Eric P. Robinson's blog

Intentional Grounding: Can Public Colleges Limit Athletes' Tweets?

An exercise we did Friday at Univeristy of Nevada, Reno's High School Journalism Day raised an interesting legal question: can a public university restrict its students' use of social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter?

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FTC Flexes Blogger Rules Again

The Federal Trade Commission has reached a second settlement with a marketer over apparent violations of the Commission's rules requiring disclosure of compensated endorsements, particularly on blogs and social media, as well as other contexts in which the compensation (which may include free samples or discounts) is not "reasonably expected by the audience."

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7th Circuit Holds Blogger Can Be Prosecuted For Threatening Juror

An alleged white supremacist can be prosecuted under a federal solicitation statute for posting on his blog the name, address and photograph of a juror who helped convict the "leader of a white supremacist organization" of soliciting the murder of a federal district court judge and obstruction of justice, the federal Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals held in a ruling in late June. U.S. v. White, No. 09-2916 (7th Cir. 2010).

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FTC's Provocative Discussion Paper on Saving Print Media

The Federal Trade Commission—which last year created guidelines to impose ethical standards on bloggers—is now taking on the ambitious task of saving the print media in the Internet era.

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Seventh Circuit Vacates Contempt for E-Mail Barrage

The Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals has vacated the summary contempt citation and sentence imposed by U.S. District Judge Robert Gettleman after his court e-mail account was inundated with messages after infomercial pitchman Kevin Trudeau urged his supporters to e-mail the judge. FTC v. Trudeau, No. 10-1383, slip op. (7th Cir. May 20, 2010).

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New Legal Guide Section on Foreign Risks

It's pretty obvious that material placed on the "word wide web" is, indeed, available around the world -- at least most of it.

While the ability to make content available worldwide is a great virtue of the Internet, it has the potential to create a legal minefield for citizen journalists, who could face a civil or criminal legal action over online content in any country where the content is available.

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FTC Endorsement Rules Get Their First Workout

The Federal Trade Commission has announced that it has completed its first investigation under the "blog-ola" rules it adopted last year, which require bloggers and other social media posters who receive a free or discounted product or service to disclose the freebie in their reviews or commentary about the product or service, or face the possibility of an FTC enforcement action.  See "Guides Concerning the Use of En

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Search Warrants in the Sky: FBI Collects Info from Google Docs

If you spend any time at all online, you've probably seen—and, depending on the effectiveness of your spam filters, received in your email—ads extolling the supposed virtues of acai berry, a so-called "super food" that has been a big seller for the past couple of years.

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Denying Anti-SLAPP Coverage, Massachusetts High Court Draws Activist/Journalist Boundary

A ruling by the highest court in Massachusetts could impact the methods that activists use to advocate their causes, by setting a boundary between activism that is protected by the state's anti-SLAPP statute and factual reporting, which is not.

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Courts In Colorado, Maryland, New Jersey, Florida Declare Mistrials After Juror Internet Research

Appeals courts in Colorado, Maryland and New Jersey are the first to reverse jury verdicts because of social media use by jurors during trial.

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Google's "Oprah" Moment, Gwyneth Paltrow's Rave, and Two Tests for FTC's Endorsement Guides

It could have been a moment right out of The Oprah Winfrey Show.  But instead of the entire audience getting Pontiac G6s (click here for a fun mash-up video of that big event), all the reporters attending the unveiling of Google's new Nexus One mobile phone on January 5 were given a special offer: they could get one of the phones for free, or to opt for a free, 30-day trial, after which the phone will be returned (loan agreement). (The free offer is mentioned in the 1:55 p.m. posting on this Wall Street Journal live blog of the press conference.)  It appears that some other reporters who were not at the event also got the phones.

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ADA Online: Is a Website a "Place of Public Accommodation"?

A lawsuit filed in October claims that Sony's online games—ranging from Everquest and Star Wars Galaxies to Wheel of Fortune—do not provide tools to allow visually impaired users to successfully play the games, and thus viol

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