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Archive for September, 2010

Thanks GG Jean

This is Governor General Michaëlle Jean’s last week in office. I think the legal community owes her a big thank you. How many ordinary Canadians knew what prorogation was before Her Excellency, Madame Jean had to deal so publicly with that question?

If you are in Ottawa this week, you have some opportunities to thank her in person, or at least as part of a crowd:

Tuesday, September 28

10 a.m.
Reopening of the National Capital Commission’s Greenhouses
Speech from Her Excellency
Rideau Hall

Reception Hosted by the Speakers of the Senate and the House of

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Posted in: Miscellaneous

International Authentication

As a general rule, do public documents ( and notarized documents in particular ) emanating from Canada for production in the United States and vice versa require any authentication before they may be admitted in evidence or used for any official purpose or recorded in any way in the destination jurisdiction? Are there specific exceptions with special authentication requirements?

I suppose one would have to turn to US law for an answer about US-bound documents, but does anyone have a rough-and-ready practical notion?

I am aware of section 45 of the Evidence Act of Ontario that provides for the admission . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law

Fail Safe

Not failure, but low aim, is crime” – James Russell Lowell (1819-91)

Innovation, and creating innovative environments, was a common theme of my reading this summer. It wasn’t planned – it just seemed to be a topic that many of my favourite professional development sources. I thought I’d take this column to pass along some of the key messages from that reading.

Fail early, fail often, fail small

It’s true that we learn more from our mistakes than we do from our successes. But failing early in the process of developing a product or service allows us to . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information

Youtube Confirmed as a Channel Not a Publisher

Today the Audiencia Provincial in Madrid released a significant ruling in the fight between Spanish television channel Telecinco and Google’s Youtube service. Surprise, surprise, sometimes fans post videos from television broadcasts on Youtube without tracking down rights owners to clear copyright.

But is Youtube liable for any infringement?

The Spanish company argued that its intellectual property rights were being violated, but a court in Madrid ruled that it was the responsibility of the copyright owner to identify such infringement and alert Google. It had set out to obtain what it believed would be an international precedent.

Historically, . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law: Foreign Law, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions, Technology: Internet

This Week’s Biotech Highlights

With Fall in the air, this week in biotech was full of change, as Canadian biotech advocates converged on Ottawa and new priorities were the order of the day:

A report on a so-called “Express License” for university technology transfer led me to call for new priorities at tech transfer offices and led to some debate in the comments. Universities often take in 10-fold more money from industry-sponsored research as they do from licensing royalties, so the Express License makes sense for those willing to sacrifice a bit of royalty income to encourage more sponsored research.

The Business Development Bank . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology

George Galloway Decision Released

The Federal Court of Canada released the decision today in the George Galloway hearing, The Toronto Coalition to Stop the War et al. v. The Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness et al. I previously attended the hearing in Toronto and posted on it here, which was later picked up and expanded upon by The Court.

Mosley J. dismissed the request for judicial review, not because the case was without grounds, but because Galloway never actually tested the measures enacted against him,

[148] Had Galloway actually been found inadmissible by a visa officer relying on the

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Posted in: Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

$2 Million for Online Access to Public Government Documents

Our congratulations to Public.Resource.Org a non-profit organization focused on enabling online access to public government documents in the United States. Today it won a $2 million award from Google’s Project 10100 competition – 10100 is 1 googol – which called for “ideas to change the world”.

Google’s competition garnered 150,000 ideas from more than 170 countries. Google whittled that list down to a final 16 ideas for public vote. Public Resource came in second equal, after FIRST a non-profit organization that promotes science and math education around the world through team competition.

The Law.Gov initiative aims to make . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information: Publishing, Substantive Law: Legislation

Wiretapping the Cloud

The way we communicate has been steadily shifting away from telephone calls to e-mail, instant messaging, Skype, BlackBerry Messenger, Facebook, and other Internet-based communication methods. This shift has been bad news for more than just telcos; the difficulty of wiretapping the myriad of cloud-based communication methods has become an increasing cause of frustration for law enforcement agencies around the world.

That may be about to change. The New York Times reports that the FBI, NSA, US Justice Department and other agencies are seeking extensive new regulations that will significantly bolster law enforcement’s ability to wiretap Internet-based communications. Internet-based services such . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology: Internet

Swiss Delight

You simply must see this video of Switzerland’s finance minister collapsing in a fit of giggles as he struggles through a bunch of bureaucratic language about the importation of cured meats.

It is truly the only way to respond to a whole lot of awful writing. This is one guy I’d like to see in our Parliament.

. . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

Centre for Law and Democracy

Based in Halifax, NS, the Centre for Law and Democracy is a non-profit organization that

promotes respect for those human rights which serve as the foundation of democracy. This includes the right to information, the right to participate and to vote, freedom of expression, and the rights to assembly and association. CLD specialises in providing legal and policy expertise on these rights globally.

If your work touches on human rights, you’ll find some useful material here. There are published papers and reports (e.g. “Hate Speech Rules Under International Law, February 2010“) and a section on Legal Work, containing . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information

Use of Mediation in Outsourcings

I was speaking with a colleague recently regarding whether mediation was a valuable tool in outsourcings, and if so, under what circumstances. We came to the conclusion that it is an appropriate tool for some outsourcings, but not all. 

It is inevitable in any outsourcing or large managed services arrangement that disputes will arise. Disputes arise for a myriad of reasons, ranging from a failure of the parties to appreciate and agree on fundamental business terms, such as differences of opinion on specifications or deliverables, to perhaps the more mundane question of whether a notice required by the agreement was . . . [more]

Posted in: Outsourcing