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The academic writer and blogger, co-author with Stuart Taylor Jr. of Until Proven Innocent, has long been a thorn in the Duke administration’s side over its conduct in the lacrosse case. The university has been fighting in court to force Johnson to hand over emails and correspondence that it says it needs to defend other litigation, and some of its informational demands have been very broad indeed. Too broad? [Johnson, Durham-in-Wonderland]

Update March 6, that was fast: Duke backs down.

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Free speech roundup

by Walter Olson on October 12, 2012

  • Why did Chevron subpoena a lawprof/blogger who took opposite side in Ecuador case? [Kevin Jon Heller, Opinio Juris]
  • “Paleo Diet Lawsuit Dismissed By Court in Blow to Free Expression” [Brian Doherty, Reason; earlier here, etc.]
  • “[National Hispanic Media Coalition] Renews Call for Federal Government to Study Hate Speech in Media” [Volokh]
  • Call for “oversight board of regional experts” to direct more YouTube takedowns [Ann Althouse]
  • No more dirty looks: North Carolina students now face possible jail time for what they say about teachers online [Reason]
  • Popehat sampler: “Schadenfreude Is Not A Free Speech Value; Holmes’s fire-in-theater quote the most “pervasive lazy cheat in American dialogue about free speech”; “Zampolit Angela McCaskill, Report For Reeducation.”
  • EU “terror” web-muzzle schemes: “We should start to freak out, but in a sort of preliminary way” [Ars Technica]

“…We’ll just do our business in London.”

New at Point of Law

by Walter Olson on February 20, 2010

Things you’re missing if you aren’t checking out my other site:


TSA can take decisive action after all, when bloggers as opposed to terrorists are the targets: “Two East Coast travel bloggers who posted a sensitive airport security memo on their Internet sites have been subpoenaed by federal officials trying to find out who sent them the document. One of the writers, Steve Frischling, also had his laptop seized by agents looking for evidence of his source for the Transportation Security Administration directive.” [Alison Grant, Cleveland Plain Dealer;; BoingBoing (Frischling got laptop back)(& welcome Coyote readers)]

More: Via Instapundit, a contrarian view from Christopher Fotos at Aviation Week, and coverage from Wired “Threat Level”. Update: TSA backs off [AP/, BoingBoing]


An Oklahoma district attorney issues a subpoena in search of the identities of critical online commenters. Events don’t develop in the way he was hoping, though, and he’ll be leaving office at the end of his term. [Eric Robinson, Citizen Media Law; McAlester, Okla.]

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A compulsory subpoena could follow if they don’t fork over information on “compensation of highly paid employees” and “expenses stemming from any event held outside company facilities in the past 2 1/2 years”, among other topics. As AP notes, industries that vocally support, rather than oppose, health care reform aren’t targets of the investigation. More: Politico.


Rosalie Farnsworth made various charges against the publisher of a defunct South Florida magazine; now he says he’s suing her for defamation. [Broward Palm Beach New Times, its earlier report]

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Harvard Law School’s Cyberlaw Clinic and the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press have submitted an amicus brief in the case, urging the New Hampshire Supreme Court to uphold the website’s position on First Amendment grounds. The popular site Mortgage Lender Implode-O-Meter had published a New Hampshire Banking Department document containing information about a private company; that company proceeded to sue the site demanding that the document be taken down, and also demanded discovery of how the document had come into the site’s possession. Earlier here.

Lawyers know how to do it, but then, so do members of Congress.

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A New Hampshire court has ordered a well-known mortgage-crisis-watchdog website, Mortgage Lender Implode-o-Meter, to disclose confidential sources and the identity of an anonymous commenter [Sam Bayard, Citizen Media Law] The order has been stayed pending appeal.