Canada’s online legal magazine.

Part II: Privacy & Social Media: Poked & Pwned

I posted earlier this week (see Privacy, Social Media, Targeting and Marketing: Poked and Pwnd) about recent updates on privacy practices online. Noted was Facebook’s announcement that users would be asked to update their settings to allow better and easier controls for users over their posted information. Facebook users were certainly asked yesterday to update their settings: but I had to blink twice. The update screen gave the choice (i) to keep the user’s old, often customized settings (e.g. restricted to friends only and/or with other customizations for restricted access) or (ii) to allow viewers to access more information . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law

The Friday Fillip

Well, it’s here. Winter, that is. And along with it that white stuff, which has now touched down in most of the country, if only briefly. I thought we might pay a little attention to snow, in particular snow seen up-close (and virtual). But before we get to the flakes, some brute snow facts that might delight the skiers amongst you and cause the rest of us to shudder.

A lot of it falls each year — more than the army could remove, even if called in promptly. An estimate has a million billion cubic feet of snow lands on

. . . [more]
Posted in: Miscellaneous

Supporting Creative Commons

Lawrence Lessig has put out a call to make a donation to support Creative Commons. From his request:

About 8 years ago, a bunch of us started thinking about how we might make the current system of copyright work better. We wanted a voluntary system that would give people a simple way to signal the freedom they wanted their creative work to carry, so their work would say legally what most took the Net to say implicitly — share this. The result was Creative Commons, born December 16, 2002.

None of us imagined then just how quickly the idea

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

Is a Printed Document Defective in Law?

Dominic Jaar has an interesting article in the droit-inc blog (en français) suggesting that a printed document may have less legal impact than the electronic original, because the printout does not reproduce all the information in the original, notably not the metadata. And these days, pretty well all documents start in electronic form, in a word processing program of some sort. Who has a typewriter any more?

This is a particular issue in Quebec because of the terms of the Act to provide a legal framework for information technologies — Loi concernant le cadre juridique des technologies de l’information, . . . [more]

Posted in: Administration of Slaw, Legal Information: Information Management, Substantive Law, ulc_ecomm_list

Calling Houdini

Some of you have probably seen this news(?) item, already.

The headline is “Canadian charged with sham witchcraft“.

Excerpts from the article:

A Canadian woman is to appear in court on Christmas Eve for posing as a witch in order to defraud a grieving Toronto lawyer in a case that invokes a century-old law, police said Thursday.

The bogus witching law was enacted in 1892 when witchcraft was no longer a punishable offense in Canada, but fears persisted that it could be used as a cover for fraud.

It makes it illegal for anyone to fraudulently pretend

. . . [more]
Posted in: Miscellaneous

Do We Really Need Law Reform Commissions?

David Weisbrot is stepping down as president of the Australian Law Reform Commission, a position he has held for 10 years.

He was interviewed earlier this week on a radio show of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation:

“Law Reform Commissions — do we really need them? If governments want to change the law, why can’t they work out what they want by themselves? Do law reform commissions provide governments with camouflage, allowing them to further their political agendas with a veneer of impartiality?”

“After 10 years at the helm of the Australian Law Reform Commission David Weisbrot is stepping down.

. . . [more]
Posted in: Substantive Law

Another Law News Current Awareness Tool

I hate not knowing everything. I am fairly certain that this is not a unique position among law librarians. Fortunately, people in my firm share their knowledge with me. Thanks to Field Law partner Janice Jong, I learned about

Lawday is a newsletter that has been in circulation by email for over three years. The site offers legal news from North America as well as directories of leading lawyers, arbitrators and legal experts. The site also offers aggregation of law firm newsletters every Thursday – called Law Bulletins on their site.

From the About page:

LawDay reaches

. . . [more]
Posted in: Legal Information

SLA Membership Vote to Keep Name

Back in October I reported that the Special Libraries Association was gearing up for a vote to change its name. The vote was closed yesterday, and the results have just been released. Members voted 3225 to 2071 to keep the SLA Name.

Today’s full SLA press release is reprinted below the fold: . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information

Lawyers and Jury Duty

I was surprised to read in a recent piece in the Times Online that in the UK lawyers are eligible for jury duty. The author, a senior commercial solicitor, gives an interesting picture of how it feels to be a juror in a criminal trial, complaining that much of the explanation given to jurors about their duty is “pitched at a primary school audience.”

If you imagine a class of seven-year-olds being told about an operating theatre (“here are some big knives, and this is where the man called a ‘surgeon’ cuts the patient, then after that they sew him

. . . [more]
Posted in: Practice of Law, Substantive Law

Cruelty to Animals or Injustice to Humans?

From time to time, two news-worthy stories intersect in such a way that they just cry out for comment.

Much has been made in the media these past few weeks of the high-profile arrests of several prominent members of the Toronto Humane Society (THS). These accuseds have been vilified in the public consciousness and stained by the ultimate mark of shame for any animal lover — charges of cruelty to animals.

Reams of ink have been spilled outlining the deplorable conditions and poor state of health many of the animals were found in yet the central tenet of this investigation . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law

Privacy, Social Media, Targeting and Marketing: Poked and Pwned

Logging in this week to my so-called virtual life, one constant and growing buzz is over privacy in social media and targeted marketing. I had meant to blog about something else, but the noise is too just to loud. While the Canadian Privacy Commissioner’s findings on the CIPPIC Complaint against Facebook are by now old news, the afterburn continues. Polices and practices adapt, and at the end of the day consumers want what they want. Who’s pwning who? Today’s choice updates from the world o’ privacy:

1. Facebook Asks More Than 350 Million Users Around the World To Personalize Their . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law

Academic Law Library Statistics 2007-2008

The Association of Research Libraries (ARL) has just released a report on Academic Law Library Statistics 2007-2008.

Among the highlights (all dollars are in US currency):

  • Out of 113 ARL university libraries, 74 responded to this survey
  • Law libraries reported median values of 345,935 volumes held and 8,033 gross volumes added. Also, these libraries employed the full-time equivalent of 2,129 staff members in the fiscal year 2007–2008
  • Responding libraries reported total expenditures of $215,630,657 … materials expenditures made up the largest portion of the total, with 47% of aggregated expenses falling under a materials-related category
  • Law libraries reported a
. . . [more]
Posted in: Education & Training, Legal Information