Arthur Bright's blog

Introducing Guest Blogger Itai Maytal

I'd like to welcome Itai Maytal as a CMLP guest blogger!

Itai Maytal is an associate attorney of the New York-based firm Miller Korzenik Sommers LLP. The firm counsels clients on media, intellectual property, entertainment and art law, and has litigated these matters and a broader spectrum of business and commercial concerns for over twenty years.

Los Terroristas de Twitter?

Imagine you live in a country where criminal attacks on civilians are alarmingly familiar, and reliable reporting from the local media is regrettably unfamiliar.  You hear about an attack on your local school, so you take to the Internet to spread the word on Facebook and Twitter to warn people before it's too late.  Mercifully, the report you heard was mistaken, and everything's okay...

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Messing with SLAPPs in Texas

Strategic lawsuits against public participation, or SLAPPs, are one of the most bullying types of litigation out there.  But while the majority of US states have enacted special anti-SLAPP statutes to discourage them, Texas - certainly known for doing things big - is currently considering what could be the strongest anti-SLAPP measure yet.

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British Libel Reform - Now With Real Proposed Legislation!

I've been writing about impending British libel reform for almost two years now, putting a post together every time something happens to bring the United Kingdom closer to fixing its quite-literally-backwards defamation laws.  "Ooo, the High Court has tossed a textbook libel tourism case," I cheered in November 2009.  "Aah, the justice minister has publicly endorsed libel reform," I

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Rethinking Sunshine in the Beehive State

After enacting a colossally backward law in recent weeks that undermined Utah's open records law, the Utah government is now considering a repeal of the bill that earned Utah the Society of Professional Journalists' inaugural Black Hole Award, which goes to "the most heinous violations of the public's right to know."

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Software Best Practices and Open Source Derivative Works

We received a request not long ago from one of the lawyers in our Online Media Legal Network who is looking for legal resources on a couple different issues tied to software development, particularly open source software development.  And frankly, they're the sorts of resources that we expect more and more lawyers will have need for.  Thus, we're reposting the requests here - along with my first stab at researching them - in the hopes of drumming up a bit of crowdsourcing to find the answers.

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A Plea for a Tech-Savvy Justice

The United States Supreme Court is, when it comes to technology, almost completely ignorant.

Not exactly a news flash, I know. After all, much was made in the days of Justice Sonia Sotomayor's nomination process about her high level of tech-savvy as compared to her predecessor, Justice Souter, whom Popular Science called a "famous Luddite." But before reading a post on the DC Dicta blog on Monday, I'd always sort of thought that SCOTUS's collective ignorance of common tech was limited to the visibly ancient Justices, like the retiring John Paul Stevens.

Not so, sadly. Judging from the expertise the Court displayed during oral arguments for City of Ontario v. Quon, the majority of the Court appears to be but mewling infants when it comes to technology. From the DC Dicta account:

At one point, Justice Anthony Kennedy asked what would happen if a text message was sent to an officer at the same time he was sending one to someone else.

“Does it say: ‘Your call is important to us, and we will get back to you?’” Kennedy asked.

Justice Antonin Scalia wrangled a bit with the idea of a service provider.

“You mean (the text) doesn’t go right to me?” he asked.

Then he asked whether they can be printed out in hard copy.

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The Revolution Will Be Tweeted, Hopes the U.S.

Anyone who followed the Green Movement protests in Iran is well aware of the importance of social media to the protesters.  Without Twitter, photo sharing, and other key information-sharing technologies, it's hard to believe that the protests would ever have materialized, let alone in such numbers that the Iranian government couldn't discretely crush them.  (By the way, if you're interested in seeing the social media at work in the protests, I'd highly recommend checking out Andrew Sullivan's blog The Daily Dis

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Will Italy's Conviction of Google Execs Stick?

I've no doubt that CMLP blog readers, fellow netizens that you are, are well aware of an Italian court's conviction last week of three Google executives for invasion of privacy of an Italian teenager. 

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Please Sue Me: Is "Please Rob Me" A New Test for Section 230?

Just over a year ago, the rumormonger—and some would say defamatory—website JuicyCampus.com shut down. At the time, I wrote "there's one (and only one) downer to Juicy Campus' shutdown . . . a lawsuit against Juicy Campus could have served as a very interesting test case for the limits of Section 230 immunity."

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Wikileaks Needs Financial Help

I have a pet theory that perfect informational transparency would make the world a more civil place.  Sure, it might be embarrassing to reveal our personal secrets and foibles to the world, but the tradeoff would be that you'd know when someone was talking out of both sides of their mouth.  In such a world, maybe that senator wouldn't be quite so holier-than-thou when the public knows about his penchant for underage prosti

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Did the US Enable Chinese Hackers to Crack Google?

If you're a regular user of the Webtubes—and if you're reading this blog, you probably are—you're well aware of the kerfuffle that ensued after Google's decision to cease its search-engine operations in China.  And naturally, it's now become a political issue between the US and China.  A recap, in brief:

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The Double-Edged Sword of Online Free Speech

From a functional perspective, I think that the First Amendment is the most important amendment in the bunch, because it ensures that the people can denounce any injustices the government perpetrates.  To be sure, various other amendments bar greater evils than censorship—the Thirteenth Amendment ban of slavery springs to mind as an obvious example.  But I'd argue that, without the First Amendment, banning su

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Massachusetts High Court Applies Fair Report Privilege to Anonymous Account of Closed Meeting

As both a journalist and a techie, I'm pretty keen on the free flow of information, and thus pretty keen in turn on the importance of protecting journalists, both professional and citizen, who are in the business of facilitating that flow. So it was reassuring to see that the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ruled on the side of the angels this week in the case of Howell v. Enterprise, granting protection from libel claims to reporters who fairly and accurately report official government proceedings.

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