Q2 2015 Quick Links, Part 2 (Censorship and More)

Photo credit: 3D Quick Link Crossword // ShutterStock

Photo credit: 3D Quick Link Crossword // ShutterStock

Content Regulation

* Oxera: The economic impact of safe harbours on Internet intermediary start-ups

* South Korea is mandating that all cellphones sold to minors have an app called “Smart Sheriff” that censors their online experience. What could possibly go wrong?

* Reason: The Misguided War on Sexting

* Google will allow individuals to remove “revenge porn” from search results

…despite having Section 230 immunity…!

* Jeff John Roberts: Hard choices for Google as judges grow bold on censorship

* Daphne Keller: A Right to be Forgotten For Hosting Services?

* NY Times Magazine: “From a nondescript office building in St. Petersburg, Russia, an army of well-paid “trolls” has tried to wreak havoc all around the Internet — and in real-life American communities.”

* Wired: Why Twitter Is Finally Taking a Stand Against Trolls

Intense pressure from shareholders to grow its monthly active user base has left Twitter reluctant to take a stand against abuse for fear of jeopardizing its already declining engagement. But over the last year, Twitter’s leaders have begun to realize that the company stands to lose a lot more if it continues to let trolls run amok. The thinking now seems to be that it’s better to alienate destructive users if it means holding onto the good ones.

Another example of marketplace mechanisms encouraging UGC websites to do self-policing. See this article.

* When should you post “I hate my job!!!” to Facebook? The correct answer: never.

* Parten v. Alabama Dept. of Tourism, 2015 WL 1781588 (M.D. Ala. April 20, 2015)

the court has not uncovered any First Amendment case law established by either the Eleventh Circuit or the Supreme Court divining a line, or lines, that Sentell could not cross in telling Parten what she could and could not do with regard to her app or her Twitter account, under the circumstances presented here. Parten’s development of her civil-rights mobile app was intimately interrelated with her duties as the Tourism Department’s Public Information Manager, and the separation between her private Twitter account and the Tourism Department’s Twitter account was murky at best.[FN9] There is no way Sentell could have known, in the specific circumstances presented here, that he had violated Parten’s First Amendment right even if, indeed, he had.

FN9: Parten initially began tweeting for the Tourism Department from her personal @ALTourist Twitter account before starting a Twitter account for the department under the name @TweetHomeAla.

* Popehat: Why Are Nevada State Senators Trying To Eviscerate The State’s Anti-SLAPP Statute?

* Texas anti-SLAPP statute applies to emailed messages, not just public postings.

* Xcentric Ventures, LLC V. Borodkin, 2015 WL 3652421 (9th Cir. June 15, 2015). No malicious prosecution to bring a weak claim preempted by Section 230.

* Leviston v. Jackson, 2015 WL 3657173 (S.D.N.Y. June 12, 2015) (citations omitted):

Defendant claims that “[t]he Court has federal question jurisdiction because plaintiff’s claims are preempted under 47 U.S.C. § 230, the Communications Decency Act [the ‘CDA’].” This argument, too, fails. It is well-established that for a federal question to provide the basis for removal jurisdiction, it must appear in the plaintiff’s complaint itself, rather than in an affirmative defense or counterclaim. This rule is subject to only a narrow exception for “complete preemption,” where the federal law at issue entirely bars state courts from entering the field.

Defendant’s argument for removal on the basis that the CDA preempts Plaintiff’s claims thus requires Defendant to demonstrate that Section 230 of the CDA preempts state law entirely within its field. It does not. Courts operate under “the assumption that the historic police powers of the States [are] not to be superseded by the Federal Act unless that was the clear and manifest purpose of Congress”; moreover, “[t]hat assumption applies with particular force when Congress has legislated in a field traditionally occupied by the States.” By its plain text, the CDA merely preempts those state laws that are in conflict with the CDA, and it specifically disclaims the preemption of consistent state laws: “Nothing in this section shall be construed to prevent any State from enforcing any State law that is consistent with this section. No cause of action may be brought and no liability may be imposed under any State or local law that is inconsistent with this section.” 47 U.S.C. § 230(e)(3). Given this language, the Court cannot find that “the scope of [the] statute indicates that Congress intended federal law to occupy [the] field exclusively.”


* WSJ: 5 Ways Europe Is Gunning for Google.

* NY Times: Google Tripled Spending on Lobbying in Brussels Last Year. Could this be related to the prior item?!

* NY Times: As Facebook Sweeps Across Europe, Regulators Gird for Battle. And more: Who’s the Watchdog? In Europe, the Answer Is Complicated

* Techdirt: Huge Loss For Free Speech In Europe: Human Rights Court Says Sites Liable For User Comments


* NY Times: Pulling Fare Data From Travel Sites, Some Airlines Seek to Book More Flights

* Fusion: Meet the lawyer taking on Uber and the rest of the on-demand economy

* Fusion: How much would it cost Uber to make drivers employees? (Hint: It’s a lot.) My take: despite the expense, it’s inevitable that drivers will become employees unless the law changes.

* Fusion: These two Diablo III players stole virtual armor and gold — and got prosecuted IRL

* Washington Post: Can a happy, crunchy company like Etsy really survive on Wall Street?


* NY Times: A Founder of Secret, the Anonymous Social App, Is Shutting It Down. Another example of an anonymity-based gossipy businesses succumbing to market forces.

* Wired: Location Is Your Most Critical Data, and Everyone’s Watching

* NY Times: Downside of Police Body Cameras: Your Arrest Hits YouTube

* LinkedIn To Pay $13 Million To Settle Battle Over Email Invites

* American Lawyer: Sony’s Hacked Emails a Treasure Trove for Attorney-Client Relations

* Christian Sandvig: What Facebook’s ‘It’s Not Our Fault’ Study Really Means


* Wired: The Meme-Worthy Judge of Silicon Valley’s Titans (about Judge Lucy Koh)

* IP Watch: Confidential USTR Emails Show Close Industry Involvement In TPP Negotiations

* Daily Beast: ‘Zero Dark Thirty’ Was Filled With CIA Lies

* Cracked: 5 Baffling Dick Moves That Won Actual Lawsuits