I am sorry for the long absence from cross-posting my IT-Lex posts. Although I have still been writing them, I was writing them while I was on vacation in Texas. So, I just didn't have the time to cross post them once they were published.
In any event, here is one of my more recent ones that I really enjoyed researching. It involves a case out of New York that concluded a news organization could be liable for a privacy lawsuit when it posted a picture of an aspiring lawyer (incorrectly) claiming that she was the younger sister of Kimora Lee Simmons.
The aspiring lawyer sued the news organization and another news organization that had debunked the story for violating her right to privacy under New York law. The court concluded that the incorrect story was so "riddled with fiction" that it didn't qualify for a newsworthiness exception. But, the news organization that got the story right did qualify for the exception. So what is the moral of the story? If you post a picture of a person online, you better make sure that the accompanying story of that person is factually accurate, especially if you use the person's name.
These types of online defamation and privacy claims are quickly becoming my favorite type of lawsuits to research. And luckily for me, these lawsuits continue to rise with the rise of social media.
Full disclosure: I know a little bit about cyberbullying. But in this day and age, I have to wonder who hasn't been cyberbullied? Let's face it. Kids can be mean, and the Internet certainly makes it easier. Cyberbulling is a serious problem, and one that people need to address. But it appears that passing laws against cyberbullying isn't a good way to do it.
I've written a couple of articles now about recently passed cyberbullying laws that broadly punish behavior out of context and don't actually provide any protection for the people the laws were meant to protect. Cyberbullying laws have even been used to punish students for talking bad about their teachers (not the people who are meant to be protected from these types of laws) online. And here is my most recent post about a cyberbullying law out of Nova Scotia, which scholars believe is truly awful.
My presence on Twitter isn't very active, but I have a presence, and I love my right to free speech on it. There is always unprotect speech, like defamation, obscenity, etc. But free speech is an important part of social networking. Of course, not all countries have the same free speech rights that are granted to Americans through the U.S. Constitution.
For example, a woman working for the Australian Government was recently fired after she criticized the government on an anonymous Twitter account. The judge even made a point that Australian citizens do not have an “unfettered implied right (or freedom) of political expression." To see my full write up on the story, click here.
As you can see, I have taken a very extended absence from blogging on this site. But I haven't abandoned blogging entirely. Although there are several reasons for my absence, the number one reason is that I am currently writing three blog posts a week for IT-Lex, a wonderful technology law site.
With the amount of blogging I do for IT-Lex, it didn't make sense for me to continue writing about similar legal issues on my personal blog. Although some of the posts that I write for IT-Lex are outside of what I would normally write about here, it is a lot of fun getting exposure to a new variety of legal issues. I've taken a crack at eDiscovery, dissected a click-through contract, and had some fun with online defamation cases.
And, in the spirit of promoting where I am currently devoting my blogging efforts for the foreseeable future, I plan to provide a link to the posts I write in the future. I hope you will take some time to go over to IT-Lex, support the work they are doing over there, and check out some of my work!
It was actually pretty easy.
The Dark Knight Rises was the second highest grossing film domestically in 2012. So it is unsurprising that outsiders attempted to cash in on the profits. Notably, Fortres Grand, a software company, sued Warner Bros. over the trademarked term "Clean Slate." Fortress Grand trademarked the term in 2001 for its software, which scrubs all evidence of prior users on public access computers. Twelve years later, the Dark Knight Rises used (fictional and different) "clean slate" software as a major plot device. Selina Kyle (later becoming Catwoman) attempted to obtain the "clean slate" program, which would erase her digital footprints from every computer in the world.
Based on this, Fortres Grand sued Warner Bros. for trademark infringement. Trademark infringement claims require "consumer confusion" over the source of a product. And U.S. District Court Judge Philip Simon concluded that a fictional movie product cannot create the required confusion. The court reasoned that there was no plausible claim that consumers would make mistaken purchase decisions about the tangible products: one product is a movie, and the other product is real computer software.
The court also upheld the use of the term "clean slate" under the 1st Amendment.
About this Blog
I was once a licensed attorney (in Washington), but my license is now inactive. I like to geek out about entertainment,
internet, and privacy law. This blog is a place for me to do that. All of the views expressed are my own and should not be considered legal advice.
My personal blog is located under the tab Pax's Page.
Rachel is a typer of words.