Libraries & Librarians
Just before Christmas, the Law Society Library launched Primo, our new cataloguing system. Going forward, Primo will be the best way to locate legal information in Saskatchewan: ebooks, textbooks, articles, case law, precedents, government documents – everything! It’s your key to discovering all the resources in the Law Society Library’s legal collection.
Our previous cataloguing system was limited in that it only allowed users to search the library’s print materials. However, the Law Society offers many more resources for both our members and the public. The new system will allow one-stop-shopping to all our current and future resources – including direct links to materials. In phases over the next year, we will be including the following in the catalogue:
- All Law Society created materials – including those found on our Practice Resource page, Publications page, and Members’ Section
- All commercial databases and online resources housed in the Members’ Section
- CPD materials – including recorded versions of webinars
- Any future resources or documents added to the Law Society website
- Resources from outside sources and include links. For example, we can include all PLEA resources.
So if you are searching for a particular subject area, such as will and estates, the catalogue will list all print, online, CPD or outside source we have entered. Stay tuned for updates throughout the year on the progress of this project. In the meantime, please watch the free recorded webinar on Primo to learn how to best use the system. The webinar qualifies for 1 CPD hour.
By Melanie Hodges Neufeld
The Saskatchewan Association of Library Technicians (SALT) recently named our very own Sarah Roussel-Lewis as the Library Technician of the Year! The Library Technician/Assistant of the Year Award is presented to a Saskatchewan Library Technician or Library Assistant who has made a notable contribution to their library of employment or the library field. Sarah has been a Library Technician at our Regina branch for just over 5 years and is an invaluable member of our team.
Congratulations Sarah! You’ve made us proud.
Alan Kilpatrick, Reference Librarian
It is widely recognized that access to justice is inadequate and legal services are becoming increasingly inaccessible. Fortunately, libraries across Canada are working together to improve access to legal information and create solutions to the barriers self-represented litigants face.
What are we doing at the Law Society of Saskatchewan Library? In the past three years, the Law Society Library has participated in a multitude of innovative access to legal information partnerships with justice, community, and library stakeholders. For example, we:
- Provide the public with legal research assistance
- Have nearly doubled the coverage of Saskatchewan case law on CanLII
- Host weekly family law clinics
- Teach the public about legal research at the Regina Public Library’s Legal Resource Fair
- Provide Pro Bono Law and CLASSIC lawyers with free legal research assistance
- Are a founding partner of the Saskatchewan Access to Legal Information Project
Click here to learn more about what the Law Society Library is actively doing to improve access to legal information and justice in Saskatchewan:
- Access to Legal Information Innovation in Saskatchewan
- The Saskatchewan Access to Legal Information Project (SALI)
By Ken Fox
I guess we all breathed a sigh of relief in 2012. The Supreme Court of Canada issued a pentalogy of judgments supporting user rights, and the federal government passed a copyright amendment that, despite some serious flaws, strengthened fair dealing and added a few needed user exceptions.
So, having gone through all that, fair dealing and balanced copyright should be a done deal – from here’s it’s just a matter of ironing out the details, right?
Not according to Dr. Michael Geist, Law Professor at University of Ottawa and renowned expert in copyright law. Dr. Geist gave a plenary talk at the 2017 CALL/ACBD Conference in Ottawa, and issued a wake-up call to anyone who feels complacent that copyright matters were settled in 2012.
The copyright debate is not going away. Ever.
And it is getting bigger. The online world has enabled and expanded the creation of copyrightable works, and greatly accelerated the means to reproduce and distribute them. The fair dealing provisions won through the SCC’s decision in CCH v. LSUC are obscured in the increasingly complex of web of online licensing.
The current field of battle is section 92 of the Copyright Act, which mandates a Parliamentary review of the legislation to begin no later than November 2017. So far, the battle has been one-sided. Slide after slide after slide of Dr. Geist’s presentation revealed the efforts of a powerful rights holders’ lobby, determined to roll back the balance achieved in 2012.
