Research and Reference Services (Tip of the Week)

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By Alan Kilpatrick

The Law Society of Saskatchewan Library provides our members with high-quality legal research services at affordable rates.

Ken Fox and Alan Kilpatrick, librarians with the Law Society of Saskatchewan, have years of experience with print and online resources. We can quickly find relevant case law, note up a decision, locate textbooks, or trace a statute section.

Ken is located in Saskatoon at the College of Law library during the temporary closure of the Law Society’s Saskatoon Library due to court house renovation. Alan is located in our Regina Library in the court house on Victoria Avenue.  Please contact us at reference@lawsociety.ca or 306-569-8020 if you require research assistance.  We are happy to assist you over the phone, in person, or via email.

Ken Fox
Reference Librarian
c/o University of Saskatchewan
8 Law Building, 15 Campus Drive
Saskatoon, SK S7N 5A6
(306) 966-5999
Alan Kilpatrick
Reference Librarian
Law Society of Saskatchewan Library
2425 Victoria Avenue, 2nd Floor
Regina, SK S4P 4W6
(306) 569-8020

RefServices

AskLibnEmail reference@lawsociety.sk.ca
Call 306-569-8020 in Regina
Toll-free 1-877-989-4999
Fax 306-569-0155

Technology of the Day, A Century Ago – The Typewriter (Throwback Thursday)

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Saskatchewan Bar Review, March 1936
Saskatchewan Bar Review, March 1936

“For readers under the age of thirty or so, the ‘typewriter’ was a mechanical device used for creating documents that pre-dated the computer and lacked some of the computer’s more annoying characteristics, in particular the computer’s facilitation of ‘cutting and pasting’, which is undoubtedly one of the four horsemen of the modern apocalypse and which has cost many trees their lives and many lawyers and judges their eyesight.” – R. v. Duncan, 2013 ONCJ 160

The first commercially successful typewriter was invented in 1868. In the early 20th century, the typewriter had become the must-have tech toy of the day. A US tax assessment appeal case in 1920 revealed that Underwood Typewriter Co. was making $1.34 million profit in 1915. (Underwood Typewriter Co. v. Chamberlain, 254 U.S. 112 (1920)) That was serious money 100 year ago when the median hourly wage was 33 cents and the average price of a new home was $3,200.

Unlike computers, typewriters create a document that has “characteristics” that can lead back to the exact typewriter on which the document was created or even the typist. In the second edition of Questioned Documents by Albert S. Osborn (Carswell, 1929), an entire chapter was devoted to “Questioned Typewriting”.

Questioned Documents, 2nd ed. (Carswell, 1929.)
Questioned Documents, 2nd ed. (Carswell, 1929.)

America’s most infamous typewriter belonged to Alger Hiss.  Hiss, an American lawyer, graduate of Harvard Law School, clerked for Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, was accused of being a Soviet spy in 1948. The most damaging testimony against Hiss were the documents (known as Pumpkin Documents because they were hidden in a hollowed pumpkin) supposedly typed on Hiss’s typewriter and the defence team’s failure to refute that the typewriter belonged to the Hiss family.  Hiss was eventually convicted of perjury because the statute of limitations on espionage had run its course. The Alger Hiss case captured the nation and launched the political career of Joe McCarthy and Richard Nixon.

In Canada, we have our own infamous Gamey Investigation of 1903. On March 11, 1903, Robert Roswell Gamey, Conservative MLA,  brought forth allegations in the Ontario Legislature that he had been bribed by the Liberals for his political allegiance, and that Provincial Secretary James Robert Stratton, Liberal MLA, was privy to the conspiracy. Gamey stated that $2,000 had been offered to him in Stratton’s office and that the statements in the Liberal newspapers regarding his supposed change of political allegiance had been prepared in Stratton’s office.  A Royal Commission headed by Chancellor John Alexander Boyd and Chief Justice Falconbridge was formed to investigate the allegations.  The hearing lasted 27 days. Eleven anonymous typewritten letters were under investigation and 119 witnesses were examined, and the affair was a sensation in Ontario. In the end the Commission found no proof of bribery. Nonetheless the scandal destroyed the Liberal Party in the election. The Liberals suffered a crushing defeat with only 28 seats elected out of a Legislature of 96.

