Posts Tagged ‘Germany’

Sen. Warren: make American business more European

Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren has a new scheme to impose employee co-determination and an assortment of other forcible corporate governance alterations on American business. My new Cato post argues that it would expropriate huge sums in shareholder value while undercutting incentives for economic dynamism. Alternatives to the U.S. corporate governance system, “European or otherwise, simply do not have as good a track record of supporting a dynamic economy that generates world-beating enterprises across a wide range of business sectors.” Other views: Donald Boudreaux (“deeply truly scary”), Matt Yglesias/Vox (taking favorable view of scheme, including its destruction of perhaps 25 percent of current shareholder value). More on the “stakeholder” and co-determination angles: Samuel Hammond, and Megan McArdle on the latter.

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]

Regulating “fake news”

Legally penalizing the circulation of “fake news,” misinformation and faulty rumor, newly popular in Europe especially as regards social media, is not a new idea at all. It’s a very old one, which again and again results in governments’ enshrining their particular version of orthodoxy as truth [Jacob Mchangama, Quillette]

More: on the German experience, earlier here and here.

Free speech roundup

  • ACLU of Oregon has it right: even in near aftermath of violent Portland attack, government cannot revoke rally permits because of disapproval of the message being sent [Ronald K.L. Collins, Scott Shackford/Reason, John Samples/Cato]
  • “The ‘eye for an eye’ theory of respecting free speech is particularly pernicious because it represents the worst sort of collectivism, something the principled Right ought reject.” [Ken White, Popehat] Courts have been doing a stellar job of upholding free speech. Other sectors of U.S. society, less so [same]
  • tl:dr version: yes, legally it can. “Can Charlotte Pride parade exclude Gays for Trump float?” [Eugene Volokh]
  • “California AG agrees: Calif. law does not preclude private citizens from displaying Confederate battle flag at county fairs” [Volokh, earlier]
  • “Germany Raids Homes of 36 People Accused of Hateful Postings Over Social Media” [David Shimer, New York Times] Per David Meyer-Lindenberg, German police launched 234,341 investigations over insult or other hurtful speech last year [Scott Greenfield] A vigilant comrade has reported your tweet of Wednesday last to the constabulary as doubleplus ungood [Matt Burgess, Wired, last August on Met Police plans in U.K.]
  • On inviting controversial speakers: “A response to Scott Alexander” [Flemming Rose, Cato]

June 7 roundup

  • “Copyright Troll’s Tech ‘Experts’ Can Apparently Detect Infringement Before It Happens” [Tim Cushing, TechDirt] “Judge Alsup Threatens To Block Malibu Media From Any More Copyright Trolling In Northern California” [Mike Masnick, same]
  • “The Truth About Seattle’s Proposed Soda Tax and its Ilk” [Baylen Linnekin quoting my piece on the Howard County, Maryland campaign against soft drinks; my related on Philadelphia soda tax] Update: measure passes;
  • “Judge calls attorney a ‘lowlife’ in tossing defamation suit, says ‘truth is an absolute defense'” [Julia Marsh, New York Post]
  • Rent control in Mumbai, as closer to home, brings strife, litigiousness, and crumbling housing stock [Alex Tabarrok] “How Germany Made Rent Control ‘Work'” [Kristian Niemietz, FEE]
  • Together with Judge Alex Williams, Jr., I wrote an op-ed for the Baltimore Sun on the Maryland legislature’s misbegotten scheme to require a six-state compact before fixing its gerrymander-prone redistricting system;
  • Inefficient land title recording leaves billions on table, but lawmakers show scant interest in reform [Arnold Kling]

