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More on Social Media and the Courts

We have recently learned of the Alberta order for service of process by Facebook.

An English court has now ordered service of a injunction via Twitter — where the Twitter user was anonymous, impersonating a blogger (it’s a complicated world out there!):

I suppose there could be interesting questions if the Twitter user was not in the jurisdiction of the court, depending on (among other things) whether the rules of practice permit service out of the jurisdiction without prior leave of the court.

The complainant thought it was more efficient to get an ex parte injunction and serve it . . . [more]

Posted in: Administration of Slaw, Substantive Law, ulc_ecomm_list

Lists From Twitter: Nests of Tweeps

Twitter is developing a way of making a shareable list of Twitter users, so that people can form, recommend, or adopt groups of users. (See the story on ReadWriteWeb.)

Currenlty, TweepML offers a way of doing this sharable list making. (The name is a take on OPML, which stands for Outline Processor Markup Language, an invention of Dave Winer, and used principally for making an XML list of RSS feeds. Tweeps are people — “peeps” — who use Twitter.) The idea of such a list is that it makes it technically easier for you to follow groups of people. . . . [more]

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

U.K. Supreme Court… and Blog

Today’s the day the new United Kingdom Supreme Court, the replacement for the House of Lords, begins operation. (What’s with the brown? Ugh.) And, because this is the age it is, the new institution’s familiar, the blog, is born along with it.

The UKSCblog (I’m not liking uk-suk as the way to say the new court) is designed frankly as a “mirror” of the American SCOTUS blog.

I’ve taken a quick look and like what I see — with the exception that, curiously, the URL remains fixed as whether you’re on the “home,” “about,” “archive” or, . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law, Technology: Internet

Slaw Implements Google Translator

As an experiment, Slaw has installed a new Google feature that can automatically translate a website into the language used by the viewer’s browser. Thus, when we have a reader who comes to us with a browser set to read French or German or Arabic — or any of 50 languages — the reader will see a bar at the top offering in the reader’s language to translate Slaw into that language automatically. Readers who come to us with browsers set to English should be unaffected by this feature.

It may be that our French-speaking readers will find this annoying, . . . [more]

Posted in: Administration of Slaw

Hundreds of Thousands of Records on Holocaust and Nazi Art Looting Made Available

The National Archives and Records Administration of the United States and yesterday announced the release of the Internet’s largest Interactive Holocaust Collection with hundreds of thousands of records, including:

  • The Ardelia Hall Collection of records relating to the Nazi looting of Jewish possessions, including looted art
  • Concentration camp registers and documents from Dachau, Mauthausen, Auschwitz, and Flossenburg
  • Captured German records including deportation and death lists from concentration camps
  • Nuremberg War Crimes Trial proceedings

Access to the collection will be available for free on through the month of October.

On the matter of looted art, there are a number . . . [more]

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

Australia Frees Data

The Australian government has launched as the new home of Australian government public information datasets. There are more than 165 sets arranged into 30 or so categories, covering such topics as culture, planning, environment and education. The invitation on the site is to “[mash]-up the data to create something new and exciting!”. The datasets are in various formats — XML, XLS, ESRI Shapefiles, CSV, etc. — each accompanied by basic metadata.

The United States federal government offers an increasing number of federal datasets free via

Partly in response to the U.S. initiative, . . . [more]

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

Retro Case Builds – Does Anyone Really Need Them?

The debate in legal publishing circles continues with regard to retro case law builds. Does anyone really need them? If so, which ones and why? Do any of retro builds in the planning or development stages have any real value to the legal researcher?

Unreported court cases that pre-date 1970. Boxes and boxes of older full text court cases that were not reported in print law report series still haunt some court houses and some legal publishers. What should be done with them? Tens of thousands of these cases exist in hardcopy and rest heavy on the consciences of those . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information, Legal Information: Libraries & Research, Legal Information: Publishing, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

Finding and Updating Canadian Federal Private Acts

A patron asks you to find (and update) a Canadian federal private Act. How do you do it?

The legal research literature lacks detail on the process, so I thought I would test the following approach with SLAW readers and ask if there is a better way. I also provide links to some additional resources on researching federal private Acts.

In the following example, I have (arbitrarily) picked the Stanmount Pipe Line Company (which would appear to no longer exist – at least based on Google searches; as such, it is not a very realistic example, but I needed . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information, Legal Information: Libraries & Research, Substantive Law: Legislation

Rule of Law vs the Rule of Reason

I was reading my usual RSS feeds this morning, partly to see if I could find some inspiration for my Slaw post for today, and found the following post on Techdirt. I couldn’t agree more – and since this is one of those “like he said” posts that I can’t really improve on – I’ve simply reproduced it below. I know the author, Mike Masnick, won’t mind so long as I don’t take credit for writing it.

The Rule Of Law Over The Rule Of Reason

from the stop-the-insanity dept

While not directly a tech/business related story, Jonny sent . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

Fishbowl Haiku

If there’s one time of year that should give us cause to pause and look out from our legal Fishbowls it’s the autumn. Given the season, I thought I’d invite us all to take a break from our computer screens and document briefs and look out our windows to reflect on nature.

I had just such a moment of distraction last spring that I let slip into a Tweet. Peg Duncan (keeper of the LexUM e-discovery case law digests) translated it into this wonderful English-style Haiku:

the tower creaks

in the cool east wind

ridable waves in Toronto

. . . [more]
Posted in: Miscellaneous, Practice of Law

This Week’s Biotech Highlights

No post-High Holiday edition of the week in biotech would be complete without some repentance and some new beginnings:

. . . [more]
Posted in: Substantive Law

Metadata Tsunami


Author, Title, Publisher, Date. Doesn’t seem that hard, really. I guess that’s what the Google geniuses (see also Apple Genius) thought when they set up Google Book Search.

Turns out, its not that easy. Anyone who has been tempted by the promises of citation managers, and then had their hopes dashed on the rocks of bibliographic complexity, knows this too well. The criticism of Google Books Search’s performance is pretty trenchant. And now this article doing the same service for Google Scholar. Its a metadata tsunami. Something like that Fishbone song:

Karma Tsunami
comin . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous