Creators of art displayed in parks and other public spaces have been using assertions of copyright to demand cash from, or play favorites among, private persons and groups seeking to carry on video or photography in those spaces. Aaron Renn: “Any city installing public art should ensure that the agreement with the artist provides for unconditional royalty free pictures and videos, or the art shouldn’t be installed.”
What?! A bill passed 61-0 in the New York senate, and promoted as curbing elder abuse, “makes it a crime for caregivers (including family) to post photos on social media if elderly, vulnerable seniors aren’t able to give consent.” [Eric Turkewitz]
- Scranton, Pa. federal judge “denies ‘exorbitant’ request for nearly $1M in attorney fees after $125K recovery” [ABA Journal; arose from bad faith insurance action on underlying uninsured motorist claim that settled for $25,000]
- As PETA settles monkey selfie case with hapless photographer, details confirm that “Naruto is really just a prop to be deployed in the case as PETA sees fit.” [Ted Folkman, Eriq Gardner, earlier] A sad catalogue of litigation abuse enabled by PETA’s donors [Frank Bednarz thread]
- Lively First Circuit opinion upholds extortion conviction of small town police chief [Bob Dunn, Berkshire Eagle, U.S. v. Buffis via IJ’s John Ross, “Short Circuit“; Lee, Mass.]
- She beat DOMA and the IRS too, and all in great style. My appreciation of Edith Windsor [Cato at Liberty]
- “North Carolina’s Fickle Finger of Redistricting” [also by me at Cato at Liberty]
- Me: “Posner was the judge lawyers really didn’t want to run into if they had bad class action settlements to defend” [Jonathan Bilyk, Cook County Record, earlier]
PETA has appealed to the Ninth Circuit the dismissal of its suit, ostensibly on behalf of a wild monkey, against “monkey-selfie” photographer David Slater. Slater, reduced by years of litigation against the fanatical animal rights group and other parties, is in financial straits and thinking of walking dogs to earn money. “Nor can he afford to replace his broken camera equipment, or pay the attorney who has been defending him since the crested black macaque sued him in 2015, and is exploring other ways to earn an income.” Abusive litigation is evil and don’t even ask what I think of PETA. [The Guardian]
23-year-old Kate Wagner has at least temporarily shuttered McMansion Hell, a popular blog on which she posted photos of modern houses overlaid with sarcastic comments about their perceived design shortcomings. Real estate aggregator Zillow sent Wagner a cease and desist order because she used photos taken from its site. (Zillow itself borrows photos from other providers under license.) Jim Dalrymple, BuzzFeed:
Ken White, an attorney who writes for the legal blog Popehat, agreed that McMansion Hell would qualify as fair use. Because Zillow and McMansion Hell aren’t competing businesses, he said, “all of the fair use factors are in the bloggers’ favor.”
Zillow appears to have been trying to “make a satirical blogger shut up rather than face the costs of vexatious litigation,” White told BuzzFeed News.
More regulation and legislation to protect privacy from a snooping press? “The common law is able to deal more flexibly with the questions that arise,” says Hofstra law professor Irina Manta [Federalist Society video]
Omaha restaurateur John Horavatinovich tweeted a security cam picture of two 17-year-olds turned away trying to buy beer at his establishment with an accompanying comment that included the word “sting.” Now he’s on trial on misdemeanor charges of obstructing a government operation. His lawyers argue that he had no way of knowing whether the teenagers were working with authorities, since they did not declare themselves. The case is now in the hands of jurors. [WOWT]
P.S.: Compare this 2012 post, “Judge: flashing headlights to warn of speed trap is protected speech [under First Amendment].”
Follow-up: verdict Not Guilty.
- Another day, another lawsuit charging a social media company with material support for terrorism. This time it’s Twitter and IS attacks in Paris, Brussels [Benjamin Wittes, Lawfare; Tim Cushing, Techdirt] More: And yet another (Dallas police officer versus Twitter, Facebook, and Google; listed as one of the filing attorneys is 1-800-LAW-FIRM, no kidding, complaint h/t Eric Goldman);
- “Woman Sues Chipotle for $2 Billion for Using a Photo of Her Without Consent” [Petapixel]
- “Hot-Yoga Guy and His Cars Are Missing” [Lowering the Bar, earlier]
- From Backpage.com to unpopular climate advocacy, state attorneys general use subpoena power to punish and chill [Ilya Shapiro]
- Dept. of awful ideas: California assemblyman proposes registry of hate crime offenders [Scott Shackford]
- But oh, so worth it otherwise: “Not one Kansas state senator is a lawyer, making compliance with obscure statute impossible” [ABA Journal]
Billed as a federal remedy for so-called revenge porn, the proposed Intimate Privacy Protection Act is hailed by Peter Thiel in Monday’s New York Times as a “step in the right direction.” For contrasting views, compare Mark Bennett at Defending People and Scott Greenfield (“poorly drafted and ill-conceived”).
Outfit that sued Pennsylvania photographer over a patent allegedly covering online photo contests must pay attorney fees after a pro bono defense by lawyers for the Electronic Frontier Foundation [ArsTechnica]