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Archive for October, 2008

CTLS Launched Today

Dean Mayo Moran today presided over a webcast to launch UofT Law’s participation in Georgetown’s Center for Transnational Legal Studies which brings together in London faculty and students from ten nations and five continents to study international, transnational and comparative law. Georgetown Law Professors David Cole and Nina Pillard are the Academic Directors for the Center’s first year.

Georgetown’s initial partners in the Center include the Free University of Berlin, University of Fribourg (Switzerland), Hebrew University of Jerusalem, King’s College London, University of Melbourne, National University of Singapore, University of Sao Paulo, University of . . . [more]

Posted in: Education & Training, Education & Training: Law Schools, Substantive Law

The Common Law and the Law of Islam

This post is a minor riff on a sentence in Omar’s comment on the Lords’ decision on whether the European Convention on Human Rights can accommodate the child custody presumptions in Sharia law. Omar reminded us that Islamic legal scholars have been arguing about precedent and employing analogies long before the English common law.

Which led to a breathless DaVinci Code ((Complete with references to the Knights Templar and tantalizing links between Merton College and Sicily in the age of Islam – for which see Chapter 27 in the late Tim Reuter’s New Cambridge Medieval History)), style BBC . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law

Microsoft Going Into the Cloud?

Here’s an unexpected article from ReadWriteWeb: Ray Ozzie Announces Windows Azure – “Windows in the Cloud”. I say unexpected not because I thought that Microsoft would never get into cloud computing, but rather because it seems early for them to be moving into the space. Doesn’t Microsoft usually wait for all the problems to be solved by smaller, more nimble firms? Once everything works, then Microsoft moves in (and messes it up, some would add. But those people are just bitter about Vista).

I’m under the impression that it’s still very early days for cloud computing. I know a . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

New Canadian Book on Email Law

I’m surprised it has taken so long for a Canadian book on the law of something so ubiquitous, email. Lexis Nexis Canada has released the new title E-mail Law by Charles Morgan and Julien Saulgrain, both of McCarthy Tétrault, and General Editor Dr. Sunny Handa. The description of this 188 page book is given here in the Butterworths catalogue. From the McCarthy Tétrault press release (Oct. 24/08):

It includes systematic analyses of current and upcoming trends, cutting-edge information on e-contracts, spam, e-mail monitoring, document retention, and e-mail as evidence.

Designed for legal counsel, human resource professionals and business leaders,

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

Inquisitor: Web Search Enhancement

click to enlarge
It’s been a quiet time here at Slaw as far as technology is concerned. But novelty continues even when we’re turned the other way… Fairly new is Inquisitor, an add-on (or perhaps plugin) for Firefox, Safari and IE. Once installed, Inquisitor offers you support in your navigation toolbar searches — i.e. those you initiate from that little text entry field in the upper right hand corner of your browser. Inquisitor will suggest completed search terms, suggest appropriate websites and make use of your searching history to enhance these functions. You can configure it to give you . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology

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