Technology – Law is Cool The law school blog and podcast from Canada Wed, 30 Sep 2015 13:10:01 +0000 en-US hourly 1 1338880 OBA TECHxpo 2013 Tue, 27 Aug 2013 18:51:25 +0000 2013TECHxpo-wordmark

The Ontario Bar Association is hosting a 1 day convention to learn about the technical and ethical issues involved in using technology in the practice of Law.  Students members get in at practically half price, and being tech savy is a great way to set yourself apart from your cohort, and get a leg up when you exit law school,  so check it out!

Program Details

Date: Monday, September 30, 2013
Agenda 8:15 am Registration and Coffee
9:00 am – 12:00 pm Program
Location: Twenty Toronto Street Conferences and Events (OBA Conference Centre)
20 Toronto Street, 2nd Floor | Toronto, ON | M5C 2B8
lawTechCamp 2012 is Looking for Students Mon, 26 Mar 2012 05:37:55 +0000 Are you interested in the intersection between law and technology? Here’s a message from the sponsors:

After the great success we had last year with lawTechCamp,we are back again this year and are looking for people to suggest, present sessions, and volunteers.

As a refresher, lawTechCamp is a BarCamp-style communityUnConference for new media and technology enthusiasts and legal professionalsincluding bloggers, twitters, technology lawyers, social networkers, and anyonecurious about new media and the law.

lawTechCamp is all about you, the participants. We want theparticipants, to dictate what sessions are covered at lawTechCamp, and topresent them. The only thing to rememberis that topics should bridge technology and law in some way. This could meantechnology that could help in the practice of law. Or legal issues that affectthe development of technology. Last year, we had sessions on knowledgemanagement for law firms, social media and the law, IP issues, and cloudcomputing.

If you would like to present, or volunteer lawTechcamp,please go to our website.

Cyber Offence as the Best Defence Wed, 10 Nov 2010 02:37:09 +0000 Jim Geovedi has this interesting presentation from the National Defence Technology Seminar 2010:

Conrad Black and Libel Tourism Mon, 04 Oct 2010 11:55:58 +0000 David Canton has a column in this week’s London Free Press, where he discusses the Conrad Black case:

The case deals with Internet defamation and how to determine where to sue for it. As with traditional defamation, a party alleging Internet defamation must demonstrate they suffered damages in Ontario and also that they have a significant connection to Ontario. Where Internet defamation differs from traditional defamation is that the alleged victim must prove the statements in question targeted Ontario.

In Black v Breedan, Black brought an action for libel against directors, advisers and a vice-president of Hollinger International for statements posted on the Hollinger website. Black argued his reputation was damaged in Ontario as a result of these defamatory statements that had been reproduced in a number of prominent Canadian newspapers, such as the Globe and Mail and the National Post.

Black v Breedan is noteworthy because of the online aspect of the alleged defamation. Because anything posted on the Internet can be seen anywhere in the world, it has led to “libel tourism” – where someone who thinks they have been defamed will try to sue in whatever jurisdiction they might be most successful in, and get the highest damage award.

Black v Breedan tells us that – at least in Ontario – libel tourists are not welcome.

The case is interesting to me because it’s one of the first looking at the reformulated real and substantial connection test in Van Breda v. Village Resorts Limited for libel cases over the Internet.

The motion judge found most of the Muscutt factors favoured Black. On appeal, the Defendants submitted that the judge erred in looking at the connection of Black to Ontario, instead of the connections of the claim to the province.

The alternative positions of the two parties are best set out in the following paragraphs:

[35]     The defendants submit that treating the lex loci delicti as the place in which allegedly defamatory statements were accessed is inappropriate in the context of Internet libel. An approach that looks to where the statements were accessed, they argue, is contrary to the principles of order and fairness, leads to libel tourism and the prospect of unlimited liability and has a chilling effect on freedom of speech.

