Subpoenas

Vinogradov v. Bozeman Daily Chronicle

Date: 

05/26/2009

Threat Type: 

Subpoena

Party Receiving Legal Threat: 

Bozeman Daily Chronicle; Montana State University

Type of Party: 

Individual

Type of Party: 

Organization
School

Court Type: 

State

Court Name: 

Gallatin County District Court

Case Number: 

DV-03-49

Legal Counsel: 

Mike Meloy

Publication Medium: 

Website

Relevant Documents: 

Status: 

Pending

Description: 

Aleksandra Vinogradov, a professor at Montana State University, subpoenaed the Bozeman Daily Chronicle for information concerning comments made on the Chronicle's website in connection with two articles published in March and April 2009 regarding the trial in Vinogradov's gender discrimination suit against her employer, Montana State University.

Vinogradov sought this information to support a request for a new trial in her discrimination lawsuit against MSU, which ended in a jury verdict against her in April 2009. Her attorneys argued that one of the commenters to the April 2009 article who posted under the pseudonym “mbcomstock” was Brandon Comstock, one of the jurors in the case. The comment in question read: "Note that this was the third time this same woman has sued the university for discrimination, and her third loss. Maybe, just maybe, instead of everybody else being conspiring liars hiding a ‘big dirty secret,’ the problem is really her." In a May 2009 hearing, Comstock testified that he was not the author of the comment, but acknowledged that his father might have written it.

Vinogradov claimed this post proved the jury was improperly informed of her prior suits against MSU. She moved for a new trial based on jury misconduct and served a subpoena on the newspaper requesting that the Chronicle turn over:

"1) copies of all postings made to the Chronicle's website or blog relating to the two articles; 2) the names and identities off [sic] persons and organizations that posted such comments; 3) the IP addresses associated with each comment posted; 4) the IP addresses associated with each viewer of the two articles during the period of March 23, 2009 to April 3, 2009; 5) all computer logs generated in connection with the two articles; and 6) any and all e-mail communications and other written communications that the Chronicle and its website, its agents and its employees have received or sent on or after March 23, 2009 relating to the two articles." 
Ruling at 2. In addition, Vinogradov filed an emergency motion to perpetuate testimony pending appeal, so that information on the posting could be considered with her request for a new trial. 

On June 3, 2009, the Chronicle opposed Vinogradov's motions, arguing that the information and documents she sought "are protected under Montana's Media Confidentiality Act, specifically  26-1-902, MCA." Ruling at 3. The next day, MSU also opposed Vinogradov's motion to perpetuate, arguing that "the information she seeks is not relevant to the jury misconduct issue" and therefore did not satisfy procedural requirements. Id

On June 5, 2009, the court denied Vinogradov's motion to perpetuate testimony pending appeal on procedural grounds. The court did not address the newspaper's shield law argument or rule on its motion to quash the subpoena.  Later in June, the court denied Vinogradov's motion for a new trial. 

Vinogradov reportedly will appeal this result. 

Content Type: 

Subject Area: 

Priority: 

1-High

CMLP Notes: 

AVM-Nothing on WL as of 6/25/09

AVM- Nothing on WL as of 7/8/09

AVM - updated 7/16/09 - added link on judge denying mistrial

CMF - 7/21/09

Jurisdiction: 

Tanner Friedman v. Doe

Date: 

05/27/2009

Threat Type: 

Lawsuit

Party Receiving Legal Threat: 

John Doe

Type of Party: 

Organization

Type of Party: 

Individual

Court Type: 

Federal

Court Name: 

United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan

Case Number: 

2:09-cv-12017

Publication Medium: 

Micro-blog

Relevant Documents: 

Status: 

Pending

Disposition: 

Material Removed
Subpoena Enforced

Description: 

TFSC, LLC, a public relations firms doing business as Tanner Friedman, is suing an unknown Twitter user in a Detroit federal district court seeking injunctive relief and damages arising out of his use of the Twitter account "tannerfriedman."  Tanner Friedman, in its complaint, alleges that "tannerfriedman" posted "false and defamatory statement[s] regarding Tanner Friedman on the Twitter website using the hijacked name."  (Compl. ¶ 14.)  Tanner Friedman also alleges that "tannerfriedman" posted tweets by legitimate Tanner Friedman employees to "mislead Twitter users that it was Plaintiff who was posting these tweets and to impugn its reputation."  (Compl. ¶ 17.). 

Besides defamation, the complaint includes claims for violation of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (18 U.S.C. § 1030), unfair competiton under federal and state law, trademark infringement under federal and state law, cyberpiracy, and intentional interference with contractual or business relations.

After filing suit, Tanner Friedman moved the court for permission to subpoena Twitter for identifying information about the unknown user.  The court granted the motion, which was unopposed. According to The Detroit News, John Doe was traced to a computer at a rival firm. 

According to its blog, this tweet, and CBS-affiliated WWJ Newsradio, Tanner Friedman has now gained possession of the "tannerfriedman" Twitter alias.

Content Type: 

Subject Area: 

Priority: 

1-High

CMLP Notes: 

06/30/2009 - LB editing

Jurisdiction: 

Blixseth v. Bresnan Communications

Threat Type: 

Lawsuit

Date: 

02/13/2009

Party Receiving Legal Threat: 

Bresnan Communications; Does 1-100

Type of Party: 

Individual

Type of Party: 

Individual
Organization
Intermediary

Court Type: 

Federal

Court Name: 

United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts

Case Number: 

1:09-cv-10219

Legal Counsel: 

John D. Seiver - Davis Wright Tremaine LLP

Publication Medium: 

Website

Relevant Documents: 

Status: 

Pending

Disposition: 

Material Removed
Subpoena Quashed

Description: 

On February 13, 2009, Tim Blixseth, a real estate developer and shareholder in the bankrupt Montana ski resort Yellowstone Club, filed a complaint in Massachusets federal court against Bresnan Communications, a New York-based ISP, and 100 unnamed defendants.  The complaint sought a declaratory judgment that Blixseth was entitled to obtain from Bresnan Communications the identity of one of its subscribers, an anonymous commenter to the NewWest.net website going by the moniker "Sharkbait."

Blixseth alleged that Sharkbait made a death threat against him in the comments section to an NewWest article on the Yellowstone Club bankruptcy. Counsel for Blixseth contacted NewWest shortly after the alleged death threat was posted, and the site's publisher agreed to remove the comment and disclose Sharkbait's IP address.

The same day the complaint was filed, Blixseth served a subpoena on Bresnan Communications requesting that it provide identifying information for Sharkbait's IP address.  Counsel for Bresnan Communications objected to the subpoena, citing federal law prohibiting cable operators from divulging customer information without a court order and notice to the subscriber.

Blixseth then filed an emergency motion seeking an order requiring Bresnan Communications to turn over the requested information and a motion to seal.  The district court subsequently denied both motions.  There has been no activity on the docket since mid-February 2009.

Subject Area: 

Content Type: 

Priority: 

1-High

Jurisdiction: 

CMLP Notes: 

Source: NewWest.net

 

KAI 6/5/09

Threat Source: 

Blog Post

First Cash Financial Services v. Doe

Date: 

08/19/2002

Threat Type: 

Lawsuit

Party Receiving Legal Threat: 

John Doe, aka knowfcfs

Type of Party: 

Organization

Type of Party: 

Individual

Court Type: 

State

Court Name: 

Tarrant County (Texas) District Court; Superior Court of California, Santa Clara County

Case Number: 

No. 96 19455202 (Texas); 1-03-CV-002135 (California)

Legal Counsel: 

Mark Goldowitz - California Anti-SLAPP Project; Cindy A. Cohn - Electronic Frontier Foundation

Publication Medium: 

Forum

Relevant Documents: 

Status: 

Concluded

Disposition: 

Subpoena Enforced

Description: 

First Cash Financial Services, a Texas-based company operating a chain of pawn shops and cash checking services, sued a John Doe defendant in Texas state court.  The complaint alleged breach of contract arsing out of critical statements about the firm's accounting practices posted to Fast Cash's Yahoo! Finance message board

After obtaining permission of the Texas court, First Cash asked a California state court to issue a subpoena requiring Yahoo to provide identifying information for the anonymous poster.  A clerk of the court issued the subpoena, and the anonymous poster filed a special motion to strike the action (including the subpoena) under California's anti-SLAPP statute.  According to EFF, the California court denied the motion to strike, presumably allowing the subpoena to be enforced.

