December 2020
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Tennessee Court Upholds the Right to Remain Anonymous

Defamatory material, like obscenity, is not protected by the First Amendment. But just like obscenity, a particular message cannot be considered defamatory until it has been adjudged to be so by a court of competent jurisdiction. A Tennessee court, recognizing this principle, allowed a blogger who is accused of publishing defamatory comments to [...]

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Remember: If you don’t have anything nice to say, you should just say it on teh Internets

Google was in court this week over allegedly defamatory comments made on an anonymous blog that the search giant hosts. Chris Thompson’s post describes the gory details, including references to two of our favorite cases: Hot Chicks With Douchebags and AutoAdmit.

Update: If you want to start an anonymous blog, here are some [...]

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Has the Sixth Circuit Declared Jihad on the First Amendment?

Twice in two weeks, the Sixth Circuit has handed down decisions that are targeted at burdening the adult entertainment industry. As we pointed out in an earlier post and as Professor Salkin explains, the Sixth upheld a questionable Tennessee regulation that creates special licensing requirements for “sexually-oriented businesses.” They also did a number [...]

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The government has speech rights too.

What? You don't want *this* guy's monument in your park?

The United States Supreme Court this week announced that a city’s government has a right to decide which donated monuments to display on municipal property (source).  Justice Alito, writing for a unanimous Court, said that placement of a permanent marker on public grounds represents [...]

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Getting Under-30s Interested in the First Amendment

It’s a daunting task, but one District Judge in Rhode Island thinks he has found a way to catch the interest of the under-30, computer-oriented generation: Link to YouTube videos, which play music that is ironically related to the facts of a case. (source)

“The novelty of citations to YouTube and the idea that you [...]

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Could a Camera Click be Compelled Speech?

H.R. 414 was introduced into Congress this month with the title “The Camera Phone Predator Alert Act” (source). In an effort to combat unauthorized pictures, which might be taken in places like dressing rooms, locker rooms, and the like, the bill would require all mobile phones, made in the United States, to emit [...]

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How Much is Your Virginity Worth?: Lessons in Economics and Federalism

A twenty-two year old Nevada woman has placed her virginity up for grabs in an online auction, where the bidding has reportedly reached over $3.7 million. The transaction has caught the attention of some religious groups, who would like the federal government to intervene. However, because prostitution is legal in the state of [...]

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James Madison – 18th Century Spammer?

Virginia’s Attorney General is trying to override a ruling of that state’s highest court, which struck down an anti-spam law as violating the First Amendment. The law, as written, did not limit potential violations to the sending of purely commercial spam emails. Since the legislation made it possible to prosecute senders of, for [...]

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