Communications & Media Constitutional Law

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Status Updates - October 2014 #10

..Time change. Until now, Twitter has made a clear distinction between people you follow and people you don’t follow: You only saw tweets from those whom you followed. Now, the service, in what it calls a “timeline...more

ZocDoc Treats Doctor With Some Rule 68 Medicine

We have discussed several TCPA mootness decisions, mainly those coming out of the federal courts in Florida. Those cases hold that plaintiffs should not file “placeholder” class certification motions solely for the purpose of...more

Status Updates - October 2014 #8

..Doctor in the mouse. What if you could input a list of your current symptoms to Google, and quickly be connected with a doctor for a brief consultation? For a limited trial period, Google seems to have set up such a system...more

Abbas v. Foreign Policy Group DC Circuit Panel

The DC Circuit has announced that the Abbas v. Foreign Policy Group appeal will be heard on October 20, 2014 before Circuit Judges Kavanaugh, Srinivasan, and Senior Circuit Judge Edwards. I thought I would take a quick look...more

All Native Advertising is Not Equal: Why that Matters Under the First Amendment and Why it Should Matter to the FTC – Part V

—PART V— Not all Native Advertising May Be Commercial Speech under the First Amendment - If there is one thing clear from the case law, it is that the commercial speech analysis under the First Amendment is a...more

All Native Advertising is Not Equal: Why that Matters Under the First Amendment and Why it Should Matter to the FTC – Part IV

—PART IV— Commercial and Noncommercial Inextricably Intertwined Speech - The Bolger court found that the mailings constituted commercial speech “notwithstanding the fact that [informational pamphlets]...more

Oregon Supreme Court Provides Definition of "Data Transmission Services" for Central Assessment Purposes

The Oregon Supreme Court today released its long-awaited decision in Comcast Corporation v. Department of Revenue, 356 Or 282, (Oct 2, 2014) (argued January 8, 2013). ...more

All Native Advertising is Not Equal: Why that Matters Under the First Amendment and Why it Should Matter to the FTC – Part III

The Evolution of Commercial Speech’s First Amendment Protection - One of the fundamental purposes of the First Amendment is to promote the free flow of information in the “marketplace of ideas.” To that end, the First...more

All Native Advertising is Not Equal: Why that Matters Under the First Amendment and Why it Should Matter to the FTC – Part II

In this five part series, originally published in the Summer 2014 edition of the Media Law Resource Center Bulletin, we take an in-depth look at the native advertising phenomenon and the legal issues surrounding the practice....more

Section 230 Does Not Apply to Allegations that Website for Models Failed to Warn Plaintiff About Potential for Rape

The 9th Circuit earlier this month decided that Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, 47 U.S.C. § 230, does not bar claims that a networking website for models failed to warn a member that a third party might use the...more

David v. Goliath in DC Superior Court

A “David versus Goliath” battle is playing out in the DC Superior Court, with the DC anti-SLAPP statute in the role of the slingshot. Our “David” is the Center for Defense Advanced Studies (“C4ADS”). According to an...more

Executing Noriega?

As some of you may recall, I posted about a lawsuit Manuel Noriega brought against purveyors of the Call of Duty video game franchise arising from his depiction in the game. In essence, I suggested that Noriega’s lawsuit was...more

Mexico’s Telecom Reform

After months of a loud and often fractious debate, the Mexican Congress passed the implementing legislation for telecom reform nearly a year after the constitutional reform to the sector was approved. Reform of the telecom...more

Amici Weigh in on “Right to Register v. Right to Use” Trademark Case at Supreme Court

More than three months ago, we sounded the alarm about an important trademark case to consider the interplay between the right to register and the right to use a trademark:...more

Texas High Court Rules Improper Photography Law Unconsitutional; Or, Why You Care a Creepy Dude Is Not Guilty

The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals ruled in a 8-1 decision yesterday that the “Improper Photography and Visual Recording Act” is facially unconstitutional. The case involved a guy who allegedly took pictures of kids at a...more

Right to be forgotten and the Google Advisory Council in Rome: main takeaways

As you all remember, last May the European Court of Justice ruled that Google must allow the de-indexing of web pages containing personal data, further to a lawful enforcement by the relevant data subjects of their right to...more

Unmasking the anonymous online critic – first, there is the matter of jurisdiction

On Friday, the Supreme Court of Texas issued a 5-4 decision holding a plaintiff needs to establish jurisdiction over an anonymous blogger before a court will allow pre-suit discovery that would likely unmask the blogger’s...more

Reading the NLRB Signs at the Triple Play Sports Bar

In Three D, LLC d/b/a Triple Play Sports Bar and Grille, 361 NLRB No. 31. (August 22, 2014), the National Labor Relations Board ruled that an employee “liking” a status on Facebook is engaging in protected concerted...more

What is More Defamatory? A False Accusation of Homophobia or of Homosexuality?

In July 2014, Judge Barbara Jaffe of the New York Supreme Court dismissed the defamation claims in Kramer v. Skyhorse Publications. Kenny Kramer, the real life inspiration for the beloved eponymous Seinfeld character, had...more

Stacy Allen Speaks: Video Game Makers Strike Out In College Athlete Cases – Coaching Tips For The Virtual World

Over the past several years, I have written about a series of decisions in suits brought by former collegiate athletes against EA Sports and the NCAA, seeking compensation for the use of their likenesses and those of...more

The Supreme Court of Texas Rules Injunctions for Defamation Not Proper and Requires Proof of Damages

On Friday, the Supreme Court of Texas issued two important defamation rulings. The first, Kinney v. Barnes, held that injunctions to prohibit defamatory speech do not pass constitutional muster. ...more

Texas Web Publishers Earn Novel Protection Against Stale Lawsuits

In a case of first impression for a state appellate court, a Texas broadcaster was protected against a stale libel suit arising from a news report posted to the Internet. ...more

Washington Redskins Challenge the Constitutionality of Section 2(a) of the Lanham Act

The Washington Redskins trademark controversy is far from over. Despite the fact that certain news and sports commentators and mainstream newspapers and organizations have announced that they will no longer use the term...more

More Reasons for Employers to "DISLIKE" Facebook

The National Labor Relations Board is at it again – wading into the social media foray, that is. In a case that has been percolating since 2011, the NLRB has ruled that an employer must reinstate an employee who was...more

Food and Beverage News and Trends

Vermont AG defends the state’s GMO statute. On August 8, the Vermont attorney general filed a motion to dismiss a case brought by food trade groups against the state’s newly enacted statute requiring GMO foods be...more

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