Legal Threats Blog

Gossip Site Perezhilton.com Temporarily Shutdown Due to Copyright Claims

CNN is reporting (via the Associated Press) that Internet gossip columnist Perez Hilton's site was shut down for several hours after his hosting company received complaints that the site contained copyrighted photos of celebrities. According to CNN:

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Teen Arrested for Videotaping Police

An 18 year-old from Carlisle, Pennsylvania has been charged with a felony under Pennsylvania's wiretap statute -- for videotaping a police officer during a traffic stop.

Brian D. Kelly didn't think he was doing anything illegal when he used his videocamera to record a Carlisle police officer during a traffic stop. Making movies is one of his hobbies, he said, and the stop was just another interesting event to film. [...] Kelly, 18, of Carlisle, was arrested on a felony wiretapping charge, with a penalty of up to 7 years in state prison. [...] Kelly is charged under a state law that bars the intentional interception or recording of anyone's oral conversation without their consent.

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Lawyer Threatens Suit Over Online Review (of Him)

Seattle Post-Intelligencer: Avvo's attorney rating system draws fire. Setting up an online rating system that attempts to rank the best and worst attorneys, is kind of like dipping your toes in shark-infested waters. Sooner or later, you are bound to get bitten. That's the situation facing Avvo, the heavily funded Seattle startup that just four days ago unveiled a controversial Internet site that ranks lawyers on a scale of one ("extreme caution") to 10 ("superb").

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N.C. Publisher Charged With Trespass For Refusing To Leave Closed Meeting

Tom Boney, publisher of the Alamance News, a weekly newspaper in Graham, N.C., was arrested and charged with trespass after refusing to leave the Burlington-Alamance Regional Airport Authority's monthly meeting.  According to the Burlington Times-News, Boney refused to leave the meeting after the airport authority voted to hold a private meeting to discuss a possible economic development project at the airport. 

Under North Carolina's Meetings of Public Bodies Act, all official meetings of public bodies are presumed to be open to the public.  The law permits closure only under nine enumerated circumstances.  It is unclear whether the airport authority met any of these conditions when it closed the meeting.  Even the sheriff who arrested Boney commented that he respects him for sticking to his convictions. "He's got a valid point about having access to public meetings," the sheriff told the Burlington Times-News.

Boney, who has long campaigned for open government meetings, is scheduled to appear in court on June 25 to address the misdemeanor trespassing charge.

UPDATE: The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press reported that the district attorney's office dismissed the charge on July 20, 2007, saying the incident between Boney and the authority was a "civil matter."

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N.C. Publisher Charged With Trespass For Refusing To Leave Closed Meeting

Tom Boney, publisher of the Alamance News, a weekly newspaper in Graham, N.C., was arrested and charged with trespass after refusing to leave the Burlington-Alamance Regional Airport Authority's monthly meeting.  According to the Burlington Times-News, Boney refused to leave the meeting after the airport authority voted to hold a private meeting to discuss a possible economic development project at the airport. 

Under North Carolina's Meetings of Public Bodies Act, all official meetings of public bodies are presumed to be open to the public.  The law permits closure only under nine enumerated circumstances.  It is unclear whether the airport authority met any of these conditions when it closed the meeting.  Even the sheriff who arrested Boney commented that he respects him for sticking to his convictions. "He's got a valid point about having access to public meetings," the sheriff told the Burlington Times-News.

Boney, who has long campaigned for open government meetings, is scheduled to appear in court on June 25 to address the misdemeanor trespassing charge.

UPDATE: The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press reported that the district attorney's office dismissed the charge on July 20, 2007, saying the incident between Boney and the authority was a "civil matter."

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Islamic Society of Boston Drops Libel Suit

The Islamic Society of Boston has dropped its lawsuit against 16 defendants - including The Boston Herald and Fox 25-TV - for allegedly defaming the organization by linking it to terrorist groups.  According to the Boston Globe:

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Court Refuses to Enjoin School From Suspending Student Over YouTube Video

A federal district court judge in Seattle recently denied a student's motion for a preliminary injunction challenging his high school's decision to suspend him for posting on YouTube a video presenting his teacher in an unflattering light. This case raises a whole host of fascinating First Amendment issues concerning student free speech rights in the electronic age.

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