Sam Bayard's blog

Texas Appeals Court Upholds Dismissal of Principal's Lawsuit Over Fake MySpace Page

Last week, the Fourth Court of Appeals in San Antonio, Texas upheld the trial court's dismissal of Clark High School vice-principal Anna Draker's lawsuit against two students and their parents over a fake MySpace profile. Benjamin Schreiber and Ryan Todd allegedly created a fake MySpace page for Draker in 2006, which contained her name, photo, place of employment, and explicit and graphic sexual references implying that she was a lesbian.

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Blogger Bullied Over Phrase "Branded Community"

Denise Howell at Lawgarithms points us in the direction of a recent legal threat that goes right to the intersection of trademark law and freedom of speech.

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Online News Site Challenges Secret Court Proceedings

Last Wednesday, the Newspaper Tree, an online news site out of El Paso, Texas, which focuses on business, politics, and culture in the region, filed a motion objecting to an El Paso federal court's sealing of plea hearings and court documents in the pre-trial phases of a large public corruption prosecution.

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Blogger and Maryland Police Chief Settle Defamation Lawsuit

Last week, Salisbury, Maryland Police Chief Allan Webster and Joe Albero, operator of the Salisbury News blog, reached a settlement in Webster's defamation and false light lawsuit, just hours before the case was scheduled for trial.

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Berkman Cyberlaw Clinic, EFF, and Net Law Luminaries File Amicus Brief in Lori Drew Case

We've posted before (here and here) on the tragic Megan Meier suicide case, in which a 13-year-old neighbor of Lori Drew committed suicide in October 2006 after a "boy" she met on MySpace abruptly turned on her and ended their "relationship." In

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Max Mosley's S&M Party Not A Matter of Legitimate Public Concern, Says English Court

Admittedly, Max Mosley's lawsuit against an English tabloid is not the heartland of citizen media, but who can resist posting about a story that involves "sadomasochistic orgies, car racing, and Nazis," as Bill McGeveran puts it.  Mosley, the head of the governing body for Formula One racing, sued the News of the World for reporting in March 2008 that he organized a “sick Nazi orgy” with five prostitute

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Appeals Court Strikes Down the Child Online Protection Act (Again)

Yesterday, the Third Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed a lower court decision ruling that the Child Online Protection Act (COPA) violates the First Amendment.  COPA makes it a crime to knowingly post sexually explicit material that is "harmful to minors” on the web  “for commercial purposes.” Although Congress apparently intended that COPA app

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More Trademark Goodness From Bill McGeveran

Bill McGeveran, our good friend from University of Minnesota Law School, recently posted on SSRN a new article about the practical and procedural problems associated with trademark fair use and other free-expression-related defenses to a trademark claim.

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Center for Social Media Launches Its Code of Best Practices in Fair Use for Online Video

Today, the Center for Social Media at American University released its Code of Best Practices in Fair Use for Online Video, a publication meant to help online video creators, service providers, and copyright holders to interpret the copyright doctrine of fair use.

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Citing CDA 230, Court Dismisses Defamation Suit Against Wikimedia Foundation

News reports (here, here) indicate that New Jersey Superior Court Judge Jamie S. Perri dismissed Barbara Bauer's defamation lawsuit against the Wikimedia Foundation yesterday.

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Judge Says Former Congressman Can Get Names of Anonymous Posters from LoHud.com

LoHud.com, an online news site operated by The Journal News that focuses on New York's Lower Hudson Valley, reported on Friday that a Westchester County judge has ruled that it must turn over the names of three pseudonymous posters to former House Representative Richard Ottinger and his wife, June Ottinger.

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More on Prince, Bootlegging, and Copyright Protection for Live Performances

All right copyright geeks, it's time to do some more hypothesizing on the Prince/Radiohead/YouTube flap I blogged about in my previous post, Prince, Radiohead, and the Bootlegging Provision of the Copyright Act. Readers posted great comments that merit some elaboration in this post. The idea here is not to provide any sure answers (because I don't have them), but to raise some questions for further discussion.

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Appeals Court Rejects Trademark Claims Against Parody Website

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The (Proposed) Megan Meier Cyberbullying Prevention Act Is Crazy

In a twist on the old adage "hard cases make bad law," Representatives Linda Sanchez (D-CA) and Kenny Hulshof (R-MO) introduced a bill (H.R. 6123) in the House on May 22 which, if passed, would be known as the Megan Meier Cyberbullying Prevention Act.

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EFF Asks Court to Protect Anonymity of Fake-Profile Creator

Larry Dominick, the Town President of Cicero, Illinois, is seeking information from MySpace about an anonymous user who set up fake profiles for him on the social networking site. He filed a petition in Illinois state court, seeking permission to issue interrogatories and document requests to MySpace about the user's identity.

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Prince, Radiohead, and the Bootlegging Provision of the Copyright Act

Prince is at it again. We've covered his legal antics before -- his lawyers went after a number of fan sites last November, and Universal Music sent a takedown notice to YouTube last June over a video of a toddler dancing with "Let's Go Crazy" playing in the background.

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Singaporean Company Claims Patent to Image-Based Linking: Patent Busting Needed!

Vuestar, a patent-holding company from Singapore that describes itself as "the Pioneer of visual search," is asserting patent rights in the technology that enables websites to link to other webpages using an image rather than text. According to Ars Technica, the firm recently has been sending invoices to companies that it believes are using its patented technology.

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Consumer Advocate's Free Speech Rights Upheld in UDRP Trademark Proceeding

Back in 2006, Robert Arkow, a self-styled consumer advocate who played a role in establishing the California (and then federal) Do Not Call lists, created a website at "metrolinkriders.com." The site hosts a forum for users and employees of Metrolink, the local commuter railway service in southern California, to comment upon Metrolink's services and policies. A small group of readers frequent the site, contributing on topics like possible fare increases and customer service issues.

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