For months, we’ve been following the saga of the Texas couple who were first sued by their petsitter for $6,766 over a negative Yelp review, only to have that case dropped and re-filed as a full-on defamation lawsuit seeking up to $1 million in damages. Now, the couple is asking the court to just throw the entire case out because it should be prohibited by Texas state law. [More]
If you go on Facebook and threaten to post a sex tape featuring a public official, is that a threat or is it free speech protected by the First Amendment? The highest court in Georgia has overturned the six-year prison sentence of a man who said he’d share raunchy footage of a court clerk, mostly because said sex tape didn’t exist. [More]
No one gets a speeding ticket and rushes out to pay it with glee, at least, no one who likes holding onto their money. But even if it’s pretty rude to scrawl an obscene message when paying that ticket, it’s speech that’s protected by the First Amendment. That’s according to a judge who said a man’s civil rights were violated when he was arrested for writing a nasty note on a speeding ticket in New York in 2012. [More]
Back in 2011, we told you about a U.S. District Court ruling that determined the wearing of “I Heart Boobies” breast cancer awareness bracelets by middle school students was protected under the First Amendment. An appeals panel later sided with the lower court, but the school district recently attempted to take its case before the U.S. Supreme Court. Today, the Supremes shot down that petition.
For many people, expressing who they are isn’t just a function of how they dress or act, but what their vehicle’s vanity license plate says. Maybe you rocked “DMBFAN” to show your love for a band or “CATSYAY” for you know, cats, but in Georgia, one man wanted to express his sexuality and is now suing the state for denying him that. [More]
While we’ve heard about cases where you can say, strip down naked in front of the Transportation Security Administration, an act that a judge found to be protected speech under the First Amendment, it’s a different matter when it comes to using your words to express your thoughts about pat-downs. A mom who reportedly berated TSA officers attempting to pat-down her daughter found that out the hard way. [More]
Do you ever get so angry that you just start tearing off your clothing in public? No? Us either, but one Oregon man was upset enough by Transportation Security Administration measures he found invasive, he stripped down to his birthday suit while in line at Portland’s airport. Luckily for him, a judge thinks that’s just fine.
The town of Quartzsite, AZ, population 3,466, is in disarray after a video showing police hauling away a citizen for speaking at the town meeting podium went viral. The woman was saying that the town council had been violating open meeting laws.
In a pair of rulings by the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals earlier this week, judges sided with students who contended in separate cases that they were unfairly punished for publishing fake MySpace profiles of their principals. But the victories may be construed as defeats for student free speech, because judges’ opinions held that students can be punished for speech made off-campus and online if it is deemed to “materially and substantially disrupt the work and discipline of the school.” Neither of the cases ruled on earlier this week met that standard.
Thousands of Twitter users have posted comments about a rumored affair between a British soccer player and a reality-TV star, and have included the athlete’s name, despite a British law that allows individuals to get a “super-injunction” blocking publication of their name. The player has now used that injunction to get a court order demanding that Twitter reveal the account information of users who’ve posted his name.
The Westfield Galleria in Roseville, California takes the comfort of its patrons seriously–so seriously, in fact, that it wants them to shut up and focus on shopping, or else ask for permission first if they want to talk about any topic that’s not mall related. Last week, the state’s 3rd District Court of Appeal found that the rule violated the state’s constitution, so now mall shoppers can gab as much as they want to each other.
Last week Constantin Films got YouTube to pull almost all the Angry Hitler parody clips by using the website’s Content ID tracking system. The process is automatic, and YouTube immediately takes down a video once it’s been tagged. However, that also means you can use this system in reverse to get your clips back up, at least for as long as you’re in dispute with the copyright holder. Whether you do this or not will depend on how willing you are to risk a potential lawsuit later on.
The makers of the Hugh Downs video ripoff we wrote about are suing 800notes.com, a site that lets people anonymously post info about unsolicited calls they receive. Vision Media wants the posters’ identities revealed. That’s not uncommon, but what’s really rich is that they asked the judge for a gag order to stop 800notes lawyer, Paul Levy of Public Citizen, from posting the motions about the case online. Yes, they wanted to stop people from reposting public documents because doing so was “embarrassing” and “defamatory”.
The guy who made the famous Obama poster? I went to a talk tonight at the New York Public Library between him (Shepard Fairey), Lawrence Lessig, and Steven Johnson about how remixing plays into our, on the one hand, corporate and litigious, and on the other, mashing up and free-wheeling, society. Here are my favorite quotes/ideas from the night:
Recently, angry chiropractors and dentists have sued Yelp reviewers for defamation, loosely defined as “publicly telling mean lies that hurt more than feelings.” Apparently, no one takes the internet seriously, until all of a sudden someone does. Here’s what anyone who leaves comments online should know about defamation.
Last year, Lowe’s horribly botched Allen’s $3500 fence installation (see picture, left). When he complained, the installer and Lowes dodged responsibility, but still demanded $3500. Allen refused to pay and they sent his bill to collections. So Allen put up Lowes-sucks.com with pictures, correspondence and phone recordings of his customer service debacle. Instead of fixing Allen’s problem, Lowe’s sent him a cease-and-desist to get him to take down the website, claiming “trademark infringement.” That’s when our site picked it up, along with Ars Technica, Digg, and others, driving lots of traffic to Lowes-sucks.com That was a year ago. Now it seems Allen has won his fight.
Avi Oslick is obviously a fan of the movie Network: “I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take it anymore,” Avi Oslick told NBC 10 in Philadelphia. Rather than going to his window and yelling, Avi has placed a huge banner on the side of his house telling the world how he feels about Bank of America.
Complaint Remover is a special service that says it gets rid of “defamatory” and “negative links” on the internet for you:
The immediate goal of our service is to stop defamation by positioning links on the Search Engines and by appeals to law to remove negative information. We send cease and desist letters and if necessary, file legal actions against the perpetrators and Internet service providers contributing to the unjust defamation of our members.
Their site has an online chat function with a customer service rep and we decided to ask if they could help us take a crap all over free speech, and how much that would cost…