Fair dealing has been characterized as a “free for all” policy in what Geist describes as a fake panic. Notably, lobbyists on behalf of the academic textbook industry blame fair dealing for declining sales, despite the changing ways the education sector obtains materials, which includes consortia database licensing, open access, transactional licensing, and de minimis (copying so minimal that a fair use analysis is not warranted), as well as book purchases and fair dealing.
Geist outlined a basic laundry list of positive reforms. For example, prefacing the list of fair dealing exceptions in section 29 with the phrase “such as” would make the exception open-ended, like the “fair use” provision in paragraph 107 of the American Copyright Code. Geist also proposes a clear exception to the anti-circumvention provisions around technological protection measures (TPMs aka “digital locks”), as the government proposed in 2012, but never delivered. TPMs make many activities that would be legal with analog technology illegal in the digital realm. The proposed exception would legalise circumventions that are otherwise legal under copyright law.
The law needs to be clarified on the relationship between contract law and copyright law. Do license provisions trump user rights? This question becomes increasingly important as more and more of our content is accessed by way of online licensing agreements.
For Crown Copyright, Geist would like to see more open-ended licensing for non-commercial use – or even better, abolish Crown Copyright altogether.
But for the most part, Geist advocates for a defensive position against challenges to balanced copyright. He opposes, for example, the notion that Canada is a “piracy haven,” and needs to institute a notice-&-takedown system to replace our internationally-lauded notice-&-notice system. Aside from a few weaknesses noted above, Canada’s current law seems to strike an effective balance between the rights of industry and users. Therefore, he envisions the review as a benchmarking exercise, to assess the progress of cultural industries under the current legislative regime, rather than an occasion for another major overhaul.
Geist ended his presentation with a reminder that the fight for balanced copyright is not over, and that thus far, very few have spoken out on behalf of user’s rights, or even of maintaining the current balance. As such, he calls for CALL/ACBD members to add their ideas, evidence and voice to the debate.
2012 was not the end, it was the beginning.
Providing Legal Resources to Lawyers in Smaller Communities – Law Society Library & Access to Justice
By Melanie Hodges Neufeld
Providing publicly accessible legal resources and information increases the public’s understanding of legal matters and ability to handle these matters. In addition to the numerous public resources created and provided by the Library and research assistance, the Library is also involved in several access to justice initiatives. Please see a recent article in our Benchers’ Digest (page 6) “Putting the Public First – Saskatchewan Access to Legal Information Project” for more information on this initiatives.
However, it is important to recognize that the definition of access to justice is broader than just assisting self-represented litigants. Access to justice also includes ensuring members of the public have access to competent and affordable legal services. The resources and services provided by the Law Society Library enable lawyers, particularly in smaller centres, to adequately service their communities. Our Members’ Section ensures our members have access to the resources they need no matter their location. It is already difficult to attract new lawyers to smaller communities. A lack of resources could potentially make these locations even less attractive and leave communities without legal services.
If you are a lawyer practicing in a smaller community in Saskatchewan, please share your voice and review the following notice regarding funding to maintain legal resources, such as WestlawNext, and the other resources available through the Members’ Section and the Law Society Library. Once you have reviewed the notice, please complete the survey contained within. The deadline to complete the survey is April 7th. We appreciate your time and feedback.
By Melanie Hodges Neufeld
The Law Society Library provides the legal research tools for the lawyers of Saskatchewan. Did you know that over 80% of members accessed the Members’ Section resources last year? Or that requests for research assistance increased over 50% in the last two years? For a detailed description of what we offer, please see my recent blog post or visit our website.
Law Society members, please review the following notice regarding funding to maintain legal resources, such as WestlawNext, and the other resources available through the Members’ Section and the Law Society Library. Once you have reviewed the notice, please complete the survey contained within. The deadline to complete the survey is April 7th. We appreciate your time and feedback.