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Archive for February, 2010

Social Media Policy – Where Are the Boundaries?

The latest episode of the new video podcast Social Mediators by Thornley Fallis PR professionals Joseph Thornley, Terry Fallis and Dave Fleet raises some good questions about employee policies, especially around social media. In it, they talk about whether employees should take care in what they say on their personal lives (notably online) and whether they are always representatives of their companies. Also see the full Pro PR blog post Social Mediators 2: Are you always one of us?

The first video referenced in this episode is available here.

Also related: Comprehensive Database of Organizational Social Media Policies (Michel-Adrien . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law

Tomorrow’s Textbooks – Coming Sooner

Simon has mentioned the challenges of writing for the screen, and the prospects for tomorrow’s texts.

An announcement from Macmillan describes an ambitious model for moving popular student texts to a web platform with the ability to have dynamic linking and enriched content. Textbooks will no longer be flat. The new service is called Dynamicbooks.

So far, the texts chosen appear to be in the hard sciences, where presumably knowledge is more stable than it is in the human sciences, and is universal. No sign of anything similar on the legal front, where markets are much more fragmented . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information, Legal Information: Publishing, Miscellaneous, Technology

Data Preservation Order Applied to Unallocated Space

In the first of a two-part comment on’s Law Technology News, Leonard Deutchman discusses the recent case of TR Investors LLC v. Genger No. 3994-VCS, Delaware Court of Chancery (Dec. 9, 2009) [PDF]. Somewhat oversimplifying matters, the relevant facts were that during the course of litigation between Genger and TR Investors (the Trump Group), there was a stipulated status quo order that provided, in part:

. . . the plaintiffs and the defendants, and their respective officers, directors, agents, [etc.] . . . are hereby restrained and enjoined from, directly or indirectly . . . tampering with, destroying

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

Social Media Use Could Affect Insurance Premiums

David Canton previously mentioned privacy concerns with status updates on social media. But these concerns could translate into higher premiums for homeowners as well, simply for using social media.

The Telegraph is predicting that premiums in the U.K. could be adjusted in the future to reflect the supposed inherent risk in participating on social media platforms,

Darren Black, the head of home insurance at, said: “I wouldn’t be surprised if, as social media grow in popularity and more location-based applications come to fore, insurance providers consider these in their pricing of an individual’s risk. We could see rises of

. . . [more]
Posted in: Substantive Law

Don’t Give Away Your Key…

♫ Don’t go breaking my heart
You take the weight off me
Honey when you knock on my door
I gave you my key…♫

Lyrics and music by Sir Elton John and Bernie Taupin, recorded by Sir Elton John and Kiki Dee.

There is a disturbing post today to the IT Blog entitled: Computer Breaking and Entering is a Business.

Aside from the statement that 80% of the PC hack attacks come about thru vulnerabilities in Adobe Acrobat’s Reader (based on a report from ScanSafe, a Cisco company), the acknowledgment that there is an elephant in the room . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law, Practice of Law: Practice Management, Technology

The Future of the Internet IV

From the PEW Internet and American Life Project: The Future of the Internet IV.

From the website:

A survey of nearly 900 Internet stakeholders reveals fascinating new perspectives on the way the Internet is affecting human intelligence and the ways that information is being shared and rendered.

The web-based survey gathered opinions from prominent scientists, business leaders, consultants, writers and technology developers. It is the fourth in a series of Internet expert studies conducted by the Imagining the Internet Center at Elon University and the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project. In this report, we cover experts’

. . . [more]
Posted in: Miscellaneous

Spying on Students Through Their Computers

Apparently, according to Boing Boing, a high school in Pennsylvania supplied students with laptop computers … with the unusual and unannounced feature that the school could remotely turn on the webcams installed in the computers and watch the students away from the school, such as at home, without the students knowing about it.

A lot of people find this very offensive – but what is the offence, exactly, as a matter of law?

Is it the unauthorized use of the computer? It’s the school’s computer. Does that make a difference? Does it make a difference if the terms of . . . [more]

Posted in: Administration of Slaw, Substantive Law, ulc_ecomm_list

The Speech That Justice Charron Didn’t Give

There’s a fascinating piece on Monday’s Law Times about a speech that Supreme Court Justice Charron had planned to give to the Women Lawyers’ Symposium in Ottawa. Although Justice Charron’s address was never delivered, the text of her speech, penned by a former clerk, was nonetheless circulated with the rest of the material for the symposium. The part of the text that’s caught the attention of the Law Times is as follows:

The ‘priority of profit’ represents a significant barrier to institutional change in the private practice environment. . . . Many law firms are so focused on profit

. . . [more]
Posted in: Legal Information, Practice of Law

The Friday Fillip

Cartooning is an art, and caricature is art with a cutting edge. No one was better at it than David Levine (1926-2009). His inked, crosshatched marvels graced the pages of the New York Review of Books for over forty years, during which Levine captured the essence-in-time of three-and-a-half thousand subjects. The New York Review has put all of these online, a brilliant gallery of the second half of the last century. Here’s Nixon, Updike, Albee, and Scalia. And here, too, are greats from history, such as Chaplain, Velásquez, Einstein . . .

But let me get out of the way . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

IBM’s CoScripter Reusable History

This one comes under the conflicted heading of “fairly nifty / kind of creepy.” IBM’s Research Labs have come up with a Firefox plugin called CoScripter Reusable History that records every single click and entry you make in the browser — and then lets you search, replay, and share that history, hence the “reusable.” This graphic (click to enlarge) will give you a quick sense of what’s on offer here. (There’s also a video and a further explanation here, that should clear up any confusion.)

I can see some uses for this — and, of course, some dangers for . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology

A Few Challenges for Reed Elsevier

London’s business press is reporting on the challenging results that Reed Elsevier posted for 2009 and the strategies that the new CEO Erik Engstrom will have to consider to turn the company around. Erik Engstrom is the third CEO within the last twelve months (To lose one CEO is a misfortune; to lose two seems like carelessness).

Reed reported a 36 per cent fall in pre-tax profits to £487 million, and flat revenues for 2009. It expected the first half of 2010 to remain challenging and described last year’s performance as “relatively robust given the depth of the global recession”. . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information, Legal Information: Libraries & Research, Legal Information: Publishing, Technology

Big Changes in Legal Outsourcing

I know this is Gavin’s beat, but the press this week has had a lot of activity in the outsourcing arena.

First news is Microsoft’s announcement today that it’s following Rio Tinto’s lead and route a fair amount of routine legal work to Gurgaon. Microsoft has been outsourcing basic intellectual property and patent maintenance to CPA Global since the mid-Noughties with around 70 CPA staff. However, this is a separate new arrangement for general legal work.

Second development goes in the other direction. CPA is inspecting sites in Northern England for its own outsourcing centre to take on 10-20 . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous