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York University v. Bell Canada Enterprises: Observations and Implications for Future Norwich Jurisprudence

In an earlier posting on Slaw, Norwich Order Applied to Gmail Account, Omar Ha-Redeye discussed the facts, findings and implications of the recent decision in York University v. Bell Canada Enterprises, 2009 CanLII 46447 (ON S.C.). To that excellent posting, I offer some additional observations.


First, York University v. Bell Canada Enterprises is of interest in respect of its finding regarding the first element of the test for a Norwich order. Prior to York University v. Bell Canada Enterprises, it was arguably well-established that the first element in the test for Norwich order is that the . . . [more]

Posted in: e-Discovery

Stand by for Product Placement on UK Television

New UK Culture Secretary Ben Bradshaw is expected to announce later this week a three-month consultation process over lifting the ban on product placement in television programming in the UK. The move responds to plunging advertising revenues in the broadcast sector, and is a reversal of position from that of the previous Culture Secretary, Andy Burnham. Expect debate over the need to find alternative revenue sources for programming, and the erosion of programming quality, creative independence, and the public’s trust due to the blurring of advertising messaging and content.

Under current rules, programmes can show products used as props, but . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law

Creative Commons: Defining NonCommercial

Creative Commons published a study on September 14, 2009, Defining “Noncommercial”: A Study of How the Online Population Understands “Noncomemrcial Use”.

This Study was commissioned by Creative Commons in 2008-2009 from a professional market research firm to delve into the meaning of “commercial” and “noncommercial” use in relation to online content.

One quote from the Executive Summary:

Perceptions of the many use cases studied suggest that with the exception of uses that earn users money or involve advertising – at least until specific case scenarios are presented that disrupt those generalized views of commerciality – there is more uncertainty

. . . [more]
Posted in: Substantive Law

This Week’s Biotech Highlights

Having taken Labour Day off, I present a double edition of biotech highlights:

Double Money:

Double Caution:

. . . [more]
Posted in: Substantive Law, Technology: Internet

Ontario Court of Appeal on Speeding

I got done for speeding a while back and went to trial (a year later) to plead guilty to a reduced speed, so to speak. The brush with the (quasi)criminal system — my first since being put in the slammer for parking tickets way back when I was a callow scofflaw — was interesting, if only because there was a steady parade of semi-sheepish drivers from all walks of life passing through the same system on that day.

The speeding law is one of the most frequent points of contact between the public and “the law,” I’d say. Which makes . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law

Jumping the Fence: From Police Officer to Defence Lawyer

Members of the Slaw community might remember an article I wrote some weeks ago entitled Twittercles in which I marvelled at the impact Twitter had on our student recruitment this year.

As a follow-up, I invite you to read a wonderful piece authored by the student Twitter helped us to discover, Joel Welch. As a former RCMP officer turned defence lawyer, Joel has a fascinating perspective on both sides of the criminal law fence and I think you may be interested in hearing his musings.

Arrested Development. . . . [more]

Posted in: Education & Training, Substantive Law

Slaw Is Now Moderating Some Comments

We have been the object of a number of phony comments that passed the reCaptcha test and the Akismet comment spam filter. Although we delete these annoyances as soon as we can, they go out on the comment RSS feed before we can stop them, unfortunately.

To prevent this we are now forcing some comments into moderation. The arrangement is that if you have ever had an approved comment on Slaw, your future comments will not be moderated. (We reserve the right to delete them, even so, if they offend our comment policy, set out in the next paragraph.) We . . . [more]

Posted in: Administration of Slaw

Should Publicly Funded Content Be in the Public Domain?

I see one of the most-quoted posts today on Twitter is All publicly funded content should be in the public domain from popular blog Boing Boing, written by Jesse Brown, host of TV Ontario’s Search Engine podcast. Since he pulls CBC, Telefilm, the Canadian Television Fund and The Canada Council for the Arts into his argument, I thought we (as good Canadians) should have a look at the position he posits. It is:

I think that any publicly funded content should (within, say, 5 years of its creation) be released to the public domain.

Thoughts? (Un-Canadians welcome. Let’s open an

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

Reproduction of 11 Words May Be Infringement

Danske Dagblades Forening, a Danish newspaper industry body, is suing Infopaq, a Danish clippings service, over its reproduction of 11-word snippets of news for sale to clients. The European Court of Justice stated that copyright law would apply to extracts even if they contained just 11 words. However, the Court has not yet ruled in this case. The Court stated that it is up to a national court to decide first whether a newspaper article has copyright protection (though generally newspaper articles are protected by copyright.) . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law

Legislation on CanLII, Figures and Trivia

As recently posted here, the CanLII website will soon have all Canadian jurisdictions included in its new point-in-time legislation publication system. I thought that slaw readers would be interested in having some more insight about the project. Let’s begin with preliminary figures and some trivia about legislation available online from governments’ websites, which are the source of CanLII’s databases.

Over 6,000 updated public Acts are available online in all Canadian jurisdictions, averaging about 450 per jurisdiction. These figures double for corresponding enabled regulations. Not surprisingly, the Province of Ontario posts the largest number of effective public acts – . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information, Legal Information: Publishing

Canadian Election Controversy, Served 3 Ways

When I got back from vacation just over a week ago I discovered there was an elephant in the room: a possible looming federal election that no one really wanted to discuss. Except, perhaps, the media. We’ve even avoided discussing it here on Slaw for whatever reason (are we just too polite to talk politics in public? How very Canadian). In the meantime we have a lovely trio of election-related controversies from which to sample: . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information, Miscellaneous, Substantive Law, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions, Substantive Law: Legislation, Technology

Just Because You’re on Social Media Doesn’t Mean a Licence to Be Unprofessional

That’s the message from an interesting piece in yesterday’s NYT entitled A Legal Battle: Online Attitude vs. Rules of the Bar .

Short extract suggests more issues in the future:

Stephen Gillers, an expert on legal ethics at New York University Law School, sees many more missteps in the future, as young people who grew up with Facebook and other social media enter a profession governed by centuries of legal tradition.

“Twenty-somethings have a much-reduced sense of personal privacy,” Professor Gillers said. Younger lawyers are, predictably, more comfortable with the media than their older colleagues, according to a recent survey

. . . [more]
Posted in: Practice of Law, Technology, Technology: Internet