Tag Archives: Free Speech

New Internet Law: Facebook Freedom of Speech Schools

An aggressive new Internet law was introduced in North Carolina, making it a criminal offense for a student to release statements online with the intention of intimidating or tormenting school faculty. In Minnesota, a U.S. District Court maintained that compelling students to hand over access to their social media accounts is a violation of their rights under the First and Fourth Amendments. The case involves a 12-yer-old girl who posted one comment about a school employee on Facebook at home, and followed it up with another. School officials promptly questioned the student, which resulted in disciplinary actions. She also had to provide access to her email accounts, which they searched. Based on Tinker v. Des Moines and other precedents, the court maintained that school authorities could not punish statements made away from school, which are guaranteed by the First Amendment, ...
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Do Social Media Networks Own Your Account Records Like A Bank?

Twitter and the Law
Twitter attorneys are warmed up and ready to spar over a New York judge’s decision on whether or not prosecutors have the right to subpoena the social media company for Malcolm Harris’ user account information. An Occupy Wall Street protester, Malcolm Harris was accused of disturbing the peace on October 1, 2011. Judge Matthew A Sciarrino, Jr. – a self-styled “social media expert” (who was disciplined in 2009 for trying to “friend” lawyers on Facebook) – ruled that neither the Twitter account holder nor the social media service could quash a subpoena issued by the DA’s office. Those in support of Harris argue that Sciarrino’s decision flies in the face of established United States’ legal traditions regarding anonymous free speech. Facts of the Case According to prosecutors, On October 1, 2011, Malcolm Harris – Twitter handle @destructuremal – violated the ...
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Facebook Argues A “Like” Is Free Speech

Lane v. Facebook class action lawsuit explained
Several months ago, a Virginia judge ruled against a deputy sheriff who said he was fired for Facebook “liking” his boss’ election opponent. The judge in the case declared that clicking a “like” button does not constitute “speech,” as nothing was actually spoken. Plaintiff Daniel Ray Carter appealed the ruling. And now, Facebook is supporting the once deputy sheriff by way of an amicus brief arguing that a “like” is the 21st century version of a political bumper sticker. Main points from the Facebook brief: When a user likes something on Facebook, a picture of the “liked” thing, and usually some accompanying text, appear on the user’s profile. As such, when Carter liked Adams’ Facebook page, the words “Jim Adams for Hampton Sheriff” and a picture of Jim appeared on Carter’s page – much like a “vote for” lawn sign. ...
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Defamation By Omission – A Legal Explanation & Definition

defamation by omission
Defamation by omission is when one person harms the reputation of another by neglecting to report or include vital information that significantly impacts the case. For example, let’s say you were charged with a crime, but were later acquitted. If a local newspaper then printed a story about your involvement in the crime, but failed to mention your absolution, that would be defamation by omission since the paper led people to believe you committed the act. Moreover, if a journalist leaves out critical information, the publisher – not just the reporter – can be charged. In the same situation, if a blogger were to post stories about you – again leaving out your absolution — each individual post that does not include the disclaimer would constitute one act of defamation. Defamation by omission, however, is a nuanced statute. To illustrate, ...
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The Legalities Of Teacher Blogging: Munroe v. Central Bucks School District

blogging legalities
Teacher blogging is becoming more popular, but is it legally dangerous for educators to indulge in the act? Part of our societal contract is to provide a public education system. And in said system, we tend to favor affable teachers who understand — and enjoy working with — young people. As such, where does our allegiance land when a public educator maintains a semi-anonymous blog, wherein they disparage students, parents and school administrators? Does free speech win out over the arguable well-being of the targeted students? Natalie Munroe, an eleventh grade English teacher in Pennsylvania, found out her community’s answer to that conundrum last month. She was fired. But Munroe is fighting back in the form of a $5,000,000 federal lawsuit which essentially asks: Is free speech more important than a student’s right to a positive, unbiased and encouraging teacher? ...
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Carreon v. Inman Showdown: A Cautionary Tale of 21st Century Lawyering and Marketing

