Friday, September 28, 2012

Your tax dollars at work

For those of you who are tired to see the TV ads for Canada's Economic Action Plan (why do they advertise it in the first place is beyond me), be happy to know that your tax dollars have been hard at work.

Yes, an ad banner for the EAP has been recently spotted on The Pirate Bay, of any places.

(image shamelessy hotlinked from the Ottawa Citizen article.)

The above image tells you a number of things:
- the EAP is about as sketchy as Find-a-chinese-bride services
- new season of Dr Who has begun a few weeks ago
- Mac users still don't know how to print screen.
- irony: an apple OS in a Samsung monitor.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Droit: Prise en paiement et enrichissement injustifié

Dans nos cours de droit, on s'est souvent demandé si la prise en paiement n'était pas un recours un peu abusif, dans les cas où la dette est relativement petite comparé au bien pris en paiement, et si cela ne constituerait pas de l'enrichissement injustifié.

La cour s'est récemment posé la question dans le cas Agalakov Sheloykina c. Syndicat des copropriétaires Les Habitations Poupart, 2012 QCCA 1620, où un syndicat de copropriétaires a pris en paiement un condo dont la propriétaire n'a pas payé les frais.

Le condo valait environ 150 000$, alors que le total des frais non acquittés n'était que de 2 019,68 $.

Au lieu d'en appeler de la décision, la propriétaire a intenté un recours en enrichissement injustifié.

Du juge:
Le Code civil du Québec prévoit diverses mesures permettant au débiteur hypothécaire de faire échec à la prise en paiement, mais la requérante n'a utilisé aucun de ces moyens. [...]

[9] La prise en paiement, on peut en convenir, est le plus draconien des recours mis à la disposition du créancier hypothécaire et, comme on le voit ici, il peut causer un préjudice réel au débiteur hypothécaire. Son usage, cependant, est permis expressément par le législateur (sauf circonstance dont aucune ne paraît ici applicable ou n'est soulevée par la requérante) et le préjudice qui peut en découler, étant inhérent au recours, le débiteur ne peut s'en plaindre. Ce préjudice ne saurait donc ordinairement être le fondement d'un recours en enrichissement injustifié au sens des articles 1493 et s. C.c.Q.

Lien: Le Blogue du CRL: Lorsqu’un syndicat de copropriétaires devient propriétaire d’une unité de condo de 150 000$, pour une dette de 2000 $, sommes-nous en présence d’un cas d’enrichissement injustifié?

Twitter user meets his troll

Very interesting blog post about a guy who was driven off Twitter by an internet troll and hater, who eventually found out who the troll was, and met with him.

Traynor's Eye: Meeting a Troll

Guerrila Grafting brings fruits to cities

Meet the Guerilla Grafters, a group from San Francisco who secretly graft fruit tree branches to city trees.

I think this is a really cool idea, although I'm not sure how I feel about vandalising trees. Also, I wonder how safe the fruits are, given the pollution in large cities, which might cause toxic substances to accumulate in the fruits.

via Boing Boing

Friday, September 21, 2012

NYPD's new plan against iPhone theft

in New York, the local constabulary will be hanging around the flagship 5th Avenue Apple Store and will be encouraging new iPhone 5 owners to register their phones' serial numbers with them. This is part of an initiative the NYPD calls "Operation I.D." It's an excellent example of law enforcement embracing the extra anti-theft capabilities offered by today's smartphones.
Ars Technica: The New York PD wants to help find your iPhone

OK, look, I don't want to be a party pooper, but does anyone else find it creepy that they want your phone's serial number?

Police all over the US and Canada don't exactly have a good track record handling smartphones, which usually involves arresting the innocent bystander filming a police operation. So forgive me when my first reaction is not joy at their embracing new tech, but rather suspicion. Is that some backdoor way to collect data on iphone ownership?

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

I remember reading a short story way back, about an explorer who comes back from Russia and claims the existence of a gigantic diamond (yes, a single one) somewhere in Siberia. The diamond was formed when an meteorite hit a coal deposit, and the resulting heat and pressure turned the carbon into a giant "diamond lake".

Well, this just in:
Russia has declassified a large deposit of super hard diamonds which are twice harder than usual ones. The sensational statement was made by Novosibirsk scientists of the Institute of Geology and Mineralogy at the Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences.

The deposit is located on the border of the Krasnoyarsk region and Yakutia in the Popigai crypto-explosion structure- a hundred kilometres’ meteorite crater formed 35 million years ago. Back in the 1970s, Soviet geologists discovered there the first extra hard "diamonds" - impact diamonds having unusual features. They were two times harder than regular ones and had a different structure. (source)

Via BoingBoing

Monday, September 17, 2012


I just wanted to add that whenever anything interesting happens, there's always going to be a bunch of loud Chinese people in the background.

I will admit that my textbook woes were never this bad...
Techdirt: University requires student to pay $180 for art history textbook that has no photos due to copyright

Canadian Mint wants to charge you royalty to for picture of penny

Seems like our public officials are getting bored these days, because Nova Scotia musician warned by Mint for using pennies on CD cover.

