First Amendment

The First Amendment to the United States Constitution prohibits the government from making laws respecting the establishment of religion, prohibiting the free exercise of religion, abridging the freedom of speech... more +
The First Amendment to the United States Constitution prohibits the government from making laws respecting the establishment of religion, prohibiting the free exercise of religion, abridging the freedom of speech or the press, preventing citizens from peacefully assembling, or interfering with citizens' ability to petition the government for redress of their grievances. The First Amendment is one of the most sacred aspects of the American legal tradition and has spawned a vast body of jurisprudence and commentary. less -
News & Analysis as of

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

Wiccan Prisoner Seeking 14 Feet of Rope, Combustible Oils, and Candles Loses First Amendment, RLUIPA, and Equal Protection...

Ronald Reiske, a Wiccan prisoner incarcerated in a Connecticut prison, thought it reasonable that the correctional facility provide him with the necessary materials and equipment to practice his Wiccan religion – including 14...more

Can Public Schools Ban “I Can’t Breathe” T-Shirts?

Citing safety concerns, Fort Bragg High School, a public high school located in Mendocino County CA, decided on December 26, 2014 to ban athletes from wearing t-shirts with the slogan “I Can’t Breathe” – the words uttered by...more

First Amendment Protects Use of Third-Party’s Trademark in Video Game

Mil-Spec Monkey, Inc. v. Activision Blizzard, Inc. et al. - Confirming that video games, including customizable multi-player games, qualify as expressive works entitled to First Amendment protection, a California...more

Status Updates - January 2015 #2

Poster’s remorse. It’s official – as of Jan 1, social media sites accessible in California had to begin allowing users younger than 18 “to remove, or to request and obtain removal of” posts they regret. The legislation, known...more

Valencia v. Universal City Studios LLC

USDC, N.D. Georgia, December 18, 2014 - District court dismisses all claims of hip-hop dancer Honey Rockwell, who alleged that films Honey and Honey 2 violated her privacy rights and trademark rights, holding that some...more

Kennesaw, Georgia Back in the News: Suffa Dawat Center Files “Preventative” Lawsuit

In December, we reported that Kennesaw, Georgia’s City Council reversed its initial decision to deny an Islamic place of worship and education center in a retail shopping plaza.  Despite the approval, the applicant, Suffa...more

Religious Institution - January 2015

Experience over the last couple decades teaches that religious institutions face as much or perhaps more liability than secular organizations and, therefore, need to take risk management seriously. From operating their own...more

When Scientific Research Becomes False Advertising

Positive results of scientific research on a company’s products can provide a tempting topic for advertising and promotion. If an article published in a well-established, peer-reviewed journal says that your company’s...more

Glee Camp Not So Happy: Auburn’s Zoning Enforcement Action Alleged to Violate RLUIPA’s Equal Terms Provision

The First Presbyterian Church of Auburn (the “Church”) has hosted a musical theater day camp (“Glee Camp”) in Auburn, New York for approximately three years. In July of 2014, Auburn’s code enforcement officer issued a...more

Blog: Appellants File Supplemental Brief Opposing Conflict Minerals Disclosure Requirement

In the final week of 2014, appellants National Association of Manufacturers, U.S. Chamber of Commerce and Business Roundtable filed their supplemental brief in the conflict minerals case, National Association of...more

Massachusetts High Court Upholds Cyberharassment Conviction Based on False Craigslist Ads

The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court (SJC) has upheld the conviction of an Andover couple for violation of the Commonwealth’s criminal harassment statute by, among other things, posting fake ads on Craigslist. In brushing...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

Learn from SONY: Don’t use trash talk in your construction project emails!

Lessons in construction administration come from everywhere — including the SONY scandal. In case you are a bear hibernating in a cave (in which case, go back to sleep!), you’ve heard about the SONY hacking that was...more

The National Labor Relations Board Strikes Again – How Managerial Are Your Faculty and How Religious Is Your Institution?

In the latest example of dramatic changes to well-developed principles of federal labor law and policy, the National Labor Relations Board (“NLRB” or “Board”) issued its long awaited decision in Pacific Lutheran University,...more

Whistleblower Takes Next Step in Lawsuit Against Philadelphia School District

Four years ago, Francis X. Dougherty was fired after revealing the existence of a $7.5 million no-bid security camera contract within the Philadelphia School District. Now, he has won a major victory in his whistleblower...more

Did Sony Let the Terrorists Win?

Unless you’ve been living under a rock recently, you’ve probably heard about the hoopla caused by the new Seth Rogen and James Franco movie called the interview. The movie follows a plot to assassinate North Korean dictator...more

The Interview: Cyber Attacks and The First Amendment

The fallout from a massive cyber attack on Sony in November escalated tremendously this week. After exposing embarrassing emails and confidential company information, stealing the screenplay for an upcoming James Bond movie,...more

Henley Is Not Taking It Easy

According to music icon Don Henley, intellectual property rights are not a joking matter....more

Electronic Arts and its Disrespect for the Game

On September 11, 2014, the Ninth Circuit heard oral argument on the appeal in Davis v. Electronic Arts (Case No. 12-15737), a class action lawsuit brought by three former NFL Players against Electronic Arts (“EA”), the...more

Blog: SEC, Amnesty And Others File Briefs In Support Of Upholding The Conflict Minerals Disclosure Requirement

In November, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals granted the petitions of the SEC and Amnesty International for panel rehearing in connection with the conflict minerals case, National Association of Manufacturers, Inc. v. SEC....more

No Break from Prison for General Noriega As Black Ops II Is Cleared by Transformative Use Doctrine

If you were looking forward to regrouping your special forces mission on “Call of Duty: Black Ops II” without any further interference from Pineapple Face, your moment has arrived. The aforesaid Face, as former sword-waving...more

SEC Files Brief in Conflict Minerals Rehearing

The SEC has filed its brief in the conflict minerals rehearing. Amnesty International also filed its brief as intervenor and Free Speech for People filed an amicus brief....more

Advertising Law - December 2014

SPECIAL FOCUS: Adding You to My Professional Network Emails May End Up Being Costly for LinkedIn as Publicity Rights Suit Moves Forward: A putative class action alleging that LinkedIn Corp. violated their right of...more

Mil-Spec Monkey, Inc. v. Activision Blizzard, Inc. - USDC, N.D. California, November 24, 2014

Mil-Spec Monkey, Inc. v. Activision Blizzard, Inc. - USDC, N.D. California, November 24, 2014: District court grants summary judgment in favor of publisher of military-action video game Call of Duty: Ghosts on trademark...more

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