Citizen Journalism

Peter Senese v Karl Hindle

Date: 

12/20/2010

Threat Type: 

Lawsuit

Party Receiving Legal Threat: 

Karl Hindle

Type of Party: 

Individual

Type of Party: 

Individual

Court Type: 

State

Court Name: 

Supreme Court of New York, Kings County Brooklyn

Case Number: 

30200/10

Verdict or Settlement Amount: 

$5,000,000.00

Legal Counsel: 

n/a

Publication Medium: 

Blog

Status: 

Pending

Disposition: 

Injunction Issued

Description: 

The current lawsuit was filed in NY on Dec 13 2010, and Hindle filed a motion to dismiss for lack of jurisdiction. The court returned the motion claiming it had been improperly filed and issued a default judgment on December 20, 2010 including a removal order for the posts concerning Senese.

The matter is still pending.

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CMLP Notes: 

Content moderated by JH (7/11/11):

Peter Senese is a convicted fraudster with multiple convictions for
theft and fraud.
In 2009, he approached the defendant, Karl Hindle - a left-behind
parent of a child abducted from the UK and a writer and activist on
child abduction issues. Senese held himself out as "Peter Thomas", a
wealthy philanthropist who had himself recovered his abducted son from
Macau where he had been sold to a pedophile ring.
Senese offered to assist Hindle with his legal case to recover his
daughter. Further, Senese sought to engage Hindle as lead
writer/researcher for an upcoming documentary and movie on Chasing the
Cyclone, based on a Senese/Thomas' book of the same name.
Within a few days, Hindle discovered Senese's real name and the string
of criminal convictions as well as numerous sources outlining scams by
Senese, including film-making and publishing scams.
Hindle alerted left-behind parents through posts and video posts on his
blog. In May 2010, the St Petersburg Times and Miami Herald ran stories
on Senese given his involvement in child abduction legislation in
Florida. Hindle ran posts and video outlining these articles and
republished them along with materials confirming Senese's criminal
past, including confirmation of jail time for check fraud in California
and healthcare insurance fraud in New York.
Senese, a resident of California, filed in May 2010 in NY for a
restraining order, but Hindle was never served. The lawsuit was
withdrawn. 

http://www.tampabay.com/news/article1096407.ece 

An Ounce of Prevention: Protecting yourself against online retaliation

Last week I discussed recent news stories highlighting the dangers of online retaliation. At worst, this form of retaliation chills speech and threatens critical reporting.

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Logging In and Lashing Out: 'Crowdsourced retaliation' presents new challenges to journalists

Critics have always run the risk of retaliation. They have not, however, always run the risk of having their personal phone number micro-blogged to over 115,000 people in a split second.

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Eric Robinson and Reporter Ron Sylvester Discuss Social Media in the Courtroom on Lawyer2Laywer

CMLP contributor Eric P.

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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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Recording Police and Defining 'Plain Sight'

As bicyclist Eli Damon tells the story, a police officer pulled him over on March 20 as he rode his bike in Hadley, Massachusetts.

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Paving Hell: ACTA Encourages Oppression from Friend and Foe Alike

The drafting of the Anti-Counterfeit Trade Agreement (ACTA) isn’t going so well.

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O'Malley v. Liner

Date: 

02/22/2010

Threat Type: 

Denial of Access

Party Receiving Legal Threat: 

Jay Liner

Type of Party: 

Government

Type of Party: 

Organization

Court Type: 

State

Court Name: 

Maryland Circuit Court for Anne Arundel County

Case Number: 

02C10149414

Legal Counsel: 

Howard E. Goldman, Rochlin & Goldman, P.A.; Eric B. Easton, University of Baltimore School of Law

Publication Medium: 

Blog

Relevant Documents: 

Status: 

Pending

Description: 

Blogger Jay Liner of the Baltimore Organ sought a press pass to cover the Maryland state legislature, but was denied. He then filed a lawsuit, claiming that the denial violated his First Amendment rights.

Liner, a former Baltimore County Attorney who writes on various topics including politics, sought a press pass from Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley's press office so that he could interview legislators throughout the 2010 legislative session.  The press credentials allow their holder to bypass security and to enter the floors of both legislative houses.

According to an aide to State Senator James Brochin, who assisted Liner in applying for credentials via the state's interim process currently in effect, the Governor's press office denied the application on several grounds, including that the Baltimore Organ has "no original content regarding state government."

Liner then filed a lawsuit against Governor O'Malley on February 22, 2010, arguing that the press office's denial of his credentials, along with the state's failure establish an orderly and public procedure for obtaining credentials, violate the First and Fourteenth Amendments of the U.S. Constitution. The lawsuit seeks a writ of mandamus requiring the Governor's office to issue the press pass.

