Posts tagged as:


  • Sounds promising: “Peeved politicians want ‘loser pays’ rule for patent trolls” [Joe Mullin, Ars Technica] Defense of patent trolls in Wired mag [Michael Risch]
  • Scènes à Faire: the copyright exception for scenes that inevitably suggest themselves [Bruce Boyden, ConcurOp]
  • If the terms of service/purchase say you don’t have a right to resell the digitized book or song, maybe you don’t [The Digital Reader on court decision against ReDigi startup]
  • Pay to quote a single word from a newspaper? That’s what the popup at Canada’s National Post seems to suggest [Doctorow, BoingBoing]
  • Inside copyright enforcers’ “bait-car” operations [TechCrunch]
  • “Firm and two of its lawyers must pay $200K over frivolous patent case” [Sheri Qualters, National Law Journal]
  • “Crazy copyright bot (now suspended by Twitter) threatens those who tweet tiny poem” [Rob Beschizza via @ChrisBellNZ]

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Free speech roundup

by Walter Olson on March 27, 2013

  • Alarms re: proposed new UK code to regulate press, both print and electronic [John O'Sullivan, Andrew Stuttaford] “Why we won’t sign the press-regulation Charter” [The Spectator: Nick Cohen]
  • Also from the UK: “Police investigate Conservative MP Tim Loughton for calling man ‘unkempt'” [Telegraph]
  • “Teenager arrested for tweeting rap lyric containing the word ‘homicide.'” [Ann Althouse]
  • “CNN Argues that Requiring Captioning of Web Videos Would Violate Free Speech” [Disability Law, Courthouse News; more on new web accessibility push]
  • Administrator at Yeshiva U. hires lawyer to get posts removed from prominent law blogs, Streisand Effect ensues [Scott Greenfield]
  • Philly Mayor Michael Nutter sends letter to city human relations commission demanding investigation of Philadelphia Magazine for publishing article he dislikes [Ken at Popehat, Hans Bader]

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March 18 roundup

by Walter Olson on March 18, 2013

  • Justice done in Tewksbury, Mass. as feds won’t appeal loss in Motel Caswell forfeiture case [Institute for Justice]
  • Oh, FTC: “Government Now Says Tweets Have To Include ‘The Fine Print'” [Business Insider]
  • Judge lifts “no Facebook posts” order against class action objector [Paul Alan Levy, ABA Journal, earlier]
  • House Judiciary Committee hearing on litigation abuse feature Ted Frank, John Beisner [link to video, Chamber-backed LNL]
  • Update: minister who aided Miller-Jenkins custody-napping gets 27 month sentence [AP,earlier]
  • Pennsylvania high court judge convicted on charges of using state staff for campaign [AP] Also in Pa., wife/chief aide of high court justice “has received 18 payments as referral fees for connecting law firms with clients” [Philadelphia Inquirer] “Arkansas Supreme Court Justice reports $50k gift from plaintiff lawyer” [LNL]
  • Widow sues church for refusal to accept NASCAR-themed cemetery headstone [IndyStar]

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Free speech roundup

by Walter Olson on February 19, 2013

  • Setting up as a freelance investigative writer? Getting insurance even for your office rental can be tricky [Romenesko]
  • Among many curious Virginia blue laws: “‘any citizen … may institute’ judicial review of any book.” [Barton Hinkle]
  • Whether Rupert Murdoch can buy the L.A. Times shouldn’t depend on which party holds power in Washington [Stoll, Future of Capitalism]
  • “Publisher launches $3,000,000 suit against academic librarian who criticized its books” [BoingBoing, Edwin Mellen Press] “Alternative” cancer treatment entrepreneur threatens to sue dissatisfied patient [Jardin, BB]
  • EU: Let’s regulate journalists [Morrissey] Russia law against pro-gay “propaganda” is part of wider speech crackdown [AP]
  • Twitter’s relatively laissez-faire speech policy has advanced its success [Greg Beato]
  • “Free Speech on Campus Today” [Cato podcast with FIRE's Greg Lukianoff]
  • Forbids writing about him ever again: “Judge says US-based reporter defamed Haiti’s PM” [AP/Gainesville Sun]


by Walter Olson on February 13, 2013

My tweets and retweets last night during the State of the Union address and the GOP response by Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), in regular rather than reverse chronological order:

Also, by way of pleasant contrast:

And here’s Cato’s response video with scholars Michael Tanner, Julian Sanchez, Alex Nowrasteh, Simon Lester, John Samples, Pat Michaels, Jagadeesh Gokhale, Michael F. Cannon, Jim Harper, Malou Innocent, Juan Carlos Hidalgo, Ilya Shapiro, Trevor Burrus and Neal McCluskey.

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I’ll be part of the Cato Institute commentary team Tuesday evening.

