Canada’s online legal magazine.

Black Helicopters and Google Earth Prompt Complaints From Governments

Since 9.11, democracy and openness have been at odds with security. Now Google earth has caught the attention of governments such as in India where concern has been raised about the detailed satellite pictures available featuring sites from the Taj Mahal to some of the world’s most secret military installations.

Want to know more: Here is a story originating from the Christian Science Monitor “Google’s Open Skies Raise Cries” courtesy of CBS News; also an article from The Indian Sunday Express: “Technology: Search and Destroy — Google has stunning entries for its photos of the world’s most secret military installations” . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

Broadband Meets Cellular

… bring it on!

I have been a user of the Sierra Wireless AirCard® 510 on Bell Mobility for the last year and a half — having switched over from a similar Fido card. This 1X card, which works on the Bell cellular network has bailed me out many times where I could not find a (802.11x) wireless network connection or plug unto the nearest Ethernet port. It has allowed me to stay in touch with the office from my laptop.

I must confess, I have resisted the temptation to go with a pocket device for email for two reasons. . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

Ontario Legislative Website – Status of Bills Information

Vicki Whitmell, the Executive Director of the Ontario Legislative Library, posted the following information on the CALL-L listserv today regarding checking for status of bills information:

Subject: Re: Ontario Bills – heads up UPDATE

At present, there are two places that you can find status of bill legislation. The first one is the public bills index:

This site is updated by the Journals Branch of the Assembly usually the same day or overnight.

The second site is the Library’s Bills before the House database.

As the Library site relies on the information from the Status of Bill

. . . [more]
Posted in: Miscellaneous

Canadian Bar Review Call for Submissions

This from Christine Sopora, Coordinator, The Canadian Bar Review:

The Canadian Bar Review Special Edition on Ethics
Call for Submissions

The Canadian Bar Review invites submissions for a special issue on ethics and the legal profession to be published in June 2006, which will contain articles and comments from selected authors. The special issue seeks to include a broad range of subject areas and perspectives. Suggested topics include conflicts and the duty of loyalty, whistleblowing, the adversarial role, judicial ethics, emerging legal ethics issues from new technologies, parallels between legal ethics and other professions, the legal history of ethics,

. . . [more]
Posted in: Miscellaneous

Footnote to Wikipedia Reliability Debate

One of our open-source savvy articling students, Jon Smithen, just drew my attention to a piece in this week’s Nature which strongly suggests that Wikipedia’s integrity in the scientific field approaches that of the conventional encyclopaedias. My experience on the legal side endorsed that view too. . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

Footnote on Indian Outsourcing

Thanks to Ron Friedmann at Prism Legal for a piece from the AmLaw Texas publication entitled A Smaller Legal World – More and more companies are outsourcing work overseas — where the price is right

The story describes an American company that decided to abandon its regular US counsel for legal research services. I quote:

Gorton says he hired his primary law firm (which he wishes to keep anonymous) to conduct research on legal issues in half a dozen states. The firm’s fee came to nearly $250,000.

So Gorton approached an outsourcing company he had read about in Texas Lawyer. . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

Lloyds Law Reports

At my old firm, we often wondered whether anyone in Canada read Lloyds Law Reports. We had a complete run, and served as the borrowing point of choice for most of Bay Street.
It was strange to see how closely they followed significant Canadian maritime cases, in much the same way as the American Maritime Cases did.
Today, an announcement of I-Law, which looks to be a portal for all of the Lloyds Law Report series. brings together in one online environment titles such as Lloyd’s Law Reports and Lloyd’s Maritime Law Newsletter; LLR: Insurance & Reinsurance . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

Sui Generis Database Protection in the EU

I received an email from a colleague that alerted me to a recent EU report entitled “DG Internal Market and Services Working Paper: First Evaluation of Directive 96/9/C on the Legal Protection of Databases” dated December 12, 2005.

This report suggests that database protection is not needed and did not provide the economic incentives that the database providers argued that such protection would provide.

I quote part of my colleague’s comments:

One of the issues that is lurking in the background at the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) is the notion of sui generis protection of databases (i.e.,

. . . [more]
Posted in: Miscellaneous

Ontario Legislature Workin’ Overtime!

I don’t know about other jurisdictions, but a lot of significant changes to Ontario legislation are currently going through the Ontario Legislative Assembly. It is difficult to keep up, even for their own webmasters. At 11 a.m., I note they still haven’t posted changes from yesterday onto the website. If anyone is looking to track what happened to specific legislation the previous day, I highly recommend searching through the Votes and Proceedings (listed under “House Business” on the website).

One notable item: yesterday Bill 214, The Election Statute Law Amendment Act, 2005 had Third Reading and was passed according . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

Spanish Legal Research

In addition to the useful note by Olga Cabrero on LLRX, A Guide to the Spanish Legal System, I found a helpful piece specifically focussing on legal databases on Spanish law, which helps in getting around the deficiencies of the major services. See Evolución de las Bases de Datos Jurídicas en España

Apart from Ted’s LLRX piece, what would a Spanish researcher conclude about Canadian legal databases? . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

Treaties on the Web

Thanks to ZiefBrief for this tidbit:

Tracking Down Treaties – Help Arrives From the Dep’t. of State
In Where Have All the Treaties Gone?, Duncan Hollis, one of the law professor authors of the international law and politics blog Opinio Juris, reports that (after a big nudge from Congress), the Department of State has added almost 1500 bilateral and multilateral treaties and other international agreements to its web site.

This is good news for legal researchers, since up until this point free government sources of recent U.S. treaties were very thin on the ground.

The collection begins in 1998, . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

Open Sources

I haven’t been posting to SLAW lately, due to end of term burn out, and travelling on university business. In my latest trip, I took with me the most recent issue of “The Walrus” for December/January. Now that Saturday Night has fizzled out, it has become my Canadian magazine of choice. So I’m not hesitant to plug it. In addition to some great articles on hydrogen fuel in Iceland, Japanese tea ceremonie in Halifax, etc., there was an article by Jeremy Keehn, “An open-source history of open source” – its a great one page graphic. Its worth checking out.

While . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous