Blogs

1.8 Million Steps Forward in the Direction of a Comprehensive Public Case Law Archive

Public.Resource.Org and Fastcase, Inc. announced this week that they will make 1.8 million pages of federal case law, including all Courts of Appeals decisions from 1950 to the present and all Supreme Court decisions since 1754, available in a free public archive. The entire archive will be in the public domain and usable by anyone for any purpose.

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Citizen Media Law Podcast #4: Ciolli Dropped from AutoAdmit Suit; Libel Claim Against Perez Hilton Dismissed

This week, David Ardia talks about the lawsuit against AutoAdmit and Colin Rhinesmith speaks with Sam Bayard about a recent decision involving the celebrity blogger Perez Hilton.

Download the MP3 (time: 6:20)

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Ronson v. Lavandeira: Court Puts Smack Down on Libel Claim Against Perez Hilton

As anyone who follows the celebrity rags already knows, a California judge dealt a mortal blow to Samantha Ronson's libel suit againt litigation-magnet Mario Lavandeira (aka Perez Hilton) two weeks ago. Sadly, we've missed the scoop on this one, but I do have a copy of the transcript of the court's November 1st ruling. Surely the gossip hounds among you won't mind if I delve into the details a little.

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Snyder v. Phelps: Westboro Verdict Criticized as Unconstitutional

Following up on my earlier post about the $10.9 million jury verdict against Fred Phelps and the Westboro Baptist Church, I wanted to point our readers in the direction of some excellent commentary on the topic by Eugene Volokh at the Volokh Conspiracy.

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Assessment of California's Open Government Reform Initiatives for 2007

Last week, the California First Amendment Coalition published an assessment of several open government reform bills in California's 2007 legislative session. The report shows that while there were some victories, several important reform proposals failed in the legislature or died on the Governor's desk.

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Citizen Media Law Podcast #3: News Media Clampdown in Pakistan; Sam Bayard Interview on Internet Solutions v. Marshall

This week, David Ardia talks about threats to the Internet in Pakistan and Colin Rhinesmith speaks with Sam Bayard about a recent entry in our new legal threats database.

Download the MP3 (time: 7:30)

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Anthony Ciolli, Former Director of AutoAdmit, Dropped From Lawsuit

Yesterday, lawyers for two female Yale Law School students, captioned as Does I & II, filed an amended complaint dropping Anthony Ciolli as a defendant from the lawsuit they filed against a host of pseudonymous users of the popular law school admissions forum, AutoAdmit.

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Leveraging FOIA: Websites Shine a Bright Light on Government Records

Two new websites recently launched that give the public unprecedented access to government documents acquired through the federal Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and other public disclosure, or "sunshine," laws: GovernmentDocs.org and GovernmentAttic.org.

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Citizen Media Law Project Launches Legal Threats Database

We've finally finished building the interface for our Legal Threats Database, and I am excited to announce its public launch. If you would like to read our news release, you can find it here.

The database, which is funded by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, contains legal threats from 35 states and 9 countries, and it is growing daily. These threats range from copyright infringement lawsuits filed against bloggers to cease and desist letters claiming defamation sent to MySpace users.

Users of the interactive database can input new threat entries, comment on existing threats, and search the database in a number of ways, including by location, legal claim, publication medium, and content type. We've already been receiving a lot of interest in the database and expect that it will be useful to a wide range of people. As Sam Bayard noted yesterday, the database already contains a fascinating array of lawsuits, as well as more informal threats like cease-and-desist letters and emails.

We can't create this database alone, however, so we need your help to keep the information accurate and up to date. If you've been threatened with legal action as a result of your online activities or know of someone who has, please let us know by using our contact form or by entering the information directly into the database through our easy to use threat entry form.

The database is the product of a tremendous amount of work by CMLP staff and students, especially Sam Bayard, Jillian Button, Daniel Ostrach, David Russcol, Matt Sanchez, Daniel Ungar, and Stefani Wittenauer. Our website designer, Chris Wells from Redfin Solutions, has worked tirelessly on getting all of the functionality operating properly. A big public thank you to everyone who helped!

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Legal Threats Database Preview: Internet Solutions v. Marshall

Tomorrow we officially launch our Legal Threats Database, a catalog of the growing number of lawsuits, cease-and-desist letters, and other legal challenges faced by those engaging in online speech. As many of our readers are no doubt aware, the individual threat entries have been available for some time, but starting tomorrow users will be able to view the entire database and search the entries using a number of fields, including location, legal claim, publication medium, and content type.

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Musharraf Uses Press Licensing Laws to Clampdown on News Media in Pakistan

Reports are emerging from Pakistan that President Pervez Musharraf has shutdown independent news media within Pakistan and limited access to the Internet. Musharraf appears to be using, at least in part, Pakistan's press licensing laws to effectuate this clampdown.

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Fox News Upbraided for Anti Fair Use Stance in Political Video

Talking Points Memo: Right-Wing Bloggers Launch Campaign -- With MoveOn! -- Against Fox News Over Debate Footage. A coalition of right-wing bloggers and MoveOn that helped force several networks to allow public use of their political debate footage last spring has just launched a similar campaign against Fox News.

Good for all of them. Fox News' position is untenable from almost any point of reference.

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Jury Awards $10.9 Million Against "God Hates Fags" Church

On Wednesday, a federal jury in Maryland handed down a $10.9 million verdict against the Westboro Baptist Church, a fundamentalist Christian church in Kansas that publishes a website at www.godhatesfags.com, on which it disseminates its rabidly anti-homosexual views. Among other things, the church advocates the view that God kills U.S. soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan as punishment for America's tolerance of homosexuality and for the presence of gays in the U.S. military.

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Citizen Media Law Podcast #2: Legal Threats Database; Orthomom Defamation Action; Iranian Blogger Sued in Canada

This week, David Ardia previews our legal threats database, Colin Rhinesmith talks about a recent decision on First Amendment protections for anonymous bloggers, and Sam Bayard spotlights a defamation suit involving an Iranian blogger in Canada.

Download the MP3 (time: 9:30)

Music used in this podcast was sampled and remixed from a track titled "Jazz House" by the Wicked Allstars, available on Magnatune.

To subscribe to the Citizen Media Law Podcast, visit our Subscriptions page or go directly to the podcast feed.

 

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Report Recommends Fair Use Principles for User Generated Video Content

Yesterday, the Electronic Frontier Foundation and a group of public interest groups dedicated to protecting free speech, including the Center for Social Media at American University and the Berkman Center for Internet & Society, published a report entitled "Fair Use Principles for User Generated Video

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Summary Judgment Granted in BidZirk v. Smith

I blogged about Orthomom's victory on Friday. Here's another big win for a blogger recently. Last Monday, the United States District Court for the District of South Carolina granted summary judgment to Philip Smith in the lawsuit brought against him by BidZirk, LLC, Daniel Schmidt, and Jill Patterson.

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