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Archive for April, 2006


The timing is exactly right: I discovered the brand new TaxHeat on the next to the last day of the tax year.

TaxHeat is a weblog about researching primarily Canadian tax topics and issues.

Targeted at librarians who engage in quick and in-depth tax, legal, or business research, TaxHeat has two purposes:

  • to inform readers of new developments concerning tax issues, legislation, and research, and
  • to teach readers new tax research skills and sources.

Agnese Caruso, whose blog this is, works as a librarian in a corporate tax library in Toronto.

The feed for TaxHeat is . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

The Friday Fillip

I’ve recently finished working on part of a website that makes use of icons to symbolize certain concepts — pretty stock stuff on the web. Except that it isn’t easy to find appropriate symbols, at least those that can work as icons, for abstract notions or large social institutions (which may be the same thing, now that I come to think about it).

How do we symbolize law in a tiny picture? Court? A lawyer? For the last, the best I could do was draw a mini-person and hope that it was clear the person was a lawyer because of . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

Johnny Continues to Ignore Copyright

Given that this week’s theme is ‘Copyright’, I went back to a recent article I had read in CIO Insight, in January, by Larry Downes, Associate Dean of the UC-Berkeley School of Information Management and Systems and the author of Unleashing the Killer App and The Strategy Machine.

In the article titled “Why Johnny Can’t Stop Sharing Files”, Larry postulates that: “Copyright is effectively dead, despite the entertainment industry having won the Grokster case—or maybe even, in part, because it did. The consequences of ignoring the that change are dire.

He makes several key points, . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law

Civic Access / Accés Civique

Not quite a copyright issue, but still and all a question of free access and control:

We would like to announce the launch of a new online space for Canadian civic engagement – Citizens for Open Access to Civic Information and Data (aka: CivicAccess is being founded by librarians, civil servants, academics, lawyers, free- and open-source advocates, geomatics professionals and community planners from across Canada. We are motivated by the belief that open civic information and data are necessary for being engaged citizens in an “information society”.
Nous souhaitons vous annoncer le lancement d’un nouvel espace en

. . . [more]
Posted in: Miscellaneous

Open Text Mining Interface

A couple of days ago, I came across a note by Tim O’Reilly concerning the Open Text Mining Interface (OTMI). O’Reilly described it as a “copyright hack.” It seems this initiative was started by Timo Hannay, who has also blogged about it on the website of his employer, Nature magazine. The initiative itself is an attempt to respond positively to requests from indexers and data-miners for full-text versions of articles, but without at the same time making human-readable versions of the articles readily available free to non-subscribers. OTMI, an XML format, consists of “word vectors” plus “snippets” which amount, more . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law

Da Vinci Code Copyright Case

To lighten the tone of this week’s serious theme, I give you Justice Peter Smith’s trial reasons in the Da Vinci Code copyright case, aka Baigant and Leigh v. Random House Group Limited.

Just to add to the spicy controversy that seems to follow this popular (but only slightly entertaining and definitely non-literary) book, blogger Ashby Jones (WSJ) posits that the judge imbedded his own code into his judgment. Here’s part of his post for your own entertainment:

He just couldn’t resist, could he? Justice Peter Smith, the judge who presided over the recent “Da Vinci Code” copyright infringement

. . . [more]
Posted in: Substantive Law

Consensus Tools and the Search for Meaning

As all legal researchers know, meaning is the compass direction we follow as we divert the flood of data through information and on towards knowledge. At some point we pass any given canalization project on to others — typically lawyers or judges who work ultimately with pipettes and eyedroppers to pursue meaning among the bonzai garden pools and fountains. Staying on top is important — which means at times getting that Google Earth view from above of the grand ocean-to-irrigation project, so that one is prepared when glaciers melt, releasing a gush of data, when dikes fail and meaning is . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

Searching for Creative Commons Content

Thanks to the Service de recherche documentaire in Boucherville for a post that I missed last year about a feature on the Advanced Google Research page that could be very handy.

There is a box marked Usage Rights, which permits you to search for content that is
* free to use, share or modify, even commercially
* free to use, share or modify,
* free to use or share, even commercially
* free to use or share
* not filtered by licence

So if a page is liberated from traditional content restrictions by having a Creative Commons licence, you can . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law

The Musicians Chime in on Copyright

Today is World Intellectual Property Day.

Just in time for our Copyright Week, a who’s who of Canadian Music announced yesterday the formation of the Canadian Music Creators Coalition.

They are a strong force:

Barenaked Ladies,
Avril Lavigne,
Sarah McLachlan,
Chantal Kreviazuk,
Sum 41,
Raine Maida (Our Lady Peace),
Dave Bidini (Rheostatics),
Billy Talent,
John K. Samson (Weakerthans),
Broken Social Scene,
Andrew Cash
Bob Wiseman (Co-founder Blue Rodeo)

What is interesting from a copyright perspective is that they are articulating an artist-based, . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law