The CMLP was not able to find any information about what happened to the case upon its return to Texas state court. 

Content Type: 

Priority: 

1-High

Jurisdiction: 

Subject Area: 

Virginia Blogger Invokes Reporter's Privilege to Challenge Subpoena Seeking Anonymous Commenters

Waldo Jacquith, the Virginia blogger targeted with an outrageously broad subpoena back in January (see my previous post), filed a brief last week arguing that he should not be required to turn over the IP addresses of those who viewed and commented on an article posted to his blog, as well as his email correspondence relating to the article.  Paul Alan Levy of

Subject Area: 

Jurisdiction: 

Chicago Developer Shovels Out Subpoenas by the Bucketful Over Wilson Yard Redevelopment

We are still trying to get to the bottom of this one, but it appears that a real estate developer in Chicago has subpoenaed information from four websites that have criticized efforts to redevelop Wilson Yard in downtown Chicago.  The redevelopment work is the subject of a lawsuit filed in Decembe

Subject Area: 

Jurisdiction: 

Virginia Blogger Targeted With Outrageous Subpoena

In perhaps the most blatant misuse of the subpoena power we've seen since the subpoena served on Kathleen Seidel of Neurodiversity last March, a lawyer for Thomas Garrett of Virginia has served a patently overbroad subpoena on blogger Waldo Jaquith, who publishes cvillenews.com, a community news blog about Charlottesville, Virginia. 

Subject Area: 

Jurisdiction: 

Garrett v. Jaquith

Date: 

01/01/2009

Threat Type: 

Subpoena

Party Receiving Legal Threat: 

Waldo Jaquith

Type of Party: 

Individual

Type of Party: 

Individual

Court Type: 

State

Court Name: 

Circuit Court for the County of Buckingham, Virginia

Case Number: 

CL08000197-00

Legal Counsel: 

Waldo Jacquith (Pro Se, Initially); Paul Levy - Public Citizen; Josh Wheeler - Thomas Jefferson Center for the Protection of Free Expression; Rebecca Glenberg - Virginia ACLU

Publication Medium: 

Blog

Relevant Documents: 

Status: 

Concluded

Disposition: 

Withdrawn

Description: 

In January 2009, Thomas Garrett, a Virginia chicken farmer, publicist, and self-proclaimed "Hollywood insider," subpoenaed blogger Waldo Jaquith, who publishes cvillenews.com, a community news blog about Charlottesville, Virginia.  Garrett's lawyer served the subpoena in connection with his defamation lawsuit against The Hook, a weekly newspaper in Charlottesville that also publishes content on its website.  For details on the lawsuit, see our related database entry, Garrett v. The Hook.

Jaquith blogged about the Garrett-Hook lawsuit on December 23, 2008.  His post, entitled "The Hook Sued For Defamation," gave background on the lawsuit, quoted Hook editor Hawes Spencer's comments on it, and explained the elements of a defamation claim.  He also made some critical comments about Garrett: 

I can sympathize with The Hook in their continued coverage of him. In writing this blog entry this afternoon, it’s impossible to ignore the really sketchy aspects about this guy. Seriously, look at this magazine that he claims to have been on the cover of. This was obviously patched together in Microsoft Paint. It just screams “bad photoshop job.” (The fact that the magazine doesn’t seem to exist doesn’t help any.) Then there’s his PR firm’s website, hosted on Angelfire. Remember them? The free website hosting service from the mid-90s? Used primary to host webpages for middle school girls professing their love for boy bands? That’s where his company’s website is, at the address http://www.angelfire.com/film/tgj/. Though the site claims to be at garretticonspr.com, that domain is unregistered. In short, Garrett looks like a train wreck in slow motion, and I get that The Hook is just watching and waiting for his big finish.

As a result of this post, Garrett's attorney served Jaquith with a subpoena as part of discovery in his lawsuit against The Hook.  Among other things, the subpoena requests the names and/or IP addresses for everyone who posted a comment to Jaquith's December 23 post.  (As of January 29, there were 81 comments to the post.)  It also seeks IP addresses for every viewer of the post and all logs generated in connection with it. Beyond that, it asks Jaquith for every email or written communication he has sent or received relating to the post or Thomas Garrett, as well as any post, comment, or other writing Jacquith has made on other sites.

The return date on the subpoena is February 2, 2009.  Jaquith has indicated that hiring a lawyer to quash the subpoena is beyond his budget, but he plans to fight the subpoena, acting as his own attorney.

Update:

01/31/2009 - Waldo Jaquith filed a motion to quash the subpoena.

02/13/2009 - Garrett filed a motion to compel compliance with the subpoena.

03/05/2009 - Waldo Jacquith filed a memorandum in opposition to the motion to compel.

5/22/09 - Waldo Jacquith reported that Garrett settled his lawsuit with The Hook, obviating the need to comply with the subpoena.

Content Type: 

Subject Area: 

Jurisdiction: 

Citadel Security Software v Does 1-5

Threat Type: 

Lawsuit

Date: 

03/16/2005

Party Receiving Legal Threat: 

John Does 1 - 5

Type of Party: 

Organization

Type of Party: 

Individual

Court Type: 

State

Court Name: 

District Court of Collin County, Texas

Case Number: 

416-00886-05

Legal Counsel: 

Paul Alan Levy, Allison M. Zieve - Public Citizen Litigation Group (for onlymybusiness99)

Publication Medium: 

Forum

Relevant Documents: 

Status: 

Pending

Disposition: 

Dismissed (partial)

Description: 

Citadel Security Software (CDSS), a company that provides "enterprise vulnerability management solutions," sued five "John Doe" defendants who criticized CDSS on a Yahoo! Finance message board focused to the company. On March 16, 2005, CDSS sued the five anonymous posters for defamation and business disparagement and subpoenaed Yahoo! to get the identity of the posters.

On April 4, 2005, one of the users of the message board, "onlymybusiness99," filed a motion to quash the subpoena.  In his motion he argued that there is neither allegation nor evidence that the speakers committed any legal wrong, and because in any event the case was improperly filed in Texas against and he or she lives in Minnesota.

On May 3, 2005, CDSS voluntarily dismissed it's claims against "onlymybusiness99" before the court had a chance to issue a decision on the motion to quash.

As of October 17, 2008, there has been no further action in the case.

Subject Area: 

Content Type: 

Priority: 

2-Normal

Jurisdiction: 

CMLP Notes: 

Docket is available on Westlaw

Threat Source: 

CyberSLAPP.org

Rocker Management v. Does 1-20

Threat Type: 

Lawsuit

Date: 

08/20/2002

Party Receiving Legal Threat: 

John Does 1-20

Type of Party: 

Organization

Type of Party: 

Individual

Court Type: 

Federal

Court Name: 

United States District Court for District of New Jersey; United States District Court for the Northern District of California

Case Number: 

2:02-cv-04081 (New Jersey); 3:03-mc-00033 (Northern District of California)

Legal Counsel: 

Solomon Robert Wollack (for harry3866); Olubukola O. Adetula (for Does 1-20)

Publication Medium: 

Forum

Relevant Documents: 

Status: 

Concluded

Disposition: 

Subpoena Quashed
Withdrawn

Description: 

Investment management firm Rocker Management LLC filed a defamation suit against 20 anonymous posters who criticized Rocker Management and employee Marc Cohodoes on Yahoo! message boards.  According to court filings, the posts accused Cohodoes of threatening stock analysts, lying about stock information, and being under investigation by the SEC.  Rocker Management filed suit against the posters in New Jersey federal court, bringing claims of business libel and unlawful restraint of trade.

Rocker Management filed a subpoena against Yahoo! in California federal court seeking the identities of the anonymous posters.  One of the posters, known as "harry3866," filed a motion to quash the subpoena on April 4, 2003.  Harry3866 argued that Rocker Management could not show probable cause that he had defamed the company and further that his First Amendment right to speak anonymously required that the subpoena be quashed.

On May 29, 2003, the California court granted harry3866's motion to quash the subpoena.  The court found that harry3866's statements probably were opinion, particularly given the critical climate in the Yahoo! message boards.  Further, the court reasoned that Rocker had not shown that the statements were sufficiently factual to qualify as libelous, particularly given that Rocker did not precisely delineate which statements it alleged to be libelous.  Thus, the court found that a reasonable viewer would not find any of the dispute statements to be defamatory.

The other Does filed motions to quash the subpoena shortly afterward.  According to the New Jersey and California courts' dockets for the case, Rocker Management voluntarily dismissed its complaint on July 15, 2003, before the court ruled on the motions.

Subject Area: 

Content Type: 

Priority: 

1-High

Jurisdiction: 

CMLP Notes: 

Threat Source: 

CyberSLAPP.org

Arthur v. Turner

Threat Type: 

Subpoena

Date: 

03/14/2008

Party Receiving Legal Threat: 

Nelda (Rose) Milligan Turner; Kenneth Turner

Type of Party: 

Individual

Type of Party: 

Individual

Court Type: 

Federal

Court Name: 

United States District Court for the Eastern District of Texas

Case Number: 

6:08MC6

Legal Counsel: 

William Wesley Ogden, Thomas M. Gregor - Ogden Gibson Broocks & Longoria

Publication Medium: 

Blog

Relevant Documents: 

Status: 

Concluded

Disposition: 

Withdrawn

Description: 

Virgie Arthur subpoenaed blogger Nelda (Rose) Turner and her husband Kenneth Turner as part of her lawsuit against Howard K. Stern and other defendants in federal court in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas.  The subpoenas sought emails from or regarding Howard K. Stern, emails regarding Anna Nicole Smith and Virgie Author, emails from or to Art Harris and Wilma Vice, and copies of all Rose's online postings regarding Howard K. Stern, Anna Nicole Smith, Virgie Arthur, John O'Quinn, Neil McCabe, Don K. Clark, Wilma Vicedomine, or Art Harris.

Arthur then filed a motion to compel the production of the requested documents in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Texas in April 2008.  The Turners opposed the motion to compel and moved to transfer the proceedings back to the Southern District of Texas for consolidation with the main case. In June 2008, Arthur withdrew her motion to compel.  The court closed the case in July.

See Arthur v. TMZ.com (federal) for more information on the primary federal lawsuit.  Arthur also named Rose Turner as a defendant in a defamation lawsuit in Texas state court.  See Arthur v. TMZ.com (state) for more information.

Content Type: 

Jurisdiction: 

Threat Source: 

MLRC

Subject Area: 

Highfields Capital Management v. Doe

Date: 

07/29/2004

Threat Type: 

Lawsuit

Party Receiving Legal Threat: 

John Doe

Type of Party: 

Organization

Type of Party: 

Individual

Court Type: 

Federal

Court Name: 

United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts; United States District Court for the Northern District of California

Case Number: 

1:04-cv-11684 (Mass.), 3:04-mc-00176 (Calif.)

Legal Counsel: 

Eric John Sinrod, Lina M. Brenner (Duane & Morris)

Publication Medium: 

Forum

Relevant Documents: 

Status: 

Concluded

Disposition: 

Subpoena Quashed
Withdrawn

Description: 

Highfields Capital Management sued an anonymous user of a Yahoo! forum about the company Silicon Graphics, Inc. ("SGI"), of which Highfields was the largest shareholder.  Using the name "highfieldscapital," the user posted three messages allegedly suggesting that Highfields was profiting from the poor performance of SGI stock.  Highfields sued in Massachusetts federal court on claims of trademark infringement, defamation, trade libel, and breach of third-party contract.

After filing its complaint in Massachusetts, Highfields sought a subpoena from the U.S. District Court for the District of Northern California in order to compel Yahoo! to turn over the identity of "highfieldscapital." Yahoo! notified the user of the subpoena, who moved to quash it.  The California court turned the motion over to a magistrate judge, who found that Highfields had failed to show sufficient cause for the subpoena to be issued.  The court agreed and quashed the subpoena.

Highfields appealed the decision, but voluntarily withdrew its appeal before the appeals court ruled on it.  Highfields also withdrew its case in the Massachusetts court due to its inability to serve the anonymous poster.

Content Type: 

Priority: 

1-High

Jurisdiction: 

Subject Area: 

SPX Corp. v. Doe

Date: 

03/01/2002

Threat Type: 

Lawsuit

Party Receiving Legal Threat: 

John Doe, aka "neutronb"

Type of Party: 

Organization

Type of Party: 

Individual

Court Type: 

Federal
State

Court Name: 

Common Pleas Court of Cuyahoga County, Ohio; United States District Court for the Northern District of Ohio

Case Number: 

463966 (state); 1:02-cv-00919 (federal)

Legal Counsel: 

David B. Webster, Beth Brandon Webster, Laura E. O'Neill (Webster & Webster)

Publication Medium: 

Forum

Relevant Documents: 

Status: 

Concluded

Disposition: 

Dismissed (total)

Description: 

SPX sued a pseudonymous user of a Yahoo! forum as a John Doe for defamation in Ohio state court after the user accused SPX of illegal and immoral business conduct. According to court documents, Doe criticized SPX and its business and warned of an allegedly impending "SEC and FBI Probe."

Doe stipulated that he was not a citizen of Ohio and removed the case to federal court.  There, he moved to quash the subpoena.  Reserving the right to rule on the motion to quash, the court gave Doe ten days to file a motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim.  Doe did so, arguing that his comments were expressions of opinion, and thus could not be considered defamation.  SPX opposed the motion, saying that Doe's statements alleged criminal activity on SPX's part and thus could be proven false.

The court granted the motion, rejecting SPX's arguments.  The court weighed four factors to determine whether Doe's statements were opinion: 1) the specific language used; 2) whether the statement could be verified; 3) the context of the statement; and 4) the "broader social context" in which the statement is made.  The court found that the specific language used favored SPX's claims, but the other three factors favored Doe, as the statements were unverifiable to the general public, were couched as investment opinion, and took place in an "open and uncontrolled forum."

Content Type: 

Priority: 

1-High

Jurisdiction: 

Subject Area: 

Reunion Industries v. Doe

Date: 

04/04/2006

Threat Type: 

Lawsuit

Party Receiving Legal Threat: 

Doe 1, aka denunz2005; Doe 2, aka stocker606; Doe 3, aka pun2dex; Herbert Bennett Conner

Type of Party: 

Organization

Type of Party: 

Individual

Court Type: 

Federal
State

Court Name: 

Court of Common Pleas of Pennsylvania, Allegheny County; United States District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania

Case Number: 

GD-06-007965 (state), 2:08-cv-00609 (federal)

Legal Counsel: 

Joseph J. Schwerha IV - Schwerha & Associates (for Doe 1); Dennis St. J. Mulvihill, Bruce E. Rende, Gregory B. Profitt - Robb Leonard Mulvihill LLP (for Conner)

Publication Medium: 

Forum

Relevant Documents: 

Status: 

Pending

Disposition: 

Dismissed (partial)
Subpoena Quashed

Description: 

Reunion Industries sued three pseudonymous posters on a Yahoo! finance bulletin board for trade libel after they criticized the company and claimed it was in dire financial straits.

