2H 2015 Quick Links, Part 4 (Content Regulation & More)

Photo credit: 3D Quick Link Crossword // ShutterStock

Photo credit: 3D Quick Link Crossword // ShutterStock

* Miquel Peguera: “The man who won the right-to-be-forgotten case in the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) has now been denied the right to suppress links to comments about that case by the Spanish Data Protection Authority (DPA). Given the relevance of the CJEU’s ruling, comments discussing the case and the facts behind it must be considered of public interest, according to the DPA’s decision…All in all – as it was easy to anticipate from the beginning – this seminal right-to-be-forgotten case appears to have ended up in a big Streisand effect.”

* News.com: Google search chief: Users have right to be forgotten online — in some cases

* Rogers v. Justmugshots.com, 2015 WL 5838403 (Cal. App. Ct. Oct. 7, 2015): “Defendant does not argue that the acts of charging the removal fee and using pictured individuals’ names in advertising are protected speech activities, so the anti-SLAPP statute does not apply.”

* Bell v. Itawamba County School Board, No. 12-60264 (5th Cir. Aug. 20, 2015): “The pervasive and omnipresent nature of the Internet has obfuscated the on-campus/off-campus distinction advocated by Bell, “mak[ing] any effort to trace First Amendment boundaries along the physical boundaries of a school campus a recipe for serious problems in our public schools”. Layshock, 650 F.3d at 220–21 (Jordan, J., concurring). Accordingly, in the light of our court’s precedent, we hold Tinker governs our analysis, as in this instance, when a student intentionally directs at the school community speech reasonably understood by school officials to threaten, harass, and intimidate a teacher, even when such speech originated, and was disseminated, off-campus without the use of school resources.”

Prior blog post.

* LA Times editorial comes out in favor of federal anti-SLAPP laws: “U.S. needs an anti-SLAPP law like California’s”

* Wired: Reddit’s Future Is the Future of the Internet. I’m surprised that anyone else is surprised that Reddit is cleaning up its sites. “Anything goes” sites don’t last very long–they either corporatize or fail. The fact Reddit went this long without stricter rules is perhaps the more remarkable story.

* Law.com: Turkey’s Digital Blackouts

* Test Masters Educ. Servs., Inc. v. Robin Singh Educ. Servs., Inc., No. 13-20250 (5th Cir. Aug. 21, 2015)

Singh also appeals the district court’s order requiring him to publish the following remedial statement online at ripoffreport.com:

Robin Singh and Robin Singh Educational Services previously posted on March 25, 2010, a Complaint Review of Dr. Haku Israni and his website testmasters.com. Singh and Dr. Israni were involved in litigation at that time and Singh would now like to retract his prior complaint. No credence should be paid to that complaint or any of its contents.

The district court ordered that this statement be posted in response to Singh’s original “deadbeat dad” posting, which discussed the state court paternity suit involving Israni.

Singh contends that this order violates his First Amendment right “not to speak.” He explains that the district court required him to “say things that simply are not true” because he does not wish to retract his complaint about Israni and [*14] believes credence should be paid to his comments.

We conclude that Singh’s statements constitute commercial speech. “Commercial speech is ‘expression related solely to the economic interests of the speaker and its audience.'” White Buffalo Ventures v. Univ. of Tex. at Austin, 420 F.3d 366 , 374 (5th Cir. 2005) (quoting Cent. Hudson Gas & Elec. Corp. v. Pub. Serv. Comm’n, 447 U.S. 557 , 561 , 100 S. Ct. 2343 , 65 L. Ed. 2d 341 (1980)). Though the posting focused solely on Israni’s personal life, Singh must have made it with the economic interest of harming TES.

Having concluded that the speech was commercial, the question becomes whether the remedial statement was appropriate. When regulations are directed at deceptive or misleading commercial speech and require a disclosure rather than a “flat prohibition[]” on speech, the Supreme has created a standard to gauge the regulation. See Zauderer v. Office of Disciplinary Counsel of the Supreme Court of Ohio, 471 U.S. 626 , 651 ,105 S. Ct. 2265 , 85 L. Ed. 2d 652 , 17 Ohio B. 315 (1985). Under Zauderer, a required disclosure need only be “reasonably related to the [government’s] interest in preventing deception of consumers.” Id.

This standard applies because Singh’s original posting was deceptive. The district court’s order was reasonably related to its interest in preventing consumer deception by correcting the misleading information. The analysis is complicated by Singh’s argument that the required disclosure was “false” because it says he would “like” to retract the statements. We see no relevant falsehood. Whether Singh enjoyed taking this medicine is an insignificant question of phrasing.

* Vice.com: United Nations Apologizes for Fault-Ridden Cyberviolence Report. If you know what policy conclusion you want to achieve before you start out, the footnotes should just write themselves.

* Washington Post: Cyberbullying insurance? That’s a real thing one company is offering in the United Kingdom.


* I spoke about the regulation of algorithms to Spanish MBA students. iTunesU podcast (#49) and slides (#50).

* Fusion: We took a tour of the abandoned college campuses of Second Life. Virtual ghost towns!

* Larada Sciences, Inc. v. Skinner, 2015 WL 7768836 (D. Utah Dec. 2, 2015):

Given the exponential growth in the number of interactive websites, the Zippo approach–which would remove personal jurisdiction’s geographical limitations based on the mere existence of those websites–is particularly troubling. And the problem would grow more acute every year as more individuals and businesses create interactive websites….In short, this court finds Zippo to be unpersuasive.

* Scientific American: A Learning Secret: Don’t Take Notes with a Laptop

* Wired: Etsy Sellers Push Congress to Defend Tiny Businesses

* Wired: Snowden: Other People Get Fired and Prosecuted For What Hillary Clinton Did

* The Atlantic: Raiders of the Lost Web: If a Pulitzer-finalist 34-part series of investigative journalism can vanish from the web, anything can. The right to be forgotten is exacerbating this problem.

* Vanity Fair: The Untold Story of the Ermahgerd Girl. Similar: New York Magazine: Living, breathing memes, long after the clicks have subsided.

* NY Times: 7 Charged With Promoting Prostitution by Working on Rentboy.com, an Escort Website

* The Atlantic: do reusable shopping bags change consumer purchasing behavior?

* NY Times: Glare of Video Is Shifting Public’s View of Police

* How Claw Machines are Rigged