[36]     The defendants advocate a different approach to a claim for libel originating on the Internet. They suggest that the focus of the analysis of where the tort of Internet libel is committed should be on whether the defendant targeted the statements to the forum rather than where they were downloaded and read.

The Ontario Court of Appeal upheld the presumption of a real and substantial connection under Rule 17.02(g), even though the Van Breda test was not applied, and held that the Defendants did target their statements to Ontario based on press release contact info for local media. Consequently, there was a real and substantial connection between both Black and the Defendants, even if they were in a different jurisdiction.

In assessing fairness, the court noted that even though there might be difficulties with enforcement of a judgment in the U.S., a favourable ruling would have some value in vindication for Black. But the court also tied this fairness element to the libel tourism issue raised by Canton,

[86]     I agree with the motion judge that it is not appropriate to label it forum shopping or libel tourism if the party has a real and substantial connection with the forum: see Amchem Products Inc. v. British Columbia (Workers’ Compensation Board), 1993 CanLII 124 (S.C.C.), [1993] 1 S.C.R. 897, at p. 920. Further, even if the judgment is not enforceable in the United States, it is enforceable in Ontario, and there is also value in the vindication of a defamation judgment regardless of the ability to collect damages.

Although Ontario courts have resisted libel tourism in the past, Black v. Breedan also reaffirms the proposition that where a case meets the Van Breda factors this is not in fact a case of forum shopping.

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Implications of Social Media in IP Law Tue, 20 Jul 2010 16:10:12 +0000 Recent presentation by Blaine Bettinger of Bond, Schoeneck & King, PLLC

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Humans only Wed, 14 Jul 2010 20:47:53 +0000 If you read Arthur C. Clarke’s 2001: A Space Odyssey or saw the film, you must know who Hal is. Good. Keep that in mind while reading this. So… South Korea “deploys robots to detect and kill intruders.” I don’t want to be a scaremonger by just waving Hal in your face. Let me give you two reasons why robocops, or battle robots, or judge robots for that matter are bad from the legal standpoint.

First, robots follow programs that cannot predict all real-life possibilities. Robots lack that uniquely human ability of discretion. The best a machine can do to emulate discretion is to generate a random number. A grenade-launching machine exercising discretion would be like you loading one round in a revolver, spinning the cylinder, and pulling the trigger. Yes, it is called the Russian roulette. Especially, if you point the gun at your own head or at an “intruder.”

Second, a robot is not accountable. It doesn’t care if you appeal and have its decision overturned. If the reviewing body sends the case to a human for reconsideration why use the machine in the first place? And sometimes, the case will be moot, especially if the robot’s decision involved using live fire.

Law assumes human actors. Our entire legal system and tradition is based on this premise. Law doesn’t micromanage because it routinely delegates to human discretion. Sometimes it doesn’t strike the right balance—as with the law of street protest in Canada, but I’ll go for unsophisticated humans in uniforms over armed robots any day. Human discretion rests on a thick layer of experience, learning, feelings, values, and responsibility. If the state is to make decisions affecting our fundamental rights and freedoms, only its human agents should have this power. No robocops, please.

Pulat Yunusov

(Post sponsored by AdviceScene)

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Make More, Work Less Tue, 01 Jun 2010 02:02:16 +0000 How can you make up to 173% more as a lawyer with flexible hours?

BC Heritage Law is doing just that.

Legal and Business Issues with Social Media Wed, 26 May 2010 22:43:42 +0000 Social Media: Legal & Business Issues

View more presentations from Jeff Johnson.
Privacy Issues in the Workplace Thu, 13 May 2010 00:40:25 +0000 Key Issues In Workplace Privacy

View more presentations from dannym999.
The problem with electronic books Tue, 04 May 2010 18:55:32 +0000 I love my Kindle. I love this thin, light tablet that I can read both at the desk and in bed. I love the ease of getting new books, and I love when the fresh issue of The New Yorker downloads itself. I have read more books in the last year because of the Kindle, but I also paid more for books that I otherwise would have borrowed from the library. On the balance, I think ebooks are great and the way of the future, but we must watch out for some problems with those ebooks that use closed, proprietary formats.