Long story short: Musician puts picture of pennies on his album cover, Canadian Mint asks for $1200 royalties, public outcry, Mint eventually backs down.

And of all the things they could've tried, copyright infringement? Seriously? There was nothing, nowhere, in any of the coins-related legislation that would've made a bit more sense?

This is the offending cover, by the way:

I count about 14 or 15 pennies on that cover, for 2000 albums, so quick math says they're charging about 5 cents per penny per album. I wonder what the going rate is for the nickels and dimes ... Actually, if you look at the change on the cover, it does come down to about 60 cents, so maybe that's what they're charging him.

And here's the kicker, after backing down on their claim:
“We have helped this guy out by giving him a break,” Alex Reeves, communications manager for the Royal Canadian Mint, said Tuesday.

Seriously? Well, how generous of you. I'm sure this is in line with the current government's support for the arts and all that.

And if you're not happy, well
Reeves said if Gunning can’t afford the royalties if and when he produces more CDs then he can always remove the soon-to-discontinued penny from the cover.

Okay, well I guess that settles that. Only the pennies require royalties. Also, does anyone else see the humor in this? The album is called No More Pennies and the Mint wants him to remove the pennies...

So there you have the official line: be happy we're not suing, and if you're not happy, well shove it.

Pro tip: re-shoot with US pennies. Nobody will be able to tell.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

France: Hadopi fait une première victime

La loi Hadopi adoptée en France en 2010 pour contrer le piratage informatique vient de faire une première victime la semaine dernière.

La semaine dernière, verdict de la première poursuite pénale selon la loi Hadopi: le juge à imposé à un quadragénaire de l'est de la France une amende de 150 Euros.

Tout le monde s'entend sur l'innocence de l'homme en question, sa femme ayant avoué que c'est elle qui a téléchargé les fichiers en question. Cependant, la loi Hadopi impose la responsabilité au titulaire de l'accès Internet, et non à la personne ayant effectivement téléchargé le contenu.

Lien (TorrentFreak)

On the other side of the Atlantic, a California judge has just decided that the owner of a WiFi network has no duty to secure it without an explicit law to that effect.

Link (TorrentFreak)

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

US: Intercepting open wifi packets not wiretapping

A US federal judge has ruled in a preliminary motion that
the interception of communications sent over unencrypted Wi-Fi networks is permissible.

This runs contrary to the Google Streetview case from last year, where a judge was of the opinion that
While Plaintiffs plead that their networks, or electronic communications systems, were configured such that the general public may join the network and readily transmit electronic communications across that network to the Internet, Plaintiffs plead that the networks were themselves configured to render the data packets, or electronic communications, unreadable and inaccessible without the use of rare packet sniffing software; technology allegedly outside the purview of the general public. Thus, the Court finds that Plaintiffs plead facts sufficient to support a claim that the Wi-Fi networks were not "readily accessible to the general public" [...]

The judge in the current case did address the Google ruling, stating that
the proposition that Wi-Fi communications are accessible only with sophisticated technology breaks down. As mentioned above, Innovatio is intercepting Wi-Fi communications with a Riverbed AirPcap Nx packet capture adapter, which is available to the public for purchase for $698.00. [...] The software necessary to analyze the data that the packet capture adapters collect is available for down load for free. [...] With a packet capture adapter and the software, along with a basic laptop computer, any member of the general public within range of an unencrypted Wi-Fi network can begin intercepting communications sent on that network. [...] In light of the ease of "sniffing" Wi-Fi networks, the court concludes that the communications sent on an unencrypted Wi-Fi network are readily available to the general public.

The judge did point out, however, that the standards applicable to the two motions are different, which leads to contradicting decisions. For now, all we can say is that for the purposes of a motion to dismiss wiretapping charges, open wifis are NOT publicly accessible, whereas for a preliminary ruling on admissibility of evidence, it is.

Hopefully there will be a sensible final ruling at some point to make sense of this.

Cute pic of the day

One of the things I realized after going through a year of bar school is that little things help you keep your sanity. Especially, cute cat pictures.

Or, in this case, KOALAS!

Friday, September 07, 2012

Ars Technica: Wikipedia told Philip Roth he's not "credible source" on book he wrote

Roth tried to fix the error that his novel was "allegedly inspired by the life of the writer Anatole Broyard.” [...]

When Roth tried to give Wikipedia the true origins of the novel, he says he was told by a Wikipedia administrator on Aug. 26 "that I, Roth, was not a credible source."

“I understand your point that the author is the greatest authority on their own work, but we require secondary sources," were the exact words of the Wikipedia administrator, according to Roth.

Yep, that sounds about right. One of the many annoyances of trying to contribute anything to Wikipedia these days is facing the mods. Wikipedia entries are ridiculously hard to change sometimes, and most people at Librivox have basically given up trying.

One must remember that Wikipedia's motto is "Verifiability, not truth", so one just has to live with it.

XKCD has something about that:

Thursday, September 06, 2012

Woah, I can't believe it's been over a year since I've posted her. Well, bar school done, passed, and I'm now looking for an internship. I hope job posting will start coming in soon, because it kinda sucks if you don't really know anyone in the legal community and you have to rely on the listings on the Bar School website...