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Archive for October, 2008

Hockey Anthem Challenge

It’s nowhere near Friday, but that mustn’t matter. Even so there’s a tenuous connection with our regular programming, having to do with copyright law and Dolores Claman’s problems with the CBC (or vice versa). So… today’s the day you get to vote for the new hockey theme for Hockey Night in Canada. On CBC’s Anthem Challenge webpage you’ll find links to the five finalists’ music. Have a listen, and then vote. It’ll be good practice, anyway, for October 14. . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous, Substantive Law

You’re Not Paranoid, You Really Could Be Watched

As a follow-up to the post on Google Picasa’s facial recognition software, there are other new potential Google products that are raising privacy concerns.

A Google spokesperson announced this week a patent application that will rank social network users based on their influence, measured by metrics that would include how many people visited their profile, number of friends, and how active they were on the site.

The product would even track how frequently people post on sites and how successful they are in getting others to read or watch things that they post. Ranking could also be based on . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law, Technology, Technology: Internet

Will Old Law Reports Ever Die?

From the earliest days of online legal research, the death of the traditional law report in print was predicted. Online access to cases would make print unnecessary. In the paperless world that was imminent, there would be no need for the traditional law report. Storage problems for sets of law report series would be eliminated and the cost of searching cases would be greatly reduced.

That was the vision for online legal research in 1973 when Lexis Nexis and Quicklaw pioneered in offering commercial online access to case law. It was going to be just a matter of time before . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information, Legal Information: Libraries & Research, Legal Information: Publishing, Reading, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

Salo on IRs

Here’s an article by Dorothea Salo, an experienced and outspoken Institutional Repositories manager, on the state of IRs, open access, and academic libraries: Innkeeper at the Roach Motel. Its a real blast of industrial cleanser where we usually get soft soap. Here is her blog: Caveat Lector. Also see this interesting interview with her. . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information

Karake Et Al. and Universal Jurisdiction

Rwandan general, Emmanuel Karenzi Karake, is deputy commander of the joint United Nations/African Union “implementation” force in Darfur, UNAMID. General Karake (there is some uncertainty in the media as to how his name is properly to be given; I am following the Rwandan government’s use of “Karake.”) was also the commander of Rwandan troops during the reprisal killings of Hutus by the Tutsis. In February a Spanish judge of the National Court indicted Karake, along with 39 other Rwandans including president Paul Kagame, with crimes against human rights, claiming “universal jurisdiction” to do so. As a result there . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law

Blogging for Boys?

Just a short post to raise a question that’s discussed on Law.com today, which is why American legal blogs seem to be populated by boys and abandoned by women.

That doesn’t seem to be the case here at Slaw. Is that something about Slaw? Or Canadian law? Or simply that our focus on legal information, technology and research isn’t the same as those blogs that Law.com was looking at?

It offers three theories (none of which is particularly compelling:

Theory #1: Women law bloggers are out there, you just don’t see them. ((Women bloggers aren’t as relentlessly self-promoting))

Theory

. . . [more]
Posted in: Miscellaneous, Technology: Internet

U.S. Chief Justice Talks About Technology

The chief justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, John Roberts, warned law students in a speech last Thursday about relying too unthinkingly on internet sources for legal research. Delivering Drake University‘s Dwight D. Opperman Lecture, he pointed to what he described as the growing practice of using simple word searches to uncover precedents, when the cases recovered in this manner may have little doctrinal connection to the issues at hand. Thinking “outside the box” is fine, he said, but “…You cannot think effectively outside the box if you don’t know where the box is.” And that requires the . . . [more]

Posted in: Education & Training, Legal Information: Libraries & Research, Miscellaneous

Facial Recognition Software, for Everyone

Few people probably noticed the changes to one of the software features in Google Pack last month. Fewer still have considered the privacy implications.

Picasa, a photo management and sharing system, launched a facial recognition system. Users tag their photos, and the software searches through pictures to find the same people and place tags on them too.

Google, who owns Picasa, has had these capabilities for a couple years now since they acquired Neven Vision.

Theoretically a user could pick off other people’s photos from Flickr or Facebook, upload them to their Picasa account and tag . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law, Technology: Internet

What Kind of Notebook Do You Use?

Some Slaw-ers already know that I am currently on sabbatical from my position at the university and have returned to school for a year. It has been an adjustment to go from doing to learning but has been enjoyable so far. One thing that I anticipated, which is not quite like I thought it was, is the use of laptops by students. Being around a law school for the last several years I have observed that the first thing to happen in most law school classes is that anywhere from 75-90% ((The numbers I cite in this post are completely . . . [more]

Posted in: Education & Training

The Friday Fillip

Speaking with an accent is what other people do, right? Perhaps we Canadians, especially, think that our standard speech is the “norm” against which other ways of saying things stand out. But of course that’s bunkum. Every speaker has an accent and none is “right” or “correct,” Professor Higgins notwithstanding.

Thanks to the marvels of the internet and diligent scholarship, we can have some fun listening to how other folks say it.

The Speech Accent Archive is a wonderful site where you can hear the same paragraph of English text spoken by people for whom English is a second language . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

The Future of Law Firm Branding

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about the ascendance of individual lawyer brands. Today, I want to write about the corresponding decline of law firm brands. And there’s no better place to start that discussion than with the fate of Heller Ehrman.

Heller Ehrman, if you’re not familiar with it, is a century-old California law firm that dissolved last week. You can find detailed coverage here, here and here. The lasting impression you take away from these reports is that Heller was neither evil nor incompetent. Its rivals were sad to see it fall, and many . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law

Voting Records of MPs

Michael Lenczner and Craig Davey have launched a site that does one thing very well: OurParliament tells you in French and in English how every MP voted during the 2nd Session of the 39th Parliament.

How’d They Vote? is a similar project that first hit the internet three years ago. It fell out of date, but has recently been updated, and offers more complex information in a somewhat less attractive format. Thus, you can find a list of bills voted on in this session; and the chart setting out the MPs voting record can be sorted by province, type of . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law