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Federal Court Ruling From Canberra Rattles Search Engine Companies

A significant court decision on Monday in the case of Universal Music against a company that provided search software to locate MP3 files – an earlier single judge ruling was upheld by the full court.

As the Trib describes it:

Electronic Frontiers Australia, a nonprofit national Internet users’ group, said the decision would “create significant uncertainty for Internet publishers from Google to your average Internet user who posts on a message board.”

“If Google’s search engine links to material which infringes on copyright and this material was accessed by Australians, then there is potential for legal action,” Dale Clapperton, chairman

. . . [more]
Posted in: Substantive Law

Happy Holidays

Happy holidays many many thanks to all who write and read Slaw! It continues to be fun. Things will likely be slow or glacial around here until the new year, but don’t fret: we’re just recharging our batteries for another stimulating season.

Here are just a few “stocking stuffers” for you to enjoy during your downtime:

  • things magazine – some architecture and a whole lot of other, interesting… things.
  • The Pour – Eric Asimov’s NY Times wine blog, because there seems to be a perennial interest here in the law of wine, or maybe it’s just in wine itself.
  • Pseudo-Czech
. . . [more]
Posted in: Miscellaneous

ClearForest Gnosis

…is a terrible name for an intriguing application.

[Click on the image for the full screenshot.]

A product of the ClearForest Company (which surely must make people think of clear-cut forests…no?), Gnosis is a Firefox plugin that analyses a web page or a selected portion of text within it in order to cull certain terms of interest. The categories of “meaning” it tries to recognize are such things as company, person, continent, technology, product, organization… These it highlights in different colours and displays in a sidebar. Clicking on any of the discovered items takes you to those items on the . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

Microsoft Applies for RSS Patent

The technical world in which we actually work is relatively free of contest and struggle: you don’t have to arm-wrestle anyone to load up your copy of Word or argue for the right to check your email (though our partners — no, the other kind — if we have them, might prove me wrong). But beneath this serene “desktop” there’s continual conflict.

Most of us use RSS, at least I hope so, given Slaw’s role among tech leaders in law. We don’t think or care about who owns it; likely we don’t even formulate the thought that way: who could . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

Ma Lettre Au Père Noël


Mon cher Père Noël,

Hormis la paix dans le monde et la sauvegarde de ce qui reste à l’humain d’environnement, j’aimerais que tu offres à notre société les cadeaux suivants:

1) Un investissement des entreprises dans l’infrastructure de gestion de l’information.

Systèmes et politique de gestion documentaire, archivistes et spécialistes de la gestion de l’information demeurent les seuls à même de gérer le flot d’information quotidien en s’assurant que celui-ci demeure intègre et accessible pour tous.

2) Un intérêt rehaussé des avocats pour les technologies de l’information.

Les TI sont une des rares solutions afin d’assurer un meilleur accès à . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

Competition Increases for Google Book Search

The Internet Archive’s efforts to digitize materials and make them available online for free got a big boost this week: the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation is awarding it a grant (some news articles report it to be $1 million) to continue its work. Combine this news with the Internet Archive’s recent milestone of digitizing 100,000 books (now publicly available at www.archive.org) and this may mean increasing competition for Google Book Search. While Google stores the digitized materials in its own proprietary index, the Internet Archive offers an alternative to libraries by offering materials in an open format accessible . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

Update on Outsourcing Legal Research

Neat piece from an Illinois paper today.

A few quotes:

Chicago-based Mindcrest Inc. has an outsourcing facility in Mumbai, with 200 lawyers working for it. Mindcrest and other legal outsourcing firms are experiencing explosive growth. Mindcrest is 10 times the size it was two years ago. According to George Hefferan, vice president and general counsel, Mindcrest plans to add 200 more employees by the end of 2007.

“During my association with an Indian law firm at the start of my career, I realized that I was more interested in doing work relating to legal research and drafting than practicing law,”

. . . [more]
Posted in: Miscellaneous

Legal Season’s Greetings

Please accept with no obligation, implied or implicit, our best wishes for an environmentally conscious, socially responsible, low-stress, non-addictive, gender-neutral celebration of the winter solstice holiday, practiced within the most enjoyable traditions of the religious persuasion of your choice, or secular practices of your choice, with respect for the religious/secular persuasion and/or traditions of others, or their choice not to practice religious or secular traditions at all.

We also wish you a fiscally successful, personally fulfilling and medically uncomplicated recognition of the generally accepted calendar year 2007, but not without due respect for the calendars of choice of other cultures . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

If It’s December, It Must Be Time to Talk About Copyright (Again)

Kathy Biehl’s article on www.llrx.com “Bloggers Beware: Debunking Nine Copyright Myths of the Online World” provides a very helpful framework for considering copyright issues that many law firms are dealing with these days.

How copyright law impacts many day to day knowledge management and research activities in law firms is a subject that has consumed and will continue to consume many hours of time. . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

US Copyright Office and LOC RSS Feeds

This news has been all over the blogosphere, but in case anyone has missed it, the US Copyright Office and the Library of Congress are both now offering RSS Feeds for their news & legislative updates. Both sets of feeds are available here.

A question… Do any of you know the background on why these two government groups might be publicizing these feeds on the same page? Is it simply a matter of someone adding context for the user, or is there a formal relationship between the Copyright office and the LOC? . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

Judicial Appointment Changes Legal Story of the Year

The Lawyers Weekly writes in its latest issue that the Conservative government’s attempt to change the way federal judges are nominated is the big story of 2006.

In the article entitled Conservatives aim to replace judicial ‘Charterphiles’ with ‘Charterphobes’?, journalist Cristin Schmitz writes:

“(T)he most remarkable legal story of the year is the new government’s swift and unilateral measures to shake up the way federal judges are appointed —changes which have sparked both praise and protests from the Bench and Bar as well as from the wider community.”

(…)

“By November, without any prior consultation with the judiciary or

. . . [more]
Posted in: Miscellaneous