A new California anti-gig-economy law sponsored by a labor-organizer-turned-lawmaker is shaping up as a disaster for freelancers — exactly as Virginia Postrel and others predicted it would. “If a freelance journalist writes for a magazine, newspaper or other entity whose central mission is to disseminate the news, the law says, that journalist is capped at writing 35 ‘submissions’ per year per ‘putative employer.'” The law is set to go into effect January 1. [Hollywood Reporter; earlier here, here, etc.]
In May of last year a judge dismissed a former police officer’s defamation suit against the Carroll Times Herald, published in the small town of Carroll, Iowa. “Even though the newspaper handily won the case, the legal expenses have left the family-owned local newspaper in financial peril.” [Meagan Flynn, Washington Post/Arkansas Democrat-Gazette]
It’s a longstanding hazard of state-controlled economies, especially when newsprint or other essential supplies have to be brought in from abroad and are thus subject to foreign exchange or import regulations. This time the target is Nicaragua’s historic and now embattled newspaper La Prensa, published by the Chamorro family. “The government customs office has held up La Prensa’s imports of newsprint and ink since October, according to its editors. Nicaragua’s leading daily is now a skeletal eight pages – down from 36.” [Mary Beth Sheridan, Washington Post/Laredo Morning Times]
Last year following the Russian Facebook scandal the Maryland legislature passed a bill regulating newspapers (!) and other online ad platforms. Gov. Larry Hogan refused to sign it, citing First Amendment concerns. Now a federal court has agreed and blocked the law’s enforcement as an unconstitutional infringement on the freedom of the press.
I write about the case at Cato. “Social media trickery is bad. Chipping away at First Amendment liberties to stop it is worse.”
- Fourth Circuit rejects gag order on parties and potential witnesses in North Carolina hog farm litigation [Eugene Volokh]
- Eighth Circuit, interpreting Missouri law’s obligation to register as “lobbyist,” leaves open possibility that requirement extends to unpaid lobbyists, also known as concerned citizens [Jason Hancock, Kansas City Star; Institute for Free Speech on Calzone v. Missouri Ethics Commission]
- “9 Months in Prison for Forging Court Orders Aimed at Vanishing Online Material” [Volokh] Per one account at least 75 fake court documents have been sent to Google as part of takedown efforts, including an order purporting to come from the UK Supreme Court [same]
- The accused pipe bomber had made online death threats against Ilya Somin, libertarian lawprof and friend of this site. Lessons to draw? [Cato Daily Podcast, more]
- Entanglement of press and state leads nowhere good: Canadian government to allocate C$600 million in subsidies to newspapers and legacy media [Stuart Thomson, National Post; earlier on press subsidies here, here; some Canadian background from 1983]
- Court: First Amendment doesn’t protect Comcast from bias charge over its decision not to carry block of black-owned TV channels [Jon Brodkin, ArsTechnica]
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]
Why do so many in the press despise Citizens United, a decision whose point is to protect First Amendment liberties? One factor may be that the decision undermines their own sector’s claims to specialness by making clear that press liberty is meant for everyone, not just for media professionals and their organizations. [Floyd Abrams, guest-blogging at Volokh]
“A judge on Long Island has ordered the Daily News to remove the name of a defendant in a civil lawsuit from our website.” To say that the New York newspaper is being uncooperative with Judge John Galasso’s order is an understatement: their defiant editorial prints the name of defendant Eric Lerner nine times in a single paragraph.
A Colorado state senator disparaged his hometown paper, the Grand Junction Daily Sentinel, as “fake news” (as well as “very liberal”). The publisher of the family-owned newspaper then responded with an editorial that struck a threatening tone: “see you in court.” [Corey Hutchins, Columbia Journalism Review]
More from Ken at Popehat to newspaper publisher: stop making things worse.
- In latest of string of courtroom losses for media, Raleigh News & Observer hit with nearly $6 million libel verdict [Corey Hutchins, CJR] Profile of Charles Harder, newly prominent attorney in suits against media [Hollywood Reporter]
- Following coverage of taco trademark dispute, lawyer demands takedown of image on news story [TechDirt] “California Supreme Court will decide: Can court order Yelp to take down defendant’s post, though Yelp wasn’t even a party to the lawsuit?” [Volokh]
- Theodore Boutrous: “I will represent pro bono anyone Trump sues for exercising their free speech rights. Many other lawyers have offered to join me.” [Ronald K.L. Collins, related chronology of Trump’s record of legal conflict with press]
- Familiar old war on porn re-outfits itself as new war on trafficking [Collins, Elizabeth Nolan Brown on so-called Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act (JVTA)]
- Another where-are-they-now on copyright troll Prenda Law [Joe Mullin/ArsTechnica, see also on Hansmeier]
- “The ‘freedom of the press’ doesn’t give the media any special privileges — but it’s also not a redundancy” [Eugene Volokh]