Category Archives: Law

Wayne Crookes

Green Party organizer wants limits on free speech

Just when we get freedom of speech on the Internet, someone tries to take it away

Wayne Crookes photo: P2Pnet

The Supreme Court of Canada is getting ready to hear the case of Wayne Crookes, a former fund-raiser and organizer for the BC Green Party.

Crookes took offense at alleged derogatory remarks made about him on several websites including Open Politics.ca

That’s the nature of the web, people say the rudest things, some of them nasty and perhaps defamatory. They do it anonymously. In the US, the web site and host can rely on safe-harbor provisions of the CDA (Communications Decency Act). “No provider or user of an interactive computer service shall be treated as the publisher or speaker of any information provided by another information content provider.” Section 230

Canada doesn’t have the same provisions although journalists are protected from defamation lawsuits when they report the facts they know.  Continue reading

Nortel pensioners and their supporters rallied on Parliament Hill Thursday. Photograph by: Pat McGrath, The Ottawa Citizen

Justice denied for Nortel disabled pensioners

If the partial settlement wasn’t bad enough, the court has rejected that deal as preferential over other debt holders while politicians ponder

Nortel pensioners and their supporters rallied on Parliament Hill Thursday. Photograph by: Pat McGrath, The Ottawa Citizen

The inequity of a legal system that can reward executives with millions of dollars in bonuses while forcing pensioners with disabilities onto welfare was backed by the Ontario Super Court as the Nortel $57 million pension agreement was thrown out.

In a previous story we reported the views of Nortel’s pensioned employees who lost their benefits as a result of Nortel’s bankruptcy. Nortel pays bonuses to execs and pittance to retirees and disabled.

That agreement which only lasted until the end of 2010 has been thrown out by a judge as prejudicial to other creditors. Once again the legal system has prejudice the employees in favor of executives and bankers.

While the Harper Conservative government talks and promises to reform Canada’s pension system, they are marking time with no laws that could save these employees.  This is a travesty in Canada that the recession and it’s aftermath has made urgent. The Tories fiddle while Canadian employees take the heat.

The Opposition NDP and Liberals could force the minority government’s hand on this issue. Is their talk supporting pension reform mere political rhetoric, just another bluff from Jack Layton and Michael Ignatieff?

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IOC-800-lb-Gorilla

Olympics lawyers switch bullying to new targets

ICANN Threatened by Olympic Committee Over Intellectual Property Concerns

By David Goldstein, domainpulse.com -  The International Olympic Committee appears to think it has the rights to all sport, given a recent letter to ICANN that raises concerns on the .SPORT gTLD proposal in particular, and new gTLDs in general.

A letter from Urs Lacotte, director general of the IOC, and Howard Stupp, the IOC’s Legal Affairs Director, says they wish to discuss with ICANN these issues with ICANN and notes the IOC has “serious concerns” regarding “intellectual property protection.”
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David Kumaritashvili, father of Georgian luge competitor Nodar Kumaritashvili, receives condolences from Georgia's President. (Reuters Photo)

IOC orders blogger to take down video

International Olympic Committee has ordered a blogger to remove a video showing the death of Georgian luger Nodar Kumaritashvili from his website

David Kumaritashvili, father of Georgian luge competitor Nodar Kumaritashvili, receives condolences from Georgia's President. (Reuters Photo)

International Business Times – The International Olympic Committee has ordered a blogger to remove a video showing the death of Georgian luger Nodar Kumaritashvili from his website.

During a practice run leading to this years Winter Olympics in Vancouver, Kumaritashvili flew off the track and slammed against steel support pillars around the track’s perimeter.

Stephen Pate, publisher of the online site NJN Network, published the video along with commentary about the death, and the IOC has since ordered him in an email to take it down.

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Virtual Voice

CBC: IOC orders blogger to remove video

International Olympic Committee ordered PEI blogger to remove a luger death video from his website

Stephen Pate of NJN Network received take down order from IOC

CBC News – Nodar Kumaritashvili, 21 of Georgia, died during a training run Feb. 12, just hours before the Olympic opening ceremonies. Stephen Pate, publisher of the online site NJN Network, published the video along with commentary about the death, and the IOC has since ordered him in an email to take it down.

