Weblog Entries: Free Speech

Internet Defamation Trial Date Set

In what promises to be a landmark case for internet publishers, Gutnick v Dow Jones will be heard in Melbourne on 3 October, 2003.  Read more »

Ban 'Offensive and Menacing Behaviour', Alston Argues

Australia's most vociferious luddite has proposed to ban the use of the internet for offensive and menacing behaviour, with offenders to face up to two-years in prison, according to a press release issued by the Department of Communications, yesterday.  Read more »

State Censorship and Cyber Autonomy

A recent report published by Privacy International suggests that internet censorship is at an all time high. In addition to extensive regulation by non-democratic states, the study points to the heightened sensitivity of many Western governments in response to a perceived terrorist threat.  Read more »

Packer: 'Power-Crazed Greedy Man'?

Australia's man of largest financial quantum, Kerry Packer, yesterday lost a defamation case against rival media group John Fairfax Pty Ltd. Packer claimed that a satirical caption appearing in The Sydney Morning Herald on 16 December, 1999 construed him as 'a power-crazed greedy man.' Unsurprisingly, Fairfax-owned newspaper The Age was quick to carry the story.  Read more »

The Doublespeak of Slave Morality

Oh dear: Political Correctness alert!  Read more »

Google Gets Googled: Googleopoly?

Google's decision to shut out CNET for one year for googling CEO Eric Schmidt has some questioning the maturity of the burgeoning search giant. CNET reporter Elinor Mills, in a strong news piece examining how personal information can be obtained using Google, turned the technology on Schmidt and cited some public information on him, such as his salary, his hobbies and his hometown. But Google, usually a media darling, threw a fit, announcing that a blackball will last until August 2006.  Read more »

There's a Difference between 'Sex Discrimination' and 'Sexual Discrimination'?

A recent case highlights the difference between 'sex discrimination' and 'sexual discrimination'. While it is illegal to favour one sex over another, taking advantage of an employee's sexuality is not illegal of itself, writes IR law specialist and CCH columnist Joe Catanzariti, partner, Clayton Utz.

Originally by CCH Australia, 5:26 PM

Best-Selling Authors to Auction Right to Name Characters

'Next month, Stephen King, Amy Tan and other best-selling writers will auction on eBay the right to name characters in their new novels. The profits will go to the First Amendment Project, whose lawyers have repeatedly gone to court to protect the free speech rights of activists, writers and artists. One such case, over whether a high school student's angry poetry constituted a "criminal threat," recently went before the California Supreme Court.'

Originally by Law.com - Tech Law Practice Center, 12:10 PM  Read more »

EFF: Anonymous Online Critics Should Not Be Silenced

'A case brought in a US district court by a Utah man threatens to undermine the First Amendment right to speak anonymously on issues of public concern. In Merkey v Yahoo SCOX et al, the plaintiff requested an expedited process for serving subpoenas that would unmask anonymous "John Doe" critics who participated in a discussion of another court case, in which Utah-based technology company Santa Cruz Operation ('SCO') is suing IBM.  Read more »

Chinese Government Censors Weblog Star

‘Reuters reports on China’s efforts to censor its latest Internet-born star, a young woman known as Furong Jiejie (‘Sister Furong’). She is seen as a pioneer pushing the boundaries of traditional media controls, but in the process has become a target of government censors. In late July, authorities told the country’s top weblog host to move Furong-related content to low-profile parts of the site. Her pictures can still be found online, but links to them and  Read more »

Free Speech Prevails: Anonymous Critics' Identities Protected

'Utah - Private information about anonymous online critics was protected this week when a Utah man dropped his lawsuit against people who had allegedly made critical comments about him on message boards and blogs, including the Yahoo! SCOX board. The plaintiff in the case had asked the court to let him use the subpoena process to unmask his anonymous "John Doe" critics.

