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Blood From a Computer?

A recent proposal from France President Nicolas Sarkozy is either crazy, crazy like a fox, or trying to distract attention from his recent PR issues. I’m not quite sure which category the proposal falls into, maybe all three. From the International Herald Tribune, “Sarkozy proposes taxing new technology to finance the old.” More specifically, the proposal is to ban commercials from public television in France and make up for the lost revenue by taxing the internet and mobile phones. The proposal is to place an “infinitesimal” tax on internet and mobile phone connections and directing that tax revenue . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

The Friday Fillip

Good name in man and woman, dear my lord,
Is the immediate jewel of their souls.

And in country too…

Which is why I was taken aback when I learned that some in the U.S. use “Canadian” as a disguised slur to refer to Blacks — as code for the ‘n’ word, in effect. As is common on the web I learned this fourth hand, and traced the story back from the Language Log, to Defending People, the Art and Science of Criminal Defense Trial Lawyering, which had a brief post about a memo from the Harris County (Texas) . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

Documentation for .doc? (And .xls and .ppt Too)

Martin LaMonica blogs today that “Microsoft eases access to Office binary formats for OOXML”, while Mary Jo Foley provides additional context in “Microsoft bends over backwards to prove there’s an ‘open’ in OOXML”. It’s all part of Microsoft’s battle with ODF over who controls the future of storage formats for word processing files, spreadsheets, etc.–an important issue for the archivally inclined. . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

Jordan Furlong Has a Blog

Called “Law21, dispatches from a legal profession on the brink,” Jordan says of the new year’s baby:

In the 21st century, the practice of law is shaking loose from its traditional moorings and heading out into uncharted territory. Opportunities abound, but so do pitfalls. Most of the old rules won’t apply anymore, while some will matter more than ever.

Welcome to the new legal profession, powered by collaboration, innovation, and client service. This is your front-row seat.

The RSS feed for posts is http://law21.ca/feed/.

As readers of the National or Jordan’s column (Law21) in Slaw will know, . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology: Internet

DFAIT Request for Academic Interest

A letter has gone out to Canada’s law deans from the Director General of Legal Affairs Bureau of the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade (DFAIT) stating that the Bureau wishes to “enhance Canada’s current engagement with the work of the [International Law] Commission, including its studies and recommendations.” The Bureau would like

to hear of Canadian legal academics who are following the Commission’s work, whether in total or with respect to a specific topic. …We would welcome receiving an email providing us with the name, contact details, and areas of specific interest with respect to the Commission’s work

. . . [more]
Posted in: Education & Training, Education & Training: Law Schools, Legal Information: Libraries & Research

Library of Congress Partners With Flickr

The Library of Congress announced on its blog that its partnering with Flickr to put photos from its collection online where users can interact with them. To start, the Library of Congress will post about 3,000 photos from two of its most popular collections on Flickr (there are about 14 million prints, photos and other visual materials at the Library in total). This project will include only photos for which no copyright exists. For more information about this project (and Flickr’s new tagging initiative called The Commons), read the announcements from Flickr and the Library of Congress. . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology

Free Larry

Larry Lessig’s book “The Future of Ideas” is now free to download under Creative Commons attribution-non-commercial license.

Published in 2001 by Random House, the book addresses IP and the impact on it of the internet. You can read an excerpt here.

Lessig’s other books are also available free under a Creative Commons license:

Free Culture: How Big Media Uses Technology and the Law to Lock Down Creativity (Penguin Press, 2004).

Code And Other Laws of Cyberspace, Version 2.0 (Basic Books, 2006).

[via Digital Koans] . . . [more]

Posted in: Education & Training: Law Schools, Legal Information: Publishing, Substantive Law

One Laptop Per Child (Or Grownup?)

Our (children’s) XO laptops arrived yesterday, and they are quite the hit already. They are fun for us, great learning tools for the kids – including learning why they were created in the first place. I hope they prove/have proved to be as successful with the children for whom the donated laptops are intended. (See earlier Slaw posts – for example, here and here.)

My son, 5, has figured out how to open it, power on and off, navigate around the screen, return to “home” and use a couple of the included applications: made a bit of music on . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology

“I Despise Facebook”

That’s Tom Hodgkinson talking, not me. (My feelings about Fakebook aren’t that strong.) Hodgkinson has a long and interesting article in the Technology section of the Guardian Unlimited that sets out his many reasons for reviling the vastly popular — what? — tool, environment, fad?

His points are, roughly:

  • It’s unnecessary. Why would you need to connect to people through the mediation of “a bunch of supergeeks in California”?
  • It’s isolating. The connection is more imagined than real.
  • It perverts true friendship, encouraging lying about oneself and competition as to the number of “friends” one has.
  • It’s got incredible mass
. . . [more]
Posted in: Technology

Anne of Intellectual Property

It feels like I have been following the development of the Anne of Green Gables brand my whole life. The librarian in me can’t believe I didn’t take to reading until my grade 5 teacher introduced me to Anne Shirley and her cohorts Diana Barry and Gilbert Blythe. I read every book in L.M. Montgomery’s series, and then continued on with her other fiction series. I fondly recall a family trip to PEI to visit L.M. Montgomery’s childhood home. Later in life I discovered her adult writings and, as a student of English literature at the University of Guelph, . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law, Technology

Let Your Kids Grow Up to Be

intellectual property or international business, trade, and competition- regulation lawyers.

The European Commission opened a new antitrust probe against Microsoft on Monday into whether it unfairly tied its Web browser to the Windows operating system and made it harder for rival software to work with Windows.

“This initiation of proceedings does not imply that the Commission has proof of an infringement. It only signifies that the Commission will further investigate the case as a matter of priority,” the Commission said.

And provide more billable work of for its lawyers and billable hours or work for Gates’.

I must say that . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law, Technology