In Canada, Artificial Intelligence is coming… for your legal research fees?

Some information vendors have been touting the value and benefit – specifically the apparent efficiency in legal research – of AI for a few years now, and it seems that the Honourable Mr. Justice A.C.R. Whitten of the Ontario Supreme Court of Justice is a believer.

In a recent decision [Cass v. 1410088 Ontario Inc., 2018 ONSC 6959], the Justice denies a $900.00 “legal research” disbursement for a number of reasons, and mentions – albeit in what would likely be considered dicta – that “[i]f artificial intelligence sources were employed, no doubt counsel’s preparation time would have been significantly reduced.” [¶ 34]

Also interesting, however, was that the Justice declined to adopt the simple suggestion of the plaintiff to strike the disbursement based on the query – “why is there a legal research fee for case precedents which are available for free through CanLII or publically accessible websites?”

h/t – Law Librarian Blog

The State of Law Library eBooks 2017-18 (LLRX)

Ellyssa Kroski, the Director of Information Technology at the New York Law Institute, has recently undertaken a three-part article series at LLRX, designed to cover what law libraries should consider when evaluating and getting involved with eBooks. The first two parts have already been posted, with the third part on the way.

Read more:
Part One: The Landscape
Part One is designed to “describe the current landscape of eBooks relevant to the law library field, the benefits and challenges of offering eBooks in law libraries, the different ways to purchase law-related eBooks, and how to get started choosing a solution.”

Part Two: Brass Tacks
Part Two is designed to “discuss the different pricing models that are currently available and the pros and cons to each; subscription-based, patron-driven acquisitions, short term loans, access-to-own, etc. as well as strategies for controlling costs, and questions to ask before choosing an eBook solution.”

Part Three: What Law Libraries are Doing (forthcoming) [Update – now available]
Part Three “will delve into what we’ve chosen to do for our eBooks program at NYLI and how that has evolved over the past five years to a hybrid model, as well as what other law libraries have chosen as their solutions.”

How Does Malawi’s New Copyright Law Measure Up (EIFL Review)?

EIFL (Electronic Information for Libraries) is a not-for-profit organization that works with libraries to enable access to knowledge in developing and transition economy countries in Africa, Asia Pacific, Europe and Latin America.”

“EIFL’s assessment of Malawi’s new copyright law finds that while a good range of library activities are permitted, there are missed opportunities.

An EIFL review of Malawi’s Copyright Act of 2016 has found that although the new law permits a range of library activities such as making copies for research and use of works in virtual learning environments, it places big limits on what libraries can do in practice, misses opportunities to enable digital activities, and restricts the making of accessible format copies.”

Read more about the assessment here and download the full review here.

Fastcase Expands into Original Works by Launching Full Court Press, a New Print and Digital Imprint

On November 2, 2017, Fastcase launched its new publishing arm, under the imprint Full Court Press. The inaugural publication offered under Full Court Press is RAIL: The Journal of Robotics, Artificial Intelligence & Law, and it is billed as “a multimedia offering, available in print, as an eBook, in audio, and exclusively within the Fastcase legal research application.”

According to CEO Ed Walters, the new imprint is “like Netflix for legal publishing,” noting that it is designed to improve the existing Fastcase platform by “adding our own original series through Full Court Press. RAIL is our first of many offerings, including legal treatises, deskbooks, forms, checklists, and workflow tools. We’re just getting started.”

The complete Fastcase press release is available here.