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Archive for September, 2011

Talking the Talk and Walking the Walk Plank: International Law and Piracy

Today is International Talk Like a Pirate Day. For a lesson in how to do it, we can turn to a real pirate. Here’s Jama Ali, a Somali pirate: “They can’t stop us—we know international law.” According to the 2008 New York Times article from which this was taken:

Even if foreign navies nab some members of his crew, Mr. Jama said, he is not worried. He said his men would probably get no more punishment than a free ride back to the beach.

It seems that international law has walked itself off the plank on real piracy. To see . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law

AeroFS: A Viable Dropbox Alternative for Lawyers?

While Dropbox continues to lead the way in easy-to-use cloud-based file synchronization, recent security- and privacy-related lapses have left many Dropbox-loving lawyers looking for alternatives. To date there has been a lack of viable options, but AeroFS, a new startup, is looking to become the Dropbox for security-conscious users.

AeroFS offers the same ease-of-use that characterizes Dropbox, but adds a new spin to how file synchronization works: rather than storing your files in the “cloud”, as is the case with Dropbox, AeroFS synchronizes files directly between your devices via an encrypted channel. This “peer-to-peer” synchronization technique means your data never . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology: Internet, Technology: Office Technology

Canadian Copyright Law Update

Those watching Canadian copyright law developments are encountering a busier than usual season.

  1. Heritage Minister James Moore hopes to re-introduce Bill C-32 on copyright reform this fall, without amendments, and he is also hoping that the bill is passed by Christmas. This will be the fourth attempt by the Canadian government to amend its copyright laws so that Canada may adhere to the World Intellectual Property Organization digital copyright treaties, and address various digital copyright issues as well as other much discussed copyright issues.
  2. The Supreme Court of Canada will simultaneously hear on December 6 and 7 2011, five copyright
. . . [more]
Posted in: Substantive Law, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions and to Undergo Changes

Larry Bodine, former law firm marketing consultant known for his LawMarketing Blog, has been named the new editor-in-chief of and (If you are in Canada the link may flip you to the Canadian site unfortunately).

According to an article from the Law Technology News on September 16, Bodine has indicated he is going to overhaul the site:

…the site could stand improvement, Bodine said. Currently its content is aggregated from other sites. “The switch that I want to make is generating our own material. You’re going to see a complete change

. . . [more]
Posted in: Legal Information: Publishing, Technology: Internet

The Public-Interest Patent Option

On July 29th, 2011, the U.S. federal appeals court reaffirmed, in effect, the right to patent genes, if in limited cases. The court’s ruling overturned a lower court decision that voided a patent held by Myriad Genetics on BRCA1 and BRCA2, two human genes used in determining the risk that women face with breast and ovarian cancer. Much hinges on the outcome of such patent challenges, given the thousands of genes that have been patented in the United States and elsewhere.

The appeals court accepted that the chemical structure of DNA, once removed from a cell was “markedly different” from . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Publishing

Family Law Profiled at Opening of the Ontario Courts

On Tuesday, September 13, 2011 the Opening of the Courts was held in Toronto, preceded by an interfaith service at Church of the Holy Trinity. The service consisted of a fascinating mix of a number of readings, including a South African anti-Apartheid song (and dance). I couldn’t help but think that this would have been impossible a couple decades ago.

But attendees were surprised by a protest outside of the church as soon as the services completed. A video of the protest is available here, with one of the speakers saying,

We’re going to be here every single year.

. . . [more]
Posted in: Practice of Law: Future of Practice

Litigation and Truth

In war, truth is the first casualty.

For those who need to drive home, to their new hires, that litigation is usually not about truth but victory. When and if you read this case, ask yourself why the defence wanted the ruling that Ontario courts did not have jurisdiction. The motion judge accepted the argument. The ONCA reversed.

Dundee Precious Metals Inc. v. Marsland, 2011 ONCA 594 is a conflicts case in which the motion judge’s underlying no jurisdiction conclusion caused the panel to write, laconically,

 [11] The motion judge’s assessment and application of real and substantial connection test

. . . [more]
Posted in: Substantive Law, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

Routine Information Sharing

Looks like litbots and databases will soon be providing routine updates of structured information to human readers via newspapers and news websites in the form of machine written articles. Narrative Science is the company behind it.

Pretty soon, such litbots will be conversing with my own personal litbots, and negotiating the purchase of routine items I need and can afford, according to the budget I set and the priorities I identify. The prospect of the online grocery appears again: I need milk, eggs, and in-season fruit every Tuesday, for delivery Wed. afternoon. The grocery’s litbot can check my calendar . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information, Practice of Law: Future of Practice, Technology

IT.CAN Conference Coming Up

The Fifteenth Annual Canadian Information Technology Law Association (“IT.CAN”) Conference will be held in Toronto on October 27-28, 2011. For the full conference brochure including registration details, visit the IT.CAN website. (I’ve also included it here on Slaw.)

If you have any questions about the program contact Lisa Ptack, IT.CAN Executive Director, at This program is accredited by provincial Law Societies for CLE credit. . . . [more]

Posted in: Announcements, Technology: Internet

The Friday Fillip: Auto-Tune

Pitch is important in music. Maybe that’s why the sound of the orchestra tuning up was George III’s favourite part of the concert. And while it’s fairly easy for musicians to come together over the oboe’s A, singers can’t “set it and forget it.” Vocal intonation is a version of eye-hand coordination, although in this case it’s the ear-larynx combo that’s key. Of course, there are those who have absolute (or “perfect”) pitch and can simply know which note is being played or sung with the same ease that you exhibit when you know without thought that you’re looking at . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

Starting Points for Researching Haitian Law

Haiti is located in the West Indies, on the island of Hispaniola, between the Caribbean Sea and the North Atlantic Ocean. Its official languages are French and Haitian Créole. It shares a border with the Spanish-speaking Dominican Republic. It lies near Puerto Rico, Cuba, and the state of Florida in the U.S. It has a rich cultural heritage. However, researching Haiti’s law can be frustrating. Haiti is in the Caribbean, but works on Caribbean law mostly focus on English-speaking, Commonwealth Caribbean countries. Works on West Indian law tend to focus on the British West Indies. And works on Latin American . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information

You Might Like…

This is a post in a series to appear occasionally, setting out some articles, videos, podcasts and the like that contributors at Slaw are enjoying and that you might find interesting. The articles tend to be longer than blog posts and shorter than books, just right for that stolen half hour on the weekend. It’s also likely that most of them won’t be about law — just right for etc.

Please let us have your recommendations for what we and our readers might like.

. . . [more]
Posted in: Reading: You might like...