The email states the IOC owns the rights to all images of the Vancouver 2010 Olympics, and only licensed broadcasters can use them. Pate said he won’t remove the video, because Canada’s Copyright Act allows the use of copyrighted material as part of a news story.

“One of the rights is for news organizations to report the news, so it’s a news story,” said Pate.

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Techdirt

Myhrvold’s Intellectual Ventures Shell Companies In Patent Shakedown

The company used a bait and switch scheme to get a bunch of big tech companies to fund it, not realizing that they were then going to be targets of his shakedown system.

By Mike Masnick, TechDirt

It’s no secret that we think Nathan Myhrvold’s Intellectual Ventures is a dangerous, innovation harming monstrosity.

Basically, IV buys up (or in some cases, applies for) tons of patents, and then demands huge cash outlays from those same companies (often hundreds of millions of dollars) for a combined promise not to sue over those patents and (here’s the sneaky bit) a bit of a pyramid scheme, where those in early supposedly get a cut of later deals. Of course, to just talk to IV requires strict NDAs, so the details of these deals are kept under wraps and only leaked out anonymously. But the hundreds of millions of dollars going towards this sort of trolling behavior, rather than any actual innovation in the marketplace can be seen on various financial filings (you can’t hide hundreds of millions of dollars in payments that easily).
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Techdirt

Embedding links from another site not illegal UK

We’ve seen more than a few lawsuits over the years by the entertainment industry against various sites that merely link to infringing content.

 

Techdirt
Techdirt

Tech Dirt – The entertainment industry likes to make the claim that this is inducing infringement, but if you’re just pointing to a bunch of YouTube videos, it’s difficult to see how that should be considered infringement at all.   Continue reading

fried_frank_150forweb

Fried Frank legal associate sues firm in messy sexual discrimination case

Saucy claim makes for interesting reading against large US law firm

fried_frank_150forwebLegal practices as depicted in the movies are hotbeds of power and money hungry legal partners and associates who will stop at nothing to get to the top.

According the suit filed by ex-Fried Frank associate Julie Kamps, the truth may be very close to what those movies portray.

In a civil suit reported in Above The Law, Kamps who is openly lesbian claims senior partners denigrated and humiliated her. A female senior partner demanded sexual favors among other complaints.

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David Eaves

There are no journalists only citizens says the Supreme Court of Canada

Big Media crows about this week’s Supreme Court ruling but it’s not all about them

David Eaves
David Eaves

By David Eaves eaves.ca (from a Tweet by Michael Geist)

I’ll confess some confusion around the slant taken by several newspapers and media outfits regarding yesterday’s supreme court decision on defense of libel claims.

For those new to this story, yesterday, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled that a libel claim can be defeated even when the facts or allegations made turn out to be false (e.g. I don’t owe you money if I say something nasty and untrue about you) as long as the story was in the public interest and I met a certain standard around trying to ascertain the truth. In short, my intentions, not my output, is what matters most. This new line of defense has a fancy new name to go with it… the defence of responsible communication.

Boring, and esoteric? Hardly.

Notice how it isn’t called “the defence of responsible journalism?” (although, ahem, someone should let CTV know). This story matters as it demonstrates that the law is finally beginning to grasp what the internet means for our democracy and society.

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Don’t wipe that Blackberry or iPhone

You are not allowed to delete emails when a court case may arise which may mean never

Deleting emails and text messages from your Blackberry, iPhone or any hand held can get court sanctions. Electronic documents can legally be required in civil or criminal court.

The courts have held for more than a decade that emails and other e-documents are valid evidence. Deliberate destruction of evidence can indicate malice or an attempt to spoil evidence.

Most companies sync laptops and hand helds with the corporate servers which cannot be deleted; however, it can happen that remote devices get out of sync. They may have documents that are not on the server.

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