Q1 2009 Quick Links, Part 3

By Eric Goldman

Blogging and Social Networking Sites

* A new version of the EFF Legal Guide to Blogging. While you’re there, consider joining EFF as a member. The EFF does first-rate work, and they can use all the support they can get in this economic downturn.

* Red Tape Chronicles: “Blogger: Cash4Gold tried to ‘bribe’ me.”

* Klein v. City of Laguna Beach, 594 F. Supp. 2d 1142 (C.D. Cal. Jan. 23, 2009): “many of the cases striking down ordinances that restrict sound-amplification equipment are artifacts of a bygone age that offered activists few media of mass communication. Twenty, thirty, or fifty years ago, a sound truck was an important means of spreading a message to a large group of people. Now, one must only have a computer and a printer to publish a newsletter or handbill. The Internet, e-mail, text messaging, and widespread mobile communications devices have made it easier than ever to reach a large audience on a small budget. Indeed, it might be easier for Mr. Klein to reach the youth he wishes to target by using Facebook or MySpace.”

* Maybe everyone already knew this, but I learned something interesting about Blogger. Apparently in some cases they will place an interstitial warning in front of certain user-posted content.

* Doninger v. Niehoff, 2009 WL 103322 (D. Conn. Jan. 15, 2009). On remand from the Second Circuit, the district court denies damages for a student whose off-campus blog entry led to school discipline. At the same time, Wendy Davis reports on how a Conn. Bill Would Protect Students’ Free Speech Online:

* Funny article on Facebook’s efforts to police against people who create funny account names, which sometimes ensnares people who actually have funny names like Batman, Six, Super, Pancake and Kisser.

* Facebook Sex-Extortion Plot: a boy pretends to be a girl, gets boys to send naked photos to him, and then threatens to go public with the photos unless they consent to sex with him.

* Dynamic Sports Nutrition, Inc. v. Roberts, 2009 WL 136023 (S.D. Tex. Jan. 16, 2009). A former employee republishing confidential information via his blog is enjoined.

* We now know that Facebook settled with ConnectU for $65M. However, ConnectU might get a little more cash after this information was inadvertently disclosed by its former counsel, Quinn Emanuel, in a marketing brochure.

* Facebook gets TRO against Wallace.

* Some people gave up Facebook for Lent.

* Reuters writes up a shocking study: many teens on MySpace post things they might regret.

* State v. Hause, 2009 WL 295404 (Ohio App. Ct. Feb. 9, 2009). Facebook photos help convict a woman for allowing minors to drink alcohol in her house.

* U.S. v. Villanueva, 2009 WL 455127 (11th Cir. Feb. 25, 2009). MySpace photo and YouTube video showing defendant holding firearms contribute to sentence enhancements for firearms charges.

* John Palfrey & Adam Thierer discuss Palfrey’s arguments to “improve” 47 USC 230 by reversing Doe v. MySpace.


* JuicyCampus has shut down. LA Times, Chronicle of Higher Education, CMLP.

* Lengthy article on the AutoAdmit lawsuits. And a mixed ruling in Ciolli v. Iravani.

* Noonan v. Staples (1st Cir. Feb. 13, 2009). Truth is NOT an absolute defense to defamation in Massachusetts, which apparently also has seceded from the Union because the First Amendment no longer seems to apply.

* Neuwirth v. Silverstein, 2009 WL 294737 (Cal. App. Ct. Feb. 9, 2009). Reiterating that a website can be a public forum for purposes of anti-SLAPP laws. The CMLP writeup.

* Douchebags Lawsuit dismissed. Marc Randazza mocks the lawsuit.

* Rios v. Fergusan, 2008 WL 5511215 (Conn. Super. Ct. Dec. 3, 2008). Connecticut court has jurisdiction to issue restraining order against North Carolina man who posted YouTube video threatening Connecticut woman.

* Fahmy v. Hogge, 2009 WL 33418 (C.D.Cal. Jan. 2, 2009). Court denies Fahme’s motion to set aside the dismissal based on lack of jurisdiction because Fahme made the error that caused the dismissal.

* 24Grille v. TripAdvisor (complaint filed April 2, 2009). Restaurant sues TripAdvisor for anonymous TripAdvisor review. Hello 230!

* Censorious laws brewing in WV and NJ.


I have been meaning to post about my experiences with Yelp as a reader and a writer, but that has been repeatedly deferred. So, instead, how about a quick recap of Yelp’s woes? Yelp has been under the microscope quite a bit in the last few months.

* Wendy Davis recaps all the Yelp-related litigation she and I could find–at least 5 known cases. CMLP recaps a couple of the lawsuits.

* This East Bay Express article about Yelp caused quite a stir. It was followed up with more attributed sources. A number of other media outlets covered Yelp, including News.com and the NYT. For a full rundown of Yelp haters, check out the Eater coverage.


* 25 Biggest Blunders in Wikipedia History.

* Two books about Wikipedia I’ve been checking out.

Wikipedia, the Missing Manual.

How Wikipedia Works.


* Mukasey v. A.C.L.U., No. 08-565. The Supreme Court declined the cert petition regarding the challenge to the 1998 Child Online Protection Act, officially killing the law after a decade of litigation. Putting aside the merits of the law, it would have been a huge shock to the Internet community to have a circa-1998 criminal act resurrected! I’d like to think Congress will be wiser than to try to criminalize Internet porn a third time, but the regulation of Internet porn is like a siren song to Congressmembers.

* State v. Hurst, 2009 WL 580453 (Ohio App. Ct. March 6, 2009). From the unfortunately-named Licking County courts, the defendant downloaded 14,000 pornographic photos into his work computer’s local cache in a five day period (he acknowledged he spent 70% of his workday downloading porn). An expert said that about 50 of the photos were child pornographic. The defendant was convicted of possessing child pornography even though he argued that he didn’t intentionally download the photos, getting a 39 month sentence and classified as a sex offender.

* Excellent article by Colette Vogele on suing over a sex tape.


* The credit card payment systems blocked the New Hampshire Lottery due to the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006.

* Peer-to-peer gambling OKed in Washington.