Elections & Politics Communications & Media Constitutional Law

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California Bill Requiring Mobile, Cloud Search Warrants Advances

On July 14, 2015, the California Electronic Communications Privacy Act (“Cal-ECPA”) unanimously passed the California State Assembly’s public safety committee. The bill would forbid warrantless cellular “stingrays” as well...more

Rand Paul And The Expiration Of The Patriot Act

During the last weekend in May, Kentucky Senator Rand Paul did something that is not easy to do – he managed to anger most Republicans and Democrats, the Senate Majority Leader (who is also the senior senator from Kentucky),...more

Another Bill to Expand the Wire Act: Bad Law Clothed in a Lie

This past week’s focus on the presence of the Confederate battle flag on the grounds of the South Carolina capitol (and elsewhere) brought back to the fore the specter of “states’ rights” – the seemingly high-minded excuse...more

Federal anti-SLAPP Statute Proposed in Congress

With the District of Columbia Circuit holding that the DC anti-SLAPP act does not apply in federal court, and at least four judges in the Ninth Circuit concluding that Circuit erred in applying state anti-SLAPP statutes in...more

Wake-Up Call: Second Circuit Declares NSA’s Mass Telephone Surveillance Program Illegal; Defers Injunction While Congress Ponders...

Whatever your opinion of Edward Snowden, the shockwaves from his leaks of classified material continue to roil all three branches of the federal government. The latest wave broke last week when the United States Court of...more

Arkansas Narrowly Avoids Enactment Of Sweeping Publicity Rights Statute

Yesterday, Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson vetoed Senate Bill 79. Governor Hutchinson noted that, while the intent of the bill was to “protect the names, voices, signatures, photographs and likenesses of the citizens 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

November Elections Impact the Food & Beverage Industry (Part 1)

Bids to require mandatory labeling of foods containing genetically modified organisms (GMO) were voted down in Colorado and Oregon on Tuesday. Colorado voters rejected Proposition 105, with nearly 70% of voters saying no;...more

Duke, Hershey, and Winston: Who gets to trademark a famous name?

Common sense tells you that you can always use your own name. But under trademark law, that’s not always true. Three recent cases illustrate this conundrum, which plays a major role in many Internet marketing and domain name...more

Californians To Vote On Stripping Common Cause Of Its First Amendment Rights

I recently wrote about SB 1272 (Lieu) which calls a special election for this November 4 at which California voters will be able to cast an advisory vote on whether the U.S. Constitution should be amended to overturn the U.S....more

UPDATE: Supreme Court Denies Certiorari For Challenge to Regulation of Speech on Public Broadcast Stations

Two weeks ago, we speculated that the Court would grant certiorari in Minority Television Project, Inc. v. Federal Communications Commission (9th Cir. 2013) 736 F.3d 1192 (en banc) (lead opn. of McKeown, J.). In the case, a...more

Supreme Court To Consider Cert. For FCC Regulation Speech On Public Broadcasting Stations

Federal law prohibits non-commercial broadcasters from airing paid advertisements (a) for for-profit entities, (b) issues of public importance or interest, and (c) political candidates. In Minority Television Project, Inc....more

Nancy Hamilton's Notes: 18½ Minutes vs. 2 Years: Then and Now

During the Watergate scandal of 1973 and 1974, which ultimately led to the resignation of President Richard Nixon, the Nixon White House tapes were the focal point of a media firestorm and the nation's rapt attention,...more

Supreme Court Decides Susan B. Anthony List v. Driehaus

On June 16, 2014, the United States Supreme Court decided Susan B. Anthony List v. Driehaus, No. 13-193, holding that a credible threat of enforcement of a law is sufficient to establish an Article III injury in fact....more

Hershey Is Not So Sweet on Maryland Senator’s HERSHEY Campaign Logo

When you think of The Hershey Company, you think of delicious chocolate candy bars, chocolate kisses, and a fabulous amusement park in Hershey, Pennsylvania. The company’s brown candy bar wrappers with the HERSHEY’S trademark...more

U.S. House Approves Law Targeting Sex Trafficking Ads, Threatens to Undermine Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act

On May 20, 2014, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Stop Advertising Victims of Exploitation Act of 2014 (“SAVE Act”). If enacted, the bill would expose websites and other media to federal criminal penalties for...more

Pick Your Passion: State’s Trademark May Be Used To Criticize Its Governor

In Dardenne v. MoveOn.org, the Middle Louisiana Federal District Court faced a conflict between trademark protection, on the one hand, and the First Amendment’s protection of political advocacy, on the other. The Court...more

Highlights of Digital Millennium Copyright Act Congressional Hearings

On March 13, 2014, the Judiciary Committee of the United States House of Representatives, through its Subcommittee on Courts, Intellectual Property and the Internet, held hearings regarding the copyright infringement notice...more

Minority Television Project, Inc. v. FCC and Lincoln Broadcasting Co.

Petition For Writ of Certiorari

Questions Presented: 1. In 1969, this Court held in Red Lion Broadcasting Co. v. FCC, 395 U.S. 367 (1969), that the First Amendment permits the government to restrict the speech of broadcasters in ways that this Court...more

Report deems NSA telephone records program illegal

The Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board issued a report today concluding that the National Security Agency’s bulk collection of telephone call records is illegal and should be ended. ...more

As Maine Goes, So Goes The Nation?

On January 9, 2014, Maine’s governor Paul LePage signed a bill into law that would require labeling for foods made with genetically modified organisms (GMO). Eighteen months from the effective date of the bill, any...more

Is the "Like" Button Becoming a Constitutionally Protected Activity?

On September 18, 2013, the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that an employee's act of clicking the "Like" button on Facebook constitutes speech protected by the First Amendment. This ruling signals an extension of...more

California Proposition Would Expand Duties and Liabilities for Collecting Personal Information

On September 26, 2013, the California Secretary of State allowed proponents of a new ballot proposition to collect signatures for the “Personal Privacy Protection Act.” The Act, if approved, would radically change the privacy...more

The First Amendment Goes Digital – Clicking “Like” on Facebook is Speech

With around 1.15 billion members, Facebook is a massive, global forum for communicating with friends and the world. For many users, it often feels as if their news feeds are clogged with vapid comments about the weather, meal...more

History in the Making as Journalism, Law and Politics Converge for Federal Reporter's Shield

In September of this year, the U.S. Senate began debate on a federal reporter’s privilege. Free Flow of Information Act of 2013, S. 987, 113th Cong. §§ 2-5 (2013). The bipartisan bill to recognize such a privilege was...more

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