TLDRItsBadParody

Satire vs. Potentially Defamatory Factual Statements: An Illustration

Earlier today, author John Scalzi posed this question: I am incapable of passing a question like this without answering it. Moreover, as luck would have it, I just finished a brief on the subject yesterday. So: here is the short answer. The book title is almost certainly parody protected by the First Amendment, because an audience familiar with the circumstances would recognize it as parody and not as an assertion of fact. Now: cry havoc, and let slip all the ones and … [Read More...]

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Patterico Prevails: Vexatious Legal Attack on Speech Fails

For the last few years I've had the privilege of acting as pro bono counsel for Patrick Frey, who blogs as Patterico, in defense of a thoroughly frivolous federal case filed to censor his speech. That's given me the invaluable opportunity of working with the redoubtable Ron Coleman as co-counsel both in the district court […]

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Diegesis

Poor Agostino di Duccio.  He had learned his craft under the most innovative and imaginatively expressive sculptural master of the quattrocento, Donatello.  But Agostino could not have been happy on the mountain in Carrara as he oversaw the quarrying of a shallow, broad block of marble some eighteen feet long.  Over the course of his […]

Top Seven Things I Like About Internet Shame Mobs

7) Initial news reports are always completely accurate, so we know we've got the right guy. 6) Initial news reports are always full of nuance, so we know that we understand the situation and can distinguish sarcasm from seriousness, and being nearby from being the active participant. 5) Internet shame mobs weigh the evidence carefully […]

Lawsplainer: Did Gawker Aid and Abet Extortion? Nah.

tl;dr: nah. Last week Gawker Media published an unusually vile story about an escort's apparent attempt to blackmail a married entertainment executive. In just one post, Gawker outed a man for an alleged same-sex encounter and acted as the willing instrument of blackmail. Many Internet Lawyers have suggested that Gawker committed extortion, or acted as […]

Living To Make A Difference

I was over 40 the first time something I wrote was published. The first thing I did was send an email to my high-school English teacher, Kathi Condell. Ms. Condell — that's how I continue to think of her, even after she married again and demanded that I call her Kathi — taught several of […]

"I love working with kids."

Judge Lisa Gorcyca Doesn't Hate Kids. Judge Lisa Gorcyca Hates Failure To Submit.

Judge Lisa Gorcyca, a judge in Oakland County, Michigan, is getting quite a lot of press this week for sending three kids to juvenile detention. Judge Gorcyca doesn't preside in criminal court. She doesn't rule on delinquency petitions in juvenile court. She's a judge in the Family Division. And she sent three kids to juvenile […]

What Did A Federal Prosecutor Need To Get A Gag Order On Reason Magazine? Pitifully Little.

When Back in June we all found out that federal prosecutors did, indeed, secure a gag order prohibiting Reason Magazine from commenting on a federal grand jury subpoena seeking to unmask mouthy anonymous commenters. At the time, nobody had a copy of the government's application for a gag order; we only had the formulaic, boilerplate […]

Kutner-ing Corners

Adam Kutner is (apparently) a familiar face around Las Vegas.  He's of the genus of lawyers with television advertisements, intoning soberly: "have you been injured in an accident?", as music likely reused from an episode of Unsolved Mysteries fills the background: Kutner can empathize, because he's also been injured — online.  And his new lawsuit is a good example of why […]

Lawsplainer: So Are Those Christian Cake-Bakers In Oregon Unconstitutionally Gagged, Or Not?

tldr: yes with an if, or no with a but. By now you've heard about how an Oregon Labor Commissioner ordered the former owners of a bakery to pay $135,000 for refusing to bake a wedding cake for a same-sex couple. That order was widely reported as "gagging" the bakers and preventing them from expressing […]

You too can be a SUPERMAN of jounalism! All you need is a camera.

Do Judges Have Inherent Dignity?

According to Justice Anthony Kennedy, the Constitution provides all Americans a right to "equal dignity in the eyes of the law." That's nice in theory I suppose, but in the America where I grew up dignity had to be earned, and maintained, by correct behavior and continued demonstration of good character. Dignity built up over […]

What Charles Carreon could teach ICANN

Popehat is happy to offer a new guest post from Cathy Gellis. There is no question that the right of free speech necessarily includes the right to speak anonymously. This is partly because sometimes the only way for certain speech to be possible at all is with the protection of anonymity. And that’s why so […]

Donald Trump's Lawyers Don't Know Or Don't Care What Defamation Is

Spanish-language network Univision has cancelled its telecast of the Miss America pageant in the wake of Donald Trump's characterization of Mexicans, and Trump has now sued Univision in response. The lawsuit, filed in state court in New York, is here. I won't opine on Trump's contract-related claims without reading his agreement with Univision. But Trump […]