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Archive for ‘Substantive Law’

A Few Comments on Wilson Colony

One of the biggest challenges facing the Supreme Court of Canada in my view is how to address religious claims. In some ways, the recent Supreme Court of Canada decision in Alberta v. Hutterian Brethren of Wilson Colony, 2009 SCC 37 illustrates why that is. While the case poses the usual question of what are the limits to the realization of religious beliefs in a pluralist society (rather than the limits to government activity when contrary to the religious beliefs of particular adherents), it is also a good example of how the majority’s and dissenting judges’ characterization of the . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law

Google Revisited

Many of us think of Google merely as your friendly, neighbourhood search engine. But Google is more than just a home page. Questions are increasingly being raised about Google’s dominance in several areas including on-line advertising, privacy and, more recently, copyright (read: “Google Books”). Google is now coming out swinging even on telecommunications policy matters, having appeared at the CRTC’s recent hearing on ISP Internet tariff management practices (ITMPs). Konrad von Finckenstein, the Chairman of the CRTC, was pleased that Google “as one of the large players on the Internet”, was actively participating in the process. In asking “Is . . . [more]

Posted in: Firm Guest Blogger, Substantive Law, Technology: Internet

140 Characters of Defamation

[HT to Chicago Bar Tender] Anatomy of a Twitter lawsuit:

  • One 140 character tweet, reading: “You should come anyway. Who said sleeping in a mouldy apartment was bad for you? Horizon realty thinks it’s okay”
  • Side note: account in question was public, with twenty total followers.
  • Realty Co. takes exception, and replies with a $50k defamation suit.
  • And… the heavy-handed response goes viral (84 media stories & growing strong) causing more damage than ever imagined.

Chalk up another vote for the “do nothing” response. :) . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law

This Week’s Biotech Highlights

The Bank of Canada announced this week that the recession is coming to an end, and although U.S. numbers don’t look quite so good, things were turning around for biotech as well. Nothing breeds a good investment mood like successes, and this week had plenty.

  • First off, Venture Capital stats for Q2 in the U.S. showed biotech and healthcare as garnering the biggest share of investments, and Human Genome Sciences scored a big clinical success with its Lupus treatment, which really changed the mood on Wall Street.
  • Medarex shareholders got a friendly $2.1 billion (with a “b”) offer
. . . [more]
Posted in: Substantive Law, Substantive Law: Legislation

Quebec and Ontario Move to Attract Foreign Film Productions

Recently, the Quebec and Ontario governments announced changes to enhance certain tax credits aimed at the film and television industry with the goal of bringing more foreign based productions into these provinces. In doing so, both governments have recognized the increasing global competition to attract film and television productions with the use of government incentives.

Canada was already a pioneer in the development and implementation of government incentives when it introduced the current system of tax credits in 1997. The success of Canada’s tax credit model in attracting film and television projects to the major production centers of Vancouver, . . . [more]

Posted in: Firm Guest Blogger, Substantive Law

Sweating the Small Stuff: Copyright in a Yodel, a Tweet, and the News

Small is sometimes beautiful; and sometimes, too, it’s valuable—if you hold the copyright. Three illustrations of this “small meets copyright” story have cropped up recently with somewhat different twists to the tales.

Up first is the yodel—you know, that voice-break corruption of singing common to cowboys and Alps dwellers. It seems (see the article in the Guardian) that one of the favourite beer hall songs in Germany and Austria, Das Kufsteinlied, which sings (mostly) of the beauty of the village of Kufstein in the Tirol, contains a chorus of the absolute favourite yodel in Germany and Austria. The . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law

Google’s Legal Agenda

Well Google has been the subject of many Slaw comments, but it’s on the legal side that it’s hit the news recently.

It won an important decision before Justice Eady of the English High Court in which the court held that Google was not liable as a publisher of defamatory comments when comments made in an internet forum about Metropolitan International Schools, a British company that operates Internet-based training courses, surfaced in the top rankings of a Google search for the company. Of course now the Schools’ highest hit is Eady’s judgment.

“When a snippet is thrown up on the

. . . [more]
Posted in: Firm Guest Blogger, Legal Information, Substantive Law, Technology, Technology: Internet

Petition to Improve PACER

I’m currently at the American Association of Law Libraries‘ annual conference in Washington, DC. One of the things speakers have been talking about is lobbying being done to make PACER more accessible. The PACER service from the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts provides on-line access to U.S. Appellate, District, and Bankruptcy court records and documents. The petition, through the care2 petitionsite website ( reads as follows:

We ask the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts to improve PACER (Public Access to Court Electronic Records) by enhancing the authenticity, usability and availability of the system.


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

The Return of the Music Soundtrack: Pulp Fiction or a New Reality?

and by Paul Chodirker

What was the number one selling album on Billboard’s top 200 chart at the end of January 2008? It wasn’t Radiohead’s In Rainbows, or Mary J. Blige’s Growing Pains. Can you guess what it was? It was a soundtrack album from “the little film that could” known as Juno.

If you’re not familiar with the Juno soundtrack, it’s basically made up of indie darlings and unknown musicians like Barry Louis Polisar and Kimya Dawson. Barry Louis Polisar is actually a musician who writes music for children. In fact, five soundtrack albums currently appear in the top . . . [more]

Posted in: Firm Guest Blogger, Substantive Law

Toronto Strike Can Be a Life and Death Issue

Toronto residents have been raising a big stink recently over the CUPE Local 416 strike recently, now entering its second month.

The union’s president, Mark Ferguson, has indicated that if a decision is not reached by today they will break off negotiations.

Meaning this could go on even longer…

Paramedics part of the union also have a partial right to strike. Response times before the strike, eight minutes and eighteen seconds, has risen to nine minutes and eleven seconds, twelve seconds longer than the gold standard.

The Ontario Ministry of Health is conducting an inquiry to see whether a . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law

Supreme Court Splits on Freedom of Religion and Driving Licence Photos

This morning the court released Alberta v. Wilson Colony of Hutterian Brethren, a decision that turns on whether Alberta’s driving licence requirements, which mandate photographs of licensed drivers to address identity theft breach the Hutterians’ Charter rights of Freedom of Religion.

The court split with Chief Justice McLachlin writing the majority judgment for herself and Justices Binnie, Deschamps and Rothstein. Strong dissent from Justice Abella, with Justices LeBel and Fish agreeing. The Court reversed the Alberta Court of Appeal and the Queen’s Bench, which had both struck down the Regulation in question.

“The goal of setting up a . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information, Substantive Law, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions, Technology

Serenity Now. Tranquility Later. (One Small Step for a Brand, Part II)

Here we continue the thread from my previous post. In honour of the Apollo 11 mission's 40th anniversary, we are looking at advertising/entertainment/branding issues we may not have expected – as a result of space exploration. This installment: contest bootcamp. Prepare for a hijacking.
Posted in: Substantive Law