News & Resources

A Battle Between Human Rights: The Right to Be Forgotten v. The Right to Know and Be Known

As we barrel headlong through the digital age, we are forced to confront new challenges to freedom of speech, privacy, and open government. The European Union recently blazed its own trail on these issues, giving those of us in North America a chance to see how their experiment in balancing these interests succeeds or fails. The Internet has no borders, and that’s part of the challenge. A big part of this is “the right to […]

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It’s Your First Amendment Right to Follow Elected Officials on Social Media, Rules Virginia Court

The Obama era was the first time that social media was truly recognized by elected officials as an effective tool for communicating directly with the public. Because it’s relatively new on the political scene, there are not many precedents set for how social media can lawfully be used by elected officials. However, those precedents are popping up – and quickly. Two Cases: One Open, One Shut Three years ago this month, a court ruled that […]

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Broadcasters: How to Protect Yourself from Photo Lawsuits

By Edward L. Birk and Crystal T. Broughan In a recent post, we wrote about the fast-paced world of broadcasting, made even faster by the Internet age, and how this has led to the temptation of pulling imagery from websites without confirming copyright and securing proper permission. The reuse of online content is very easy to accomplish. The consequences can be very painful to the bank account. According to Federal court listings, a comparison of […]

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Social Media Photo Copyright: Apart from Selfies, Who Can Give Permission for Reuse Is Not Always Clear

By Crystal T. Broughan and Edward L. Birk As fast-paced as the internet has made the transmission of news and information, it can be tempting for media outlets and bloggers to grab the first eye-catching image relevant to a story. But any trusted intellectual property or media law attorney would tell you not to do this – otherwise, you could find your organization neck deep in litigation over what seemed to be an “open source” […]

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Can a Court Squelch Public Statements by a Criminal Defendant Before Conviction?

Long-time Republican political operative, staunch Trump supporter, and self-described “dirty trickster” Roger Stone has never been one to hold his tongue in the face of controversy. Even in the wake of criminal indictment on five counts of making false statements, one count of obstructing an official proceeding, and one count of witness tampering, he betrayed no sign of avoiding the spotlight. In response to colorful public proclamations of his innocence, the federal judge hearing his […]

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California Court Rules Social Media Posts Are Not Always a First Amendment Right

We have a Constitutional right to express ourselves on social media, right? Social media is the new public square, a traditional public forum, right? Not so fast… Generally true. But there are narrow situations where a court may lawfully restrict social media use. A 16-year-old juvenile defendant found this out that hard way in a California case known only as “The People v. A.A.” The Facts of the Case Initially, A.A. was convicted of felony […]

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