Semantic Lawyering: How the Semantic Web Will Transform the Practice of Law (Part 5)

(Links to parts 1, 2, 3, and 4.) Smart document generation If giving legal advice is one of the two core skills of legal practitioners, the other is drafting legal documents. No matter what area of the law you practice in, you will need to generate a brief, a lease, a will, a contract, a certificate of incorporation—you name it. It is no surprise therefore that ever since PCs were first introduced into law firms, Continue Reading →

Semantic Lawyering: How the Semantic Web Will Transform the Practice of Law (Part 4)

(Links to parts 1, 2, and 3.) What can you do with the Semantic Web that you can’t do without it? The Semantic Web is a powerful way of structuring data and giving it a precise, machine-readable meaning. The most obvious and immediate benefit of semantic technologies is in organizing large quantities of information in a particular domain to make it easier to retrieve and analyze. This is reflected in the contexts in which these Continue Reading →

Semantic Lawyering: How the Semantic Web Will Transform the Practice of Law (Part 3)

(Check out Part 1 and Part 2, if you missed them.) A machine-readable version of the law? David Siegel, an entrepreneur and early blogger, recently published a book entitled Pull, The Power of the Semantic Web to Transform Your Business, the first “business” book about the Semantic Web. Siegel devotes one chapter to exploring the possible impact of the Semantic Web on the law and lawyers. An enthusiastic backer of the new technology, Siegel sees Continue Reading →

Semantic Lawyering: How the Semantic Web Will Transform the Practice of Law (Part 2)

(If you missed part 1 of the series, check it out here.) What is the Semantic Web? The Semantic Web is a way of making data smart. The idea is, rather than building smart applications that can analyze “dumb” data, you make the data smart in the first place. The problem with dumb data is that the ability of applications to make sense of human language is limited. Currently, the information in most web pages Continue Reading →

Semantic Lawyering: How the Semantic Web Will Transform the Practice of Law (Part 1)

“Predicting the future is a hazardous business.” So cautions Richard Susskind in his recent exercise in legal futurology, The End of Lawyers? Rethinking the Nature of Legal Services, citing a number of amusingly inaccurate predictions made over the years about the future of IT. In a series of posts, I venture into that hazardous business by taking a look at the Semantic Web, an exciting current development in IT, and considering how it might impact Continue Reading →

A Global Convention on Cybercrime?

Cybercrime has been much in the news lately, from phishing, to botnets, ATM hacking, stock price manipulation and hacking cars, to mention but a few of the many forms online crime can take. Though it is difficult to quantify just how much cybercrime is going on, one FBI source put the annual losses to businesses in the United States alone at $67 billion in 2005. In all likelihood, this figure has grown since. Mirroring the international openness Continue Reading →

French Security Bill To Authorize Internet Filtering

On February 16, 2010, the Assemblée Nationale, the lower house of the French legislature, approved the draft  Loi d’Orientation et de Programmation pour la Sécurité Intérieure (Law on the Orientation and Programming for Internal Security, or “LOPPSI”[1]). After the DADVSI law of 2007, which criminalized Digital Rights Management (DRM) circumvention, and the controversial HADOPI law of 2009, which sought to enact a “three strikes” disconnection policy against online copyright infringers, the latest bill has been Continue Reading →

Australian Federal Court Finds ISP Not Liable For Users’ Copyright Infringements

In a decision delivered on February 4, 2010, the Federal Court of Australia (see Wikipedia entry here) ruled that Australian Internet Service Provider (ISP) iiNet could not be held liable for unauthorized downloads of copyrighted movies by its customers (Roadshow Films Pty Ltd v iiNet Limited (No. 3)). The applicants were a coalition of thirty-four Australian and U.S. motion picture production companies, assisted in the conduct of their claim by the Australian Federation Against Copyright Continue Reading →

Could the WTO bring down the Great Firewall of China?

Google’s recent announcement that it is no longer willing to censor content on its China-based search engine, google.cn, has once again highlighted the difficulties U.S.-based online service providers face in the Chinese market. The reason given by Google for the move was a “highly sophisticated and targeted attack on [its] corporate infrastructure originating from China,” which was apparently aimed at accessing the gmail accounts of Chinese human rights activists. Though this has little to do Continue Reading →

Prison terms for Google executives in Italy?

An Italian prosecution against Google made the headlines again this week (New York Times, Bloomberg) with the news that prosecutors in Milan are pushing for three Google executives and one former executive to be sentenced to terms of imprisonment for their failure promptly to take down an offensive video from the Italian-language Google Video service in 2006. Readers in the U.S. and elsewhere may be baffled at the idea that the facts at issue should Continue Reading →