Posts tagged as:

social media

“Extremists will have to get posts on Facebook and Twitter approved in advance by the police under sweeping rules planned by the Conservatives.” [Telegraph] The Spectator joins other critics in noting that the idea, floated by Home Secretary Theresa May, could conceivably be used not only against proponents of violent Islamism but also (for example) radicals of right and left, Irish nationalists, and animal-rights protesters:

Labour’s ‘hate crime’ laws have already been used to pursue Christian street preachers criticising homosexuality and Englishmen being rude about Scots. This magazine was once contacted by the CID, which was ‘investigating’ an article about Islamic fundamentalism — the police were trying to establish if we had violated the parameters of argument defined by New Labour. Rather than repeal such laws, Mrs May seems to want to extend them.

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ReportSpeechPoster The Kansas Board of Regents has adopted a broad new policy barring employees, including faculty, from “improper use of social media,” which include content that “impairs … harmony among co-workers” or is “contrary to the best interests of the university,” with some narrow exceptions such as “academic instruction within the instructor’s area of expertise (emphasis added)” The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, among other groups, have argued that the new policy “authorizes punishment for constitutionally protected speech, and … leaves professors unsure of what speech a university might sanction them for,” the result being a chilling effect on both free speech and academic freedom [FIRE, NPR]. The policy was adopted at the behest of critics of one professor’s controversial anti-gun tweet, and Charles C.W. Cooke at NRO says conservative regents should have been among the first to realize that professor-muzzling is not the way to respond.

KSU’s Dan Warner did a series of posters (Creative Commons permissions) skewering the new policy, including the one above; more on that here.

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Schools roundup

by Walter Olson on December 27, 2013

  • Following outcry, Ohio lawmaker drops proposal to license homeschool parents [Jason Bedrick/Cato, sequel]
  • In Colorado U. crackdown on professor’s deviance course, university retracts claim that professor needed to clear controversial teaching with institutional review board [Inside Higher Ed, Zachary Schrag and sequel, background on IRBs]
  • The purely fictional, entirely bloodless “assassin” game — which I remember was played in my own high school years ago without anyone worrying — now seems to be controversial in suburban D.C. because School Violence and Think of the Children. [Washington Post; Bedrick, Cato on pretend "arrow" zero-tolerance case]
  • After son’s death, Ontario mom urges schools to let asthmatic kids carry inhalers [CBC, Bedrick]
  • Cathy Young on how the forces of unanimity police discussions of “rape culture” [Minding the Campus]
  • Kansas regents forbid faculty/staff to post social media content contrary to best interest of university [WaPo]
  • Don’t forget to stop home some time: more public schools serving dinner as well as breakfast and lunch [Future of Capitalism]

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“A Charlotte man blames the breakup of his marriage not only on the other guy, but also on the online infidelity service that he says made it happen. … North Carolina remains one of only a half-dozen states that still awards punitive damages when a marriage fails and someone other than the husband and wife is to blame. The so-called alienation of affection/criminal conversation laws have survived numerous efforts by judges, lawyers and some legislators to repeal them, and in recent years they have led to million-dollar judgments for wronged spouses.” [Charlotte Observer]

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“A class action lawsuit has been launched by a small group of Yelp reviewers, trying to make the (laughable and ridiculous) case that reviewers on the site are actually unpaid employees who are now demanding compensation. It appears that they’re hoping the recent success of a few lawsuits involving ‘unpaid internships’ will now carry over to user-generated content sites as well. To put it mildly, this is incredibly stupid.” [Mike Masnick, TechDirt]

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Two personalities often linked in this space, Prof. Richard Epstein and Popehat’s Ken White, were both on Reddit yesterday doing an interactive feature called “Ask Me Anything.” Epstein’s is here, and White’s is here.

More: Epstein in response to a question on originalism: “The style of interpretation used by the founders was much more sophisticated than the attention to text. Implied limitations on government, as through the police power, were part of the picture, as were implied protections of the government, as with sovereign immunity. My new book out later this year, The Classical Liberal Constitution, addresses these issues.”

In response to a question about his rule-utilitarian rationale for libertarian principles: “My view is that the deontological explanations tend to fail because they cannot account for such common practices at Intellectual Property, taxation or eminent domain. The theory has no way to deal with forced exchanges, which is what taxation and eminent domain are about.”

On libertarianism and pollution: “externality control is an essential party of the overall libertarian theory, and that means control of nuisances. … It is a case where it is easier to mischaracterize a system than to understand it. Nuisance law has many distinctive remedial features and at times requires collective enforcement of the basic norm against invasion. But there is nothing about the theory which says that the way to make people happy and prosperous is to choke them.”

Also: why the movie Body Heat got the Rule Against Perpetuities wrong, and why he’s not a fan of the German way to organize legal academia.

And Ken White answers questions about when to talk to the police; pro bono cases he’s proud of having helped on; what to say to someone who wound up going to law school in part because of his blog; how having his identity “outed” affected his law practice; and three kinds of crazy case that result in Popehat posts.

