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Archive for October, 2011

Is Lawful Access Legislation a Good Thing?

Flags are being raised by numerous privacy experts about expected federal “lawful access” legislation. This legislation–expected to be reintroduced–was last seen in the 40th Parliament, 3rd session, which ended March 26, 2011 and includes:

Excerpted from a commentary by Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario Ann Cavoukian published in today’s National Post:

At issue is the anticipated re-introduction of a trio of federal bills that will provide

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

How to Report (And Stop) Fraud Attempts Using Gmail, Yahoo and Hotmail Addresses

Followers of the AvoidAClaim blog will know that fraud attempts against lawyers show no sign of slowing down. Almost daily we see new names and new email addresses being used. Unfortunately, there doesn’t seem to be much that can be done to track down the actual perpetrators who are often overseas and using free email services.

However, the free email services will shut down addresses being used for illegitimate activities. Gmail, Yahoo, and Hotmail all have pages where you can submit an email address used in a fraud attempt. Yes, the fraudsters can quickly generate a new one, but shutting . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology

A Step Closer to Killing the Fax Machine

Even in 2011, I receive a surprisingly large number of documents that require me to print them, sign them, and fax them back to the sender. Ironically, most of these documents are sent to me as PDF attachments to e-mails.

We’ve banned physical fax machines at Clio, and instead use RingCentral for sending an receiving faxes. My workflow below helps me avoid having to print and scan documents that require completion and signing:

  1. Download the PDF document
  2. Open in Adobe Acrobat Professional
  3. Use the “typewriter” tool to complete form fields
  4. Open a separate PDF file where I’ve signed my name
. . . [more]
Posted in: Technology: Internet, Technology: Office Technology

Population of the World Reaches 7 Billion

Just in time for Hallowe’en, we get the scary news from the UN that the population of the Earth will be reaching 7 billion today (give or take 50 million). According to today’s National Post:

Mounting concern over humanity’s environmental impact and fears that we may not be able to feed ourselves 100 years from now cast a cautionary tone over the buildup to Monday’s milestone.

UN chief Ban Ki-moon told students at a New York school last week: “Seven billion people who need enough food. Enough energy. Good opportunities in life for jobs and education. Rights and freedoms.

. . . [more]
Posted in: Miscellaneous

Legal Research Training’s End

From my earliest days as a professional I have taught about how best to carry out legal research. Over the years I have instructed high school students, undergraduates, prisoners, graduate students, paralegals, librarians and many, many law students. Something not quite rational drove my interest. Many times I have paraphrased the lines spoken by John Belushi in the classic movie The Blues Brothers, telling people that I was on a mission from God to teach legal research. I have written books, made cassette tapes, video tapes and DVDs about legal research. If this almost obsessive interest had not been . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information

Costs Award in Baglow v. Smith

This week the Ontario Suprerior Court of Justice ruled in the costs award in the online defamation case of Baglow v. Smith.

The plaintiff, who lost on summary judgment, sought only minimal costs based on public interest because he claimed the case dealt with a novel point of law and fact situation. He based this on the commentary in the decision on “removing the sting” in blogging, which as I’ve noted here before was a unique approach to dealing with online defamation.

Annis J. rejected this argument and stated that his decision was primarily based on two points:

  1. the
. . . [more]
Posted in: Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

Scary Halloween Tricks for Canadian Lawyers?

Imagine going into Walmart, Superstore or Loblaws to buy Halloween candy and being offered the chance to make a will or get summary legal advice on some issue. This might sound spooky or even scary to many Canadian lawyers but could become a reality in England and Wales with the launch of Alternative Business Structures (ABS) under the UK Legal Services Act. The New York Times has a great article today on non-lawyer ownership of legal services. Australia has permitted non-lawyer ownership of law firms for several years and the US is seriously considering it with the American Bar . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law: Future of Practice

Scobleizer’s Thoughts on Klout – a Must Listen

Klout’s recent tweaking of it influence scoring algorithm has a lot of people questioning the value of the various online tools that measure influence – especially those that saw their Klout score plummet. Mine actually went up :-)

What do these scores really measure? Do they really mean anything? How do you really measure your online influence?

Listen to this impromptu audio recording by Robert Scoble for his views on the value of online influence ranking tools, and the factors you should consider in accessing your online reach, influence the value of the content your post through social media channels. . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology: Internet

Open Access Week

This has been Open Access Week across North America and even further afield. There have been many events. In Canada, CARL/ABRC has a list of OA Week events, but not everything is noted there. UVic’s own events, for instance. The ACRL Blog has collected a few highlights.

Of course, it is libraries that are often organizing these events, as librarians are best positioned to witness the daily spectacle of publicly funded research given away for peanuts or less into private hands. These in turn do very well by it, whether it is delivered in print . . . [more]

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

Legally Defined

I want to revist Crookes v Newton, 2011 SCC 47 which Simon C mentioned previously. What I find interesting about this case is the expansion of legally defined technology terms (yes I know I might be the only one who finds this interesting). There is currently a paucity of legally defined technological terms and Crookes v Newton has expanded that pool by only adding a few definitions.

Previously hyperlink has been legally defined in in the lower court ruling 2008 BCSC 1424 in para 29 where hyperlink was defined as: “A hyperlink is like a footnote or a reference . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information, Technology

Canadian Copyright Office; an Interview With CIPO Chief

The Canadian Intellectual Property Office (CIPO) is a Special Operating Agency of Industry Canada. Industry Canada is responsible for the administration of intellectual property in Canada. The Copyright Office is part of CIPO. Below is an excerpt of an interview with newly appointed Commissioner of Patents, Registrar of Trademarks and Chief Executive Officer of CIPO, Sylvain Laporte.

1. How many copyright registration certificates are issued in Canada each year? 

(Note that the fiscal year end of CIPO is March 31. The figures below and reported throughout this interview reflect this year end. For example, 2000-2001 reflects the period from April . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information

The Friday Fillip: All the Odd Things We Lack

Absence may make the heart grow fonder (the “liquor is quicker” crowd would claim it’s absinthe that really does the fonding), but it certainly leaves us holding some strange states in English. In this fillip I want to take a look at one group of things that, well, aren’t there.

As you know, the language has a number of ways of bundling a lack into a word. For one thing, there’s “lack” itself. Thus, lacklustre, for instance. Then there are the prefixes dis-, de-, in-, dys-, un-, and the like, that can flip something . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous