Facebook Defeats Lawsuit Over Failure to Remove User Pages–Cross v. Facebook

[It’s impossible to blog about Section 230 without reminding you that Congress is on the cusp of gutting it.] The principal plaintiff, performer Mikel Knight, was the subject of critical Facebook posts related to two fatal accidents by his tour…

1H 2017 Quick Links, Part 1 (Trademarks, Keyword Ads)

Trademark * Viacom Int’l Inc v. IJR Capital Investments LLC, 2017 WL 107141 (S.D. Tex. Jan. 11, 2017): “Because “The Krusty Krab” is a recurring element of the “SpongeBob SquarePants” show, the court finds that the mark is eligible for…

You Can't Be Fired For a Facebook Post Calling Your Boss a "LOSER"--NLRB v. Pier Sixty

You Can’t Be Fired For a Facebook Post Calling Your Boss a “LOSER”–NLRB v. Pier Sixty

This is a Facebook firing case. The employee worked at Pier Sixty, which operated a catering company in New York. In early 2011, its employees became involved in a union organizing campaign, ultimately voting to unionize. Hernan Perez worked as…

New Draft Article: “Judicial Resolution of Nonconsensual Pornography Dissemination Cases”

I’ve posted to SSRN a new article titled Judicial Resolution of Nonconsensual Pornography Dissemination Cases. I co-authored it with Angie Jin, a recent Cornell Law alum. The paper is in draft form, and we would gratefully welcome your comments. The…

Ellen DeGeneres Defeats Lawsuit Over Breast Pun--TiTi Pierce v. Warner Bros

Ellen DeGeneres Defeats Lawsuit Over Breast Pun–TiTi Pierce v. Warner Bros

The Ellen Show, featuring Ellen DeGeneres, runs a periodic segment called “What’s Wrong with These Signs? Signs.” In Feb. 2016, the segment included a sign for “Nipple Convalescent Home” followed by the plaintiff’s real estate yard sign, displaying her name…

Actress in Viral Video Can't Prevent Video From Being Made Into an Advertisement--Roberts v. Bliss

Actress in Viral Video Can’t Prevent Video From Being Made Into an Advertisement–Roberts v. Bliss

Bliss produced a viral video called “10 Hours Walking in NYC as a Woman” featuring actress Shoshana Roberts. You probably saw this video when it came out; it has been viewed over 40M times. The video shows how random strangers…

2H 2016 Quick Links, Part 5 (Patents, Other IP, Employment, CFAA)

Patents * Tim Holbrook on how slow FDA procedures contribute to de facto monopolies for off-patent drugs/devices * Washington Post: Patent lawsuits swell and watchdog says the government is to blame * Washington Post: Patent office workers bilked the government…

Backpage Executives Defeat Pimping Charges Per Section 230–People v. Ferrer

When Kamala Harris’ office filed pimping charges against three Backpage executives, I wondered: why now? why pimping? After all, in 2013, California AG Kamala Harris signed a letter to Congress saying that Section 230 “prevents State and local law enforcement…

Adding Derogatory Caption to Photo Meme Can Be False Light--S.E. v. Chmerkovskiy

Adding Derogatory Caption to Photo Meme Can Be False Light–S.E. v. Chmerkovskiy

S.E. has Down Syndrome. The complaint alleges that in 2008, S.E. attended a baseball game (at the age of 8) in Nashville and was photographed standing outside the stadium near a concession stand. The photographer posted the photo to his…

Avvo's Attorney Profile Pages Don't Violate Publicity Rights--Vrdolyak v. Avvo

Avvo’s Attorney Profile Pages Don’t Violate Publicity Rights–Vrdolyak v. Avvo

Publicity right laws often prohibit the use of third parties’ names (or other aspects of their personalities) “for commercial purposes.” So what’s a “commercial purpose”? Fuck if I know. We might make the term coextensive with the Constitutional law definition…