Posts Tagged ‘free speech’

Free speech roundup

  • Video now online of Nadine Strossen at Cato speaking on her new book Hate: Why We Should Resist It with Free Speech, Not Censorship. And John Samples kicks off series of blog posts about book [first, second]
  • Press vs. President: “the more tightly regulated media landscape of the early 1970s” played directly into Nixon’s hands [Matt Welch]
  • Romance writer’s bid to stop authors from using word ‘cocky’ fails in court [Alison Flood/Guardian, earlier]
  • “New law forces Google to suspend political ads in Washington state” [Timothy Lee, ArsTechnica]
  • “The Minnesota criminal harassment statute is equally dubious, applying when a person sends two or more tweets ‘with the intent to abuse, disturb, or cause distress.’ Really…?” [Venkat Balasubramani, Technology and Marketing Law Blog] “Crime in D.C. to Negligently Cause ‘Significant Mental Suffering’ by Saying Two Non-Political Things About Someone” [Eugene Volokh] “NY State Legislators Unanimously Pass A Cyberbullying Bill That Can’t Be Bothered To Define Cyberbullying” [Tim Cushing, TechDirt; Eric Turkowitz]
  • Blame failings of copyright law, not scholarly neglect, for long inattention to Zora Neale Hurston manuscript [Ted Genoways, Washington Post/Valley News]

Free speech roundup

  • Who could have guessed? First person charged with violating Malaysia’s new “fake news” law is someone who criticized the police [Reuters/Guardian (“The law covers digital publications and social media and also applies to offenders outside Malaysia, including foreigners, if Malaysia or a Malaysian citizen are affected.”)]
  • Or that prosecutors in Spain would be considering hate speech charges against the new separatist premier of Catalonia? [José Antonio Hernández, El País]
  • “There is no requirement that a platform remain neutral in order to maintain Section 230 immunity. And Facebook does not have to choose between the protections of Section 230 and those of the First Amendment; it can have both.” [Catherine Padhi, LawFare on comments by Sen. Ted Cruz]
  • “Reporting on Lawsuit — but Not Mentioning It Was Settled — Is Not Libelous” [Eugene Volokh on New Jersey Supreme Court decision in Petro-Lubricant Testing Laboratories, Inc. v. Adelman]
  • Wisconsin appeals court allows suit against online gun-ad marketplace over shooting; resulting damage to Section 230 would menace social media sites whether or not gun-related [Eric Goldman, Eugene Volokh]
  • “Appeals Court Finally Shuts Down Bogus Lawsuit Targeting A School Official For Words A Journalist Wrote” [Tim Cushing, TechDirt, earlier]

First Amendment roundup

  • Dangerous and misguided: Michigan pursues prosecution on charges of jury tampering of man who handed out “jury nullification” pamphlets on public sidewalk outside courthouse [Jay Schweikert, Cato; Jacob Sullum, earlier here, here, etc.]
  • “‘Worst of Both Worlds’ FOSTA Signed Into Law, Completing Section 230’s Evisceration” [Eric Goldman] Among first casualties: Craigslist personals [Merrit Kennedy/NPR, Elizabeth Nolan Brown] And Elizabeth Nolan Brown joins (no relation) Caleb Brown on a Cato Daily Podcast;
  • Is reprinting thumbnail headshots fair use? [Mike Masnick, TechDirt]
  • “16 Pulse survivors sue Google, Facebook, Twitter for ‘supporting’ ISIS” [Daniel Dahm, WKMG Orlando]
  • Not the group it used to be: ACLU calls for government-owned broadband, claims First Amendment may require as opposed to forbid state-operated communications infrastructure [Randolph May and Theodore Bolema, Free State Foundation] More: Scott Greenfield;
  • Cato amicus commercial speech triple-header: Virginia’s ban on promoting happy hours (bars may hold them, but not promote them off premises) is an irrational leftover of Prohibition [Ilya Shapiro] While some commercial speech can be mandated, Ninth Circuit goes too far in upholding government-ordered scripts [Shapiro and Meggan Dewitt on structured-mortgage-payment case Nationwide Biweekly Administration v. Hubanks] Sign laws face tough scrutiny under 2015’s Reed v. Town of Gilbert, and Tennessee’s billboard law, which applies even to noncommercial speech, may run into trouble [Shapiro and Aaron Barnes]

Free speech roundup

  • “Lucha Underground Wrestling Sends Legal Threat To Journalists For Publishing ‘Spoilers'” [Tim Geigner, TechDirt]
  • Watch what you say about lawyers: politically active Baton Rouge trial lawyer threatens political blog The Hayride over critical coverage [The Hayride, Robert Davis/Louisiana Record]
  • Update: Stanford’s Mark Jacobson drops defamation lawsuit against other scientists [Jonathan Adler, earlier]
  • Update: federal judge tells town of Sibley, Iowa to stop threatening resident who runs website complaining about way town smells [ACLU of Iowa, earlier]
  • Recent topics in FIRE “So To Speak” podcast series include Great Firewall of China, interview with former Evergreen State professor Bret Weinstein, Masterpiece Cakeshop case at SCOTUS, Is there a campus free speech crisis?
  • “Spanish Hate/Anti-Terrorism Speech Laws Doing Little But Locking Up Comedians, Artists, And Dissidents” [Tim Cushing, TechDirt; a recent Scottish case]