Free speech roundup

  • “Spanish woman given jail term for tweeting jokes about Franco-era assassination” [The Guardian]
  • If California Attorney General Xavier Becerra’s 15-felony complaint and arrest warrant against activist filmmakers David Daleiden and Sandra Merritt is a vendetta, it’s one motivated by speech. That’s serious [Jacob Sullum]
  • “A.B. 1104 — a censorship bill so obviously unconstitutional, we had to double check that it was real.” [EFF on stalled California bill to ban “fake news,” introduced by Assemblymember Ed Chau (D-Monterey Park)] “Germany approves bill curbing online hate crime, fake news” [AP/Yahoo, earlier]
  • “Another Free Speech Win In Libel Lawsuit Disguised As A Trademark Complaint” [Tim Cushing, TechDirt; criticism of doctor’s experimental treatment methods]
  • Punching a hole out of Section 230: new “sex trafficking” bill could have far-reaching consequences for web content and platforms [Elizabeth Nolan Brown, Reason]
  • One section of a Maine bill would bar state’s attorney general from investigations or prosecutions based on political speech [HP 0551; Kevin at Lowering the Bar is critical of bill]

Free speech roundup

January 11 roundup

  • Group letters by law professors opposing nominees should be treated with the respect due, normally zero [John McGinnis, Michael Krauss, Paul Caron/TaxProf with links to columns by Stephen Presser, Scott Douglas Gerber, and James Huffman]
  • USA, courthouse to the world for compensation claims, even 100+ years later [Guardian on suit in Manhattan federal court by descendants of atrocities committed by Germans in what is now Namibia in early 1900s]
  • Marvels of NYC tenant law: “Couple renting Chelsea pad hasn’t paid rent since 2010” [New York Post]
  • Election results could mean 11th-hour save for embattled cause of consumer arbitration [Liz Kramer/Stinson Leonard Street LLP]
  • Baltimore policing, family leave in Montgomery County, Uber/Lyft fingerprinting, getting money out of Howard County politics, and more in my latest Maryland policy roundup at Free State Notes;
  • Speaking of ridesharing and regulation: “Without Uber or Lyft, Austin Experiences Skyrocketing DUI Rates” [Brittany Hunter, FEE]

Germany mulls crackdown on social media speech

In the name of combating harms from false reports as well as injury to reputation, the government of Germany is considering imposing a tough legal regime on Facebook and other social media sites. Next year it “will take up a bill that’d let it fine social networks like Facebook $500,000 [per post] for each day they leave a ‘fake news’ post up without deleting it.” Both official and private complainants could finger offending material. The new law would also require social networks to create in-country offices charged with rapid response to takedown demands, and would make the networks responsible for compensation when posts by their individual users were found to have defamed someone. [David Meyer Lindenberg, Fault Lines; Parmy Olson, Forbes]

P.S. If not closely, then at least distantly related: “Ridiculous German Court Ruling Means Linking Online Is Now A Liability” [Mike Masnick, TechDirt]

Guestblogger archive week: IV

I highly recommend subscribing to Dan Lewis’s daily Now I Know email, a labor of love, compendium of neat stories, and marvel of the Internet. Dan guestblogged for us in the early days as a first-year law student on stories, often sports-related, that included a National League umpire who sued after quitting his job and not being taken back, Deion Sanders’s face-off with the car repair guy, and shop owners criminally charged in Canada for fighting off a burglar. [archive / NowIKnow and personal Twitter]

Guestbloggers have sometimes brought a scholarly and research perspective, as with Michael DeBow, a law professor at Cumberland School of Law at Samford University in Birmingham, Ala. He wrote (presciently!) about a Massachusetts attorney general’s ventures into outsourced enforcement and how it wound up sluicing money to some ideologically engaged private outfits; the importance in comparative international development of secure property rights; and Alabama’s fitful progress toward being less of a “judicial hellhole” for defendant corporations than it once was. [archive]

James Maxeiner teaches at the University of Baltimore School of Law and has practiced and written extensively in legal matters in both American and German courts. The German system of civil litigation, which includes the loser-pays principle, is often compared favorably with our own. His insight into the comparative performance of the two systems of law helped inform posts on what foreign clients say about American law, how Germany does civil legal aid, and some mild puffery from the German justice ministry about the advantage of its version of continental law. [archive]