Posts from December 2009.
Posted in Defamation

The Volokh Conspiracy recently blogged about a 2008 Massachusetts Superior Court order granting a libel defendants’ motion to dismiss defamation and business defamation claims because the defendant had “no continuing duty to investigate the accuracy” of a news article that was posted by the defendant on its website. The case, Jenzabar, Inc. v. Long Bow Group, Inc., No. 2007-2075H (Mass. Super Ct., Aug. 5, 2008) is linked from the Volokh site here.

The case is an interesting one, first, for its treatment of the fair report privilege and, second, because it is another example ... Read More 

Posted in Indecency

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit has scheduled to hold oral argument in the Fox v. FCC indecency case on January 13, 2010, at 3:00 pm. 

The Fox case involves review of the FCC's determination that Cher's use of the F-word during the 2002 Billboard Music Awards show and Nicole Richie's use of the F-word and S-word during the 2003 Billboard Music Awards show (both broadcast by the Fox Network and its affiliates) were actionably indecent.  We previously reported about the Supreme Court's decision in the Fox case here

Although the Second Circuit previously ruled that the ... Read More 

Posted in FCC Matters

FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski  recently announced what the Commission is billing as an “agency-wide initiative to assess the state of media in these challenging economic times and make recommendations designed to ensure a vibrant media landscape.” The Chairman has appointed Steven Waldman to lead the effort. Waldman most recently served as President and Editor-in-Chief of, a faith-oriented website, and was a regular columnist for the online edition of the Wall Street Journal. According to an FCC News Release, Waldman will work with FCC bureaus to ... Read More 

Posted in Privacy

We have closely followed the twists and turns in Detroit Free Press reporter David Ashenfelter's efforts to avoid being forced to reveal his sources in the civil action against the Department of Justice brought by former federal prosecutor Richard Convertino.  This spring, a federal judge in Michigan allowed Ashenfelter to invoke his rights under the 5th Amendment in order to avoid testifying under oath about his sources.

Last week, the collateral damage from Convertino's legal crusade continued to spread.  This time, Convertino was seeking some 736 DOJ documents that he claimed ... Read More 

Posted in Shield Laws

After weeks of debate, the Senate Judiciary Committee today amended and passed the proposed federal shield law on to the full Senate for consideration.  Even with this important step, it is unclear when the full Senate will vote on the measure or how quickly the Senate version can be reconciled with the House version.

In an important victory for the media, the Senate Judiciary bill reportedly adopts a broad definition of "journalist" -- one that, at this stage, includes bloggers and other journalists with non-traditional media organizations.  This aspect of the bill was the focus of ... Read More 

Posted in Internet

In light of our recent discussion of Bartnicki v. Vopper and the legality of publishing information that was illegally obtained by a third party, this recent case from New Hampshire drew our attention.

In early November, the New Hampshire Supreme Court heard arguments in a case involving a website's refusal to identify the author of a post that criticized mortgage lender The Mortgage Specialists Inc.  The site, Mortgage Lender Implode-O-Meter, had posted a story concerning a state investigation into MSI for, among other things, allegedly forging signatures and ... Read More 

The release of hacked emails written by well-known climate scientists has been widely reported around the world, as those emails have raised questions about whether the science behind global warming has been overstated.

This New York Times blog post by the paper's science reporter caused a mini-furor of its own in the blogosphere.  In the post, Andrew Revkin writes of the hacked emails:

The documents appear to have been acquired illegally and contain all manner of private information and statements that were never intended for the public eye, so they won’t be posted here.

While ... Read More 


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