inman-side
Matthew Inman of “The Oatmeal” was embroiled in an epic legal battle with lawyer Charles Carreon and Carreon’s client, FunnyJunk.com. Thanks to a little “WTF!? Litigation,” Carreon v. Inman engaged netizens across the globe. For Internet law enthusiasts, the case was front-row-seat material. So much more than just an online copyright tussle, the FunnyJunk v. Oatmeal legal battle served as a cautionary tale about lawyering and marketing in the Internet age; it highlights the philosophical gap between old-fashioned lawyering and the fluid nature of today’s online marketplace; and perhaps most intriguingly, Carreon v. Inman is a lawsuit that makes tests whether or not the old marketing adage of “any publicity is good publicity” still holds true today. “I’m not one to combat piracy,” Matthew Inman explained in a statement to Comic Riffs, “if you want to post my comics on your ...
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Posted in Affiliate Marketing Law, Business Law, Intellectual Property Law, Internet Defamation Law, Internet Law | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Proposed New York Internet Protection Act Threatens Anonymous Free Speech In The State

Free speech laws
Is NY’s Internet Protection Act Another Misguided Cyberbully Legislation Attempt? Not to be outdone by their cyberbully law-drafting counterparts in Arizona, New York legislators penned a doozy of a cyberbully bill — the Internet Protection Act (IPA). In a state well known for its forthright citizens, if passed, the Internet Protection Act would not only make it illegal to anonymously harass classmates online (a noble cause), but it would also be illegal to post anonymous disparaging diatribes about state politicians or local businesses (a shady cause). How New York’s Internet Protection Act (IPA) Would Work Originally authored by New York District 10 Assemblyman Jim Conte, the primary goal of the Internet Protection Act is to combat cyberbullying. But like other bills promoted as cyberbullying legislation, the IPA goes too far in attempting to rectify the problem. In short, New York’s ...
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Libel Tourism: Is It Almost Done For Good?

UK online marketing compliance summary
While we publicly grapple with online privacy and intellectual property legal issues on this side of the pond, our English-speaking brethren on the other side are engaged in a hot debate over defamation law and libel tourism. Donning a very distinguished name, if passed, the Lord Lester of Herne Hill’s draft defamation bill will significantly alter libel and slander laws in England and Wales. Journalists will have more freedom to publish parody and “irreverent criticism” without fear of a costly defamation lawsuit; “convenience test” standards will be stricter, thus making it harder for wealthy entities to file claims for little cause; and perhaps of most import to US citizens, the proposed bill with most likely eradicate UK libel tourism. What Is Libel Tourism? Some people shop for jewelry and others for jurisdictions. The act of filing a defamation lawsuit in ...
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Jan Brewer’s Veto Pen: Which Way Will It Wag On Arizona House Bill 2549?

TCPA Law
Today, Arizona Governor, Jan Brewer, vetoed Arizona House Bill 2729 — a piece of legislation concerning firearm freedoms. Being an Internet law firm, though, we’re more curious to see if Gov. Brewer will use the same veto power on Arizona House Bill 2549. A few weeks ago, the Arizona Legislature angered First Amendment advocates and freedom-loving netizens. Copper State officials poked the “hive mind” by passing Arizona House Bill 2549 – an Act intended to thwart cyberbullying and stalking, has instead caused consternation in free speech circles. Arizona House Bill 2549 Basics When you divorce Arizona’s new Internet law from legal analysis, its administrative purpose is to update section 13-2916 of the Arizona Revised Statutes – the state’s long-standing telephone harassment law. A one-and-a-half-paged piece of legislation, all 2549 does is redact the words “telephone” from the statute and replaces ...
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Crystal Cox Defamation Lawsuit: Blogger Denied Journalistic Protection And Rights

defamation lawsuits
A judge presiding over the well-publicized Oregon defamation lawsuit involving Crystal Cox recently ruled against the self-styled, self-published investigative blogger. Cox was ordered to pay $2.5 million in damages and the decision has stirred online First Amendment crusaders. The Crystal Cox Defamation Lawsuit Background A self-described investigative blogger and whistle blower, Crystal Cox is a real estate agent by day and Internet vigilante by night. Among her cadre of websites was obsidianfinancialsucks.com, an outlet Ms. Cox used to accuse Kevin Padrick — one of Obsidian’s founding executives — of fraud, misappropriation of funds, lie telling, and a litany of other unscrupulous actions. Cox even insinuated Padrick may have hired an assassin to silence her. As a result of her online accusations, Mr. Padrick decided to sue for defamation. He maintained his company lost considerable business thanks to Ms. Cox’s allegedly ...
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