Canada’s online legal magazine.

Norwich Order Applied to Gmail Account

The Ontario Superior Court of Justice released its decision on an application in York University v. Bell Canada Enterprises this Friday. The case is based on an allegedly defamatory e-mail about the President of York University, Mamdouh Shoukri, saying he had “perpetrated an outrageous fraud.”

A group calling itself “York Faculty Concerned About the Future of York University” protested the appointment of Martin Singer of the new Faculty of Liberal Arts and Professional Studies, questioning his credentials and attaching a letter from other academics who did disclose their names.

But the University is more interested in the identity of . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law, Technology: Internet

Copyright Video [Fail]

Are rapping Klingons the answer to copyright violation? Probably not.

In 1992, the Software Publishers Association, now the Software & Information Industry Association (SIIA), released a video, “Don’t Copy that Floppy,” aimed at youth to curb the use of copyrighted materials such as games. The video starred a rapper-lawyer M.E. Hart, as well as interviews with various persons from the industry.

The digitally remastered 1992 video is available on Hart’s YouTube Channel.

This past week SIIA released a sequel to the video, focusing on copyright of games, music, and software. It starts out with a bunch of contemporary . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law

Prosecutorial Discretion

I’ve just started my LLM at U of T and am considering a paper/article on the limits of prosecutorial discretion. A defining personal example for me is the racing legislation under the Ontario HTA. With that legislation the Ontario Government created a circumstance where 2 identical fact situations could be subject to two different charges under the HTA at the discretion of the crown. Given that there’s unlikely to be much high level discussion of matters related to the HTA, I’m interested if any SLAW members are aware of other statutes (provincial or federal) where two identical fact situations could . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

Carl Malamud on the US Public Domain



This is old now, but I just found a recording of an interesting 2007 talk by Carl Malamud about his efforts to cajole US Government agencies and Canadian corporations into recognizing and acting on the public domain status of all US government info, including, of course, case law. (Re-)Defining the Public Domain is available at Berkeley’s School of Information as audio, and also with his slideshow. To find the law content, skip ahead to 38:12 of the video version. Some really choice quotes here, and the whole thing is a great introduction to his strategic, and very . . . [more]

Posted in: Education & Training, Legal Information

The Friday Fillip

Laws is an anagram of Slaw. So is awls. And that’s about it. Fascinating, huh?

Not really? Okay, then, how about this? Slaw is likely one of the few words that has no anagrams in the major European languages or Latin. (With the exception of Dutch — Wals, as in 1-2-3, 1-2-3, etc. — which is here deemed not to be a major European language.)

See how much innocent fun there is to be had by playing with anagrams? All of this and even more merriment is available free online, courtesy of the Internet Anagram Server. From which . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

Legal Malpractice Risks Change in Tough Times (But Not Risk Management Strategies)

(This article comes from the latest issue of LAWPRO’s new Webzine.)

When times are good, bumps in the road won’t always cause problems. Clients are upbeat and they want the deal to close, their problem resolved or the litigation matter to proceed. Happy clients are far less likely to sue their lawyers for malpractice.

However, in tough times, clients squeezed by money problem scan become unhappy and they will be more likely to look for ways to allege that their lawyers made a mistake. In a similar fashion, lawyers squeezed by financial problems can also find themselves more likely . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law, Practice of Law: Practice Management

Tools to Assist With Bilingual Legal Material

I was near the bottom of the bell curve for introductory French in my first year of University. Worried for my GPA, I dropped the course just before the transcript appearance cut off date. I have come to deeply regret that decision.

Lucky for me, I have excellent colleagues among the members of the CBA Alberta, Research Lawyers North section. This hybrid section welcomes non-lawyer members. Our September meeting was a round table of research tips.

Jane Fagnan, Legal Counsel with Alberta Court of Queen’s Bench offered some tips and sites to help anglophones with law in French. A . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information

Live Auction for NHL Franchise

If you’re a hockey fan, you probably know about the current dispute between the NHL and RIM co-CEO Jim Balsillie. You may also know about the court auction that is taking place right now – as of the writing of this post anyway – to determine the ownership of the Phoenix Coyotes.

TSN is covering the event, and using a live blogging tool called to capture the play-by-play. It’s a one way communication tool in that the reporter is publishing, and receiving comments, but isn’t interacting or responding to those comments.

It also translates to different languages, and . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

Web 3.0 and the Law

The semantic web is coming. The fact that it’s been heralded more often than “the wolf,” shouldn’t deafen us to the the essential truth: slowly but surely Web 3.0, the semantic web is arriving. After all, the wolf did actually show up, as I recall.

What is it? And why should lawyers care? There are two typical answers to the second question, as is usually the case when technology is the subject: lawyers should care first because the change will (eventually) alter the way in which they research, prepare and present documents, and second because as the technology goes mainstream . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information, Technology

Managing Your Online Reputation

Picking up on my last post here at Slaw (Social Media and Background Checks), I recently came across some excellent commentary from some heavyweight legal bloggers about managing one’s online reputation.

It begins with Jim Calloway’s post Online Reputation Management: First Rule is to Avoid Self-Inflicted Wounds. That really is the first rule and the one that is sometimes forgotten “in the moment”. Jim writes:

As we have seen with many well-documented Facebook and Twitter stories, the biggest potential danger area for damage to your online reputation is you. We saw it happen with flame e-mailing when

. . . [more]
Posted in: Miscellaneous

40th Anniversary of Canada’s Official Languages Act

Forty years ago, on September 7, 1969, the Official Languages Act officially came into force.

The legislation recognized the equal status of English and French in federal institutions and in Canadian society.

All week long, the Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages is marking the occasion through meetings, discussions, and exhibitions.

As Graham Fraser, the Commissioner of Official Languages, wrote in the August 31, 2009 edition of The Hill Times:

“Bilingualism ‘is at the core of what this country means’ but Canadians don’t have a sense of ownership of both official languages, says Graham Fraser, the Commissioner

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

Art Theft and Interpol’s Database

The Guardian carried a story this weekend on Interpol’s online database of stolen art objects. The idea is that by making information — photos, dimensions, etc. — available to art dealers and interested members of the public, it might become harder for thieves to sell on stolen art, at least to unwitting buyers.

What intrigued me was that despite talking about the database website and the fact that 400 people had applied for passwords to view the art the Guardian piece failed to give its readers a URL for the site. I’ve banged on about this before, I know; but . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information, Substantive Law