Tag Archives: First Amendment

In re Tam: Still No Trademark Registration for The Slants

In the continuing saga of whether Section 2(a) of the Lanham Act is unconstitutional because it violates the First Amendment, the rock band The Slants will have to wait a little longer before it knows whether it can register its trademark THE SLANTS. The Slants, a band composed of Asian-American musicians, has received a significant … Continue Reading

Native Advertising, the First Amendment and the FTC

Editor’s Note: This blog post is a joint submission with BakerHostetler’s Data Privacy Monitor blog. New York Partner Fernando A. Bohorquez, Jr. and Associate Alan Pate today published “All Native Advertising is Not Equal — Why that Matters Under the First Amendment and Why it Should Matter to the FTC” in the Media Law Resource … Continue Reading

Google Search and Free Speech

On Thursday, the Federal Trade Commission announced that, after its inquiry of almost two-years, it is ending its antitrust investigation into Google.  It finds that Google has not violated antitrust laws in its ordering of search results.  Google began its search service with its original “ten blue links” organic search results.  Since that time, Google … Continue Reading

Hulkamania is Running Wild: Let the Battle Begin (in Court)

Terry Bollea, better known as the professional wrestler with the stage name Hulk Hogan (“Hogan”), is involved in an unattractive legal battle that presents an unusual intersection of the First Amendment, copyright law, and privacy/publicity issues. Hogan filed two lawsuits arising out of a 2006 sexual encounter with Heather Clem (“Heather”), then the wife of … Continue Reading

Time is Relative: California Court Determines that Einstein’s Right of Publicity Expired in 2005

“The only reason for time is so that everything doesn’t happen at once,” Albert Einstein once quipped.  But Einstein was not commenting on law, where the passage of time has a different significance—and now has resulted in a California federal judge ruling that Einstein’s right of publicity, which was claimed by the Hebrew University of Jerusalem (“HUJ”), has expired.  … Continue Reading

Second Circuit to Rule on Whether Oprah Owns Her Power to Use Phrase

The October 2010 issue of O Magazine graced stands bearing a host of motivational commands:  “Tap Into Your Strength,” “Unlock Your Inner Superstar,” “Focus Your Energy,” “Let Your Best Self Shine,” and—most prominently—“Own Your Power.”  The issue promoted a sponsored event called “Own Your Power,” described as a panel discussion about power.  Afterwards, the Oprah … Continue Reading

The ACLU and Facebook Weigh in on “Liking” as Protected Speech

Updating this previous post, the employees of a Virginia sheriff’s office who were fired allegedly for expressing support for the incumbent’s opponent in Bland v. Roberts have appealed the decision to the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals.  One of the employees “liked” the opponent’s Facebook page, but the district court found that “liking” a Facebook … Continue Reading

A Threat or a Twit? Twitter as Gatekeeper

The New York Times reports that Twitter has turned over to the police the account information of an individual who used Twitter to threaten a copycat shooting similar to the recent tragedy in Aurora, Colorado at a showing of “The Dark Knight Rises.”  The individual is believed to have tweeted, “I’m serious, people are going … Continue Reading

Twitter Trolls and Free Speech

Perhaps inevitably, less than a week into the 2012 London Olympics, Twitter is finding itself at the center of numerous free speech controversies: two athletes, a Greek triple jumper and a Swiss soccer player, have been expelled from the Games because of allegedly racist tweets; athletes are turning to Twitter to complain about the IOC’s … Continue Reading

Savannah Dietrich Seeks Her Own Justice Through Twitter

From Ms. Dietrich’s perspective, her facts were simple.  She was sexually assaulted by two boys, who then shared pictures of the assault.  The incident caused the 17-year old embarrassment and concern—she cried herself to sleep for months and could not go out in public.  She reported the incident to the police, looking for justice against … Continue Reading

WIPO Treaty Grants Audiovisual Performers New Rights

The Beijing Treaty on Audiovisual Performances, signed on June 26, is an attempt to harmonize the substantive IP rights of audiovisual performers across the globe. Intended to complement the WIPO Performances and Phonograms Treaty of 1996 (the “WPPT”), which only covered audio performances, the Beijing Treaty grants audiovisual performers certain moral and economic rights in … Continue Reading

Louis’ Hangover

A federal judge has dismissed Louis Vuitton Malletier SA’s trademark infringement suit against Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. over the studio’s use of a knockoff bag in “The Hangover Part II.”  U.S. District Judge Andrew L. Carter Jr. granted Warner Bros.’ motion to dismiss after finding that public confusion as to the bag’s origin was unlikely, … Continue Reading

Supreme Court Invalidates FCC Indecency Rulings, Dodges Major First Amendment Question

The Supreme Court today struck down the Federal Communications Commission’s findings of liability against two broadcasters that aired “fleeting” profanity and nudity on primetime television.  But in invalidating the sanctions on due process grounds, the Court sidestepped the much-debated question of whether the FCC’s indecency policy could withstand a First Amendment challenge.   In Federal Communications … Continue Reading

Twitter in the Middle: Twitter Challenges Government Subpoena of “Occupy Wall Street” Account

Back in January 2012, the New York County District Attorney’s office sent Twitter a subpoena seeking e-mail addresses, tweets and other subscriber information of the account @destructuremal.  The account belongs to an individual who allegedly participated in the Occupy Wall Street protest march on the Brooklyn Bridge on October 1, 2011. The individual, Malcolm Harris, … Continue Reading

Court Gives Thumbs Down to First Amendment Protection for “Liking” Candidate on Facebook

In a decision that runs counter to a large body of Supreme Court precedent on both Internet and non-verbal speech, a Virginia district court has held that “liking” a candidate for public office on Facebook is not entitled to First Amendment protection. The case involves employees of a Virginia sheriff’s office who were less than … Continue Reading