Marc J. Randazza's blog

Copyright in Tattoo Case: Escobedo v. THQ, Inc.

Excerpt from Escobedo v.

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Nevada Needs A Revised Anti-SLAPP Statute, But The Ninth Circuit Gives Us Some Daylight

As a lawyer licensed in five states (MA, FL, CA, AZ, and NV) and who practices free speech law nationwide, I am in a position to comment on the relative merits of various states' views on First Amendment principles. Among the many states where I have worked on cases, Flori-duh is the worst. Hands down.

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No, Sandra Fluke Does NOT Have a Valid Defamation Claim Against Rush Limbaugh

A Note from the Staff of the CMLP: This post contains a candid discussion of First Amendment issues, including the use of terms that some readers might find offensive. We do not censor such terms in a blog contributor's post when relevant to the topic discussed, because we believe that an analysis of the constitutional right to use certain language requires the freedom to discuss that language plainly and openly.

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Bigfoot Spotted Fighting for Free Speech at the New Hampshire Supreme Court

Back in March, I wrote a snippet about a guy who brought suit against the State of New Hampshire for its burdensome permit requirements for filming in Monadnock State Park. See Plaintiff's motion for summary judgment.

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Dan Snyder is butthurt, SLAPP suit ensues, Irony meter pegged

Washington Redskins owner, Dan Snyder, seems to have awfully thin skin for a guy who owns a sports team named after a racial insult.

Snyder filed a frivolous defamation suit against the Washington City Paper ("WCP") based upon an article "The Cranky Redskins Fan's Guide to Dan Snyder."

Snyder accuses the WCP of spreading "lies, half-truths, innuendo, and anti-Semitic imagery" to defame him, seeking $2 million in damages.  The amount is split between two claims, the first for defamation and the second for false light.  The "anti-semitic imagery" he complains of is a crude addition of horns, a unibrow and Anton LaVey-esque goatee to Snyder's photograph in the WCP, which can be seen here.

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First Amendment Alert! Author arrested for writing a book

I'm the first to admit that Phillip Greaves is not the most sympathetic figure in America. Greaves wrote "The Pedophile's Guide," which was originally for sale on Amazon.com before the online retailer bowed to public pressure and pulled the book from its online shelves.

I don't necessarily have a problem with that.

But, I have a big problem with today's developments. The Orlando Sentinel reports that Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd had Mr. Greaves arrested in Pueblo, Colorado on obscenity charges.

Lets remember that Grady Judd's jurisdiction is home to meth labs, cops who diddle children, and a pretty high incest rate.

Despite the "real crime" in his jurisdiction, Judd instructed his detectives to request an autographed copy of the book. Mr. Greaves obliged and Judd used that as his justification for having Greaves indicted on obscenity charges in his little caliphate of inbred-methistan.

Greaves told ABC News last month he wasn't trying to promote pedophilia and was not himself a pedophile: "I'm not saying I want them around children, I'm saying if they're there, that's how I want them to [behave]." (source)

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Indian Court Rules Against Blanket Prohibition on Sexually Themed Websites

An Indian NGO filed a petition before the Bombay High Court seeking a blanket prohibition on websites that display any "material pertaining to sex." The justification for the proposed ban was that this material "is harmful to the youth of this country in their formative years." (Op. at 1).

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Could a National Anti SLAPP Law be on the Horizon?

Congressman Steve Cohen, D-TN is our First Amendment Bad Ass of the week.

Mr. Cohen introduced The Citizen Participation Act, a federal anti-slapp bill. The bill describes its purpose as follows:

To protect first amendment rights of petition and free speech by preventing States and the United States from allowing meritless lawsuits arising from acts in furtherance of those rights, commonly called ‘‘SLAPPs’’, and for other purposes.

It is about time.

SLAPP suits are all-too common and are a scourge on our legal landscape. Personally, they have been good for me, as I earn a significant income by defending these kinds of suits, but as much as I love money, I love free speech more (and I'm sure that I could sell that time elsewhere). A SLAPP suit is a "Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation." In other words, it is a lawsuit that some hosebag files against a critic -- not because he hopes to win anything, but because the mere filing of the suit is punishment enough for the critic. Lawsuits are expensive, and when a rich douchebag has plenty of money to spend on attorneys's fees, he can afford to sue a couple of critics, thus scaring the bejesus out of anyone else who might criticize him.

The Public Participation Project had this to say about SLAPPS:

Regardless of who is speaking and who is suing, everyone is losing when SLAPPs are allowed to continue. These meritless lawsuits clog the courts, waste resources and contribute to a general culture of litigousness. Instead of answering speech with speech, SLAPP filers answer speech with subpoenas and spurious claims.

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Avast! The Pirate Bay's Intellectual Property's Been Boarded!

If you haven't heard of The Pirate Bay by now, you may want to emerge from that cave, wipe the sleepies from your eyes, and start getting caught up on your backed up WIRED magazines in the bathroom. The Pirate Bay (TPB) is a website run by a few Swedish intellectual property anarchists. TPB provides a comprehensive indexing service for BitTorrent files.

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Former Rep Ted Klaudt claims "common law copyright" in his name to try and suppress news stories about him raping his kids

We sure do see a lot of intellectual property abuse around here. This has to be the best one yet. Former South Dakota State Representative Ted Klaudt claims that he has a "common law copyright" in his name, and thus any news organization or other publication that uses his name must pay him a licensing fee of $500,000. (source)

It gets better.

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Barnes v. Yahoo: Section 230 Does Not Insulate Online Service Provider From Contractual Liability

This is an interesting Section 230 decision from the Ninth Circuit that clarifies one of the many possible lines between enjoying Section 230 protection and losing it, namely what kinds of legal claims treat an interactive computer services as a "publisher or speaker" within the meaning of the statute and what kinds do not.

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Orlando Police Chief v. The First Amendment

There aren't too many elected officials in Flori-duh that I respect. Orlando Police Chief Val Demings, used to be one of the select few. She hasn't done a perfect job, and had a particularly embarrassing incident in which her gun was stolen. Nevertheless, my general impression of her has been that she is competent and ethical.

Not anymore.

Val Demings vs. the First Amendment

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Hot News Case - The Dialogue Continues

The purpose of copyright is to "promote progress."  We achieve this promotion by giving authors a limited monopoly over their works so that they may profit from them. This is what is known as "the incentive theory."  If we give authors the incentive to create works, they will create more of them, thus adding ideas and expression to the marketplace.  On the other hand, we don't give copyright protection to mere facts.

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