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Archive for May, 2009

Sotomayor and the Reaction

I’m fascinated watching the right wheel out its opposition to President Obama’s candidate for the U.S. Supreme Court, Sonia Sotomayor. The current designated target, online at least, seems to be her putative “experience” gained from having overcome various difficulties in her life, something President Obama made a point of praising. The worst argument raised against this aspect that I’ve seen so far has to be that by Thomas Sowell in the National Review Online:

Much is being made of the fact that Sonia Sotomayor had to struggle to rise in the world. But stop and think.

If you were

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

Jim Carroll Speaks to TechAlliance

Canadian futurist Jim Carroll (@jimcarroll)just spoke about innovation at the London TechAlliance AGM. Here are some of the points that got my attention. (We used to call these sound bites or bullet points – I’ve already seem some of these show up in Tweets from the audience – so lets call these Slaw Tweets.)

Change is so rapid – 65% of public school children will be in a career that doesn’t exist yet.

1/2 of what science grads learn in first year is obsolete when they graduate.

Product lifecycles used to be measured in 2 digit years. The product . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

Whose Property Is It, Anyway?

A former researcher at the National Microbiology Lab in Winnipeg, Manitoba made the news in mid-May after allegedly trying to smuggle genetic material from the Ebola virus across the Manitoba-North Dakota border. reported that in his affidavit, the researcher told officers he was working on a vaccine for the Ebola virus and HIV and that on his last day at the lab, he stole 22 vials to use at his new job in the U.S. because he did not want to have to start from the beginning with respect to his research.

With job losses and employees leaving their . . . [more]

Posted in: Firm Guest Blogger, Substantive Law

Organizing Archived Ontario Legislation (And Other Content) on the Internet Archive

We have posted many times on the great efforts of colleagues within the library community who are working to digitize older Ontario legislation on the Internet archive and elsewhere.

The volume of content there is increasing.

Has someone, or will someone, create clickable Table of Contents to organize this content? I couldn’t find any such efforts or am I missing something obvious?

For example, it literally took me 3 minutes to generate the following partial (and simple) clickable Table of Contents for part of the 1980 annual Ontario statutes (warning: the PDFs are slow to load):

Statutes of Ontario (1981)

. . . [more]
Posted in: Legal Information, Legal Information: Libraries & Research, Substantive Law: Legislation

Answers to Copyright Questions

Some time ago I started a blog which sets out questions and answers to copyright questions. The questions are divided into 16 categories so they can easily be searched. Many people continue to contribute questions as comments which I answer (usually within 24 hours) and which I eventually incorporate into my postings. Please help me by posting your copyright questions —

Thanks! . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

Book on Licensing for Librarians

I am delighted to share the news that the 2nd edition of my book, Licensing Digital Content: A Practical Guide for Librarians, is now out! You can order it directly from ALA Editions. The book blog is at The book covers licensing issues for librarians in the US, Canada and around the world.

If you are attending SLA this year, please join me at a book signing on Sunday June 14 at 4:30 in the Expo Hall at the DC Convention Center. Also, if you attending SLA, you may want to consider the June 13 or . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

EU Privacy Directive – Growing Obsolete?

The British Information Commissioner sponsored a study by RAND Europe of the EU Privacy Directive [PDF]. The study found the Directive in need of an overhaul, possibly a rebuilding from the ground up.

Here are the main challenges identified in the study, along with strengths and weaknesses of the current regime. Are any of them applicable to the Canadian system, either to PIPEDA and the provincial statutes that provide the framework, or to the privacy commissions that operate under them? Are the concerns applicable to public sector privacy statutes and commissioners as well?

From the study: . . . [more]

Posted in: Administration of Slaw, Substantive Law, ulc_ecomm_list

Insight Into LCO’s Processes

I thought I’d use our new Provincial Offences Act project to illustrate at least one way that we carry out our projects. The Board of Governors approved this project on April 2, 2009. Briefly, the purpose is to make recommendations to modernize the POA and bring it into line with other legislation and with up to date court processes. That doesn’t tell you much, though, and there’s good reason for that. . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law

LAWPRO Helps Prevent Major Frauds Targeting Ontario Lawyers – We Think

It has been crazy busy here at LAWPRO over the last month or so. Just over three weeks ago, we had calls from a few lawyers who had found themselves as possible targets of a bad cheque scam. They had been retained on a business loan matter in which it appeared the intent was to have them deposit a forged loan proceeds cheque into their trust accounts and then disburse good funds from them. We decided to send an e-blast warning the profession to watch for bad cheque scams.

That e-blast prompted several more lawyers to call us. We saw . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law

Do TOS Have the Final Word on Our Fundamental Rights and Freedoms?

Social networks and their Terms of Service (TOS) have been at the centre of current online debates about free speech and hate speech on the Web. Recently, Facebook had to determine whether holocaust denying groups within its pages should be removed. For the moment, Facebook has removed certain groups which violate its TOS but allowed those who do not violate its TOS to remain, citing Facebook’s commitment to the protection of free speech. This demonstrates that as the Internet becomes a greater part of our social communications, TOS are taking on a more influential role in our society. Already, they . . . [more]

Posted in: Firm Guest Blogger, Substantive Law

This Week’s Biotech Highlights

The Obama administration’s efforts to foster openness and public engagement took a giant leap forward this week with the announcement of, making data from across the U.S. government readily available from a single portal. This will be an incredible tool for those interested in measuring how governments actually perform and should be a standard part of every government’s web offering… *cough*Canada*cough*

Though Canada hasn’t followed suit yet, we did get more data this week about Canada’s Clean Energy Fund, and about two new BIP investments by the Ontario government

We also saw interesting new data in . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information, Legal Information: Information Management, Legal Information: Libraries & Research, Substantive Law