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Paul Levy
Cyberlitigator on free speech issues at Public Citizen
Recent Activity
by Paul Alan Levy What sort of showing must a criticized business make when it wants to identify an anonymous online critic on the theory that the critic was never an actual customer and that, consequently, any criticisms are necessarily... Continue reading
Posted Jul 31, 2019 at CL&P Blog
by Paul Alan Levy About a month ago, I blogged about a new variant in Matthew Higbee’s high-volume copyright enforcement practice on behalf of photographers, in which he was pursuing the hosts of online forums where users had posted copyrighted... Continue reading
Posted Jun 5, 2019 at CL&P Blog
by Paul Alan Levy Considering that it was the Colorado Supreme Court that pioneered the concept of the SLAPP suit with its path-breaking decision in Protect Our Mountain Environment, and that it was University of Denver professors Penelope Canan and... Continue reading
Posted Jun 5, 2019 at CL&P Blog
by Paul Alan Levy As reflected in an update to my blog post from yesterday, ALI has issued a blustery letter insisting that it did no wrong by trying to enforce its copyright against Adam Levitin's publicly posting of the... Continue reading
Posted May 15, 2019 at CL&P Blog
by Paul Alan Levy The Proposed Restatement of the Law of Consumer Contracts has been discussed on this blog many times. It is exceptionally controversial: it has been opposed by a large coalition of consumer and civil rights advocacy groups... Continue reading
Posted May 14, 2019 at CL&P Blog
by Paul Alan Levy Those who have been following the issue of copyright trolls for many years may remember that one of the prime features of the Righthaven technique for shaking down unwitting bloggers for payments was to concentrate its... Continue reading
Posted May 10, 2019 at CL&P Blog
by Paul Alan Levy The spring, an unusual coalition of forces made a serious run at gutting the Texas Citizens’ Participation Act, the Texas version of state anti-SLAPP suits that protects consumers and citizen activists from baseless lawsuits intended to... Continue reading
Posted May 8, 2019 at CL&P Blog
Over the past few years, the law firm Higbee and Associates (based in Los Angeles, although it pretentiously labels itself a "National Law Firm") has become identified with a pattern of making aggressive and, in many cases, unsupportable demands for... Continue reading
Posted Feb 12, 2019 at CL&P Blog
The Yes Men perpetrated (or perhaps only collaborated on) a parody of the Washington Post today, distributing tens of thousands of hard copy editions date-lined May 1, 2019 (making the parody too obvious), but also transmitting email from “” domain,... Continue reading
Posted Jan 16, 2019 at CL&P Blog
by Paul Alan Levy A new Virginia case presents one of the less-frequently-litigated issues in the realm of the First Amendment right to speak anonymously — when the identity of an anonymous blogger (or other Internet speaker) can be demanded... Continue reading
Posted Dec 4, 2018 at CL&P Blog
by Paul Alan Levy A recent trial court decision from New York addresses a question about which I have long held a tentative opinion, albeit without having known of any direct precedent to back up my view: When speaker states... Continue reading
Posted Nov 2, 2018 at CL&P Blog
by Paul Alan Levy A few months ago, I blogged about an important Sixth Circuit ruling on the issue of online anonymity. Signature Management Team v. Doe, 876 F.3d 831 (2017), came close to endorsing the Dendrite approach to deciding... Continue reading
Posted Aug 21, 2018 at CL&P Blog
by Paul Alan Levy An article in the Washington City Paper discusses a new feature on Yelp’s web site, which captures health department inspection records and boils them down to a score (in most jurisdictions, the scale runs from zero... Continue reading
Posted Aug 7, 2018 at CL&P Blog
by Paul Alan Levy In Hassell v. Bird, the California Supreme Court held this morning, by a narrow margin of four votes to three, that section 230 of the Communications Decency Act protects Yelp against an injunction compelling it to... Continue reading
Posted Jul 2, 2018 at CL&P Blog
by Paul Alan Levy Last year, oral argument was held in the Ninth Circuit on the appeal filed by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, purportedly representing a monkey suing to assert its copyright in a photo that it... Continue reading
Posted Apr 13, 2018 at CL&P Blog
by Paul Alan Levy Despite the passage of the Consumer Review Fairness Act in December 2016, businesses continue to use non-disclosure and non-disparagement clauses in form contracts to suppress criticism of their products and services. This blog post summarizes several... Continue reading
Posted Mar 29, 2018 at CL&P Blog
Kevin Brasler of Washington Consumer Checkbook has an interesting column in last week’s Washington Post detailing the findings of a study of consistently deceptive advertising of ”big ticket items” that are supposedly on sale, even though the supposed regular price... Continue reading
Posted Mar 22, 2018 at CL&P Blog
The New York Times carried a story this weekend about a disturbing lawsuit that will be argued in the California Court of Appeal later this month. Olivia de Havilland sued FX for running the docudrama “Feud,” a fictionalized account of... Continue reading
Posted Mar 7, 2018 at CL&P Blog
Indeed. This afternoon I endured a private lecture from a young activist who told me, with an entirely straight face, that criticizing the King Estate is an example of "white privilege."
by Paul Alan Levy The current controversy stirred by broad popular revulsion over the Superbowl ad run by Dodge Ram, which included a voice-over excerpted from a speech by Martin Luther King Jr., thus using it to sell a truck,... Continue reading
Posted Feb 5, 2018 at CL&P Blog
by Paul Alan Levy In the past few days there have been a couple of significant developments in the area of ”fake litigation” directed at consumer commentary – the use of fraudulent litigation techniques to obtain judicial relief against consumer... Continue reading
Posted Jan 30, 2018 at CL&P Blog
The Times carries this report of the role played by identity theft in the problem of commercial bots on Twitter. The victims of the identity theft might well have right of publicity claims given the commercial purpose of the identity... Continue reading
Posted Jan 28, 2018 at CL&P Blog
by Paul Alan Levy Consumer groups, bloggers and others would do well to look through the Berkman Center's new "Cyberlaw Guide to Protest Art," a handy guide to assessing copyright and other IP risks associated with using content that might... Continue reading
Posted Jan 24, 2018 at CL&P Blog
by Paul Alan Levy Muhammad Ali's estate has sued Fox for running a promotion for its Superbowl broadcast that contrasted Ali''s greatness with the greatness of various football players. Originally filed in the Northern District of Illinois, the complaint alleged... Continue reading
Posted Jan 18, 2018 at CL&P Blog
by Paul Alan Levy After the Freehold Animal Hospital botched the neutering of a consumer’s dog, requiring the consumer to pay thousands of dollars for corrective surgery by a different hospital, the animal hospital agreed to refund the cost of... Continue reading
Posted Jan 9, 2018 at CL&P Blog