After filing its complaint in Pennsylvania state court in April 2006, Reunion subpoenaed Yahoo! to uncover the identities of the three John Does. Yahoo! identified AOL as the Internet provider for Doe 1.  Reunion then subpoenaed  AOL for information about Doe 1.  After being notified by AOL, Doe 1 moved to quash the subpoena or alternatively for a protective order, arguing that pseudonymous speech is protected by the First Amendment.  The judge granted Doe 1's motion for a protective order in March 2007.  Using a summary judgment standard, the court ruled that Reunion could not uncover the identity of the Does until it presented a "prima facie" case of trade libel. The court's ruling barred Reunion from obtaining information relating to Doe 1 only.

In February 2008, Reunion added Herbert Bennett Conner as a defendant, in the belief that he might be Doe 3.  Conner, a citizen of Minnesota, removed the case to federal court and moved to dismiss for failure to state a claim.  Conner argued that Reunion's trade libel claim was not brought against him within the one-year statute of limitations, and that Reunion had failed to make a good faith effort to serve him before the statute of limitations expired.  Conner added that, even if the complaint had been timely, Reunion had failed to show that it had suffered financial injury, a necessary element of trade libel.  

The court agreed that Reunion had failed to make a good faith effort to serve Conner in a timely fashion and granted his motion in July 2008.  The court also remanded the case back to state court because, without Conner as a defendant, the federal court no longer had subject-matter jurisdiction.

Content Type: 

Priority: 

1-High

Jurisdiction: 

Subject Area: 

Bronx D.A. Withdraws Subpoena Seeking Identity of Anonymous Room Eight Posters

Earlier this month, the District Attorney for Bronx County, New York, withdrew a subpoena seeking the identities of anonymous posters on political blog Room Eight. The posters had criticized local politicians and Bronx Republican Party officials in blog posts and comments. District Attorney Robert T.

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Subject Area: 

Content Type: 

Oregon v. Lewis

Threat Type: 

Subpoena

Date: 

07/01/2008

Party Receiving Legal Threat: 

Tim Lewis

Type of Party: 

Government

Type of Party: 

Individual

Court Type: 

State

Court Name: 

Oregon District Court, Lane County

Publication Medium: 

Website

Status: 

Concluded

Disposition: 

Withdrawn

Description: 

Independent videographer Tim Lewis refused to comply with a Lane County, Oregon, grand jury subpoena for video he filmed of a May 30, 2008, incident where police tasered Ian Van Ornum, a student protester.  Lewis argued that Oregon's reporter shield law, Or. Rev. Stat. § 44.520,  protects him from compelled disclosure of his newsgathering materials.

The grand jury planned to examine the video to determine whether Van Ornum, or any other people attending the anti-pesticide protest he was attending, should face criminal charges.  Lewis, who edited and posted the video to YouTube, said the tape contained very little information that would be useful to the grand jury, as he didn't begin to record events until after Van Ornum had been tasered. Nonetheless, he refused to surrender the tape because he "can't set a precedent by giving it to them," according to The Register-Guard.

Update:

7/15/2008 - After Lewis, with aid from the American Civil Liberties Union of Oregon, filed documents in court invoking the shield law, the District Attorney's office withdrew the subpoena, reports The Register Guard.

Content Type: 

Subject Area: 

Threat Source: 

RSS

Jurisdiction: 

Citizen Journalist Invokes Oregon Shield Law to Fight Subpoena

Does Oregon's reporter shield law apply to an independent journalist who publishes online?  That question looks set to be answered, thanks to the refusal of Tim Lewis to comply with a grand jury subpoena for his video of a May 30, 2008, demonstration in Eugene, Oregon, where police tasered an 18-year-old protester.

Jurisdiction: 

Subject Area: 

Content Type: 

Privacy Falls into YouTube's Data Tar Pit

As a big lawsuit grinds forward, its parties engage in discovery, a wide-ranging search for information "reasonably calculated to lead to the discovery of admissible evidence." (FRCP Rule 26(b)) And so Viacom has calculated that scouring YouTube's data dumps would help provide evidence in Viacom's copyright lawsuit.

Subject Area: 

Content Type: 

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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Subject Area: 

Content Type: 

Pages