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Archive for December, 2013

Thursday Thinkpiece: Geist on Fair Dealing and Fair Use

Each Thursday we present a significant excerpt, usually from a recently published book or journal article. In every case the proper permissions have been obtained. If you are a publisher who would like to participate in this feature, please let us know via the site’s contact form.

Fairness Found: How Canada Quietly Shifted from Fair Dealing to Fair Use in The Copyright Pentalogy: How the Supreme Court of Canada Shook the Foundations of Canadian Copyright Law, M. Geist Ed.
Michael Geist
Ottawa: University of Ottawa Press, 2013

(Footnotes omitted; they are available in the version via the hyperlink above.)

ii. . . . [more]

Posted in: Thursday Thinkpiece

Browsing History – Does Knowledge of Site Administrators’ Access Give Consent to Disclosure to Law Enforcement?

A recent US decision held that a person’s browsing history on web dating sites – not just his profiles, which were clearly intended for public use – could be disclosed to police because the person had authorized the administrators of the sites to know what he was looking at. The case, People v Holmes, involved a high-profile defendant in a criminal case (the person who shot up the Colorado movie theatre – allegedly), but these cases should not turn on whether the person claiming a privacy right is sympathetic.

The key for the court is contained in this passage . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law: Foreign Law, Technology: Internet, ulc_ecomm_list

Providing Legal Services in a Coaching Model: The What, Why and How

(Ed. note: This is the second of two parts on providing legal services in a coaching model. The first part is available on Slaw.)

Returning to the question of whether, and how, lawyers could provide coaching in self-advocacy for SRL’s, let me first put a few pertinent findings from my 2013 SRL study upfront.

86% of the (n=259) SRLs in told me that they had sought the assistance of a lawyer – via either the private Bar, a pro bono service, or Legal Aid. 53% had originally had counsel representing them; a further 33% sought pro bono legal services . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues, Practice of Law: Future of Practice

Debut of Journal of Open Access to Law

Join me in welcoming the debut of Journal of Open Access to Law, or JOAL. A post on the B-SCREEDS blog at the Legal Information Institute announced the launch:

I’m proud to announce the debut of the Journal of Open Access to Law, a multidisciplinary journal that will publish the work that its title suggests: research related to legal information that is made openly available on the Internet.

Simon Fodden wrote about the new peer-reviewed journal in June, posting about the call for papers for the first issue.

That issue is now available and, true to its subject, is . . . [more]

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

Building the Evidence Base for Access to Justice

The final report from the Envisioning Equal Justice initiative has just been released. I’ve only just had a chance to skim it, but in doing so I have noted a continuous thread throughout the report suggesting that it is essential, if we are to move forward effectively on the issue of access to justice, that we know what we know and what we don’t yet know. In other words, we need to establish a solid base of evidence that will support the actions we take to increase access to justice.

The report writers point out that:

We know little about

. . . [more]
Posted in: Justice Issues, Practice of Law: Future of Practice

CASL – Bah Humbug to Holiday Greetings

We all receive – and many of us send – electronic holiday greetings this time of year. They can range from a simple email to animated cards to elaborate videos.

Next December the new anti-spam law (aka CASL) will be in force. Depending on how we send holiday greetings, what is in them, and who we send them to, CASL will act like the Grinch to classify some of them as spam, and make the sender subject to a massive fine or other remedies.

Figuring out whether a Christmas card is spam, like any other electronic message, will not be . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law, Substantive Law: Legislation

Wednesday: What’s Hot on CanLII

Each Wednesday we tell you which three English-language cases and which French-language case have been the most viewed on CanLII and we give you a small sense of what the cases are about.

For this last week:

  1. R. v. Duncan 2013 ONCJ 160

    1. “You should get out of town”, the man said.
    2. And so began the journey that resulted in my path intersecting with Matthew Duncan’s path. And thence to these reasons, with a slight detour through territory that might have confused Lewis Carroll.
    3. I suppose that I should clarify that there was no menace in the

. . . [more]
Posted in: Wednesday: What's Hot on CanLII

Engage Your Marketing Department

Have you considered how to best use your marketing department? Do you come to them once an idea has been flushed out and expect them to deliver on the concept without the background information? Or do you employ them early in the process, let them help you define the problem and then develop a solution? If you are part of the latter group I applaud you. Unfortunately most lawyers and law firms are in the former category.

There are many reasons why your firms marketing department has a good or bad reputation. A good marketing department is engaged early and . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Marketing

Sharing Searching Quirks

We have a pretty darn fantastic research training program at my shop. We offer learning objective based source training and give refresher training at lawyers desks, in groups, as feature items on meeting agendas, and we also share what we know via blogs, email bulletins and on our Intranet in both text and multimedia. We keep our skills sharp by attending vendor delivered training and by doing legal research daily.

Even with this highly programmed scenario we learn search quirks by initially not getting things quite right and then figuring out why things did not work as expected. Here is . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information: Libraries & Research

Wikipedia as Admissible Evidence?

For those of us lawyers who routinely use Wikipedia as a source of basic information, it may be tempting to adduce a Wikipedia printout into evidence in court. After all, Wikipedia is more complete and often more specific than other encyclopedia out there. But is it reliable? Believe it or not, this question has been considered and debated by judges on many occasions in recent years since the advent of Wikipedia in 2001.

This past summer, the Superior Court rendered judgment in a criminal law matter and specifically considered the admissibility of Wikipedia evidence. The main issue on appeal in . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

CryptoLocker Malware Warning

The Law Society of British Columbia has published a warning to members concerning a species of malware known as CryptoLocker Ransomware. The malware, thought to originate in Eastern Europe or Russia, infects your machine in the usual way, e.g. when you open a dodgy email attachment or other file; but then it proceeds to encrypt most of the files on your computer, eventually denying you access. The malware operators then contact you with an offer to decrypt your files if you pay a certain amount of ransom—often demanded in untraceable Bitcoin. Payment can result in the release of your encrypted . . . [more]

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

The Courts and Arbitration – an Australian View

As the courts in Canada continue to struggle with difficult issues relating to the enforcement of arbitration agreements and the enforcement of arbitral awards, it is worth looking at how courts in other common law jurisdictions see the relationship between the courts and arbitration.

The Hon James Allsop, Chief Justice of the Federal Court of Australia, gave a very thoughtful address at 2013 Clayton Utz University of Sydney International Arbitration Lecture (29 October 2013).

Like others, he sees serious problems with the trend in many countries toward “over-elaborate, over-lawyered, and slow and costly [arbitration] hearings. …[R]ecalcitrance and excessive demands for . . . [more]

Posted in: Dispute Resolution