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Worrying About Books, Worrying About Libraries

Following along from last month’s exchanges at the Writers’ Union, a couple of interesting speculative pieces on what technology will do to book publishing and to libraries.

The Economist
has a piece this week from Book Expo America on Publishers worry as new technologies transform their industry
. I liked the last line, which echoes what I said to the Writers’ Union:

Publishing has only two indispensable participants: authors and readers. As with music, any technology that brings these two groups closer makes the whole industry more efficient—but hurts those who benefit from the distance between them.

But . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information, Legal Information: Publishing, Substantive Law, Technology

Document Management for the Smaller Firm

A friend raises an interesting question for the Slaw community:

Imagine that you have a ten person lawyer firm (+ support staff) that needs to move to matter-centric DM. What choices would such a firm have, other than the conventional (and somewhat pricey) legal DM vendors (i.e. OpenText and Interwoven), whose work is good but doesn’t quite scale this small.

Does anyone know whether there is a matter-centric DM based on open source or web services, keeping in mind standard law firm security and confidentiality requirements. Does anyone have any novel ideas or suggestions? . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information: Information Management, Technology

Lexis-Nexis Targets India

Two recent announcements show that Lexis has identified India as a significant market for future sales. This is all before the Indian market is fully opened up for foreign law firms, of course, when there will be an explosion of demand for access to foreign law.

LexisNexis, as part of its global expansion strategy, aims to be the number one print and electronic, legal, tax and regulatory publisher in India. LexisNexis has offices in New Delhi, Mumbai, and Chennai. To this end, a senior executive, John Atkinson has been named Managing Director for LexisNexis Butterworths India, to be based . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information: Publishing

CBC Not to Renew HNIC Song

It’s a sad day today. It seems that the license to the Hockey Night in Canada theme song will not be renewed by the CBC. From the composer’s release:

The CBC has been offered a new license on terms that are virtually identical to those that have existed for the past decade (the cost to CBC to use the theme is approximately $500.00 for each game broadcast of Hockey Night in Canada). However, the CBC has chosen to move in a new direction.

Given Annette’s post earlier today, do you sense a trend? Aren’t the CBC supposed to . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

Text2Mindmap

Mindmaps can be useful tools, when hierarchical arrangements don’t get at the scope of an idea or plan. (See Mind42, MindMaps Online, Thinkature, and Free Mind for some posts about mindmaps here on Slaw.) But it can be tedious to put the players on the field. Text2Mindmap is an online application that creates an online mindmap (in Flash) from a simple text outline. You’re then free to do some modest rearranging and styling of the components — though there’s as yet no ability to move an element from one node to another, for instance. This is a . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous, Technology

Moving to Digistan?

The wonderfully named Digital Standards Organization, i.e. Digistan:

seeks to promote customer choice, vendor competition, and overall growth in the global digital economy through the understanding, development, and adoption of free and open digital standards (“open standards”).

Open standards are specifications that are “immune to vendor capture.” Digistan has tightened up the EU definition of that key phrase, and is now promoting its adoption by (European at first) governments within a digital Hague Declaration. . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology

Movie Rentals on iTunes

Canadians can now rent or purchase movies online from Apple’s iTunes. We can then watch the movies at home on our computers or on the go with our iPods. The Globe and Mail article “iTunes Canada Adds Movies” points out the challenges Canadians will face in adopting to this new technology for renting and buying movies. They include:

  • Movie files are much larger than music files and take up a lot of room.
  • The lack of a universal digital video format that allows movies to be played on any device.

According to the article, iTunes starts off . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology

DIY Copyright Act

“Draft it yourself,” that is, using the wiki set up for that purpose by McGill University’s Centre for Intellectual Property Policy (cipp).

It’s interesting to see the points made by the cipp folks to try to get the wiki to work for such a serious and exacting project:

  • Like any wiki, justify your comments, add links, etc.
  • Let’s be serious. If we want this to be an alternative piece of legislation, we have to be balanced. (David Lametti, for example, would personally like to see copyright’s term reduced radically and the re-imposition of a registration requirement, but he appreciates that
. . . [more]
Posted in: Education & Training: Law Schools, Substantive Law, Substantive Law: Legislation

2007 Annual Report of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada

Jennifer Stoddart, the Privacy Commissioner of Canada, tabled her 2007 Annual Report in Parliament yesterday:

“The year 2007 will no doubt be remembered in the privacy world as the year of the data breach.”

“The size of some of the data spills reported around the globe was staggering: An estimated 94 million credit and debit cards were exposed when hackers broke into the system at TJX Companies Inc., the U.S. retail giant which owns Winners and HomeSense stores in Canada. In the United Kingdom, two computer discs holding the personal details of some 25 million child benefit recipients vanished. ”

. . . [more]
Posted in: Substantive Law

Ontario Targets Criminal Justice Court Delays

The Attorney General of Ontario Chris Bentley announced yesterday that his department is setting targets to reduce court delays and appearances by 30 per cent in routine criminal cases over the next four years.

“To ensure transparency and accountability, the province is also making available criminal court statistics to the public for the first time.”

To meet the targets, the province will be expanding 2 initiatives:

  • Dedicated Prosecution: “Under Dedicated Prosecution, small tight-knit teams of Crown prosecutors and support staff are given ownership of cases from the beginning of the court process until the case is resolved, or until
. . . [more]
Posted in: Substantive Law