anonymous speech

By Jay Wolman In a page out of Rakofsky vs. The Internet, it appears that one of the law firms and attorney groups frequently criticized as representing copyright trolls, Paul Duffy, John Steele, and Prenda Law, has gone on the offense against its critics. More details here: http://phillylawblog.wordpress.com/2013/03/03/prenda-law-john-steele-and-paul-duffy-file-suit-against-alan-cooper-his-lawyer-paul-goodfread-and-anonymous-john-does/ Here: http://fightcopyrighttrolls.com/2013/03/04/copyright-trolls-prenda-law-paul-duffy-and-john-steele-commence-three-lawsuits-v-paul-godfread-alan-cooper-and-our-community/ and here: http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20130303/23353022182/prenda-law-sues-critics-defamation.shtml copies of the...

A court in the Northern District of Illinois recently concluded that accusations that an internet service provider might have falsified an account in order to leave comments anonymously cannot survive a motion to dismiss. In Hadley v. GateHouse Media Freeport Holdings, a county board member filed a complaint against the publisher...

A jury in Fort Worth, Texas awarded a husband and wife $13.78 million in a libel lawsuit after anonymous commenters started an online campaign designed to ruin their reputations. (Source). The judgment is the largest ever awarded in an internet libel case. The plaintiffs—an attorney and a salon owner—had previously been the...

Connecticut Sen. Joe Lieberman, who is not particularly known for his friendliness toward the First Amendment, is at it again.  As chairman of the Senate homeland security committee, Lieberman urged Twitter to stop hosting pro-Taliban tweets last fall, in addition to persuading Internet companies to remove blog posts that promote terrorism. It...

By J. DeVoy Pundits were concerned earlier this year when the U.S. Attorney for the District of Maryland brought a criminal action against William Lawrence Cassidy.  His alleged crime?  Posting 8,000 harassing twitter messages about Alyce Zeoli, a buddhist leader in Maryland.  The Court dismissed the Government's case, as Cassidy's anonymous speech...

Back in 2009, Washington State Governor Christine Gregiore signed SB 5688, the so-called “Everything But Marriage” act. Source. Shortly thereafter, a group of concerned citizens calling themselves Protect Marriage Washington got enough signatures to place a referendum challenging the bill. Protecting marriage from what, exactly, remains a mystery but Imma...

By J. DeVoy Imagine if there was an online database of killers, child abusers, bigots, rapists and liars - and they were all women.  Now there is!  Register-Her.com, a project started by Paul Elam, a men's rights activist and contributor to The Spearhead, uses a wiki-style webpage to consolidate locally and...

For those of you who are not lawyers, you can play too. A plaintiff files a defamation lawsuit. The plaintiff lives in California. The defendant lives in California too -- in fact, just a few miles from the plaintiff. Where do you file the suit? A) California B) ...

By J. DeVoy A common feature of criminal and civil actions against unknown defendants is the need for subpoenas, warrants, or other court orders to ascertain John (or Jane) Doe's true identity.  For a long time, these have gone unchallenged by companies seeking to mind their own business, avoid the cost...

by Charles Platt I'm getting an uneasy feeling when I watch Julian Assange using pretentious phrases such as "my philosophy" and "my work." (See his latest interview, here.) It's the same feeling I had when I saw the World Trade Center going down. A feeling that I am watching a golden...