Q2 2014 Quick Links, Part 4 (Content Regulation, Prostitution & More)

Photo credit: 3D Quick Link Crossword // ShutterStock

Photo credit: 3D Quick Link Crossword // ShutterStock

Content Regulation

* Jancik v. Redbox Automated Retail, LLC, 2014 WL 1920751 (C.D. Cal. May 14, 2014) (cites omitted). Another websites-and-ADA case diverging from the troubling 2012 Netflix ruling:

However, the Redbox Instant website and the Redbox kiosks cannot be characterized as “heavily integrated”—the two services are bundled in a number of ways, but they are not integrated. For example, a Redbox Instant subscriber is entitled to two separate services: (1) access to streaming video content online and (2) four kiosk rentals a month. The mere fact that the services are sold together does not mean that they are “heavily integrated” or that one is a “gateway” to the other. Mr. Jancik alleges only one online service that is integrated with the kiosks—the Redbox Instant smartphone application, which enables users to reserve movies at kiosks. However, the complaint does not allege that Mr. Jancik suffered discrimination because he could not use the smartphone application; rather, it asserts that he was discriminated against because much of the streaming content on Redbox Instant lacked closed captioning. In short, the Court finds that there is not a nexus between the movies offered on Redbox Instant and the Redbox kiosks; one is not the “gateway” to the other….

In sum, the Court is bound to apply Ninth Circuit precedent, which holds that an internet website is not a “place of public accommodation.” The Court rejects all of Mr. Jancik’s arguments that the Court should depart from controlling precedent: the DOJ policy statements are not entitled to Chevron deference, there is not a sufficient nexus between the Redbox Instant videos and the Redbox kiosks, and his Unruh Act and DPA claims are not independent of his ADA claims.

* Paroline v. United States, (U.S. Sup. Ct. April 23, 2014). An 18 USC 2259 restitution award for child pornography victims must reflect the defendant’s contribution to the victim’s harms. A full award of the victim’s damages cannot be made against every defendant.

* Goodman v. Does 1-10, 2014 WL 1310310 (E.D.N.C. March 28, 2014):

This allegation is plainly insufficient to state a false advertising claim. That the Defendant operator 5 published the articles and comments in an effort to make the website attractive for sale to third-parties is not sufficient to bring these postings within the commercial speech doctrine. The allegation could be made about any website. If a person creates a website in which he posts videos of kittens in various entertaining endeavors with the aim of ultimately making the website attractive to third-party purchasers, surely the videos themselves would not constitute speech that “does no more than propose a commercial transaction[,]” or that is “related solely to the economic interests of the speaker and its audience.”

* J.S. ex rel. Snyder v. Blue Mountain School Dist., 2014 WL 1321116 (M.D. Pa. March 31, 2014). Quarter million dollar fee award in case about school disciplining kid for online posts. Prior blog post.

* Wired: Curbing Online Abuse Isn’t Impossible. Here’s Where We Start:

Riot found that persistently negative players were only responsible for roughly 13 percent of the game’s bad behavior. The other 87 percent was coming from players whose presence, most of the time, seemed to be generally inoffensive or even positive. These gamers were lashing out only occasionally, in isolated incidents—but their outbursts often snowballed through the community. Banning the worst trolls wouldn’t be enough to clean up League of Legends, Riot’s player behavior team realized. Nothing less than community-wide reforms could succeed.

* Techdirt: Seattle Taxpayer Money Used To Bolster The Online Reputation Of Utility CEO. Follow-up:  Ars Technica: Seattle utility wants $17,500 refund after failure to scrub negative search results.

* State v. LaBlanc, 2014 WL 502941 (Minn. Ct. App. Feb. 10, 2014):

the facts as proved by the state establish that D.S. listed his age as 16 on his MySpace profile, that he told appellant he was in the tenth grade, and that D.S. never told appellant his age. The stipulated facts also establish that D.S. told appellant that he “don’t drive till 17 or 18.” Although appellant may have suspected that D.S. was younger than 16 years old, on this record, it is also reasonable to infer that appellant believed that D.S. was 16 years old. And the fact that appellant believed D.S. to be “underage” is not inconsistent with this inference because many people understand “underage” to mean “below the age of majority of 18 years old.” There is also no evidence to suggest that appellant understood “underage” to be synonymous exclusively with “younger than 16 years old.” Accordingly, because the circumstances proved are not inconsistent with any rational hypothesis except that of guilt, we conclude that the evidence was insufficient to sustain appellant’s conviction.

Related blog post.

* FTC v. LeanSpa is one of the most troubling pending cases where a Section 230 defense failed when it probably should have succeeded. Summary judgment documents in the case. Prior blog post.

Online Prostitution

* MyRedbook prosecuted for “facilitating prostitution” by running a website for advertising prostitution.

* Backpage v. Hoffman settled with the law permanently enjoined. Related blog post.

* CDT explains why we should oppose the SAVE Act, Congress’ proposal to criminalize online erotic ads.


* io9: The 10 Algorithms That Dominate Our World

* Broadcast spectrum scarcity is a technological challenge, not an immutable law of physics. Is it about to become a historical relic? AdWeek reports on how TV stations are sharing a single channel.

* NY Times: Noncompete Clauses Increasingly Pop Up in Array of Jobs

* Oddee: 8 Bizarre Cases of Internet Searches Used as Evidence

* The Atlantic: Where Online Services Go When They Die: Rebuilding Prodigy, one screen at a time

* 31 of the most ironic moments ever caught on camera