Free speech roundup

  • Minnesota Voters Alliance v. Mansky: SCOTUS considers state ban on political apparel at polling places [Ilya Shapiro, Cato]
  • Under American law governments cannot sue persons for defamation, and “slander of title” won’t do as substitute ploy for lawyer representing city of Sibley, Iowa [Jacob Sullum]
  • “Someone Trying to Vanish My Post About Someone Trying to Vanish Another Post” [Eugene Volokh]
  • “Free Speech and the Administrative State”, George Mason/Scalia Law Center for the Study of the Administrative State conference with videos;
  • “Influencer Marketing Remains in FTC’s Crosshairs” [M. Sean Royall, Richard H. Cunningham, and Andrew B. Blumberg, WLF]
  • Worth recalling: it was legal academia’s Critical Race movement that helped reinvigorate Left support for censorship and speech repression [Alan Dershowitz]

Claim: government should regulate YouTube recommendations

There is some evidence that algorithms employed by YouTube to suggest next videos can foster rabbit holing, in which curious newcomers are drawn into ever more extreme and outrageous content, including fever-swamp ideology. That’s a legitimate concern, for sure, but in this instance it’s melded with blithe urgings that the state get in and impose its ideological will on content, as if that wouldn’t raise dangers of its own [Zeynep Tufekci, New York Times] Note also a body of research contrary to the notion that social media encourages the formation of ideological bubbles and reinforcement [John Samples, Cato; [Michael A. Beam, Myiah J. Hutchens and Jay D. Hmielowski, Information, Communication & Society (“Facebook news use was related to a modest over-time spiral of depolarization.”)]

FOSTA, SESTA, and Section 230

The U.S. House of Representatives appears about to vote on a bill forcing platforms to monitor users’ content and undermining Section 230, charter of freedom for online social media, all in the name of the widening campaign against real or imagined trafficking. [Electronic Frontier Foundation; Eric Goldman post and podcast and background from September; Adam Brandon, FreedomWorks; earlier here, etc.] More: John Samples, Cato; Cathy Gellis, TechDirt.

Free speech roundup

  • You don’t have to think porn’s OK, or that speech never does harm, to see that Ross Douthat’s censorship ideas will fall flat on their face [Rick Garnett/Prawfs, Taylor Millard/Hot Air quoting me, Elizabeth Nolan Brown, Tyler Cowen]
  • Group libel theory meets nationalism in Europe’s censorship creep: “Poland Passes Bill Criminalizing Claims Of Its Complicity In The Holocaust” [Colin Dwyer/NPR, Eugene Volokh, Jacob Sullum]
  • “Arizona Bar Accuses Libel Lawyers of Suing Fake Defendants” [Eugene Volokh; related Paul Alan Levy]
  • First Amendment should protect t-shirt shop that refused to print gay pride message [Ilya Shapiro on Cato amicus in Hands-On Originals case, involving Lexington, Ky. anti-discrimination law; earlier here, etc.]
  • Federal judge rules Electronic Frontier Foundation need not obey an Australian court order directing it to take down a “Stupid Patent of the Month” blog post, finding the order “repugnant to the United States Constitution.” [Kurt Opsahl, EFF]
  • First Amendment Watch is a project of the Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute at New York University. Our mission is to document threats to the First Amendment freedoms of speech, press, assembly, and petition, all rights that are critical to self-governance in a democratic society….First Amendment Watch is an online news and educational resource for journalists, educators and students.”

Free speech roundup

  • Two new podcast series on free speech: “Make No Law,” from Ken White (Popehat) on Legal Talk Network; Clear and Present Danger: A History of Free Speech from Jacob Mchangama for FIRE and other groups;
  • No, Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act does not require tech companies to provide a “neutral public forum.” Has Sen. Ted Cruz been properly briefed on this? [John Samples]
  • “Arizona naturopath Colleen Huber is suing me in Germany for defamation over my opinions about her so-called natural cancer treatments and research.” [Britt Hermes, Naturopathic Diaries]
  • “Should the Government Get to Define ‘Native-American’ Art? One Woman’s Free Speech Fight” [Paul Detrick, Reason]
  • “Minnesota prohibits any insignia deemed to be “political” — as determined solely at the discretion of the on-site election judges—from being worn into a polling place.” Overbroad? [Ilya Shapiro and Reilly Stephens on Cato brief in Minnesota Voters Alliance v. Mansky]
  • Free speech was under fire in 2017 [Jeffrey M. McCall, Providence Journal]

German social media law: early takedowns spur outcry

“A new law meant to curtail hate speech on social media in Germany is stifling free speech and making martyrs out of anti-immigrant politicians whose posts are deleted, the top-selling Bild newspaper said on Thursday” under the headline “Please spare us the thought police!” [Michelle Martin, Thomson Reuters] In one probably intended effect of the draconian law — drafted by Chancellor Angela Merkel’s ruling Christian Democrats — Twitter moved to take down some pronouncements by politicians from the nationalist Alternative für Deutschland (AfD) party. But the NetzDG enactment, as it is known, has quickly had a number of less expected applications, including the blockage of a satirical publication that had mimicked the tone of an AfD leader, and even the deletion of a years-earlier tweet by Justice Minister Heiko Maas, a champion of the law, in which he had called an author an “idiot.” [Reuters; AFP/The National; DW; Tim Cushing/TechDirt; earlier here, here, here, here, and here]