Depiction of Michigan as Hands Doesn't Preclude Similar Depictions--High Five v. MFB

Depiction of Michigan as Hands Doesn’t Preclude Similar Depictions–High Five v. MFB

High Five Threads sells t-shirts and tchotchkes. It claims copyright and trademark protection for a depiction of upper and lower Michigan as two hands (left-most image below). People routinely depict lower Michigan as a hand, and apparently others envision the…

Emoji Law Year-in-Review for 2020

Some emoji law highlights from 2020: * My caselaw tally shows 132 cases referencing emojis or emoticons in 2020, a 25% increase from 2019. This year, I noticed that emojis are showing up in more murder cases–10 in 2020, compared…

My California Young Lawyers Association Interview About Emojis

My California Young Lawyers Association Interview About Emojis

[In August, I did an interview with Skyler Gray that ran in the California Young Lawyers Association newsletter.] How did an intersection of emojis and the law begin? Were there legal issues concerning the original punctuation emojis, such as “:)”…

Copyright Owner Claims Ownership Over Depicting Emoji Symbols in Multiple Colors--Cub Club v. Apple

Copyright Owner Claims Ownership Over Depicting Emoji Symbols in Multiple Colors–Cub Club v. Apple

[Reminder: our country is falling apart. Focus on that until the election, then revisit this post.] My Emojis and the Law paper argued that: (1) the diversity of emoji depictions (sometimes called fragmentation) creates potential misunderstandings that cause a host…

Australian Court Says Using a Zipper-Mouth Emoji Can Be Defamatory--Burrows v. Houda

Australian Court Says Using a Zipper-Mouth Emoji Can Be Defamatory–Burrows v. Houda

This case involves a Twitter thread discussing the plaintiff’s alleged misconduct as a lawyer. I’m still looking for the original thread (some or all of it appears to be deleted based on my attempts to find it on Twitter) or…

Emojis Keep Teen Out of Jail--State v. DRC

Emojis Keep Teen Out of Jail–State v. DRC

Tomorrow is World Emoji Day (named because most calendar emojis depictions show July 17 on the calendar). To celebrate the power of emojis, I’m blogging a case where emojis helped a teen avoid jail. DRC and her mom were having…

What is a “True Threat” Online?–In re. R.D.

This case involves a Twitter war of words between high schoolers shortly after a local school shooting. Some tweets may have been quoted song lyrics, others were typical nonsense teen bluster, and some may have been legally prosecutable threats. The…

Can a "Fire" Emoji Support a Manslaughter Conviction?--Johnson v. State

Can a “Fire” Emoji Support a Manslaughter Conviction?–Johnson v. State

Johnson and Roe were drug users. They split a purchase of heroin, which turned out to contain fentanyl. Roe died from ingesting it. Johnson was charged with, among other things, involuntary manslaughter for providing the heroin to Roe. The court…

2019 Emoji Law Year-in-Review

2019 Emoji Law Year-in-Review

Some highlights from emoji law in 2019: (Continued) Exponential Growth of Case References I found 101 cases in 2019 that referenced “emoji” or “emoticon.” That nearly doubles the number from 2018, reinforcing that emoji law continues to grow exponentially. You…

The Israeli Chipmunk Emoji Mystery Resolved!

The Israeli Chipmunk Emoji Mystery Resolved!

One of the most celebrated cases in emoji law is Dahan v. Shakaroff, an Israeli decision involving a landlord’s claim that prospective tenants Nir and Yarden (a married couple) engaged in bad faith negotiations over leasing an apartment. At issue…