Canada’s online legal magazine.

Research Plugged-In, Too

This time around the Legal Research Unplugged column is a little less legal and a little more plugged-in than usual. As often is the case, I have been thinking about the way students and young lawyers carry out research and the way we teach or guide them in this (the “we” being the more experienced research lawyers, teachers, and librarians who are tasked with or take on the responsibility). However, this time around my thoughts have turned to research skill with tools other than the traditional legal resources, in particular, skill with the tools of a “plugged-in” researcher. Perhaps this . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information

Copyrighting Facts in Movies – “We Are Marshall”

Movie producers often attempt to purchase the rights of real stories they want to turn into film. However, media sources reporting events have no copyright interest in the facts they are reporting.

A recent American case helps illustrate this point.

The 2006 Warner Bros. film We Are Marshall starring Matthew McConaughey depicted the true story of a plane that crashed on Nov. 14, 1970, killing all 75 people on board. The victims included 37 members of the Marshall University Thundering Herd football team.

Although Warner Bros. had approached the makers of an Emmy-winning documentary film, Ashes to Glory: The Tragedy . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law

Knopf on Access Copyright Transparency

A good post from Howard Knopf bringing everyone up to speed on the lack of transparency at Access Copyright, brought to the fore by the recent action of the League of Canadian Poets. Universities licence with AC, even though it is arguable that a preponderance of the copying done on campus, and also in the K12 systems, falls within the fair dealing exceptions, especially as explicated in CCH v. LSUC. For a very good, accessible discussion see Murray and Trosow’s Canadian Copyright: A Citizen’s Guide. . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information

House of Lords, Shari’a Law and the Grant of Asylum

The House of Lords has just released a judgment, Em (Lebanon) (Fc) (Fc) v. Secretary of State For The Home Department [2008] UKHL 64, of some interest.

A mother and her seven-year-old son from Lebanon sought asylum in the U.K., claiming a right to remain under article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights read in conjunction with article 14. She had been granted a divorce from her husband in Lebanon and had actual custody of their child; when the boy would turn seven, Shari’a law would automatically pass all custody, legal and actual, to the father; . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law, Substantive Law: Foreign Law, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

The Friday Fillip

Vos papiers, s’il vous plait!

Ihre Ausweispapiere bitte!

Let’s see some ID!

That’s the way it is now — and pretty much has been, increasingly, since WWI, before which one might have roamed fairly free of official fetters. Now it’s all photo ID and holograms, watermarks and RFIDs. The only upside to all of this I can see, apart from whatever increased security we might gain, not a fit subject for a fillip, is a fascination with the intricacies of proof of authenticity. When ID is required, counterfeiters will offer their services, and so begins another round of cops . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

David Weinberger on “Knowledge at the End of the Information Age”

I really enjoyed the lecture tonight by Dr. David Weinberger as part of the Bertha Bassam lecture at the University of Toronto’s i-school (Faculty of Information). The lecture was titled “Knowledge at the End of the Information Age.”

SLAW readers will know Weinberger as the author of Everything Is Miscellaneous: The Power of the New Digital Disorder (2007), as discussed previously on SLAW ( ).

Weinberger continued his themes from Everything is Miscellaneous: By starting with the premise that the Internet is both extremely odd at the same as being quite familiar, he documented the transformation of information . . . [more]

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

SCC to Rule on Whether Licences Are “property”

Tomorrow morning, the Supreme Court of Canada will, finally, release its judgment in Saulnier v. Royal Bank of Canada. The case concerns whether a government-issued licence – in this case, a fishing licence – can be treated as a form of intangible “property” for purposes of the Personal Property Security Act and the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act.

This case has the potential to be quite significant. The traditional common law position, represented by cases such as National Trust v. Bouckhuyt (1987), 61 O.R. (2d) 640 (C.A.), was that a discretionary licence issued by a government body grants a mere . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions


All Slawyers seem far more expert on computers than I. I am badly confused by the verbs that I encounter—you may have noticed that I get hung up on words; I love them and believe that they actually have or should have a precise meaning.

I am occasionally invited to “install” a programme. When I try to do so, I am asked whether I want to “run” it or “save” it. Now I have lost my verb, “install.” What do I do? Neither verb seems responsive to the invitation to install anything. If I save it, how will I even . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

Google Sued for Placing Ads With Typosquatters

Benjamin Edelman, who teaches marketing in the Harvard School of Business, has initiated a class action against Google on behalf of trademark owners whose marks have been infringed by typosquatters. (See the story on Arstechnica.) Typosquatting is the practice of registering domain names that approximate the names of real companies’ websites in the hope of obtaining advantage from internet users who arrive there by mistyping (e.g. Edelman claims that Google places ads on these fraudulent sites and benefits from revenue generated when a user clicks into the sites by mistake. Given the number of such pseudo-sites, Edelman . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law, Technology, Technology: Internet

Online Supplements to Law Reviews

A post on the U of A Faculty of Law Blog caught my eye today. Other articles on SLAW have discussed legal publishing trends. The Alberta Law Review online supplement looks very much like a blog, but with a qualifier for the posts:

The Alberta Law Review is pleased to introduce a new, moderated forum for legal debate: the Alberta Law Review Online Supplement. This new forum will be a place for legal scholars, practitioners and students to discuss and debate contemporary legal issues. Please visit the forum to discover what enquiring legal minds are thinking about right now. If

. . . [more]
Posted in: Miscellaneous

Seizing Domain Names

A court in Kentucky has (ex parte) made an in rem judgment ordering the seizure of 141 domain names because, the court determined, they are “gambling devices” or “gambling records” under Kentucky legislation. Domain names, said the court, “are virtual keys for entering and creating virtual casinos from the desktop of a resident in Kentucky.”

Apart from the dubious nature of the court’s application of the legislation to domain names, issues arise in the case as to whether Kentucky has jurisdiction and whether domain names are property or, as the defendants argued:

[D]omain names are akin to a telephone number

. . . [more]
Posted in: Substantive Law

Implementing a Federated Search Product

The Nov. 2008 issue of the AALL Spectrum has an article entitled The Wise Researcher: One library’s experience implementing a federated search product.

The article, by Yumin Jiang and Georgia Briscoe of the University of Colorado, describes how the William A. Wise Law Library at that institution went about choosing a product that allows for searching across multiple specialty databases.

After comparing products on the market for things such as databases included, installation and maintenance, price, search options, and result sorting and display capabilities, the Wise Library opted for 360 Search, a product of Serials Solutions.

The authors caution . . . [more]

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