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With a new law, Vernon County, Wisconsin has put itself at the forefront of attempts to regulate disparaging email, online chat, blogs, Facebook posts (specifically cited by one advocate at a hearing), and Twitter. The law seems to be a product of the media hype over “cyberbullying.” [Popehat, Volokh]

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“Facebook and Twitter have landed several Britons in court and even jail recently. Critics decry the trend as a worrisome overreaction.” [L.A. Times]

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Details here on how you can follow along.

“Choc ice”

by Walter Olson on July 19, 2012

In Britain, which has hate-speech laws, police investigate a racially derogatory Tweet. [Telegraph]


My Atlantic piece touched off a lot of discussion, much of it quite constructive, of where law reviews fall short and how best to fix or replace them. Unless you’ve caught up with it already, you’ll want to check out Friday’s post rounding up more than a dozen reactions (and updated a couple of times over the weekend to include more content). On Monday, along with new reactions at legal blogs, the piece took off on Twitter as well.

Joe Hodnicki, Law Librarian Blog:

… eventually, reader expectations will push the long-form law article into the 21st century of e-publishing.

In the process one can only hope that law journals and enhanced regularly updated serial law eBooks will also eliminate the print era version of date-stamping by ceasing publication of “issues” for journals and, for serial eBooks, scheduled “supplements” or “editions.” As soon as the text has completed the editorial process, just e-publish the damn thing immediately.

Old publishing habits die hard, but it is time to create new ones by eliminating print era legacies.

Mark Giangrande, also of Law Librarian Blog, by email, following up on our previous excerpt:

One thing not in my Law Librarian Blog post was a quick check on Westlaw to see what quantity of law review cites appeared in Supreme Court opinions in the last term. A quick count showed at least 56. What surprised me was some of the citations went back to the 1960s. I’ve often criticized law reviews for publishing philosophical pieces that tend to show faculty writing to impress their friends and win promotions, little of which contribute to the bench and bar (per CJ Roberts’ point). The Court still uses them, but generally those which actually discuss the law as the law.

The full list of 56 last-term SCOTUS law review cites, of which the most satisfying is probably “Note, Regulation of Comic Books, 68 Harv. L. Rev. 489, 490 (1955),” is too long to be included here, but those interested can drop him a line.

Adam Kusovitsky and colleagues, Pace International Law Review:

Havighurst is correct to point out that law reviews are published in order that they may be written, but that fact should not rouse a sneer or scoff. …Law reviews provide thousands of students an apparatus to develop unrivaled editing, writing and researching skills, which ultimately makes them better attorneys and more effective writers in general.

Meanwhile, Vitruvian Design spies similar signs of sclerosis in humanities and classics journals. There’s even a Reddit thread (hipsterparalegal). And the article has gotten no end of pick-up on Twitter, including Lawyerist, Corby Kummer, Boston Bar (“must reading”), Cleveland-Marshall Dean Craig Boise, and Bryan Cave Library, to name a few. And:

And this rather cruel exchange:


For the real reaction and analysis, you should check with my expert Cato colleagues here and here and (Ilya Shapiro) here. Here are a few additional things I had to say on Twitter, in reverse chronological order (with occasional, but not continuous, updating):

Yet more “cheer up, conservatives” readings, these from @NRO: [Garnett] [Whelan]

Roberts, Kennedy “delivered victory to the right in the one [battle] that mattered” [Scocca via Moller]

James Fallows: Constitution means whatever 19 of 21 con law profs say it means [Bernstein]

RT @davidfrum Randy Barnett’s Win

Why didn’t style-stickler Scalia clean up “majority status” scraps? Daring @David_M_Wagner theory: there wasn’t time

RT @Sam_Schulman look forward to Variorum Edition. RT @jpodhoretz: @Sam_Schulman @walterolson It’s a palimpsest! ?#dissent

Why’d the dissent need to include a big discussion of severability? Another fossil record of former majority-opinion status?

RT @PunditReview Great news, @walterolson will join us Sunday evening at 7:30 on WRKO to discuss the Obamacare ruling. #awesome #mapoli [Update: podcast here]

RT @Popehat Masterful rebuke to a comment troll MT @walterolson Bitch you in MY HOUSE NOW!

Balkinization blog entitled to victory lap for identifying path to today’s ruling;

Hee hee. “Romney website: ‘Mitt will nominate judges in the mold of CJ Roberts’” [@Jamie_Weinstein]

Commenter: Nyaah nyaah, you @overlawyered types say you’re anti-litigation but favored suit vs. ObamaCare. My response;

RT @robinmarty: It’s good that ACA is upheld, since there are some folk at CNN who will need insurance not tied to their employers soon…

“It now falls to Congress…” My colleague Roger Pilon on today’s ruling [Real Clear Politics]

What gets lost in today’s “tax but not a tax” ruling: political accountability [@mfcannon] [Bader]

Here’s a 6/20 prediction from @jtlevy calling it closer than anyone I’ve seen (via Virginia Postrel)

