April-May 2011 Quick Links, Part 4

By Eric Goldman

Social Media

* The footballer superinjunction (for Ryan Giggs) was much bigger news in Britain than it was here. From my perspective, it was just another effort by a foreign government to squelch a Silicon Valley Internet company. The episode made it clear that superinjunctions (an injunction against discussing the injunction) are farcical in the modern age; the network hates informational asymmetries, and news information is a paradigmatic example of “information that wants to be free.” We also learned that superinjunctions run strongly against US free speech norms. It also reminded us that people are still experiencing angst about territorial laws applied to a geographically borderless network. More on this episode from EFF and Adam Thierer.

* Yoder v. University of Louisville, 2011 WL 1345051 (6th Cir. April 8, 2011). The 6th Circuit overturned Yoder v. University of Louisville on procedural grounds and remanded to the district court to try again. My prior blog post.

* Beahm v Adecco complaint. Class action wage-and-hour lawsuit against Findlaw for how it handles its staff bloggers. More.

* In re Marriage of Pierce and Arreola, 2011 WL 1902851 (Cal. App. Ct. May 20, 2011): “Pierce’s appeal did correctly point out that Arreola found and presented to the trial court several statements published by Pierce on Internet sites. However, Pierce failed to explain how, under any statute or law, the mere retrieval by Arreola of statements or articles that he had posted on a public website or blog amounted to illegally “stalking” him or why such activity entitled him to a protective order.”

* Facebook using filtering technology to combat child pornography.

* Cardone v. Cardone, 2011 WL 1566992 (Conn. Super. Ct. April 4, 2011). Ex-wife sees her alimony cut after she blogs about her boat trips in the Caribbean with her hitherto-undisclosed new boyfriend.

* McKee v. Laurion. A judge dismissed a lawsuit by a Duluth doctor who claimed he was defamed by a man who publicly criticized his bedside manner. News report. A highlight from the opinion: “Taken as a whole, the statements in this case appear to be nothing more or less than one man’s description of shock at the way he and in particular his father were treated by a physician.”

* A battle is taking place in Israel over Google/Blogger’s liability for a blog that criticizes an Israeli university.

* Twitter and Facebook both don’t like RSS. Is RSS dying?

* Farewell, Friendster.

* The Wikipedia community’s xenophobia strikes again: many initial posts on a new user’s talk page are negative feedback, not compliments.

* A professor was awarded tenure based in part on his Wikipedia contributions.

* Facebook requiring pharmaceutical Facebook fan pages to accept user comments.

* U.S. v. Lindeman, 2011 WL 1869924 (W.D. La. May 13, 2011). Defendant can’t move location of jury trial using only an undetailed assertion that blogs are talking about the case.

* Rakofsky v. the Internet. Many legal blogs criticized a lawyer’s courtroom performance, so he sued several dozen of them. Suing a single legal blogger is rarely a good idea; suing a gaggle of them seems to invite a massive blowback.

* Unmasking lawsuit rejected because no one takes anonymous blogs seriously.

* More bad news for Above the Law: Huon v. Above the Law complaint. Article. It’s dangerous blogging about lawyers. They are not shy about suing.


* Wired: “Going, Going, Gone: Who Killed the Internet Auction?” Good article on the rise and fall of variable prices on the Internet. “Today online auctions are a niche service, whereas a decade ago it seemed to many as if they were going to transform the way everything was bought and sold.”

* Dismissed again. Burgess v. Ebay, Inc., 2011 WL 1344167 (D. Mass. April 8, 2011)

* Ninth Circuit affirms dismissal of an antitrust challenge to eBay’s fees. In re eBay Seller Antitrust Litigation, 2011 WL 1749206 (9th Cir. 2011).

* Universal Grading Service v. eBay, 2011 WL 846060 (N.D. Cal. March 8, 2011). eBay defeats an antitrust challenge to its “Counterfeit Currency and Stamps Policy.” Related blog post.


* Classic Posner opinion: a live online video display of masturbation isn’t “sexual activity” for purposes of the applicable statute.

* Ever wonder who writes those term papers advertised on Craigslist? It could be a (suspended) lawyer.

* The FBI did a major crackdown on Internet poker sites. The indictment. The lowdown on defense lawyers.

* Hawaii is considering holding travel guidebooks liable for recommending dangerous attractions. Another law that would be clearly preempted by the First Amendment.

* California Lawyer article on anti-spam litigant Dan Balsam asking if he’s a consumer crusader or “spambulance” chaser. In the article, Ken Magill takes a stand, and he doesn’t mince words.

* South Park: HUMANCENTiPAD: Kyle clicks “I agree” to Apple’s iTunes T&Cs he didn’t read, and intensely scatalogical outcomes ensue.

* Brad Stone on the emergence of markets for “private” company stock.

* AT&T Mobility LLC v. Concepcion, 563 U. S. ____ (2011). Will this lead to a revitalization of arbitration clauses as an anti-class action technique?

* The FTC proudly announces that it busted a consumer who provided a bogus testimonial.