So is this 150-year-old technology dead yet?  Is there a chance that it is surviving in some hidden, remote corners of this high tech world? After all, William Gibson, who coined the word “cyberspace”, pounded out his triple-award-winning (Nebula, Hugo, Philip K. Dick Award) cyberpunk fiction Neuromancer on a 1927 Hermes typewriter.  Actor Tom Hanks, a typewriter collector, recently released an iPad app that recreates the experience of typing on a typewriter. Within four days of its release, the app Hanx Writer soared to the top of Apple App Store Best New App list.  If you are a typewriter enthusiast, check it out.

 

Sources:

Report of the Royal Commission re Gamey Charges before the Honourable Sir John A. Boyd, chancellor, and the Honourable Chief Justice Falconbridge

Alger Hiss – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alger_Hiss

Who Was Alger Hiss – https://files.nyu.edu/th15/public/who.html

Robert Roswell Gamey – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Roswell_Gamey

Tips from the Editor – A Problem of Ours: Possessive Pronouns

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editor1aBy Kelly Laycock

This post is the final entry to the trilogy about pronouns. Check out the first two posts about subjective and objective pronouns, You and I vs. You and Me, and reflexive pronouns, Me, Myself and I. This third post is about possessive pronouns.

Possessive pronouns are like toddlers. They find it hard to share. It’s mine! This is my book and that is your pencil. Sometimes they are his and sometimes hers, but our things are ours not yours or theirs. But can things really be his/hers?      Read the rest of this entry »

Book Review – The Copyright Pentalogy

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By Alan Kilpatrick

pentalogyThe Copyright Pentalogy:  How the Supreme Court of Canada Shook the Foundations of Canadian Copyright Law
Edited By Michael Geist
Ottawa: University of Ottawa Press, 2013
456 pp.

Canadian copyright law has been rocked by dramatic and revolutionary changes over the past two years.  Leading scholars, law professors, and lawyers have collaborated to create an exciting new work discussing these dramatic changes – The Copyright Pentalogy:  How the Supreme Court of Canada Shook the Foundations of Canadian Copyright Law.  The collection is edited by the renowned Michael Geist.  Geist is a law professor at the University of Ottawa and an author of several public policy and intellectual property books.

The Hill Times’  placed this item on a prestigious top 100 list for 2013 books in the area of politics, public policy, and history.  The University of Ottawa Press succinctly describes this book on its website,

In the summer of 2012, the Supreme Court of Canada issued rulings on five copyright cases in a single day. The cases represent a seismic shift in Canadian copyright law, with the Court providing an unequivocal affirmation that copyright exceptions such as fair dealing should be treated as users’ rights, while emphasizing the need for a technology neutral approach to copyright law.

The Court’s decisions, which were quickly dubbed the “copyright pentalogy,” included no fees for song previews on services such as iTunes, no additional payment for music included in downloaded video games, and that copying materials for instructional purposes may qualify as fair dealing.

The Canadian copyright community soon looked beyond the cases and their litigants and began to debate the larger implications of the decisions. Several issues quickly emerged. This book represents an effort by some of Canada’s leading copyright scholars to begin the process of examining the long-term implications of the copyright pentalogy.

Please stop by the Law Society of Saskatchewan Library in Regina if you are interested in checking out this item. Call Number: KF 2995 .G31 2013.  This item is also available online for free on the University of Ottawa website.

In the Legal Sourcery book review, new, thought-provoking, and notable library resources are reviewed. If you would like to read any of the resources reviewed, please contact our library at reference@lawsociety.sk.ca or (306) 569-8020. Let us know if there is a book you would like reviewed.

New Issue of Saskatchewan Law Review

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By Melanie Hodges Neufeld

The latest issue of the Saskatchewan Law Review (2014 – Vol. 77(2)) is now available online for our members.  The issue includes:

Law Review Lecture

Articles

Case Comment

Older issues are also available on HeinOnline in the Members’ Section of the Law Society website (password required).