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Book: Innovation at Risk

Three free chapters are available online of a book to be published by the Princeton University Press, Innovation at Risk: The empirical case that today’s patent system discourages innovators—and how it might be fixed, by James Bessen and Michael J. Meurer. To see if it’s of interest, you might take a look at the Synopsis [PDF] or Chapter 1: Introduction: The Argument in Brief [PDF]. The other free chapters are: 3: If You Can’t Tell the Boundaries, Then It Ain’t Property [PDF] and 9: Abstract Patents and Software [PDF]. You’ll also find a few links to associated material on . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous


The word “law” is the 321st most frequently used word in the English language, which ain’t bad. I know this via Wordcount, a datamining tool by the inventive Jonathan Harris, creator of the interesting news site 10×10 and other fascinating displays of our collective behaviour.

Mining data from the British National Corpus, Wordcount includes all the words that occur at least twice there, some 86,000 of them. It then portrays them according to frequency, using size as a visual indicator. There may not be much intellectual meat here, but it is fun to roam around and to . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

Placeholder on Dell

I’ve no time to do a thorough analysis but the Dell decision was handed down by the Supreme Court this morning.

Court split 6-3.

The case has interesting things to say about

contracts of adhesion in consumer matters
click-through contracting on websites
the relationship between the Civil Code and the principles of private international law.

And its the first time that the court has referred to Max Weber‘s typologies of legal rationality in On Law in Economy and Society, for which see Rheinstein, Kronman and now Duncan Kennedy.

Now over to Vincent for the full analysis . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

The Friday Fillip

So many things. New products every day. So much choice. Or…?

Photographer Mark Luthringer has put together — literally — images of parts of everyday objects, such as cars, houses, RV’s, commercial buildings, all under the rubric of Ridgemont Typologies. The effect can be surprising, as we see our variety disappear into the dominant stylistic mode. There’s an artist statement here, if you’re interested. Now, I’ll let the images speak for him, only a couple of which I’ve excerpted below, linked to a larger array on his site.

I was struck the other day, after looking at Luthringer’s photos, . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

PKP 2007 Opening Keynote

Last night’s energetic keynote address from John Willinsky was humorous and engaging, and offered several interesting insights on the history and future of OA. Under the title 10 Years After, he recapped the history of the PKP, which started out as a “project” he expected to last a few months in 1997 and morphed into the much larger body of works and research that it is today. I won’t try to recap the details of that history, but I’ll report some of the current statistics that show the success and variety of the PKP Open Journals System (OJS) software. Currently . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

More Facebook

Tired of Facebook yet? Its only going to get bigger….

The UK Research Information Network blog has two interesting posts about Facebook:

-new stats on its staggering growth
-reasons why Facebook will grow and outlast myspace

The Globe and Mail also has a recent story on Facebook that focuses on the young founder and controlling shareholder Mark Zuckerberg. . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

New Book on Legacy of Former Chief Justice Bora Laskin

Canadian legal publisher Irwin Law has just published The Laskin Legacy: Essays in Commemoration of Chief Justice Bora Laskin:

“This book is a collection of seventeen scholarly articles and personal reminiscences that examine the life and career of the late Bora Laskin, former Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Canada. The essays are written by family members, judges, law professors, and lawyers whose recollections about Laskin flesh out the life of a man ‘at the summit of Canada’s political and legal life,’ with commentary from some whose paths crossed his. The book includes examinations of Laskin’s contribution to

. . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

PKP 2007

I’m attending the Public Knowledge Project‘s PKP Scholarly Publishing Conference 2007, and I’ll be entering brief descriptions of the events and my impressions over the next few days. Here’s the conference’s self-description:

The conference will provide opportunities for those involved in the organization, promotion, and study of scholarly communication to share and discuss innovative work in scholarly publishing, with a focus on the contribution that open source publishing technologies (such as, but not restricted to, PKP’s OJS, OCS, and OA Harvester) can make to improving access to research and scholarship on a global and public scale.

Major keynote

. . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

Rethinking Associations

Along with my other life changes, my 2007-08 campaign will also include a new role, that of VALL President. While I’ve done my stint as the co-chair for BCLMA’s KM group, this is actually the first time I’ve led a larger Association — a little over 100 members. I know, I know, nothing like stringing all your ‘firsts’ together!!

Now I know many of you have played this role, and some of you many times. So let me ask, what really shakes things up in a modern Association? I’m just back from an Executive changeover meeting, and these are . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

Les Blawgues Stagnent-Ils?

Dans un récent billet, consécutif à un long congès d’écriture sur mon blogue, et sur slaw, je soulevais certains doutes, et certains doutes seulement, quant à la pertinence d’un blogue, individuel, principalement en français, en droit, en amérique du nord. Encore une fois, si l’outil, comme formule d’apprentissage intégrée à un cours est, j’en suis convaincu, fort efficace, il demande, comme toujours, à être considéré dans son ensemble vis-à-vis de ses objectifs.

Élément symptomatique, on commence à trouver des sites juridiques qui se posent la question de la stagnation. Pour preuve, un billet sur le très bon blogue collaboratif . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous