Constitutional Law Communications & Media

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NLRB determines vulgar Facebook posts protected concerted activity

The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) determined that Pier Sixty LLC, a New York catering service, violated federal labor law by firing an employee server after he posted a Facebook message protesting supervisory abuse...more

Penalty! The California Court of Appeal Calls Foul on the NCAA’s Attempt to Seal Records of the USC/Reggie Bush Investigation

In a significant victory for open court filings, the California Court of Appeal rejected an effort by the National Collegiate Athletic Association (“NCAA”) to seal 400 pages of documents in a dispute between the NCAA and a...more

Screenwriter SLAPPs Down Libel-in-Fiction Claim

In a victory for all authors of fiction, a screenwriter of the film “What Maisie Knew” has successfully defended a lawsuit that sought to hold him liable for defamation based on the portrayal of a character drawn from an 1897...more

Court Denies Request to Release a Video Deposition of Steve Jobs Shown During Trial

While sitting for a videotaped deposition, in one of his last public appearances, the late Apple CEO Steve Jobs swiveled impatiently in his chair and answered questions regarding Apple’s digital rights management technology...more

The Dark Knight, Black Panthers, Ghosts and Ginger Rogers: Increasing Protection for Use of Trademarks in Promotions for...

Content creators of all stripes strive for realism in their depictions of the world. This is for good reason – media is more effective, and more immersive, when viewers recognize it as a reflection of the real world. Despite...more

Mississippi Court Rules Discriminatory Exclusion is Unconstitutional

The Hinds County Chancery Court recently issued an opinion in AT&T Corp. v. Miss. Dep't of Revenue finding that Mississippi's dividend exclusion statute unlawfully discriminates against interstate commerce and is therefore...more

Social Media: Strategy and Implementation - Are you protected?

With more companies utilizing social media as a part of doing business, are you protecting yourself and your business from issues that can arise when implementing these strategies? Where do you stand legally when employees...more

Hold The Phone! AT&T’s Constitutional Challenge To Mississippi’s Dividend Exclusion Statute Is Still Alive

A Mississippi trial court has again found unconstitutional the state’s dividend exclusion statute, which disadvantages certain multistate taxpayers as compared to solely Mississippi taxpayers. This result comes from AT&T’s...more

Blogger Immune From Suit for Anonymous Comments

A Pennsylvania judge in the Northampton County Court of Common Pleas ruled that the defendant blogger was not liable for anonymous posts in the “comments” section of his website, despite his active moderation of these posts....more

False Advertising Claim Washed Away for Lack of Standing

The issue of whether a party has standing to litigate in federal court can end up sinking a lawsuit. And as one bottled-water litigant in the District of Maine recently found out, failure to satisfy the standing requirements...more

Court’s Maine Message to Plaintiff Suing Poland Spring: You Don’t Have a Leg to Stand on

The District Court of Maine recently provided a reminder that – even in the post-Lexmark world of Lanham Act false advertising standing – Article III standing requirements can still impose a meaningful barrier on plaintiffs....more

Plaintiff Gets Burned By Article III in Sunblock Class Action

Can a plaintiff sue in federal court for consumer fraud when he never purchased and never used the product? This is not a trick question, and the obvious answer is also the correct answer. No, he can’t. But the point...more

Stacy Allen Speaks: The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly: Unpopular Celebrities And The Right Of Publicity

In retrospect, the victories won by former college football stars in their right of publicity lawsuits against Electronic Arts and its hugely popular NCAA Football videogame franchise are hardly surprising. How could anyone...more

Powers of Regulators Brought Into the Spotlight by High Court Decision - Australian Communications and Media Authority v Today FM...

Recently the High Court of Australia handed down its unanimous decision in Australian Communications and Media Authority v Today FM (Sydney) Pty Ltd [2015] HCA 7 (HCA Decision) which relates to the powers of the Australian...more

Two Rights of Publicity Decisions Explore the Boundaries of Commercial Speech in Commemorating Public Figures

Two recent rights of publicity cases illustrated the parameters of using a public figure’s name, likeness, identity or image for commercial purposes, without consent for commemorative purposes. But when does commemoration...more

County's Decision to Reject Controversial Ad Did Not Violate the First Amendment

Rejecting a First Amendment challenge, a county can choose to not run an advertisement on its own bus system if it might cause vandalism and violence, the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals held this week. The court...more

Time for Your Close-up: The Right of Publicity in the Social Media Era

Michael Jordan is one of America’s most revered and iconic professional athletes. He spectacularly led the Chicago Bulls to six NBA championships, was named league MVP for five years and, off the court, reached a...more

Liability for Commercial Speech: A Guide to False Advertising, Commercial Disparagement, and Related Claims

This volume summarizes related bodies of law – false advertising, commercial disparagement, and defamation – that govern the conduct of business communications. It sets forth elements, damages, and related defenses for each...more

Advertising Law - March 2015 #3

Response To FCC’s New Net Neutrality Regs Anything But Neutral - In a split vote, the Federal Communications Commission approved a new net neutrality measure that would ban fast lanes and re-label broadband as a...more

Michael Jordan Denied Summary Judgment on His Right of Publicity Claim against Illinois Grocer

In 2009, Michael Jordan was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame. To commemorate Jordan’s career, Time Inc. published a special Sports Illustrated Presents issue that included congratulatory “advertisements” from several...more

Facebook Revamps Community Guidelines By Cracking Down on Hate Speech, Graphic Violence and Nudity

Sensitive to the expanding diversity of the online community, the world’s largest social network has taken a step to curb highly contentious postings....more

Take Care When Crafting an Offer of Judgment

In Compressor Eng’g Corp. v. Thomas, Case No. 10-10059, 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 20079 (E.D. Mich. Feb. 19, 2015), Defendant Charles Thomas Jr. sought to moot the claim of Plaintiff Compressor Engineering Corporation...more

Reflections on the Mann v. CEI Oral Argument

Two days before Thanksgiving, your intrepid blogger joined approximately 60-70 others in the DC Court of Appeals’ ceremonial courtroom to watch the Mann v. CEI oral argument. The panel was comprised of Judges Ruiz, Beckwith...more

Social Media SmackDown: Elton John, Dolce & Gabbana, The First Amendment and a Brand in Peril

Dolce & Gabanna is a famous Italian fashion house, founded thirty years ago by Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana. The company has been a significant player in the fashion industry for decades, dressing celebrities and...more

Tennessee Court of Appeals Rejects Dormant Commerce Clause Challenge to Cable Exemption in DIRECTV, Inc. v. Roberts

The Tennessee Court of Appeals held on February 27, 2015, that the Tennessee Cable Exemption, which exempts the first $15 of cable television service from sales tax, does not violate the Commerce Clause of the United States...more

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