Skip to main content
Tag

free-speech

Should WordPress.com be Liable for Blog Content?

By Internet Lawyer

blog censorshipA Brazilian judge may impose a ban against access to all WordPress.com blogs because a single blogger posted an adult content video. In order to block access to the offending blog, because of the identical IP address, it might be necessary to deny access to all WordPress.com blogs. You can read the details at “Brazil: Bloggers united against WordPress ban.”

In her post “WordPress.com Banned Again: Why Aren’t You Concerned?”, Lorelle VanFossen raises two issues:

(1) the apparent lack of blogger interest in fighting such bans; and

(2) to what extent WordPress.com as a whole should be responsible for the misconduct of a single blogger.

Let me tackle these issues separately.

1. Free Speech.

From a U.S. citizen’s point of view, an ideal world would have Read More

Internet Harassment Law – When Bad Facts Create Bad Law

By Internet Lawyer

In response to a 13-year-old girl killing herself after being harassed online, a Missouri city has passed a law that makes it a crime to engage in online harassment. For the law to apply, one of the people communicating must be within city limits.

You can sympathize with what happened to the poor girl yet still oppose this law because it is the wrong solution to cyber-harassment.

Why?

Constitutional free speech will be suppressed if you have to worry about what every small city, town, or village passes that could affect what you write simply because the recipient happens to be within the jurisdiction of municipality that passed the law. Neither the U.S. Constitution nor state constitutions contain a right not to be offended. And what if you happen to ‘victimize’ a client by e-mailing an unfriendly reminder that payment is overdue? Have you violated a local ordinance by doing so? There are interstate commerce implications in addition to the free speech issues.

Well, what about the girl?

If her parents have a remedy under civil law, they should pursue it.

If it is in the interest of the state or the federal government to enact legislation that includes constitutional protections, that’s an option too.

But having municipalities do so makes as little sense as regulating silly walks.

In this case, the city’s new law isn’t “for the children.” It is raw political opportunism capitalizing on the death of a minor. Now THAT should be a crime.

MoveOn.org Crushes Free Speech with Trademark Infringement Claims

By Internet Lawyer

The moonbats at MoveOn.org support free speech only if it is a discounted full page ad in the New York Times where they smear a U.S. general as being a traitor.

Overreaching with the smear, there has been grassroots opposition to it from all parts of the political spectrum…including entrepreneurs who have created t-shirts in protest of the McCarthyesque tactics applied by MoveOn.org to attack anyone who doesn’t agree with the organization completely.

In response to trademark infringement claims made by the moonbats, Cafe Press has pulled t-shirts from inventory that make reference to MoveOn.org by name. This is a unique interpretation of trademark law…mentioning an organization’s name in satirical political works is a violation? Hardly.

But the moonbats insist that you and I don’t have First Amendment rights to dissent. Like Lord Voldemort (he who must not be named), the MoveOn.org doesn’t want to be mentioned.
Just because someone claims trademark infringement, don’t take the claim at face value. Check with your lawyer.

And as for MoveOn.org, here’s one of the censored messages.

moveon treason

As a final thought, when it comes to traitors, consider who is trying to snuff out your First Amendment rights if you disagree with them.

Hmmm.

It isn’t General Petraeus.

Hat tip to Michelle Malkin.

Are Fake MySpace Profiles Free Speech?

By Internet Lawyer

The Indiana Court of Appeals has found that a juvenile’s MySpace postings under a fake profile in the name of her school principal is constitutionally protected free speech. The false profile attacked the school’s body piercing’s policy.Hat tip to Charles Wilson at the Associated Press.

In my view, the Indiana appellate court missed the boat. The issue wasn’t free speech. It was impersonating the principal and posting the views under his name. That is not constitutionally protected.

Let’s take a Texas case as an example of why the distinction is important. An assistant principal is suing two students and their parents because of a MySpace profile that falsely identified the assistant principal in a fake profile as a lesbian and contain sexually explicit content. Once again, the issue isn’t free speech. It is impersonation of another online.

This is more than a teen prank. The reputations of these educators are at stake. As for the teens, a trip to the woodshed is in order…both for them and their parents.