On Wednesday I took part in a panel discussion on the intellectual property issues associated with media commentary on the Olympics, which enjoy a distinctively favorable IP regime: a 1978 federal law gives the U.S. Olympic Committee stronger rights over the word “Olympics” than it would get under ordinary trademark law, including wider scope to go after parody and other situations that will sometimes arguably be fair use. Other panelists include Cato’s Julian Sanchez and Jim Harper, and the moderator was Cato’s Kat Murti. The audience Q&A included a question from noted media law attorney Paul Alan Levy. You can watch here:
- New FDA guidelines on sodium “unnaturally low” and propose “consumption levels unheard of in any country in the world,” according to the salt guys;
- Engineering the language: campaign under way to stop referring to car crashes with the word “accident” [Jacob Sullum]
- Gawker mocked claim of man who has maintained he invented email as a teenager in the 1970s so he’s suing [NJ Advance Media]
- I’ve often joined morning host Ray Dunaway on Connecticut’s WTIC and you can listen to my Monday segment here, discussing the California bill to encourage lawsuits over climate denial as well as the Wheaton, Ill. fired cop case;
- “Dallas Pet-Sitting Firm Raises the Ante, Seeks Up to a Million Dollars in Damages for Yelp Review” [Paul Alan Levy, David Kravets/ArsTechnica]
- In the mail: “Uber-Positive: Why Americans Love the Sharing Economy” [Jared Meyer, Encounter Books] Meyer is also in the new issue of Reason with an article on “progressive” opposition to the gig economy that includes the line (h/t Steve Horwitz): “Waging a war on lower transaction costs is the definition of fighting progress.”
- How the courts came to extend First Amendment protection to art, music, movies, and other expression not originally classed as “press” or “speech” [new Mark Tushnet, Alan Chen, and Joseph Blocher book via Ronald Collins]
- Cato amicus: church enterprises should be eligible for recycling program on same terms as secular businesses [Ilya Shapiro and Jayme Weber]
- “A Political Attack On Free Speech And Privacy Thwarted — For Now” [George Leef, Forbes on AFP v. Harris, earlier] Bill filed by Rep. Peter Roskam would keep IRS from collecting names of donors to nonprofits [Center for Competitive Politics]
- Newly enacted Tennessee conscience exemption for psychological counselors and therapists avoids some of the dangers of compelled speech [Scott Shackford, Reason]
- Cook County Sheriff Thomas Dart, benchslapped by Judge Richard Posner after sending credit card companies letters urging them to cut off dealings with Backpage.com, now seeks Supreme Court certiorari review [Ronald Collins, earlier here, here, and here]
- One problem with that Mississippi law: it gives extra protection to some religious beliefs about sex and marriage but not others [Popehat; my guest appearance on Mike Slater show, San Diego’s KFMB]
I joined guest host Steve Simpson on Blog Talk Radio’s Yaron Brook Show, along with guests Sam Kazman (CEI) and Alex Epstein (“The Moral Case for Fossil Fuels”) to discuss the free speech threat of attorney general climate denial investigations (“AGs United for Clean Power”). Related, and recent: “Is Eric Schneiderman colluding with other AGs in an illicit war on Exxon?” [New York Post editorial) Investigation “a flatly unconstitutional assault on speech the state dislikes. I find something terrifying in the notion” [Stephen Carter, Bloomberg View] “While I think that climate change is both human-caused to a significant extent and likely to be a problem, I would warn my environmentalist friends about the dangerous precedent the attack on CEI sets.” [Eli Lehrer, Washington Examiner] “The Climate Police Escalate” [WSJ editorial]
I’ve been doing a fair bit of speaking on the cause of redistricting reform in Maryland, which is sure to be back next year although the powers that be in the legislature just adjourned for the year without letting it reach floor consideration or even a committee vote. I joined popular D.C.-area radio host Kojo Nnamdi and had a chance to explore the issues at more depth on Frederick County’s “Eye on Our Community” with Kai Hagen.
In the Herald-Mail, Tamela Baker also has a great write-up of my speech this week (with PowerPoint!) at Hagerstown Rotary. Don’t hesitate to invite me to speak on this topic just because you’re in another state — the issue is a national one.
“A tax proposed by top legislators on the earnings of Yale’s sizable endowment was shot down Tuesday by the administration of Gov. Dannel P. Malloy. …The proposal – backed by Senate President Pro Tem Martin Looney and Appropriations Committee Co-chair Toni Walker, both Democrats from New Haven – [had] generated national attention.” [Connecticut Mirror] I modestly proposed that Yale consider moving in part or full to some jurisdiction that would leave its endowment alone, much as General Electric, which had been the largest corporation headquartered in Connecticut, chose recently to toddle off to Boston in search of a better climate. Ira Stoll picked up and expanded on my idea in a column reprinted in the Hartford Courant, and Florida Gov. Rick Scott promptly got into the act by inviting Yale to relocate to the Sunshine State. More: Courant editorial (“Idea Of Yale Fleeing Taxes Makes Connecticut Look Bad”) And I’m interviewed in this WTNH story.
Mirriam Seddiq had me on as a guest on her podcast this week to chat about law, libertarianism, Cato, my books, and much more — a long conversation with many questions I never get asked in other interviews. It’s the latest in her series of podcasts (“Not Guilty No Way“) with law-related guests. Her own legal practice, based in the D.C. suburbs, concentrates on criminal defense and immigration.
She introduces our discussion at the beginning of the show, and the conversation itself begins at 27:15.
In its long-running campaign against arbitration as a contractually chosen alternative to its own services, the Litigation Lobby recently scored a coup in the form of a New York Times series intensely negative on the practice. I joined radio host Bob Zadek recently for a discussion of the issue.
More on arbitration recently from Jim Copland in the Wall Street Journal, from Daniel Fisher (“New York Times Cites The Wrong Case To Support Class Actions”) and Greg Herbers, Washington Legal Foundation (“Rebuffed Twice in Texas, the NLRB Takes its Crusade Against [Class-Action] Arbitration [Agreements] to California”).
- Now watch out for the next phase of the “ban the box” effort, which will demand that private employers not be allowed to ask about applicants’ criminal records [Open Society via @georgesoros]
- “We have one restaurant in Seattle, and we probably won’t be expanding there. That’s true of San Francisco and Los Angeles, too.” [Buffalo Wild Wings CEO Sally Smith via David Boaz]
- New York Times reporting vs. nail salons: the video [Reason, earlier] The other Greenhouse effect, in this case Steven: Times “sees the labor beat as having essentially an advocacy mission.” [Adam Ozimek]
- The lawsuits of September: “the EEOC has once again rushed to file a blitz of federal court complaints just under the fiscal year wire” [Matthew Gagnon, Christopher DeGroff, and Gerald Maatman, Jr., Seyfarth Shaw]
- I was a guest on Ray Dunaway’s morning drive time show on WTIC (Hartford) talking about cop fitness tests and the blind barber suit, you can listen here:
- NYC Commission on Human Rights — with an assist from Demos and New Economy Project — runs public ads saying “There’s no evidence that shows a link between credit reports and job performance. That’s why NYC made it illegal to use credit reports in employment decisions.” The “Suburbanist” responds: “We will punish those who depart from our null hypotheses regarding their business. Human rights indeed.”
- What are the biggest legal questions facing employers? “What is work?” and “Who is an employee?” are a start [Jon Hyman]