Communications & Media Personal Injury Constitutional Law

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"Courts Parse First Amendment Protections for Anonymous Critics Online"

The Supreme Court has long recognized that the freedom of speech enshrined in the First Amendment extends to anonymous speech, noting that “persecuted groups and sects … throughout history have been able to criticize...more

When Can A Slanderous Facebook Posting Support Personal Jurisdiction?

Douglas Burdick v. The Superior Court of Orange County - Court Of Appeal, Fourth Appellate District (January 14, 2015) - This case helps clarify when an Internet posting may be sufficient to support personal...more

USA: Ninth Circuit Rejects EA’s “Incidental Use” Defense in Madden-Related Right of Publicity Suit

On January 6, 2015, the Ninth Circuit decided that Electronic Arts Inc.’s (“EA”) unauthorized use of former NFL players’ likeness as avatars in the Madden NFL video game series does not qualify for First Amendment protection....more

Free Speech: Paris Mayor Off-Message by Threatening Fox News Suit

The scene of the Charlie Hebdo attacks in Paris ten days later. I returned from Paris on Tuesday after a short vacation.  As a bit of a news junky, it was admittedly an exciting time to be there.  When I arrived on Friday, we...more

USA: Do Athletes Have Rights of Publicity in Live Broadcast Footage? Minnesota Court Offers Guidance

U.S. courts have recognized that “there is no judicial consensus on how to resolve conflicts between intellectual-property rights and free-speech rights.” Indeed, courts have adopted varying approaches to analyzing right of...more

Temperatures Rise in Mann Libel Suit

It has been a few months since I wrote about Michael Mann’s libel suit against National Review, the Competitive Enterprise Institute and two contributors. During that time, the parties have been very busy in both the...more

Court Rejects Glenn Beck’s “Limited Purpose” and “Involuntary” Public Figure Theories in Marathon Bombing Defamation Case

This week, Judge Patti B. Saris of the District of Massachusetts denied a motion to dismiss a defamation action that had been brought by Abdulrahman Alharbi against radio and television personality Glenn Beck. In denying the...more

Hurdles to Bringing a Defamation Suit for an Online Review

Courts and the legislature alike have made it difficult for doctors and business owners of all kinds to succeed on a defamation claim for an online review, often treating these lawsuits as attempts to silence freedom of...more

Appellate Court Affirms Anti-SLAPP Dismissal of Defamation Lawsuit by Political Candidate

On October 30, in Goral v. Kulys, the Illinois First District Appellate Court affirmed dismissal of a defamation suit pursuant to the Illinois Citizen Participation Act, 735 ILCS 110/1 et seq. (the “Act”). The Goral decision...more

Negative Online Reviews- What Amounts to Defamation?

Online review can impact a medical practice more than ever in today’s digital world and no one is policing what patients post online or how truthful it is. All it takes is a cell phone and in a few minutes a review can be...more

The Texas Anti-Slapp Law: Tex. Civ. Prac. & Rem. Code Ch. 27 (Updated October 2014)

In this Publication: - I. Introduction - II. The Texas Citizens Participation Act: What Is It? - III. Application Of The TCPA - IV. Unintended Consequences - V. The TCPA - Conclusions...more

Arizona Court of Appeals Recognizes Right of Publicity While Protecting Free Speech in Precedent Setting Case

For the first time ever, an Arizona state court has recognized that individuals enjoy a right of publicity that protects them from the unauthorized use of their name or likeness for commercial or trade purposes. In its April...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

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

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

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

Fines For Less-Than-Flattering Reviews?

Last month, a New York hotel, the Union Street Guest House ("hotel"), learned a valuable lesson in online etiquette and the power of personal reviews. The hotel inserted a clause into its wedding guest contracts that informed...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

Doctor’s Slapp at Yelp Reviewer Largely Dismissed by DC Superior Court

Yelp, and websites like it, have certainly added to the development of law in the First Amendment area. The Virginia Supreme Court is poised to decide the standard for unmasking anonymous commentators on websites like Yelp. ...more

Status Updates - August 2014 #6

..Ahead of the law? In Hidalgo County, Texas, a former sheriff has been sued civilly over allegedly illegal campaign contributions. (He was also criminally convicted of money laundering.) At a civil deposition in the case, a...more

Social Media Freedom of Expression Cases Pit the Public Against Public Officials

In perhaps the next battleground for government and education, citizens who comment on social media sites are facing off with local government officials public and school administrators who find their online expression...more

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