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Archive for the ‘Legal Publishing’ Columns

Being Optimally Sized, Focused, Efficient and Effective Are, Perhaps, Keys to Successful Professional Information Publishing

That v-Lex and Fastcase have merged, now called v-Lex Group, is an important and certainly interesting development for customers on both sides of the Atlantic and far beyond, continuing a process in which the two businesses have been steadily advancing through acquisition and consolidation. The deal, ironically, was announced within days of Thomson Reuters having sold, to an alternative asset management firm, a majority stake in one of its significant businesses aimed at legal markets.

Some might argue that neither v-Lex or Fastcase is young enough genuinely to be labelled “disrupter”, but both have built reputations . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Publishing

Getting Started on Writing That Book You’ve Been Thinking About

Over the years I’ve spoken with many people who believe they “have a book in them” or an idea for a book. But to take liberties paraphrasing Stephen Fry’s protagonist in The Hippopotamus: books aren’t made up of ideas, they’re made up of words.

So how do you string those words together at scale?

Firstly, I’d like to encourage you to reconsider. Writing a book is difficult, and it means spending pretty much all your spare time for a year or so working, and the remuneration is almost never good. Almost everyone I’ve spoken with gets more return doing . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information, Legal Publishing

A Second Marrakesh Miracle?

As someone intent on reforming copyright law, so that it can begin to serve open access to research as well as it currently serves exclusive subscription access to research, one obvious challenge is research’s international basis at every level. How can one expect copyright changes, which necessarily take place at a national level, to facilitate research’s global circulation?

Before responding to this vital question, allow me to briefly address why change is needed and that change I am recommending. The value of open access to humankind has been forcefully stated by Alondra Nelson, head of the White House Office of . . . [more]

Posted in: Intellectual Property, Legal Publishing

Learning to Campaign for Copyright Reform

I’ve come to realize that I’m in the early stages of a political campaign to amend copyright for open science. It didn’t start out as a campaign. It began as a series of talks and meetings that followed from an (open access) book on copyright reform that I published this fall. Having worked out a proposal for copyright reform, I wasn’t interested in promoting the book so much as learning more about what was involved in advancing open access through such a process. Very early in the process, it was made clear to me that the law is not an . . . [more]

Posted in: Intellectual Property, Legal Publishing

The Dubious Benefit of Merely Changing Ownership of Law Publishing Businesses

Focusing primarily on smaller acquisition targets, when professional publishing, or indeed any businesses are comparatively cheaply sold to and acquired by venture capitalists of one kind or another, it is hard to imagine that the motives, both for the vendor and the acquirer, though mostly the latter, are anything other than the crudest form of money-making. There may also be, of course, the characteristically politically reactionary and not always honourable inclinations, objectives and outcomes which might prevail in that world, to a greater extent than in others. Not that there is, necessarily and fundamentally, anything strange or surprising with all . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Publishing

Two Senses of a Right to Research

I have championed ways of increasing the public availability of research and scholarship in these Slaw columns for well over a decade under a variety of names, from open access to the catchy right to research (R2R). I picked up R2R, as I’ve noted, from the inspiring Program on Information Justice and Intellectual Property at the American University Washington College of Law in an initiative led by Sean Flynn. What I’ve now realized about R2R is that it can be read in two historically significant ways, with the difference between them neatly capturing what sets Prof Flynn’s and my current . . . [more]

Posted in: Intellectual Property, Legal Publishing

Whither or Wither: I-Law and Its Traditional Family

The published information relating to the disposal, by Informa to Montagu, of Lloyd’s Maritime Intelligence is, thus far, relatively light on detail and plans, certainly as regards that part of the business unit which might be described as law publishing, perhaps with i-Law.com as its future hub. It may be that it will sit well and flourish within its new corporate environment and even offer added value opportunities for other former Informa businesses such as Emerging Portfolio Funds Research (EPFR) and/or businesses which previously were not with Informa, notably Jane’s. However, that would be a surprise to me. . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Publishing

The Broader Impact of a Court’s Historic Decision

In overturning Roe v. Wade on June 24, 2022 in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, the U.S. the Supreme Court signaled a radical break with the history of the Court, executed in the name of an historicist “originalism.” David Cole, the National Legal Director of the American Civil Liberties Union, noted in the New York Review of Books (August 18, 2022) that “never has the Court eliminated a constitutional right so central to the equality and autonomy of half the nation.” But then he also observes that “never has so much changed in a single year” for the . . . [more]

Posted in: Intellectual Property, Legal Publishing

Creating a Valued and Successful (Law) Publication

The previously predicted and wholly predictable sale, by Informa PLC to Montagu, of 80% of the former’s Maritime Intelligence business unit will be one to watch for its affect on law publishing. The fact that Jane’s is part of the Montagu portfolio may be a relevant factor in the sale, and indeed over the years there has been shuffling of key personnel between Jane’s and Lloyd’s. Assuming that Informa’s i-Law, together with the range of books, law reports and journals under a handful of imprints, form part of the sale, and/or, if so, they are subsequently sold on, it . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Publishing

Intellectual Property Integrity and Public Access to Research

When it comes to intellectual property, the question of integrity more often comes up around the ownership of the work than on the quality of the property itself. Yet in my work on scholarly communication, I have made the case to consider how the concept of intellectual property arose, long before such an idea existed in law, out of an intense consideration of a work’s intellectual qualities or properties. It was through a long history of scholarly inquiry into such properties, dating back in the West to medieval monasticism, that we have come to take for granted that a text . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Publishing

Added Value in Legal and Other Professional Information Provision

The announcement, applicable to England and Wales, of the alpha launch of Find Case Law, from the National Archives, is a significant step forward in giving greater access to case law and making judgments available freely for re-publication under a new copyright regime, the Open Justice Licence. For free access to cases from both Irish jurisdictions, Scotland, the European courts and the Commonwealth, the British and Irish Legal Information Institute (BAILII) remains a key source. Find Case Law is and will probably always be incomplete, requiring access to all the other available sources of primary legal materials, but that . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Publishing

An Open-Access Teaching Q&A With UBC Law Professor Samuel Beswick, Editor of Tort Law: Cases and Commentaries

Samuel Beswick is an assistant professor at the University of British Columbia Peter A. Allard School of Law. His primary scholarly interests are in the areas of torts, unjust enrichment, limitations, and remedies. Last year, Professor Beswick reached out to CanLII to discuss a new casebook and syllabus he was designing for his 1L Torts class. He wanted to create a teaching resource that would utilize CanLII’s online functionality and be freely accessible to students and professors. Last August, CanLII published the First Edition of his casebook. Now, we are thrilled to be able to share the Second Edition of . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Education, Legal Publishing