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  • Why you should discount many “minor offender faces eleventy-billion-year sentence” stories [Popehat] One day of smurfing made her a “career offender” [Sullivan]
  • “In Dog We Trust”: Scott Greenfield and Radley Balko dissent from unanimous SCOTUS verdict on police canines [Simple Justice, Huffington Post]
  • Arizona lawmaker would make it felony to impersonate someone on social media [Citizen Media Law]
  • “Can juries tame prosecutors gone wild?” [Leon Neyfakh, Boston Globe "Ideas"]
  • “Cop exposes D.C. speed camera racket” [Radley Balko] How Rockville, Md. squeezes drivers who stop in front of the white line or do rolling right turns [WTOP]
  • After scandal: “Pennsylvania Senate Passes Legislation to Eliminate Philadelphia Traffic Court” [Legal Intelligencer, earlier]
  • Bloomberg precursor? When Mayor LaGuardia got NYC to ban pinball [Sullivan]

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NLRB and labor law roundup

by Walter Olson on October 22, 2012

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OnlineCollege.org has compiled this list which prominently includes @overlawyered. Why not join more than 3,500 other Twitter users and follow us today? For even more engagement, follow my personal account @walterolson where you’ll find both law and non-law content, including an advance peek at many stories and links destined to make their way to this site.

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Yes, it has come to this

by Walter Olson on August 31, 2011

You can “like” me on Facebook. Thanks to Cato’s Zach Graves for setting it up.

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One judge found it “unrealistic to expect that such disclosures [of personal and private information on Facebook] would be considered confidential.” But does a litigant’s use of smiley faces in online communication really contradict her claims to have suffered loss of enjoyment of life? [Reuters/MSNBC]

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According to FIRE, the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, an “anti-bullying” bill lately introduced in Congress would alter the definition of harassment in such a way as to give university administrations a strong incentive to punish many forms of controversial student speech, and also press those administrations to monitor students’ use of Facebook and other social media in intrusive ways. I’ve got a new post at Cato at Liberty relaying some of the warnings (welcome Instapundit and Fark readers).

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November 5 roundup

by Walter Olson on November 5, 2010

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Ocean Spray sues a competitor over its alleged involvement in a social media campaign. [Charlie Mead, AmLaw Daily]

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The airline’s legal department is almost certainly insisting on a sober demeanor, and as a result JetBlue has to stay on the sidelines as the Steven Slater episode becomes the internet story of the week. [Parekh/Bush, AdAge via Balasubramani]

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April 8 roundup

by Walter Olson on April 8, 2010

  • “Litigation nightmare” seen in Unvarnished, site that allows Yelp-like review of people’s reputations [L.A. Times, Balasubramani] Arkadelphia, Ark.: “16-year-old boy accuses mother of Facebook slander” [AP]
  • Inadvertent rape? At Duke, “perceived power differentials” might negate consent [Popehat, Joanne Jacobs]
  • New CPSC leadership signals policy of greatly stepped-up fines for CPSIA violators [Northup, Rick Woldenberg/Amend the CPSIA ($2 million Daiso fine) and more]
  • “PI Lawyer Pleads in $2.2M Client Theft, Will Get Between 3 and 9 Years” [ABA Journal, NY Daily News, earlier; Marc Bernstein of Bernstein & Bernstein, NYC]
  • Let’s say landlords who knowingly rent to accused criminals or released convicts can get sued for negligence in case of repeat offense. Then where do we propose that accused criminals and released convicts live? [Volokh]
  • Some theories on lawyer unpopularity [DeVoy, Legal Satyricon]
  • Privacy class action over ill-advised Facebook “Beacon” venture settles for… for what, exactly? [Popehat]
  • Wisconsin D.A. to teachers: if you obey state’s new sex-ed law, I’ll prosecute you [Radley Balko, Reason "Hit and Run"] More: Volokh.

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Eugene Volokh explains some legally driven reasons your employer might hold your Facebook posts against you.

December 29 roundup

by Walter Olson on December 29, 2009

  • “Trial lawyer group hails Senate health care bill as ‘stunning victory'” [Point of Law]
  • Christopher Hitchens on our leaders’ absurd reaction to the attempted plane bombing [Slate] More: Stewart Baker on the security challenges [first, second]; Mark Steyn [first, second]
  • Lots of coverage for Ted Frank’s Center for Class Action Fairness and its objection in a Yahoo! settlement [Zywicki/Volokh, Stier/Mass Tort Lit, CCAF, Turkewitz; Drum] And the Center has also filed objections in an AOL settlement of claims arising from advertising copy placed in the footers of emails;
  • Sad: “Texas Man Freed by DNA Sues Over ‘Excessive’ Attorney Fees” [AP/Law.com]
  • Litigious creationists: promoters of “intelligent design” back in court yet again [L.A. Times via WSJ Law Blog]
  • “One Possible Class-Action Defense Strategy: Disappear and Live in a Tent” [Lowering the Bar]
  • “Softballer can’t slide, wants money” [Elie Mystal, Above the Law; Queens, N.Y.]
  • Litigators advised to use social media to snoop on players in their cases [Trial Lawyer Tips]

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