Originally by EFF: Breaking News, 8:58 PM  Read more »

Weblog Sued in Defamation for Reader Comments

Carl Bialik from the WSJ writes 'In a legal case being watched closely by bloggers, an Internet company has sued the owner of a blog for comments posted to his site by readers, the Wall Street Journal Online reports. Traffic-Power.com, which sells tools for boosting Web traffic, sued Aaron Wall, age 25, over statements posted in the comments section of Wall's search-engine-optimization blog, SEOBook.com:  Read more »

ASIO thumbs-down will affect US activist's travel: lawyer

Lawyers for an American peace activist facing deportation from Australia say he may never be able to travel overseas again.

Originally by ABC News: Politics, 8:44 PM

China bans Skype

China continues to make waves as a burgeoning technology and industrial giant, this time apparently banning VoIP provider Skype. A local arm of China Telecom, the country's biggest fixed-line telecommunications operator, has moved to block access to the Skype service, according to the Financial Times. The move, by Shenzhen Telecom, highlights the concerns of Chinese operators about the impact of VoIP on their businesses, the Shanghai Daily newspaper said.  Read more »

Open Internet, We Hardly Knew Ye

The online response to Hurricane Katrina demonstrates the power of a fast and flexible web. So why are judges and lawmakers strangling the internet in red tape? Commentary by Jennifer Granick.

Originally by Wired News: Top Stories, 12:59 AM

Apple Fails on Due Diligence, Subpoeanas

Ars Technica reports on the finding of a Californian court that Apple failed to conduct due diligence when issuing subpoeanas to the operators of rumour websites earlier this year. In failing to conduct an in-house check for the cause of the document leak, attempting to compel disclosure from journalists was unjustified, the Court said:  Read more »

Canadian Court Reverses Net Publication Ruling

'A Canadian appellate court has reversed an earlier ruling that had media companies worldwide fearing an Internet publication chill. A lower court had asserted jurisdiction over the Washington Post based solely on an article published years earlier that was available on the Post's website. That decision attracted the attention of companies such as Reuters and Yahoo!, who appealed what was viewed as a dangerous Internet jurisdiction case.'

Originally by ScuttleMonkey at Slashdot: Your Rights Online, 12:25 PM  Read more »

Lex Contrariwise? Doctors Sue Patients

In marked contrast to my previous post, several United States medical practitioners have pursued defamation claims against former patients, who had criticised their doctors’ lack of skill and proficiency on public websites:  Read more »

New Defamation Laws Seek Coherent National Approach

'The introduction of model defamation laws in NSW, Victoria, SA and WA meant there was a realistic prospect of a national defamation scheme, according to NSW Attorney General Bob Debus.'

Originally by CCH Australia, 5:19 PM

BT calls for closure of BTIrelandsucks.com

'Bog off' says site owner

Lawyers representing BT Ireland have called on the owner of BTIrelandsucks.com to pull the plug on the site claiming it has been registered in "bad faith".…

Originally by The Register - Internet and Law: Digital Rights/Digital Wrongs, 9:52 PM

Patent Ruling Threatens Free Speech

San Francisco - On Monday, the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) filed a friend-of-the-court brief with the United States Supreme Court, asking the Court to review an important patent case that has broad implications for free speech and consumers' rights.  Read more »

Opening Arguments, Endlessly

Several influential blogs seem to be run by lawyers, who constitute considerably less than 1 percent of the population.

Originally by NYT > Technology, 7:01 PM

Bloggers Not Eligible for Shield Law?

Drew writes "Senator Richard Lugar (R-Ind), a co-sponsor to the Free Flow of Information Act 2005, has said that he does not expect bloggers to receive the protections proposed by the shield law under consideration. From the article: 'Are bloggers journalists or some of the commercial businesses that you here would probably not consider real journalists?  Read more »

Media Bias and Macs

PC Magazine columnist John Dvorak wrote an opinion piece claiming that the technology writers at major news outlets -- namely The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Newsweek, Fortune and Forbes -- are strongly biased to covering Apple news, and notably more so than they write about Apple competitors, even Microsoft. The reason, Dvorak espouses, is that the tech writers at those publications all use the Mac. Thus, their familiarity with Apple and, in some cases, favoritism of the platform tends to cloud their objectivity.  Read more »

Tasmania to Censor Public Library Internet Access

'Tasmania will be the first state to censor Internet access on public library computers.'

Originally by ABC News: Science and Technology, 2:28 PM