First Amendment Bad Ass

By J. DeVoy You may have never heard of Hossein Derakhshan or his more popular moniker, Hoder.  More than a name, Hoder.com - now a parked GoDaddy page - was one man's outlet for free speech in Iran, a country not given to free expression and individual liberty. Yesterday, Derakhshan was released on...

By J. DeVoy "They say I'm too blunt.  Well, I am." -- Carl Paladino, Sept. 14, 2010 Tonight, Carl Paladino cinched the Republican nomination for Governor of New York State.  Paladino, a lawyer-cum-real estate magnate in upstate New York, has had a storied past.  Before wading into the political realm, he would buy...

by Jason Fischer

Okay.  So it's not really a news flash – it's kinda the bread and butter of the L.A. Times to print whiney panic pieces.  However, this story hit upon our sweet spot.  Reporter David G. Savage writes to warn us all about the dangers of criticizing others on teh interwebs.  The advice to bloggers and emailers: "think twice before sending a message."

With all due respect to the attorneys quoted in the piece, the story is a load of shit.  It paints the picture that you can and will be sued for posting anything negative about anyone or anything.  We understand that there is only so much space available for a story, but this one was so halfway done, that we question the article's intent.  Newspapers are losing their grip on the dissemination of information, as blogs and citizen journalists deliver information to the masses.  It almost seems like the L.A. Times was trying to scare us all from encroaching on their turf – and that it must have consciously failed to complete the story.

ShittyDentistThe article quotes our friend Professor Eric Goldman, of Santa Clara University, as saying that someone can be sued for saying "My dentist stinks."  Conveniently, this is the end of the quote – convenient because it supports the message behind the piece, i.e., don't be mean to people and hurt their feelings by writing unkind things about them.  We're sure that, if the entirety of Professor Goldman's input were published, he would have gone on to state, unequivocally, that "My dentist stinks" would never carry the day in court.  In fact, in California, bringing such a frivolous suit would leave the plaintiff paying everyone's attorneys' fees, after getting hit with a special motion to strike pursuant to the state's anti-SLAPP statute.  We've never seen Goldman shill for the "fraidy cat" contingent, and we bet our entire publication's credibility that he didn't do so this time.

Let's break it down LS style, in case someone out there is now afraid to complain about how much her dentist stinks on yelp after reading the article.  There are two ways the statement "My dentist stinks" can be interpreted:

I have nothing to add: [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kXm_fUDfJZQ] Transcript of his speech: “We've come here to Governors Island to stand where the earliest settlers first set foot in New Amsterdam, and where the seeds of religious tolerance were first planted. We come here to see the inspiring symbol of liberty that more than 250 years...

[caption id="attachment_9822" align="alignright" width="123" caption="Bla bla bla"][/caption] Representative Steve Cohen (D-TN) represents the people of Memphis, TN. His district also includes Graceland. That can't be a coincidence, because he is the Congressional King of Free Speech legislation. Cohen sponsored HR 2765, the Libel Tourism bill, and Obama signed...

By J. DeVoy Xbiz reports that the government's case, failing to meet its burden of proof on any of the counts against Stagliano, has been dismissed. The trial, pending before Judge Richard Leon in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia, was dismissed on the defense team's Rule 29...

by Christopher Harbin Marc was recently quoted in the paper of record regarding Slapp suits. One tidbit of the article stood out as odd to me: "The group Medical Justice, which helps protect doctors from meritless malpractice suits, advises its members to have patients sign an agreement that gives the doctor copyright over a...

Judge William Downes of the U.S. District Court for the District of Wyoming ordered the University of Wyoming allow William Ayers speak on its campus with this explanation: “This court is of age to remember the Weather Underground. When his group was bombing the U.S. Capitol in 1971, I was serving...

By J. DeVoy Something's happening at the official Nine Inch Nails website. In the past, such pictures portended the release of Ghosts I-IV and The Slip (available for free download).  Both of those albums were released under a creative commons license, a move praised by Harvard Law professor Lawrence Lessig. The band's move...