Andy Waddington surveys at
Mon May 15 16:41:55 BST 2006

On Monday 2006-05-15 16:15, John Halleck wrote:

> I've always found that when a discussion has degenerated to
> the point where people want to argue about specific word choices
> of other people, instead of addressing any substance of what
> they had to say, it is time for me to bow out of the discussion. 

Sorry to lose you just because I agree with your word choice - I
realise that it's more fun to take part in these discussions if you
disagree ;-)

However, my point is that legislators interpret words differently
than the general public (who have easy recourse to dictionaries,
but not to the original legal instruments making the definitions
that the courts use). But perhaps those who wrote the laws were
drawn from the general public ? That is certainly my impression
of the purpose of having a "House of Commons" (we're firmly in
English law here, as before). If we are talking about European
directives which will inevitably seek to change national law,
then we should be looking at what the ordinary members of
parliament and MEPs might reasonably understand and expect from
the definitions of things like "literary work", not what the
current legal interpretation is, given that this could well be
different from what was intended (certainly different from what
should have been intended).

Since this directive is not yet law, any points or arguments
are indeed moot, by both your definitions - they are hypothetical
until established by case law, and thus open to argument. In
addition, the campaign to which our attention has been drawn
seeks to guide this directive in certain directions, one
of which may well be to understand that it is not reasonable
to include the data that should be made freely available within
an over-inclusive term "original literary work".

> I thought it clear that the second was intended

Which is the way we get laws that mean different things to the
courts than was intended by the legislators. Good lawyers are
probably better pedants than I am, and tend to be trained to
advocate alternative meanings to words, phrases and bigger
semantic entities, that those responsible for drafting them
thought were entirely clear.

Given the phrase "shake well before use", most lawyers will
tend to concentrate on exactly what time period was intended
by "well before"....


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