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Archive for the ‘Legal Publishing’ Columns

Law Publishing, Editorial Freedom, Standards and Ethics

I would not have thought that in the relatively safe and narrow information publishing world with which I am familiar, I would ever encounter special interest, external interference and attempts to limit editorial freedom, other than, obviously, in giving and receiving training controls, rules and processes for the job and for other obviously legitimate and legally-compliant reasons. I have experienced it though, not for the first time, but most recently in my capacity as the editor of an information and communications periodical. It should be stressed that the publication in question does not overtly or primarily cover legal matters . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Publishing

A New Three-Step Syllabus Rule for Dealing Fairly With University Course Readings

The 2020 appeals court ruling in York University v. The Canadian Copyright Licensing Agency, declared York’s fair dealing guidelines, which attempted to set out the terms for fairly using articles and chapters in the university’s courses without paying royalty fees, to be other than fair to authors and publishers. The court notes that “York did not justify [its claim to ‘fair dealing’] beyond invoking education as an allowable purpose” (258). In the face of the court’s refusal of York’s blanket appeal to the fair dealing exception to copyright infringement, and now that the case is headed to the . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Publishing

Legal Publishing: Open Access, Open Minds, Open Wallets

I found it challenging recently to be asked if I have any further observations or opinions in relation to open access to the law book environment. The short answer is, “probably not”, but the fault for that is mine. However, given that the significant issues relate almost exclusively to primary legal materials, most of what needs to be argued on that is done elsewhere.

However, I do think that the question of open access in legal information publishing is entirely bound up with other related ones. Open access is part of an innovation debate. Key issues include the . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Publishing

Connecting Public and Private Legal Information Part IV: Integrate CanLII With Your Practice Management Solution

Last May my colleague Ivan announced four upcoming major milestones in Lexum’s plan for getting started with legal Knowledge Management-as-a-Service. Early this summer we reported the transformation of Lexbox into a private document repository allowing you to search your own material straight from the CanLII website. Later we integrated our citator to insert links pointing to public legal information cited by your documents, as well as an alert system for tracking updates to this material. We are now ready to announce the latest development in line with this strategy: Lexum and Clio have partnered to facilitate the integration . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Publishing

Thoughts on Why I Write (And Why You Might Want to Too)

I have been thinking about writing lately. There are so many reasons why people write and so much it can give them and the community, so I thought I would share a bit here about why I write and give some suggestions on why you might want to write too.

When I started writing for publication in about 2010, I wrote about issues that mattered to me professionally (You can read some of these early pieces here). This started because I found that I had things I wanted to say and talked about it when I went out . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information, Legal Publishing

Opportunities or Problems Around First Editions

It was a pleasure to read of the Canadian Association of Law Libraries / Association canadienne des bibliotheques de droit 2020 Hugh Lawford Award for Excellence in Legal Publishing, to Emond Publishing, for LGBTQ2+ Law: Practice Issues and Analysis by Joanna Radbord, and to note with interest the other nominated books.

It might be arguable that until such time as, in their totality, extremely large bodies of in-depth secondary legal material, analysis and explanation are produced for and initially delivered directly to electronic media and updated permanently in real time, the book format is the most substantial and familiar repository . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Publishing

“Access Licensing”: A COVID-19 Refresh for Compulsory Licensing

In these extraordinary times of the pandemic, unusual steps must be taken to protect the public interest. On March 25, 2020, the Government of Canada’s sweeping COVID-19 Emergency Response Act received royal assent. Among its many measures is a compulsory licensing clause for patents that enables the Government “to make, construct, use and sell a patented invention to the extent necessary to respond to a public health emergency that is a matter of national concern.” This suspension of patent rights is not to be without recompense for the patent holder, but that, too, was framed in unusual ways on behalf . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Publishing

Connecting Public and Private Legal Information Part III: Get Notified When Your Field of Expertise Evolves

On August 26th, Lexbox benefited from a major update. Among the new features included in this release is the capacity to link to the CanLII website the legal citations from your documents, as discussed in last month’s post. We invite you to try it out by submitting a few of your own files to your Lexbox account and checking how they get interconnected with CanLII’s content.

But this post is about Lexum’s next step in providing Knowledge Management as a Service (KMaaS): making it easier for you to keep track of changes to public legal information affecting the issues . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Publishing

The Moral Rights of Researchers as Authors

I am working this year on developing a copyright amendment that is intended to do a much better job of supporting open access to research than the current law. This work is catching something of the tailwind filling the sails of open science, brought on by tragic, disruptive turns of the global pandemic. The rising tide of open preprints, data, and article access is accelerating the pursuit of vaccines and cures, and some believe science will never be the same. Yet science operates within an intellectual property regime that makes few distinctions over its particular economy. Thus the need to . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Publishing

Connecting Public and Private Legal Information Part II: Linking Your Legal Citations to CanLII Material

A month ago, I introduced Lexum’s first step in providing Knowledge Management as a Service (KMaaS) via Lexbox. This development has made it possible for Lexbox users to start searching their own documents alongside the public legal information made available on the CanLII website. This post covers the upcoming release of the second feature tied to that approach. In a few weeks Lexum will integrate its citator to Lexbox, automating the linking of legal citations included in the body of documents submitted by users to the corresponding cases and legislation on CanLII.

The idea of enabling users to auto-link their . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information, Legal Publishing

Unknown Unknowns

The world continues to change greatly and, whatever the future brings and despite any wilful and devious political and corporate hyperbole that abounds on these matters, it may well be that some aspects of the past will disappear or will alter to an extent. In the case of much that has been witnessed of late, we might certainly hope so. Almost without doubt, the pandemic is likely to create beneficial modernisation and efficiencies that can be enjoyed by the use of technology that was previously little-known, avoided or unavailable. We have indeed been forced lately to question much that has . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Publishing

Platforms, Content and Duplication

As we continue to develop CanLII as a content platform and start to work more on developing original content, I have been thinking about the tension between platforms which gain value from lots of content, and organizations that create content as their primary value proposition.

The observation may be trite, but to illustrate my point using more general examples, Google and Facebook are examples of platforms that gain from having additional volume while devaluing each individual piece of content. Newspapers and magazines provide value primarily through the content they create.

In legal information we have analogous organizations with similar . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information, Legal Publishing