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You might be interested in CourTopics, an “information database” of the U.S. National Center for State Courts (NCSC). The links are to American materials, of course, but this may be what you’re looking for; and in any event, some aspects of some of the topics transcend jurisdictions — e.g. e-discovery. There are upwards of 150 topics listed on the site. . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

Lecture on the Global Software Industry and Free Software

A lecture delivered in Edinburgh, Scotland on the 26th of June, 2007, titled “The Global Software Industry in Transformation: After GPLv3” by Columbia law prof Eben Moglen of the Software Freedom Law Center is available online. The lecture was hosted by the Scottish Society for Computers and Law. Stored on the Internet Archive, it’s available in three formats: video, audio only, and text (transcription). (As it’s unedited, I recommend audio.)

The GPLv3 referred to in the title is the latest version of the GNU General Public License, described in Wikipedia in the following . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

Chesapeake Bay Project

Along with Michael Lines, I attended the American Association of Law Libraries Annual Meeting in New Orleans. Very hot and humid, but I can attest to the restorative properties of Abita Brewing Company’s Amber.

One of the more interesting sessions at the conference was a presentation by the Chesapeake Bay Project. This is a collaborative effort between Georgetown University Law Library, the Maryland State Law Library, and the Virginia State Law Library. It is a two-year pilot project to stabilize, preserve, and ensure permanent access to critical born-digital legal material on the World Wide Web. According to the . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

You Are in a Dispersal Area

When I was in England in May, I stayed with friends near Ealing. On a stroll in the shopping area I noticed this sign in the window of a store (click on the image to the left to see a larger version). The text immediately above the map read as follows:

The local Police and the Local Authority have both agreed that there are grounds to believe that members of the public have been intimidated, harassed, alarmed or distressed as a result of the presence or behaviour of two or more persons and that anti-social behaviour is a significant and

. . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous


BBC News has a piece, Factfile: XO laptop, on the current form of the One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) machine being developed by Nicholas Negroponte and MIT Media Lab. It’s proving to be a long and parlous road to final release and distribution: Intel recently got on board (AMD makes the XO chip at the moment) which may swamp the non-profit canoe, and there’s been constant criticism from just about every quarter.

I have to say, though, that it looks to be a sweet machine. It boasts wi-fi and the ability of one machine to connect to others . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

Intute Again

I blogged about the Manchester University based research database, Intute, a year ago. I’ve since had occasion to return and to discover that they’ve not only continued to expand the fund of searchable materials but also have added lots of functionality to the site. Thus, for example, you can click into the Social Sciences database, drill down to the law subsection, where you’ll find:

Posted in: Miscellaneous


If you’re interested in a free and handy screencast app, you should take a look at Jing. It enables you easily to frame a screenshot and take it either as a still or as video — with sound, too, if your machine is equipped for it. It works on both Windows and Mac (and is something of a godsend for the latter, because there was no good cheap tool for making screencast videos for the Mac). Jing — it styles itself as a project — hopes you’ll find it handy for folding videos or stills into IM, email or . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

Animal Species Names and Human Characteristics

We’re all familiar with the use of animal species names (general and specific) as labels for a sets of human charateristics, for descriptions of types of people, some good, some bad; for example; lion, tiger, weasel, rabbit, rat, dinosaur, pigeon, shark, albatross, crow, snake, (teddy) bear, sloth, insect, rodent, bug, cat etc. I haven’t heard a new usage; or rather, I don’t know of one that doesn’t have a good history.

So, it’s time for a new contest. Let’s identify a group of animals that aren’t associated with a human stereotype and then see if we can identify the stereotype . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

Cases & Materials Texts and the Law

Here’s question that has both a serious and humorous side, and one which connects with our earlier discussions about teaching law students to “think like lawyers” and better preparing those of them who want to practice for the “real” practitioner’s world.

It also connects to a the question of close to “real time” should law school materials be when the law is in a significant amount of flux. 

What happens when the law in a particular subject (let’s say a private law subject so we’ve the prospect of provincial variations), at a particular time in the jurisdiction where the law . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

Legal Versus Moral

Since I’ve designated today as a day to think about ethics, it’s worth quoting from a recent US judgment on a issue that had and has both legal and moral implications that comes from the boomer days – the Viet Nam war and the consequences of the use of Agent Orange – and comparing that to how the Canadian government handled the problem that produced Authorson v Canada. . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

Ethics, Competence, Law Students & Lawyers

Any day is a good day to think about matters of ethics; this being Saturday, it’s as good a day as any. In no particular order of demerit, I’ll list some of the issues I’ve seen over the past month. Much of this is, of course, the eternal ends and means discussion.

1. Lawyers too lazy, or too incompetent, or not aware, or who simply don’t care, about their obligations to give the judge the current law and not knowingly give judges law that is out of date;

2. Lawyers too willing to make arguments that ought not to be . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

White House Executive Order

Tough for a Friday, perhaps, but if you have a moment over the weekend when you feel you just need to tussle with a patch of legal prose, take a look at the recent executive order issued Tuesday from the White House, “Blocking Property of Certain Persons Who Threaten Stabilization Efforts in Iraq.”

I’ve cut to the chase by choosing what I think is one of the more worrisome paths through the order (always a risky business, so read the original if you’re at all curious):

S.1 (a)
…all …interests in property of the following persons, that are

. . . [more]

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