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Paul Levy
Cyberlitigator on free speech issues at Public Citizen
Recent Activity
by Paul Alan Levy In two rulings in late August, the Texas Supreme Court addressed significant issues of free speech arising in defamation cases brought by companies against their critics – the availability of injunctive remedies, and the proper procedure... Continue reading
Posted Sep 11, 2014 at CL&P Blog
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by Paul Alan Levy A dozen years ago, when I had just made the transition from doing union democracy law to cyberlaw, I took on the representation of an IT professional named Hank Mishkoff who modeled his work by creating... Continue reading
Posted Sep 11, 2014 at CL&P Blog
Late last week, the Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit upheld the dismissal of a class action against Yelp by four local merchants who claimed that Yelp employees were themselves writing false and defamatory reviews, and removing positive reviews,... Continue reading
Posted Sep 9, 2014 at CL&P Blog
by Paul Alan Levy Readers of this blog may recall that Brett Kimberlin has filed a defamation action against two dozen bloggers and other defendants; Public Citizen is in the case for the limited purpose of defending the anonymity of... Continue reading
Posted Aug 1, 2014 at CL&P Blog
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Ars Technica reported recently that Chief Judge Marsha Pechman of the Western District of Washington had ordered the identification ("unmasking") of hundreds of Amazon users who posted comments critical of the "nutritional supplements" sold by the company “Ubervita.” The article... Continue reading
Posted Jul 17, 2014 at CL&P Blog
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by Paul Alan Levy Take a gander of this image: do you think, or even suspect, that Philip Morris, the maker of world-renowned Marlboro cigarettes, might approve this image, or might indeed be offering it for sale? If so, you... Continue reading
Posted Jun 16, 2014 at CL&P Blog
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by Paul Alan Levy Ready for Hillary may have no more sense of humor than the NSA, but like the NSA, its leaders apparently know when the law is against it. Late last night, just before midnight in fact, we... Continue reading
Posted Jun 13, 2014 at CL&P Blog
by Paul Alan Levy CafePress has responded to our letter to the political action committee Ready for Hillary by agreeing that Dan McCall's Ready for Oligarchy parodies are protected by the First Amendment as well as by the doctrine of... Continue reading
Posted Jun 11, 2014 at CL&P Blog
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by Paul Alan Levy Last week, the pre-campaign PAC promoting Hillary Clinton's presidential candidacy, Ready for Hillary, demanded that both Zazzle and CafePress, the rival print-to-order companies that designers use to fill orders for Tshirts and other paraphernalia displaying their... Continue reading
Posted Jun 9, 2014 at CL&P Blog
by Paul Alan Levy Michael Chichester, an Arizonan who does social media promotion on a contract basis for various firms, was annoyed when he saw an announcement from Santy Integrated, a local advertising company, recruiting "social media interns" to help... Continue reading
Posted Jun 6, 2014 at CL&P Blog
by Paul Alan Levy At a time when many federal agencies are moving to exert greater control over their names and seals, both seeking to monetize them as well as to engage in old-fashioned trademark bullying, it is nice to... Continue reading
Posted Jun 4, 2014 at CL&P Blog
by Paul Alan Levy The DC Court of Appeals has reversed the denial of a special motion to quash a subpoena seeking to identify the anonymous defendant in a defamation action. The suit, Burke v. Doe, was brought by lawyer... Continue reading
Posted May 30, 2014 at CL&P Blog
by Paul Alan Levy In an intriguing ruling last week granting relief by consequence of a default judgment, a federal judge in Nevada engaged in a fair amount of sua sponte analysis in paring down the relief sought against the... Continue reading
Posted May 29, 2014 at CL&P Blog
by Paul Alan Levy In an opinion issued this morning, the D.C. Circuit unanimously reversed a trial court ruling that compelled several ISP's to provide identifying information for more than a thousand anonymous users who were sued a maker of... Continue reading
Posted May 27, 2014 at CL&P Blog
by Paul Alan Levy In the discussion of yesterday’s decision rejecting a lawsuit by the DC Council against Mayor Vincent Gray, I found a procedural puzzlement. The City Council sued Gray for a declaratory judgment and an injunction compelling him... Continue reading
Posted May 20, 2014 at CL&P Blog
by Paul Alan Levy I wrote recently about a letter from an HHS lawyer, Dale Berkley, that appeared to threaten a blogger with a lawsuit for defamation because the blogger had published a mock interview with a an HHS official... Continue reading
Posted May 20, 2014 at CL&P Blog
by Paul Alan Levy The last time I blogged about Med Express, the eBay seller that brought a defamation suit against two eBay customers for leaving truthful and mildly critical feedback, then apologized and blamed its lawyer for filing a... Continue reading
Posted May 20, 2014 at CL&P Blog
by Paul Alan Levy In mid-2009, Jennifer Choi posted a scathing Yelp review of a Phoenix repair shop called ToyoMotors, contending that her car was diagnosed as needing repairs that other shops assured her were unnecessary, and that its fees... Continue reading
Posted May 15, 2014 at CL&P Blog
by Paul Alan Levy In a decision issued today, the California Second District Court of Appeal has created an additional way for anonymous speakers, and for web operators who host anonymous comments, to protect the right to speak anonymously. Instead... Continue reading
Posted May 14, 2014 at CL&P Blog
by Paul Alan Levy Popehat carried a story yesterday about a demand letter from a "senior attorney" for the US Department of Health and Human Services named Dale Berkeley (who pompously signed himself as "Ph.D. / J.D."), complaining about two... Continue reading
Posted May 14, 2014 at CL&P Blog
by Paul Alan Levy Yelp appears to be worried enough about the insistent campaign of businesses like Hadeed Carpet Cleaning that have received negative Yelp reviews to tell the press that they get punished for refusing to advertise that it... Continue reading
Posted May 7, 2014 at CL&P Blog
by Paul Alan Levy Law professor Josh Blackman reports that Aspen Publishers is promoting the next edition of the property law casebook he assigns pursuant to a license scheme apparently intended to undermine the application of the first-sale doctrine to... Continue reading
Posted May 6, 2014 at CL&P Blog
by Paul Alan Levy Last week the Sixth Circuit held oral argument in Jones v. TheDirty.com, a case where a high school teacher and pro-football cheerleader sued an online web site for hosting comments asserting that she had sex with... Continue reading
Posted May 6, 2014 at CL&P Blog
by Paul Alan Levy In a decision issued this morning in Octane Fitness v. Icon Health and Fitness, the Supreme Court held that attorney fee awards in patent cases depend on an assessment of the totality of the circumstances, and... Continue reading
Posted Apr 29, 2014 at CL&P Blog
by Paul Alan Levy Over at Techdirt, Tim Cushing points us to a bizzare situation in the Ninth Circuit rule in which the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press was required to file its amicus brief supporting EFF’s position... Continue reading
Posted Apr 14, 2014 at CL&P Blog