Free Speech

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“River Crabbing” Chinese Search Engine Battles for Freedom of Expression in the U.S.

In 2004, the Chinese Communist Party announced a new national goal of building a “Harmonious Society.” Since then, this goal has often been cited by the Chinese government as a reason for Internet censorship. In Mandarin,...more

Regulation Requiring Spaced-Out Digital Billboards Does Not Violate First Amendment

We've all seen it before: a person says something rude, which elicits a "watch your mouth" response, and the foul-mouth person replies, "Hey, I have a right to free speech!" Touché. A lesser-known use of the First Amendment...more

UNMASKING BLOGGERS: Hedge Fund’s Bid To Unveil Blogger’s Identity Highlights First Amendment, Trade Secrets Clash

America’s reverence for anonymous speech is as old as the republic itself, tracing its roots to Thomas Payne’s pamphlet “Common Sense” and the Federalist Papers. But the right to speak namelessly has limits, and hedge fund...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

The Constitutional Rights of Students Wearing American Flag Shirts on Cinco de Mayo Were Not Violated When They Were Required to...

On Cinco de Mayo 2010, when school officials at a California high school became aware of a potential altercation between two groups of students, they asked the students wearing shirts bearing images of the American flag to...more

Top 5 Legal Trends For Hospitality Employers

There is much to be learned from 2013. Below are five legal topics that made headlines last year, and should provide valuable guidance for managing labor and employment law issues in 2014....more

Ninth Circuit Recognizes Copyright Interest in Actor’s Performance in Response to Fatwa to Justify Takedown of Video

The Ninth Circuit became the first federal appellate court to hold that an actor has a copyright interest in her performance, holding that a district court abused its discretion in denying a motion for preliminary...more

Commercial Disparagement An Increasing Concern In The Age Of Social Media

Companies are turning to social media with increasing frequency to directly communicate with customers and potential customers. T-Mobile USA is no exception. Not only did the company release an astonishingly snarky press...more

Michael Jordan v. Jewel Food Stores: The Seventh Circuit Explores the Boundaries of Commercial Speech

When and how the First Amendment applies is normally a complicated question. In a case decided earlier this week, Michael Jordan v. Jewel Food Stores, Inc., No. 12-1992, the parties teamed up to present an issue on commercial...more

Classified Management Employee’s Misconduct Justified School District’s Termination of Employment, Despite Protected Speech

A school district classified management employee sought to overturn his dismissal from employment, which he alleged was in retaliation for engaging in protected speech. A California court of appeal held that, given the...more

Prohibiting “Message” Clothing Without Business Reason Violates the NLRA

The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) recently deemed a car dealership’s prohibition on “pins, insignias, or other message clothing which are not provided to them by the company” overly restrictive and a violation of the...more

Freedom of Speech on the Internet: The Power of Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act

Experienced First Amendment lawyers know that websites hosting user-created content are extremely difficult to sue for defamation. This is due to Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act of 1996, codified at 47 U.S.C. §...more

"You Like 'To-May-Toe,' I Like 'To-Mah-Toe'" – Distinctions Without a Material Difference: Supreme Court Reverses Lower Court...

The events of September 11 were by no means the first examples of terrorism involving aviation, but they unified the U.S., if not the world, in its effort to make air travel safer. It was in the wake of 9/11 that Congress...more

Supreme Court Reiterates that New York Times Actual Malice Standard Requires Materially False Statements

On Monday, Jan. 27, 2014, the Supreme Court unanimously reversed a $1.2 million Colorado defamation verdict in the case of Air Wisconsin Airlines Corp. v. Hoeper—a notable decision for a court that rarely accepts libel...more

Could “Free Speech” Issues Derail the SEC’s Conflict Minerals Rule?

Shortly after the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) adopted its conflict minerals disclosure rule in August 2012, a coalition of business interests filed suit to challenge the SEC’s rule as unduly burdensome. That...more

Police Concern About Public Safety Sufficient To Justify Shutdown Of Speech At School

In a lawsuit arising out of a well-publicized incident in West Michigan, Agema v. City of Allegan involved a lawsuit by former Michigan State Representative David Agema and others against the City of Allegan and others...more

Back From The Land Of Trial Mode: January Quicklinks

There has not been much activity on the blog because we have been engaged in a long copyright and misappropriation of trade secrets trial. So, we share with you some of the articles we have been reading, but just haven’t had...more

Facebook: Fireable Offense or Free Speech?

The interplay between an employee’s postings on Facebook and the impact of those postings on his or her employment status is an evolving area of the law. Just last month, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of...more

Supreme Court Finds Air Carrier Immune From Defamation Claim For Reporting Employee’s Outburst to TSA

On January 27, 2014, the Supreme Court of the United States reversed a nearly $1.2 million jury verdict for defamation against Air Wisconsin Airlines Corporation in a case surrounding the airline carrier’s report about a...more

SCOTUS: Airlines Are Entitled to Immunity under the Aviation and Transportation Security Act Unless Statements Are Materially...

Yesterday, the Supreme Court issued its decision in Air Wisconsin Airlines Corp. v. Hoeper, 571 U.S. ---, No. 12-315 (2014), holding that immunity for an air carrier under the Aviation and Transportation Security Act, 49...more

Employee Gripes: When Employers Should Take Them Seriously

An employee’s speech in the workplace may be disruptive to the day-to-day running of your company or worse, downright offensive and “bad for business.” This blog post will discuss when an employer is free to discipline an...more

Yelp Denied Attempt to Keep Its Online Reviewers’ Identities Anonymous

In 2012, a local rug cleaning company in Virginia, Hadeed Oriental Rug Cleaning (“Hadeed”), filed a defamation action against the authors of seven critical reviews it received on Yelp, indicating that the reviews falsely...more

California Employment Law Notes - January 2014

TV Station's Failure To Hire Weather News Anchor Was Protected By Free Speech Rights - Hunter v. CBS Broadcasting, Inc., 221 Cal. App. 4th 1510 (2013) - Kyle Hunter sued CBS Broadcasting for age and gender...more

Prior Restraint Vacated in Lawsuit by Haiti's Prime Minister

A federal district judge in Miami vacated a prior restraint forbidding a U.S.-based Haitian journalist from ever publishing anything relating to the prime minister of Haiti. Prime Minister Laurent Lamothe sued Leo Joseph for...more

Is New Jersey’s “Need Not Apply” Law Prohibiting Employers from Publishing Ads Discouraging Unemployed Job Seekers from Applying...

New Jersey’s Appellate Division last week upheld a 2011 statute (N.J.S.A. 34:8B-1) that bars employers seeking to fill job vacancies in New Jersey from knowingly publishing advertisements stating that job applicants must be...more

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