Canada’s online legal magazine.

The Case for Short Legal Communications

This is a reminder that we should be brief in making our point.

We know this, but often can’t resist saying more than we should. Our tendency to ramble is partly a function of ego. We’re smart, we know things and we want others to know we know things whether helpful or not. It’s also a function of fear. When we don’t trust our argument we layer on lesser alternatives that can harm more than help. Finally, it can be because we’re lazy or time pressed. Long and rambling is easy while focused is hard.

The “case for short” is . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information, Practice of Law, Substantive Law

Beware if Using Ctrl+F to Search Websites for Keywords in Internet Explorer

I hate being reminded of the fallibility of technology. I love the confidence I feel from noting up a case using an electronic database; I hate it when I find that (contrary to the results of my electronic search) the case has in fact been overturned on appeal. I recently experienced a similar feeling when using the federal government’s laws website

Perhaps I’m spoiled by the ability in electronic database programs like QuickLaw and WestLaw to step from “hit” to “hit” in my search results. Or maybe I’m just lazy. When I am looking for something on a webpage . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information, Legal Information: Libraries & Research, Legal Information: Publishing, Technology

It’s Not Easy Being Green: Lime Beer Wars

The Toronto Star and Financial Post have reported on the latest news in beer branding wars. Brick Brewing has launched a new beer in time for the Labour Day weekend: RED BARON LIME. According to the article, Labatt and Anheuser-Busch are seeking an injunction in the Federal Court of Canada against Brick, as well as damages or an accounting of profits, on the basis of trade-mark and copyright violation. The packaging for RED BARON LIME beer displays images of limes and uses the colour green on its labels and packaging. The packaging for BUD LIGHT LIME also displays images of . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law

More on Free Speech

I’ve been following the posts and comments about anonymous blogging and free speech rights with interest. It’s hard not to weigh in with a few additional comments (and here, as an academic at heart, I’ll mention a comment I wrote nearly 15 years ago for the University of New Brunswick Law Journal’s Forum on free speech as a previous example of “weighing in”). I don’t know where the parameters of free speech should be, I just know that we need to recognize that vital though it is, other values (equality, in particular, as well as people’s entitlement not to be . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law

This Week’s Biotech Highlights

Since my clients and colleagues have been remarkably gracious about my attempts to vacation this week, I will keep this brief and return to my rest BEvERage novel kids. Here’s some of what has been going on in my absence:

. . . [more]
Posted in: Miscellaneous

Six Questions: Copyright Consultation Toronto Town Hall Redux

WHEN? August 27, 2009

WHERE? Toronto, Fairmont Royal York Hotel. The proceedings were also webcast from the Copyright Consultation website. For video and upcoming transcripts of the Toronto Town Hall, see the website at:

WHO? Hosted by the Honourable Tony Clement, Minister of Industry. Dianne LeBreton acted as Facilitator. More than 650 Canadians participated in real time (in person and online). Pre-registration to attend the Town Hall was required. Participants who spoke included three representatives from Warner Music Canada (including President Steve Kane), and a representative from each of Sony Music Canada, Universal Music Canada, SOCAN, Writers Union . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law

Slaw and Anonymous Commenting

It seems sensible to say a few words now about Angela Swan’s concern, expressed in a recent post, about “anonymous blogging” on Slaw.

Let me start by giving you some information, most of which is not news. Only members may post entries on Slaw; members are, of course, known, identified, and much valued, I might add. Commenting on posts is a bit more vexed. We do not moderate comments on Slaw in the sense that we do not preview them before their publication; we do, however, promptly delete those that we find to be objectionable in one way or . . . [more]

Posted in: Administration of Slaw

Interview With’s Chilwin Cheng

Last month I wrote about Fired Without Cause, an online legal service for consumers created by Vancouver startup Paradigm Shift Solutions Inc., formed by Chilwin Cheng, LLB and Jim Hamlin, a software development expert. Since I’m curious to know how innovative companies get started in the Canadian legal industry, I arranged for a telephone interview with Chilwin Cheng through his PR company Fleishman-Hillard.

Connie: I want to start at the beginning. Where did you do your law degree? . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information, Legal Information: Libraries & Research, Miscellaneous, Practice of Law, Technology

Blogger Anonymity Suits Coming to Canada?

The suit by Rosemary Port, the blogger on Skanks in NYC (originally here) outed by Google, may have its parallels in Canada soon.

Brian Bowman of Pitblado LLP in Winnipeg is seeking to reveal the identity of the blogger behind, a political site dedicated largely to the municipal politics in Ottawa, and its mayor, Larry O’Brien. (Bowman posted here on Slaw earlier this year on a different subject).

Michael Geist weighed in on the case, saying,

Canadian law does permit the disclosure under the appropriate circumstance, they just have to convince the court that this qualifies.

. . . [more]
Posted in: Substantive Law

Google’s Settlement With AAP and the Authors Guild

Sept. 4 is the deadline for submissions to the United States District Court – Southern District of New York regarding “Google Book Search,” as the proposed settlement has come to be known.

In a court order of April 28 (via Wired), the judge agreed that it was prudent to allow additional time for stakeholders to assess the agreement. Pamela Samuelson was the lead author requesting the extension, and has written a wonderfully lucid account, not only of the shortcomings of the agreement, but also succinctly identifying the motivations of the parties in fashioning it.

Her short article appears in . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information, Legal Information: Publishing, Reading, Substantive Law, Technology: Internet