Posts Tagged ‘libel slander and defamation’

Free speech roundup

  • Is ACLU changing its tune on free speech for the worse? [Wendy Kaminer, David Cole, Ira Glasser, Nadine Strossen] Symposium on Louis Michael Seidman essay, “Can Free Speech Be Progressive?” [First Amendment Watch, essay excerpt]
  • Series of posts and law review article by Eugene Volokh on how Founding-era public understanding of freedom of the press encompassed a much wider swath of activity than just commercial or professional press enterprise [Volokh Conspiracy]
  • “Perhaps it would be easier if [Councilman Justin] Brannan just issued a list of who is allowed to speak in his community.” [Karol Markowicz on Brooklyn pol who’s bragged of pressuring venues to cancel GOP and NRA events]
  • “Free Speech in International Perspective” symposium this month at Cato Unbound includes Jacob Mchangama, Anthony Leaker, Jeremy Waldron, Jonathan Rauch;
  • “An opinion, however moronic or unfair, is absolutely protected [absent special circumstances not present here]…. Though I celebrate an apology for wrongdoing, I can’t celebrate a surrender at swordpoint that encourages censorious litigation.” [Ken at Popehat on $3.375 million Southern Poverty Law Center settlement with Maajid Nawaz]
  • Why veteran gay rights campaigner Peter Tatchell changed his mind on Northern Ireland cake controversy [The Sun, BBC]

On filling dicey prescriptions, sued if you do…

“Back in 2015, two cases were decided within days of each other that allowed claims to go forward suggesting that a pharmacy could be potentially liable for both filling suspect prescriptions (see here) and for not filling suspect prescriptions (see here). Hence ‘damned if you do (question a prescription) and damned if you don’t.'” A key element on one side: pharmacies that refuse to fill prescriptions that they believe show red flags are apt to explain themselves to customers, and those explanations can expose them to defamation actions filed by the doctors who wrote the scripts. [Michelle Yeary, Drug and Device Law]

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]

“New Hampshire Court: First Amendment Protects Criticism of ‘Patent Troll'”

“A New Hampshire state court has dismissed a defamation suit filed by a patent owner unhappy that it had been called a ‘patent troll.’ The court ruled [PDF] that the phrase ‘patent troll’ and other rhetorical characterizations are not the type of factual statements that can be the basis of a defamation claim.” [Daniel Nazer, Electronic Frontier Foundation, earlier]

May 2 roundup

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]

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]

Attorney rebuffs Trump’s Fire and Fury cease-and-desist

Recommended: Attorney Elizabeth McNamara of Davis Wright Tremaine, a law firm known for its media defense practice, wrote this three-page letter on behalf of publisher Henry Holt and author Michael Wolff responding to Donald Trump’s letter demanding that it not publish Wolff’s book Fire and Fury (“My clients do not intend to cease publication, no such retraction will occur, and no apology is warranted.”). How strong are the President’s claims based on contractual non-disclosure and non-disparagement clauses? David Post has a few things to say about that [Volokh Conspiracy] As for Mr. Trump’s possible defamation claims, American courts will not ordinarily enjoin a defamatory publication unless the fact of defamation has been proven at trial, so any remedy he may have will need to be after-the-fact in any case. “The suggestion that Donald Trump would actually follow through on this latest of his many legal threats, much less win…. is the hootworthy part.” [Lowering the Bar]

Addressing a cabinet meeting on Wednesday, the President once again called for changing libel laws to make it easier for plaintiffs to win, although libel is a matter of state rather than federal law [Gregory Korte and David Jackson, USA Today] Irony watch, from last month: “Trump’s statements ‘too vague, subjective, and lacking in precise meaning’ to be libelous,” in suit by political strategist who was the target of future President’s tweets in February 2016 [Eugene Volokh] “Trump has been filing and threatening lawsuits to shut up critics and adversaries over the whole course of his career,” I noted in this space last year. “Mr. Trump’s supporters should also keep in mind that one day they too will want to criticize a public official without being punished for doing so.” [John Samples, Cato]

Free speech roundup

  • Well, he would, wouldn’t he? “De Blasio thinks city-funded news outlets would be ‘more fair’” [Max Jaeger, New York Post]
  • Watch out for Honest Ads Act, which purports to force disclosure of political advertising on the Internet [John Samples, Cato] One effect of campaign donor disclosure mandates is to enable retaliation against those who back “wrong” candidates [Eric Wang, Cato Policy Analysis]
  • Court orders target not to publicize the libel takedown demand letter it got. Fair play? [Volokh]
  • Ken at Popehat is so very unimpressed with Anthony Scaramucci’s defamation suit threat to Tufts student paper. Of course Ken frequently does defend the unimpressive;
  • Complaints about corporate speech in politics subsided as fast as you could say “Patagonia” [Ira Stoll]
  • “Court Says Google Must Unmask Person Who Left Wordless, One-Star Review Of Local Psychiatrist” [Tim Cushing, Techdirt]