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SCC to Rule on Whether Licences Are “property”

Tomorrow morning, the Supreme Court of Canada will, finally, release its judgment in Saulnier v. Royal Bank of Canada. The case concerns whether a government-issued licence – in this case, a fishing licence – can be treated as a form of intangible “property” for purposes of the Personal Property Security Act and the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act.

This case has the potential to be quite significant. The traditional common law position, represented by cases such as National Trust v. Bouckhuyt (1987), 61 O.R. (2d) 640 (C.A.), was that a discretionary licence issued by a government body grants a mere . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

Verbs

All Slawyers seem far more expert on computers than I. I am badly confused by the verbs that I encounter—you may have noticed that I get hung up on words; I love them and believe that they actually have or should have a precise meaning.

I am occasionally invited to “install” a programme. When I try to do so, I am asked whether I want to “run” it or “save” it. Now I have lost my verb, “install.” What do I do? Neither verb seems responsive to the invitation to install anything. If I save it, how will I even . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

Google Sued for Placing Ads With Typosquatters

Benjamin Edelman, who teaches marketing in the Harvard School of Business, has initiated a class action against Google on behalf of trademark owners whose marks have been infringed by typosquatters. (See the story on Arstechnica.) Typosquatting is the practice of registering domain names that approximate the names of real companies’ websites in the hope of obtaining advantage from internet users who arrive there by mistyping (e.g. http://goggle.com/). Edelman claims that Google places ads on these fraudulent sites and benefits from revenue generated when a user clicks into the sites by mistake. Given the number of such pseudo-sites, Edelman . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law, Technology, Technology: Internet

Online Supplements to Law Reviews

A post on the U of A Faculty of Law Blog caught my eye today. Other articles on SLAW have discussed legal publishing trends. The Alberta Law Review online supplement looks very much like a blog, but with a qualifier for the posts:

The Alberta Law Review is pleased to introduce a new, moderated forum for legal debate: the Alberta Law Review Online Supplement. This new forum will be a place for legal scholars, practitioners and students to discuss and debate contemporary legal issues. Please visit the forum to discover what enquiring legal minds are thinking about right now. If

. . . [more]
Posted in: Miscellaneous

Seizing Domain Names

A court in Kentucky has (ex parte) made an in rem judgment ordering the seizure of 141 domain names because, the court determined, they are “gambling devices” or “gambling records” under Kentucky legislation. Domain names, said the court, “are virtual keys for entering and creating virtual casinos from the desktop of a resident in Kentucky.”

Apart from the dubious nature of the court’s application of the legislation to domain names, issues arise in the case as to whether Kentucky has jurisdiction and whether domain names are property or, as the defendants argued:

[D]omain names are akin to a telephone number

. . . [more]
Posted in: Substantive Law

Implementing a Federated Search Product

The Nov. 2008 issue of the AALL Spectrum has an article entitled The Wise Researcher: One library’s experience implementing a federated search product.

The article, by Yumin Jiang and Georgia Briscoe of the University of Colorado, describes how the William A. Wise Law Library at that institution went about choosing a product that allows for searching across multiple specialty databases.

After comparing products on the market for things such as databases included, installation and maintenance, price, search options, and result sorting and display capabilities, the Wise Library opted for 360 Search, a product of Serials Solutions.

The authors caution . . . [more]

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

Legal Elements of Causes of Action

Tip of the Day: While preparing a paper on “Effective Litigation Knowledge Management” for the November 17-18, 2008 Canadian Law & Technology Forum in Toronto, I reminded myself of an extremely useful chart for any drafter of litigation pleadings, being Appendix A from Summary Judgments and Dispositions Before Trial (LexisNexis Butterworths) by Robert van Kessel. This chart sets out the legal elements for thirty-seven causes of action (ranging from abuse of process to unjust enrichment) and fifteen defences (including duress and novation). Citations to supporting case law are provided. UPDATE: The author let me know (23 October 2008) . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information: Libraries & Research

New Products Due to LexisNexis / ThomsonReuters (Carswell) Competition

The competition between LexisNexis Quicklaw and WestlaweCARSWELL in Canada can only benefit users. In a number of areas, the companies are responding to the other by announcing new or improved products (e.g., the introduction by LexisNexis of Halsbury’s Laws of Canada appears to have Carswell reinvigorating the Canadian Encyclopedic Digest).

Another area where this has happened is in online Words and Phrases services. Although Quicklaw was first to the mark with an online service, WestlaweCARSWELL has recently added an online equivalent of its print (blue-colored) multi-volume Words and Phrases services (and I think I like it better).

Likewise, since . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information: Libraries & Research

Retiring an Old Friend

It was with mixed feelings we have “retired” our All England Law Reports – Canadian Annotations to the Consolidated Tables and Index looseleaf but it just wasn’t being used.

It was a great product that provided a list of U.K. cases reported in the All England Law Reports showing which Canadian court decisions had considered those U.K. decisions. Its strength was quality of entries. However, its time has likely come given the ease by which one can search on the name of the U.K. case (e.g., jarvis /4 swan) in a Canadian full-text judgments database to get a more exhaustive . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information: Libraries & Research

Word Processors Won’t Help in Court

That’s the title of my latest London Free Press article. I thought Slaw readers might find the article interesting. Since my arrangement with the newspaper does not allow me to republish it for a period of time anywhere but on my own blog, you can read it on my blog, or on the Free Press site, or on the Canoe technology news page (although this weeks article is not yet there at the time I write this.)

The gist of the article is that a UK judge was very critical of the drafter of an agreement, accusing him/her . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

Michael Sauers on Creative Commons

I am currently at the Internet Librarian 2008 conference in Monterey, CA. Under the category of “I wish you were here” is the presentation by Michael Sauers, Technology Innovation Librarian from the Nebraska Library Commission. I caught the tail end of his presentation and unfortunately didn’t take notes, but here are his Lessig-esque slides. Michael knows a lot about Creative Commons through practical use as well as trial-and-error.

Posted in: Education & Training: CLE/PD, Legal Information, Substantive Law

Iacobucci Report Released

The Canadian government has released the massive (544 pages) final report of the Internal Inquiry into the Actions of Canadian Officials in Relation to Abdullah Almalki, Ahmad Abou-Elmaati and Muayyed Nureddin [PDF] chaired by The Honourable Frank Iacobucci, q.c. Commissioner. There is a secret report, as well as this public version, containing material subject to national security confidentiality.

It is worth, I believe, quoting at some length from Justice Iacobucci’s opening “Commissioner’s Statement”:

[R]espect for rights and freedoms is a constraint on a democracy that ter-rorists do not share. Indeed by their very actions they repudiate these rights and freedoms.

. . . [more]
Posted in: Legal Information, Substantive Law