Regardless of format, ebooks have some compelling advantages over traditional printed books. First, ebooks can last infinitely. With printed books, it is entirely conceivable that a rare, out-of-print edition will simply disappear because its physical form is weak and vulnerable to wear and destruction. Ebooks are easy to back up. The cost of making each additional copy is practically zero. Ebooks after all are computer files like Word documents or JPEG images. That’s why ebooks are also enormously portable. A thousand-volume paper-based library is to a thousand ebooks as an elephant is to a pet lizard. The publishing costs are also much lower for new books because authors create them in an electronic form, and there is no need to typeset them or to buy thousands of pounds of paper to print them. There is also no need for expensive brick-and-mortar stores with a large sales staff. Ebooks are sold or given away for free online. This is especially handy if a single corporation dominates your country’s printed book market. In fact, anyone can publish an ebook online potentially reaching millions at a relatively miniscule cost. Finally, think of all the trees ebooks save.

But there are serious problems with ebooks, mostly when they come in closed, proprietary formats. A closed format means that its owner (e.g. a book distributor like Amazon) controls what you can do with the book. The proprietary format owner can hide the details of how the format works making it more difficult to build alternative ebook readers. For example, opening Word documents with non-Microsoft software is not as perfect as opening them with Microsoft Word. But most text editors are equally good at manipulating plain text or HTML files, which are open formats. The ebook format owner can enforce its control with the law (e.g. patents) or technology (e.g. encryption). In some jurisdictions, it is also unlawful to circumvent encryption of proprietary-format media. Amazon protects many of the books it sells with such technology also known as Digital Rights Management (DRM).

Because many ebooks have closed formats, publishers appear to license books to readers rather than sell them. It’s easier to control use of a licensed electronic product than of printed, physical books. We can’t easily share proprietary-format, protected ebooks. You can’t just email an ebook you bought from Amazon to your friend. Amazon locks each protected book to the Kindle of the person who bought it. Your friend can’t read your ebook on his or her Kindle. It’s also harder to overcome regional restrictions. Before, if a publisher sold a book only in the US, you could still bring it to Canada. Now, publishers can make it harder through DRM. Publishers can also use DRM to control libraries or to exclude them from certain books completely assuming some books are available only in electronic format. You can’t easily photocopy a page from an ebook if it’s in a closed format. Of course, if it uses an open format and it’s not DRM-protected, you can copy any text from the book anywhere and any number of times taking full advantage of its electronic nature. In some cases, if the book is in a proprietary format, the publisher or distributor can even delete your book remotely. The closed format and the need to protect digital content also strips most buyers of their anonymity. You cannot buy a book online anonymously. Usually, the book distributor has a record of every book you purchase. This could chill freedom of thought in a future where all ebooks are in a closed format because people would hesitate to buy books seen as dangerous to their reputation.

Finally, closed formats live only as long as their corporate owners. As I was enjoying The Black Swan on my Kindle last night, I wondered what would happen to my copy if Amazon were to go under. The reading device would eventually break down, and its battery would stop functioning even sooner. I would still be able to read the book with Kindle software on my Mac, but if Amazon disappeared, its software would eventually stop working on future computers. At the end, I would be left with a useless file that no one can read.  It’s not a huge loss for a $10 book, but what if I invested $10,000 in proprietary-format ebooks? What if some books are available only electronically and only through a single distributor in the future? Is it so far-fetched? Or is it far-fetched that a large bookseller could vanish one day? With closed, proprietary ebook formats, we could end up with a single point of failure in not so distant future endangering our investment in books and our literary heritage.

Pulat Yunusov

(Post sponsored by AdviceScene)

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