- A new law making it a federal crime to threaten journalists? No thanks [Robby Soave, Reason]
- “In 2012, there was just one journalist in jail on fake-news charges. By 2014, there were eight…. The number rose to 27 in jail by the end of last year.” And the charge can depend simply on what news the ruling authority deems true or false [Miriam Berger, Washington Post discussing new Committee to Protect Journalists report on imprisoned journalists]
- Thread on the damaging impacts of COPPA, the children’s online privacy law [TechFreedom]
- When are refusals to deal protected by the First Amendment? See whether your intuitions are consistent across 1) boycotts of Israel, 2) wedding cake refusals, and 3) SCOTUS’s 1982 decision in NAACP v. Claiborne Hardware [Eugene Volokh first and second posts on Arkansas challenge, David Bernstein first and second posts] My own views on anti-Israel-boycott and anti-BDS laws here, and related;
- Officials in Lafayette County, Wisconsin quickly back off “completely bananas” suggestion of prosecuting news outlets that report “selectively” on water quality test results [Bruce Vielmetti, Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, Patrick Marley update]
- Some IP claims are real killers: heirs of photographer known for famed Che Guevara image send takedown demand to maker of parody t-shirt [Paul Alan Levy]
“…when it comes to parody, the law requires a reasonable reader standard, not a ‘most gullible person on Facebook’ standard. The First Amendment does not depend on whether everyone is in on the joke.” — Judge Amul Thapar, Sixth Circuit, writing on behalf of a unanimous panel that “an Ohio man who was acquitted of a felony after creating a parody Facebook page that mocked a suburban Cleveland police department can sue the city and two police officers over his arrest.” [Jonathan Stempel, Reuters]
Related: everyone has the right to call politicians idiots, and that goes for gun store owners too [Eugene Volokh; North Carolina gun store owner’s billboard likened by sitting member of Congress to “inciting violence”]
- Florida “health coach” charges for nutrition advice, isn’t a licensed dietitian. Does she have a First Amendment defense? [Scott Shackford]
- Results of Russian social-media manipulation episode could include foot in door for regulation of Internet speech [John Samples, Cato]
- Some in Australia having trouble distinguishing “impersonation” of government from anti-government satire [Timothy Geigner, TechDirt]
- Before deep-pocket publications can report on sexual misconduct by persons in high places, gauntlet of legal review needs to be run with special attention to on-the-record sources [Mike Masnick, TechDirt]
- Ohio lawmaker introduces anti-SLAPP bill that pioneers novel protections for anonymous speakers [John Samples, Cato]
- “Nadine Strossen’s Next Book — ‘Hate: Why We Should Resist it With Free Speech, Not Censorship'” [Ronald K.L. Collins] “Sanford Ungar Heads New Free Speech Project at Georgetown University” [same]
Not a good idea for anyone, really, but an especially bad idea for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services [Ken at Popehat; Paul Alan Levy (reminding that “the government itself cannot be defamed”)]
Down the same alley: when the mayor of Peoria seized on a misdemeanor law banning “impersonating a public official” as grounds for sending police after a clearly satirical Twitter account, he bit off more than he might be able to chew [Ars Technica, earlier]
….what’s true about Detroit is true about all of us. This country can’t be knocked out with one punch. We get back up, slip again, and send the video to our personal injury lawyer. And when we do – the world is going to hear the roar of our engines.
At RedState, Leon Wolf has been parodying the work of Senatorial daughter and talk-show personality Meghan McCain. McCain’s lawyer, Albin Gess of Snell & Wilmer, wrote RedState editor Erich Erichson to threaten litigation over the posts, which prompted this magnificent letter in response (PDF) from Georgia attorney Christopher Scott Badeaux, representing Wolf. It also guaranteed more critical attention to McCain herself and her work, including this cruel entry by Ken at Popehat.
What Ken calls “the use of money and power to achieve censorship” — particularly in jurisdictions where judges are averse to awarding sanctions and anti-SLAPP protections are weak — is a continuing problem long overdue for open public discussion.
Liability is predicated on “intent to harm, intimidate, threaten, or defraud another person – not necessarily the person you are impersonating.” [Michael Arrington, TechCrunch] Despite talk of using the statute against stalkers, Choire Sicha predicts a somewhat different application: “harm as in ‘brand dilution’ — that is what will be prosecuted. Of course there is no carve-out for playful, political or non-murderous uses of online impersonation.” The bill’s text, notes Arrington, doesn’t address such free speech issues as satire and parody, though it does restrict itself to impersonations that are “credible.” Compare: much-demonized Koch Industries goes to court to identify originators (apparently political critics) of website imitating its own [Web Host Industry Review]
From the VitaminWater beverage folks, a series of videos about an obnoxious lawyer who supposedly champions athletes’ rights.