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Paul Levy
Cyberlitigator on free speech issues at Public Citizen
Recent Activity
Since I published yesterday’s discussion of the Montana Standard’s retroactive elimination of anonymous commenting on its web site, there have been three informative developments. First, I was able to speak with the Standard’s editor, David McCumber, mostly off the record... Continue reading
Posted 2 days ago at CL&P Blog
by Paul Alan Levy Over at Internet Daily’s Policy Blog, Wendy Davis brings us news that the Montana Standard, the daily paper in Butte Montana, is retroactively changing its policy for the posting of online comments to stories on its... Continue reading
Posted 3 days ago at CL&P Blog
by Paul Alan Levy On the eve of a Senate Commerce Committee hearing on the Senate version of the Issa-Swalwell bill, (the latter is endorsed by Public Citizen) that would ban non-disparagement clauses in consumer contracts, the United States District... Continue reading
Posted Oct 30, 2015 at CL&P Blog
by Paul Alan Levy The Washington Post reports this morning that Yelp has begun, on an experimental basis, to show a warning sign when a restaurant has been visited by local inspectors and received an especially low food safety score. Continue reading
Posted Oct 27, 2015 at CL&P Blog
by Paul Alan Levy New Jersey resident Nadiya Oliver was deeply frustrated by her experience with an Illinois company called Fertility Bridges, which sells services connecting couples that are unable to conceive a child on their own with women who... Continue reading
Posted Oct 26, 2015 at CL&P Blog
by Paul Alan Levy Earlier this year, I discussed a troubling decision from the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit that reinstated a complaint by Multi-Time Machine, a maker of fancy watches, based on the way in... Continue reading
Posted Oct 21, 2015 at CL&P Blog
by Paul Alan Levy Yesterday I discussed a lawsuit filed by Amazon seeking relief against over a thousand anonymous individuals who offered to sell their services posting phony positive reviews about products available for sale on Amazon. The theory of... Continue reading
Posted Oct 20, 2015 at CL&P Blog
by Paul Alan Levy The problem of false reviews bedevils web sites that invite customer reviews as a basis for other consumers to judge goods and services available to them on the market. Disgruntled merchants can be counted on bring... Continue reading
Posted Oct 19, 2015 at CL&P Blog
The whole idea that a corporation can have "close friends" is laughable. Thank you, Citizens United!
Toggle Commented Oct 19, 2015 on With friends like these ... at CL&P Blog
You would probably assume that Ben Carson and his presidential campaign would be thrilled that so many people across America are creating T-shirts, mugs and other items touting his candidacy for the presidency, saying “Ben Carson for President 2016" or... Continue reading
Posted Sep 17, 2015 at CL&P Blog
Yes, in fact, eBay's records were subpoenaed (the document was submitted at the trial), and the contents of the records were confirmed in a deposition: Med Express's claim about the numbers left in the DSR's was shown to be false. The facts are recounted in detail in the judge's opinion (linked from the post above). The pages of the opinion are un-numbered, but look on the 11th page of the PDF, paragraph number 36, and the 13th to 14th page, paragraph number 1. As for the USPS issue, Radey testified that he used USPS because it was cheapest (thus giving him more profit), even though he was aware of the problems with inaccurate shipping cost estimates; he also admitted that these problems are widely discussed among eBay sellers. "Janey"'s comment confirms that admission. So it was, it seems to me, entirely fair for Nicholls to hold Med Express responsible for the problem and fault Radey for poor communication. And, in any event, as the judge ruled, a rating is inherently subjective, an opinion, that cannot properly be the basis for a defamation claim, because defamation claims can be brought only over false statements of FACT.
by Paul Alan Levy Med Express, a Medina Ohio company that faced serious and widespread online obloquy during the spring of 2013 for filing a libel suit against two eBay users who posted mildly negative (but entirely truthful) feedback, has... Continue reading
Posted Sep 2, 2015 at CL&P Blog
by Paul Alan Levy Louisiana lawyer David Groner has made a few mistakes. Which was the most serious? David Groner's Misconduct Toward Clients At some point time before January 18, 2007, one of Groner’s associates filed a lawsuit on behalf... Continue reading
Posted Sep 1, 2015 at CL&P Blog
by Paul Alan Levy This spring I reported on a decision of the Virginia Supreme Court that overturned a contempt citation against Yelp for honoring its users First Amendment right to post pseudonymous criticisms of a Virginia merchant called Hadeed... Continue reading
Posted Aug 24, 2015 at CL&P Blog
by Paul Alan Levy Techdirt carries a discussion of a recent decision dismissing a class action complaint filed against Yelp on behalf of Yelp users contending that, because their reviews provide content that allows Yelp to profit through the sale... Continue reading
Posted Aug 18, 2015 at CL&P Blog
The New York Times carries a story about the punishing pace that Amazon staff have to endure as the company squeezes every ounce of productivity out of them. Work-life balance? What's that? Continue reading
Posted Aug 17, 2015 at CL&P Blog
by Paul Alan Levy Several years ago, the notorious Hollywood mouthpiece Martin Singer sent a demand letter to the San Diego Reader, in reaction to its having inquired about a pending law suit, threatening to sue it in the event... Continue reading
Posted Aug 5, 2015 at CL&P Blog
by Paul Alan Levy A couple of weeks ago, I blogged about a Ninth Circuit decision, Multi Time Machine v., that undid a great deal of progress made in that court undoing the adverse effects of that Court's decision... Continue reading
Posted Jul 28, 2015 at CL&P Blog
by Paul Alan Levy I blogged last week about a troubling trademark-law decision from the Ninth Circuit; this week Amazon filed a petition for rehearing en banc. Spurred by the concerns I articulated last week, we are preparing an amicus... Continue reading
Posted Jul 21, 2015 at CL&P Blog
by Paul Alan Levy In its decision issued last week about the application of trademark law to the operation of online search engines, Multi Time Machine v. Amazon the Ninth Circuit has taken a dangerous step backwards. The case might,... Continue reading
Posted Jul 14, 2015 at CL&P Blog
by Paul Alan Levy Not much, it appears. Following up on the recent spate of stories about a grand jury subpoena that the United States Attorney’s office for the Southern District of New York had issued to Reason Magazine, demanding... Continue reading
Posted Jul 8, 2015 at CL&P Blog
by Paul Alan Levy In a decision issued today, the Washington Court of Appeals has embraced the broad consensus among state and federal courts holding that plaintiffs who want courts to force service providers to provide identifying information about anonymous... Continue reading
Posted Jul 6, 2015 at CL&P Blog
by Paul Alan Levy Now that a federal court gag order against it has been lifted, Reason Magazine has now published its own comments, and a number of other bloggers have been writing as well, about Reason’s experience with a... Continue reading
Posted Jun 20, 2015 at CL&P Blog
by Paul Alan Levy In a decision issued yesterday in Hadley v. Subscriber Doe a/k/a Fuboy, the Illinois Supreme Court affirmed lower court rulings that an anonymous commenter who responded to a local newspaper article by calling a local politician... Continue reading
Posted Jun 20, 2015 at CL&P Blog
In an amicus brief filed this afternoon, Public Citizen and Twitter have urged the California Court of Appeal for the First District to join with the Court of Appeal for the Sixth District in ruling that plaintiffs seeking to identify... Continue reading
Posted Jun 18, 2015 at CL&P Blog