Law Times

October 5, 2015

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Page 16 OctOber 5, 2015 • Law times NYE THOMAS TO LEAD LAW COMMISSION Legal Aid Ontario's Nye Thomas is the next executive director of the Law Commission of Ontario. Thomas, whose most recent role at LAO was as director general of policy and strategic research, will join the com- mission on Oct. 19 as current executive director Patricia Hughes prepares to leave the role on Dec. 14. "I am confi- dent that under Nye's leadership, the commission will continue to maintain the highest standards in legal research and law reform initiatives," said commission chairman Bruce El- man in announcing Thomas' new role. MONKEY OWNS SELFIE COPYRIGHT: PETA SAN FRANCISCO — Can an animal own the copyright to a photo it takes? That will be a key question in a rather novel lawsuit filed recently in California. In this case, animal rights activists argue in the law- suit that the court should declare a rare crested macaque monkey who snapped a well-known, grinning selfie to be the photo's owner and award damages for copyright infringement af- ter it appeared in a wildlife book. Naruto, a six-year-old macaque who lives free in the Tangkoko Reserve on the Indone- sian island of Sulawesi, took the image and sev- eral others about four years ago using a camera left unattended by British photographer David Slater, People for the Ethical Treatment of Ani- mals said in the suit. The so-called monkey selfies that resulted came from "a series of purposeful and volun- tary actions by Naruto, unaided by Slater," said the complaint filed in U.S. District Court in San Francisco. "Naruto has the right to own and benefit from the copyright . . . in the same manner and to the same extent as any other author," the suit said. Slater told Reuters he felt "rather bemused" and persecuted by the lawsuit, which he said seemed to be a publicity stunt. He said he was very disappointed the or- ganization didn't contact him in advance and described himself as a low-paid wildlife pho- tographer who has been struggling to earn a living. "I am sympathetic in my book for animals having rights to property in some circum- stances but in no way do I mean copyrights," Slater said in an e-mail. "Their focus seems more aimed at making me out to be a criminal than someone who loves and respects and fights for animals. . . . I have to wonder what are the true motives be- hind this attack on me," he wrote. The lawsuit names Slater, his Britain-based company Wildlife Personalities, and Blurb Inc., a Delaware-based corporation that, be- ginning last year, published and sold for profit in the United States a book containing copies of the photos. Naruto's orange-eyed, beaming selfie is its front cover, Reuters reported. People for the Ethical Treatment of Ani- mals said it was bringing the legal action on the monkey's behalf because he couldn't do so himself "due to inaccessibility and incapacity" and that the court had jurisdiction because of the book sales made in the United States. The Copyright Act of 1976 was "sufficiently broad . . . to extend to any original work, in- cluding those created by Naruto," the group's complaint reads. Sulawesi crested macaques are critically endangered, according to the International Union for the Conservation of Nature's red list of threatened species. Between 4,000 to 6,000 live on the island, and People for the Ethical Treatment of Ani- mals said their numbers have decreased by about 90 per cent in the last 25 years, mostly due to human encroachment on their rainfor- est homes. The organization asked the court to declare Naruto the author and copyright owner of the photos and award the monkey damages. It also sought a court order letting it and a noted primatologist, Antje Engelhardt of Georg-August University in Göttingen, Ger- many, administer Naruto's rights on condition that all proceeds solely benefit him, his family, and community, "including [for] the preserva- tion of their habitat." A spokesman for Blurb, which describes itself as a self-publishing and marketing plat- form, said the company didn't comment on pending litigation. LT © 2015 Stewart. All rights reserved. We put legal professionals front and centre and we put our efforts into keeping real estate transactions where they belong – in your office. Learn more about our level of support, call (888) 667-5151 or visit Ally Untitled-2 1 2015-09-30 4:01 PM u Bizarre Briefs By Viola James u The InsIde story FIRM'S TORONTO OFFICE TO CLOSE Allen & Overy LLP is closing its Canadian representative of- fice in Toronto. The move comes as François Duquette, the firm's partner in Canada, is leaving for a position at the Caisse de dépôt et de placement du Québec. "I can also confirm that we will be closing our representa- tive office in Canada as a result and will revert to how we used to manage our Canadian client relationships on a f ly-in-f ly-out basis," said Campbell McIlroy, the firm's head of public rela- tions. LAWPRO PREMIUM FREEZE CONTINUES Lawyers' base insurance pre- mium will remain at $3,350 for the sixth consecutive year, Law- PRO has announced. Last month, Convocation ap- proved LawPRO's 2016 insurance program for the Ontario bar. Be- sides the premium freeze, other changes include reducing the real estate practice coverage option by $150. As a result, the premium will fall to $100 from $250. NEW MASTER APPOINTED The Ontario government has appointed Nathalie Cham- pagne to serve as a Superior Court case-management mas- ter in Ottawa. A lawyer called to the bar in 1992, Champagne most recently worked as Legal Aid Ontario's director general for the east- ern district. Her work included managing criminal and family law cases and conducting me- diations and settlement confer- ences in family and child protec- tion matters. Champagne's appointment is effective Oct. 7. POLL RESULTS The results of the latest Law Times poll are in. The federal election cam- paign is in full swing, but it seems lawyers don't think the federal parties are offering much when it comes to addressing im- portant legal issues. According to the poll, 98 per cent of respon- dents believe the parties aren't talking about justice issues or are engaging in platitudes. In fact, just one participant felt there had been a lot of discus- sion so far. The poll comes as Canadians prepare to vote in the Oct. 19 election. For more on what the parties have and haven't been saying about legal issues, see "Justice policy f lying under the radar in election campaign" on page 7 of this week's Law Times. CRIMINAL JUSTICE STATISTICS RELEASED Statistics Canada has released new figures on cases completed in Canadian adult and youth courts in 2013-14. According to the figures, the roughly 360,000 cases completed in adult criminal courts repre- sented a seven-per-cent decline from the previous year. "This was the lowest number of completed cases in adult criminal court in a decade," Statistics Canada said in releasing the numbers. The story was similar in youth court. The roughly 40,000 completed cases represented a 12-per-cent decrease. "This was the lowest number of completed cases in youth courts since these data were first collected more than two decades ago," the fed- eral agency said. LT "We have to file all our escape plans with the guards. They got the idea from Revenue Canada. " Nye Thomas

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