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Threat Source: 

MLRC

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The Persian Version: Why Support for ACTA Undermines U.S. Promotion of Internet Freedom

"To know and not to know, to be conscious of complete truthfulness while telling carefully constructed lies, to hold simultaneously two opinions which cancelled out, knowing them to be contradictory and believing in both of them, to use logic against logic, to repudiate morality while laying claim to it . . ." –Definition of Doublethink from 1984, George Orwell

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Why Are Bloggers Still Sitting at the Kids' Table? The Popularity of Online News and the Federal Shield Law

Well, it turns out this whole Internet thing is getting pretty popular. According to the Pew Internet and American Life Project, more Americans now get their news from the Internet than from old-fashioned newspapers.

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Fortress Iceland? Probably Not.

Today, the Icelandic Modern Media Initiative ("IMMI") will file a final proposal to the Icelandic parliament to update that nation's journalism laws into a reporter's dream.  But frankly, I'm pretty sure it won't be much help to journalists around the world.

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Olympic Athletes Can Tweet to Their Hearts' Content

Rejoice, all ye Olympian fans, the International Olympic Committee ("IOC") has said that its athletes can use Twitter!

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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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Wikileaks Needs Financial Help

I have a pet theory that perfect informational transparency would make the world a more civil place.  Sure, it might be embarrassing to reveal our personal secrets and foibles to the world, but the tradeoff would be that you'd know when someone was talking out of both sides of their mouth.  In such a world, maybe that senator wouldn't be quite so holier-than-thou when the public knows about his penchant for underage prosti

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The Free Citizen as a Nuisance

"I'm willing to admit that the policeman has a difficult job, a very hard job. But it's the essence of our society that the policeman's job should be hard. He's there to protect, protect the free citizen, not to chase criminals, that's an incidental part of his job. The free citizen is always more of a nuisance to the policeman than the criminal. He knows what to do about the criminal." - Orson Welles

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Is There a Mini Constitution in Sky Mall? How the TSA Forgets Citizens' Rights

In recent years, the American public seems to have fallen under the impression that providers and regulators of airline travel have extra-legal powers. These fictional powers typically mean that passengers can be treated like cattle.

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United States v Indymedia.us

Date: 

01/23/2009

Threat Type: 

Subpoena

Party Receiving Legal Threat: 

Kristina Clair

Type of Party: 

Government

Type of Party: 

Individual

Court Type: 

Federal

Court Name: 

United States District Court for the District of Indiana

Case Number: 

09-01-DLP-15-10

Verdict or Settlement Amount: 

$0.00

Legal Counsel: 

Kevin Bankston - Electronic Frontier Foundation

Publication Medium: 

Website

Relevant Documents: 

Status: 

Concluded

Disposition: 

Withdrawn

Description: 

In January 2009, Kristina Clair received a grand jury subpoena issued upon application of the United States Attorney for the District of Indiana, Timothy M. Morrison. Ms. Clair is a Linux administrator living in Philadelphia who provides free server space for Indymedia.us, an independent news aggregation site with a left-of-center activist orientation. 

The subpoena demanded "all IP traffic to and from www.indymedia.us" on June 25, 2008.  It instructed Ms. Clair to "include IP addresses, times, and any other identifying information," including email addresses, telephone numbers, records of session times and durations, physical addresses, registered accounts, and financial information.  The subpoena also prohibited Ms. Clair from disclosing "the existence of this request unless authorized by the Assistant U.S. Attorney." 

Ms. Clair contacted the Electronic Frontier Foundation, which agreed to represent her.  Kevin Bankston of EFF sent a letter to Doris L. Pryor, the Assistant United States Attorney on the case, explaining that Ms. Clair did not possess the information requested, objecting that the subpoena was not personally served on Ms. Clair, and arguing that disclosure of the requested information would require a court order under federal electronic privacy law.  Further, the letter pointed out that grand jury secrecy requirements do not reach witnesses or prospective witnesses, and therefore the government had no basis to restrain Ms. Clair's speech about the existence of the subpoena.

U.S. Attorney Morrison replied 12 days letter with a one sentence letter informing Bankston that the subpoena had been withdrawn.

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Citizen Media Law Project Launches Legal Assistance Network for Online Journalists

We are delighted to announce the public launch of the Berkman Center's Online Media Legal Network (OMLN), a new pro bono (i.e., free!) initiative that connects lawyers and law school clinics from across the country with online journalists and digital media creat

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