Stop beating on Roberts, he’s living up to “conservative minimalist” billing [Adler] [Ted Frank]

Randy Barnett: Cheer up, both federalism and enumerated powers doctrine did well today [SCOTUSblog]

Roberts avoided confrontation w/prevailing academic gestalt of feds’ Commerce Clause power [@lsolum]

More on “tax power yes, commerce power no” [Epstein] [@ishapiro] [Kerr]

Did Roberts chop down the broccoli stalk, or could it grow back as “tax”? [Somin] [@ProfBainbridge]

Evidence that Scalia’s Obamacare dissent drafted as majority opinion before a Roberts switch [Solum]

Cheer up: at least Roberts chopped down the broccoli stalk & bolstered states against feds [John Steele Gordon]

A tax, yet a non-tax: why court didn’t invoke Anti-Injunction Act to toss challenge [Tejinder Singh, @SCOTUSblog]

RT @TCBurrus Another Justice Roberts is now the new switch in time that saved nine. #SCOTUS #healthcare

RT @JasonKuznicki Americans: Pay this tax or buy a private company’s product. Corporatism at its worst, cheered on by the left. #aca

Roger Pilon: Ruling only a bump in road [@CatoInstitute] Legal battle’s just begun [Adler/Cannon]

RT @CatoInstitute Unhappy with today’s #SCOTUS decision on #ObamaCare? Watch this video on how states can refuse to go along with it

Per Goldstein at SCOTUSBlog, Roberts reasoning on Commerce Clause is super-narrow, won’t help the libertarian side much in future cases.

Exploding-cigar ad hominem argument of the day: RT @MaxKennerly Has John Roberts gone even a minute in his life without health insurance?

The clouded crystal ball: “Why Chief Justice Roberts Won’t Side with the Liberals on Obamacare” [on @NRO yesterday]

@sethmnookin I’m not convinced achievements are as big a motivator as “stop our evil opponents” outrage, which Roberts undercut (for Dems).

Can’t say I’m surprised at ACA. With rare exceptions, the Court behaves as a small-c conservative institution.

Republican outlook for November just got big boost. So maybe Jeff Toobin’s right to claim Roberts looks after GOP interests.

RT @@NYDNHammond Robertscare

RT @Hudsonette: haha RT @delrayser: CONVENE THE DEATH PANELS!

Tom Goldstein of @SCOTUSBlog predicts Court will uphold ACA

Liberals shouldn’t defend FDR’s attacks on the Court” [Megan McArdle]

All indications are Dems planning all out assault on the court if it overturns PPACA” Don’t, says @toddeberly

RT @macrmccoy I love Web 2.0. RT @ABAJournal: Obama Will Learn Fate of Health Care Law Through SCOTUSblog, Media

“Judicial activism!” placards all made up. Now the only question is which side to hand them to come 10 a.m. [Alt]

Randy Barnett thanks those who made the SCOTUS ObamaCare challenge possible [@VolokhC]

RT @santaclaralaw #healthcarereform? Randy Barnett interview with Politico: You can find it here. #sculaw


Jon Hyman finds the National Labor Relations Board’s policy on social media in the workplace a “bungled mess.” More: Reed Smith.

Prosecution roundup

by Walter Olson on June 8, 2012

  • John Edwards mistrial is umpteenth setback for DoJ white-collarers; FEC’s failure to charge might have been tipoff [BLT] One lawyer on the campaign finance implications of the Edwards prosecution [David Frum]
  • Jeralyn Merritt analysis of Martin/Zimmerman evidence dump indicates once again that Stand Your Ground issue is likely to prove a red herring [TalkLeft, earlier]
  • Letter writer doesn’t care for my recent structuring-forfeiture op-ed [Baltimore Sun] More on civil forfeiture: when cops become robbers [Nita Ghei, Washington Times]
  • Deferred prosecution and NPAs: “The Justice Department may be in the next cubicle” [Jim Copland]
  • Converting tickets into “court costs”: ploy raises funds for courts in Atlanta and elsewhere [Consumerist via Alkon]
  • When lawyers advise innocent clients to plead guilty [John Steele, LEF on Brian Banks case]
  • “Jailtime for twittering on your office PC? The federal courts are split” [Appellate Daily via @andrewmgrossman] “12 steps for overcoming overcriminalization” [TPPF via Vikrant Reddy, Right on Crime]

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I was at this interesting event yesterday and you can follow my live-Tweeting here.

You can do that here (and if you’re on Twitter, follow the site as well as @walterolson)


Spread the happy news: I’ve finally installed share buttons so that you can “Like” Overlawyered posts on Facebook as well as share them on Twitter and Google Plus. And if you’re a Facebook user, please remember to “Like” the entire page here.

Life without a First Amendment: a student in Swansea, Wales, is jailed for posting racially offensive comments on Twitter while drunk [Nick Cohen, Spectator]