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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

Facebook Fake News Problem May Impact Businesses Operating Open Web Sites

Recent criticisms lobbed at Facebook for fake news stories on its platform that allegedly tipped the election in Donald Trump’s favor may spell trouble for businesses operating open websites where users can post content. ...more

Supreme Court Update: Order List November 2016

The Court has been relatively quiet since our last missive—we're still waiting for the first signed opinion of the term—but we suspect your minds have been focused on other branches of government over the last few weeks...more

Is There A Right To Facebook In The Constitution? North Carolina Cyberlaw Goes To The United States Supreme Court.

The Supreme Court of the United States has just agreed to the hear Packingham v. United States. The grant of certiorari reflects the increasing integration of cyberlaw with mainstream constitutional litigation. Packingham,...more

VR/AR in a Real World

In case you have been living under a rock, virtual reality (VR) and its first cousin, augmented reality (AR), have arrived. The highly publicized and long-awaited head-mounted displays (HMDs), the headsets through which the...more

Social Media Platforms and a Company’s Right to Free Expression

Political campaigns have increasingly turned to social media as a channel to reach voters. Social media not only has the power to reach audiences numbering in the billions, but it also has the power to change the behavior of...more

North Carolina Cyberbullying statute struck down as unconstitutional

On February 9, 2012, Robert Bishop was arrested and charged with one count of cyberbullying under the North Carolina Cyberbullying statute, which states that it is “unlawful for any person to use a computer or computer...more

North Carolina Supreme Court Strikes Down Cyberbullying Statute On Free Speech Grounds

In State v. Bishop (June 10, 2016), the Supreme Court of North Carolina reversed a unanimous panel of the Court of Appeals and struck down the state’s cyberbullying statute, N.C.G.S. § 14-458.1 as unconstitutional....more

Friday Links

We’re trying something new here at Socially Aware: In addition to our usual social-media and tech-law analyses and updates, we’re going to end each work week with a list of links to interesting social media stories around the...more

Entertainment and Media Litigation Update - October 2015

The "Dancing Baby" Case—Ninth Circuit Rules That "Fair Use" Must First Be Considered Before Sending Takedown Notices Under the DMCA - Why it matters: On September 14, 2015, the Ninth Circuit ruled in Lenz v. Universal...more

Jeepers, Creepers: The Launch of the New “Peeple” App and Privacy Concerns

It’s 12:43 in the morning, and you have had a tough day at work. You are tired, thinking slowly, and feeling a little anxious that you should already be in bed to catch some rest before a 6 a.m. wake-up call. And then you get...more

FRANCHISOR 101: Franchise Systems Can Fight Online Negativity

One of today's challenges faced by franchisors and franchise systems is negative remarks posted online by a customer, ex-employee, or even a dissatisfied franchisee. Negative comments appear in sites created specifically to...more

Status Updates: Court nixes VPPA claim; lawyer suspended over blog posts; Facebook ‘unfriending’ cited in bullying decision

Tale of the tape. The Video Privacy Protection Act (VPPA), which requires video service providers to destroy personally identifiable information after a specified time, doesn’t provide a private right of action for plaintiffs...more

Status Updates: Appeals court upholds anti-cyberbullying law; better marketing through neural networks; restaurant owner turns the...

Cruel intentions. Laws seeking to regulate speech on the Internet must be narrowly drafted to avoid running afoul of the First Amendment, and limiting such a law’s applicability to intentional attempts to cause damage usually...more

California Employment Law Notes - July 2015

Employee's Inability To Work For A Particular Supervisor Does Not Constitute A "Disability" - Higgins-Williams v. Sutter Med. Found., 237 Cal. App. 4th 78 (2015) - Michaelin Higgins-Williams worked as a clinical...more

Teacher Fired Over Racist Facebook Post

In the age of social media, many people post their opinions on sites, such as Facebook, without carefully considering the possible consequences and resulting backlash. For example, Karen Fitzgibbons, a teacher at the Frenship...more

Can Employee Display a Confederate Flag on Facebook as Free Speech? Or Can Employer Take Action?

There’s been lots of talk lately about the Confederate flag and its symbolism in the aftermath of the Charleston shootings. But I wondered: How has this flag come up in the context of employment discrimination cases?...more

Supreme Court Requires Proof of Criminal Intent Even If Facebook Threats Are Obvious to a Reasonable Person

On June 1, 2015, in Elonis v. United States, ____ U.S. ___ (2015) (Docket #13-983), a case involving statements made on the Criminal Defendant/Petitioner’s Facebook page, the U.S. Supreme Court reversed the Third Circuit’s...more

SEE YOU IN COURT – June 2015

Last year, Mal Content ran for the Nutmeg Board of Education on a platform of constituent service, with advertisements promising, “Tell me your problems, and I will find you solutions.” Despite Mal’s grand promises, he was...more

Supreme Court Update: Elonis V. United States (13-983), Taylor V. Barkes (14-939) And Bank Of America V. Caulkett (13-1421)

The Court handed down four opinions and a summary reversal to kick off the busiest month of the term. This update will cover Elonis v. United States (13-983), the much anticipated "Facebook threats" case, along with Taylor v....more

SCOTUS rules Facebook posts not threatening without intent

The Supreme Court of the United States of America (SCOTUS) ruled on June 1, 2015, that violent Facebook posts of a husband about killing his wife with a mortar launcher and blowing up FBI agents cannot be considered...more

How Does the Supreme Court’s Recent Facebook Decision Impact Schools?

In a recent decision, Elonis v. United States, the U.S. Supreme Court held that in order to convict a man for alleged threats made against his wife on Facebook, the prosecutor must show some level of intent. It was not enough...more

Crying Over (Virtual) Spilled Milk: ACLU Sues School District For Firing Employee Who Posted Vegan Beliefs Online

A recent lawsuit out of Ohio brings a local flare to what has otherwise become a relatively common story. We’ve all heard of teachers being disciplined or dismissed for posting something thoughtless online that led to...more

Facebook Post Lands Teacher in Hot Water

On January 18, 2015, two South Hills High School teachers were arrested for allegedly having sexual relations with students at the beach. According to the Orange County Sherriff’s Department, one of the teachers, Melody...more

What’s in a Like?

In the pre-Facebook era, the word “like” was primarily a verb (and an interjection sprinkled throughout valley girls’ conversations). Although you could have likes and dislikes in the sense of preferences, you could not give...more

Internet Free-Speech and the Push Towards Unmasking Online Anonymity

Internet heavyweights including Google, Facebook, and Twitter are backing the popular business review site Yelp in a Virginia Supreme Court case that has gained country-wide attention as having the potential to significantly...more

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