lis between the parties. Not the sort of thing our legal system is accustomed to dealing with every day.

The factual framework in Mental Health Centre Penetanguishene v. Ontario, 2010 ONCA 197 was this: a person detained at the Mental Health Centre Penetanguishene (MHCP) as a person found not criminally responsible on account of mental disorder had a disposition hearing before the Ontario Review Board (which . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions