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Archive for the ‘Legal Publishing’ Columns

Time for Canadian Leadership on the TRIPS Waiver

The World Trade Organization (WTO) is continuing to hold discussions on a proposal for a waiver of intellectual property rights clauses in its Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) Agreement that bear on Covid-19 patents, such as medications and vaccinations. India and South Africa first proposed the waiver on October 2, 2020. It was a time within that first year of the pandemic amid great anticipation of Covid vaccinations on the horizon. The waiver represented a hope for a more equitable roll out of preventative treatments for fighting this scourge, without the usual access barriers posed by intellectual property . . . [more]

Posted in: Intellectual Property, Legal Publishing

Truth to Power

It was some years ago that I first came across the “House of Butter” blog, set up and run by Sean Hocking and forming part of Australia-based Sean has made many Slaw contributions, so the origins of and thinking behind House of Butter are recorded in several articles, particularly in the period 2010-2014. Prior to Practice Source, he had established and published the regular PDF alerting service, Law Librarians News.

Our first exchange may have been after I read a piece from him which, I thought at the time, may have been a little dismissive or disrespectful . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Publishing

Some Thoughts on Algorithmic and Data Literacy

Last year I was interviewed by Dominique Garingan for her dissertation on algorithmic literacy, and thought I would share my thoughts that arose in relation to that conversation with you here too. She also published an article about her dissertation findings in the most recent issue of Canadian Law Library Review: “Advanced Technologies and Algorithmic Literacy: Exploring Insights from the Legal Information Profession“.

Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines “algorithm” as “a step-by-step procedure for solving a problem or accomplishing some end“. Algorithmic literacy, in turn, is the understanding of how computer systems apply algorithms so that users . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information, Legal Publishing, Legal Technology

Pivoting From Print to Digital: Insights From the Canadian Law Library Review

While access to legal journals in printed form is still desired, many have transitioned to a purely digital format. But what exactly does moving from print to digital entail? To better understand this process, I asked Susan Barker, retired law librarian from the University of Toronto and current acting editor of the Canadian Law Library Review (CLLR), about her experience when the publication took the leap to online-only in 2015.

1. What were the motivations for CLLR to go purely digital?

When I came on board as editor in 2013, the decision to go digital had been tentatively made . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information, Legal Publishing

Open Science? France Has an Impressive Second Plan

Recently, I had the pleasure of joining a half-dozen Canadian and U.S. open science advocates in an online meeting with Senator Laure Darcos of the French Parliament. In advance, we were provided with the Second French Plan for Open Science: Generalizing Open Science in France, 2021-2024, published in July 2021 (with the first French plan launched in 2018). During our meeting, more than one of us commented on how the Plan set a far more advanced and progressive national agenda than anything we could point to in our countries. At the conclusion Senator Darcos expressed surprise at this, saying . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Publishing

Hooked on and Quitting Legal Information

Simultaneously and in conjunction, Wolters Kluwer and Thomson Reuters have agreed to sell, in the case of the former, its legal information businesses in France and Spain, and in the latter, its Spanish legal information business, both to Karnov Group. There is change everywhere, as 2022 budget disciplines demand taking out the trash, and little is left in Europe in the hands of the giants.

Conversely, the news that Wolters Kluwer had sold its US academic publishing assets was hardly a surprise. For several years it has been withdrawing from the provision of legal information content. Long gone, in . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Publishing

A Tale of Two Copyright Inquiries

I wish to consider two copyright initiatives currently underway in Canada and the United States, as they bear on changes in intellectual property law, and hold lessons for my efforts to increase public access to research and scholarship. Researchers are identified as a concerned party in the Canadian instance, while the American example, if tangential to scholarly publishing, still raises questions about copyright today that only serve to encourage my own thinking about copyright reform.

On July 16th, 2021, the Government of Canada issued A Consultation on a Modern Copyright Framework for Artificial Intelligence and the Internet of Things on . . . [more]

Posted in: Intellectual Property, Legal Publishing

The Deschênes Vision

Soquij and Slaw continue the vision of Jules Deschênes

Legal Separatism in Canada

In 1979 I was introduced by Simon Chester to Jules Deschênes, Chief Justice of the Superior Court of Quebec, who wished to discuss the role that English language legal publishers such as Carswell could play in addressing what he called “legal separatism in Canada”.

His thesis was that “Quebec has shown the willingness and the ability to contribute to the building of […] a national scheme of federal law, but the legal community of the rest of Canada has, by and large, closed itself off and away . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Publishing

Libraries and Justis for Law

The UK-based legal information provider, Justis, as was, but now rebranded vLex, having been acquired by the Spanish-based company of that name, seems to me to be one which has been a model of its kind; the acquisition was made in 2019, using, for the purchase, part of a £4.2m loan. Originated as Context, in the mid-1980s, partly in consequence of Thomson having sold Eurolex to Lexis, it has survived changes in ownership. However, it appears to have retained consistency of purpose, a focus on sophisticated and evolving technology and closeness to core markets around the world. . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Publishing

Open Legal Publishing and the Time of COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic has drawn attention to how essential many things that we generally take for granted are. I don’t think we’ve ever spoken so much about what we actually need and what we don’t, and it begs the question: what do we all do that is genuinely needed?

In March 2020, we started an internal conversation about what CanLII could do to help ensure that Canadians could access the resources they needed, and how we should respond to the crisis. In the end, we came to the conclusion that while there were particular things we could do, generally we . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information, Legal Publishing

Supreme Court Rules on Copyright in the University

On July 30th, the Supreme Court of Canada issued a decision in York University v. Canadian Copyright Licensing Agency (Access Copyright) that the university and its students were not required to pay the Access Copyright tariff intended to cover royalty payments associated with the distribution of the “readings” assigned in students’ courses at the university. While I have commented on the case more than once since it originated with Access Copyright’s 2013 suit against York, after the university stopped paying such tariffs, the Supreme Court ruling ended up hinging on an important distinction in the Copyright Act’s handling of collective . . . [more]

Posted in: Intellectual Property, Legal Publishing

Reopening the Books

We have become accustomed for some time to hearing about new start-ups and initiatives on the technology side of legal information provision. Indeed, some might say that we hear of too many of them and that a percentage of them might disappear into obscurity before long. We read less of fresh ideas and innovation in relation to the provision of actual added-value legal content from law publishers. Perhaps this is not surprising, for obvious reasons.

It is all the more pleasing to observe an exciting fresh start from my friend and law publishing comrade, Jason Wilson, together . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Publishing