Facebook “likes” by a judge’s spouse unlikely to lead to recusal
WaPo has an interesting article about defendants in a civil suit who are attempting to get a federal judge recused from hearing their case because of the judge’s affiliation with a nonprofit group and two Facebook “likes” by the judge’s wife. Based on the comments provided by another judge hearing the recusal motion, the defendants are unlikely to be successful.
Tweeting from the Courtroom
Indiana is following the growing trend of allowing people to tweet from the courtroom.
Socialmedialawbulletin.com: Use of Twitter to Broadcast Courtroom Proceedings
Facebook is seeking talented and flexible counsel to work on Facebook’s legal privacy team and advise the company on a range of privacy, data protection and security-related legal and compliance initiatives.
SCT Overturns Sex Offender Social Media Ban
Today, the Supreme Court, in North Carolina v. Packingham, found North Carolina’s law prohibiting registered sex offenders from accessing social media to be unconstitutional. To read the opinion go here. To hear the oral argument go here.
The issue in the case is as follows:
Whether, under the court’s First Amendment precedents, a law that makes it a felony for any person on the state’s registry of former sex offenders to “access” a wide array of websites – including Facebook, YouTube, and nytimes.com – that enable communication, expression, and the exchange of information among their users, if the site is “know[n]” to allow minors to have accounts, is permissible, both on its face and as applied to petitioner, who was convicted based on a Facebook post in which he celebrated dismissal of a traffic ticket, declaring “God is Good!”
The holding in the case is as follows:
The North Carolina statute, which makes it a felony for a registered sex offender “to access a commercial social networking Web site where the sex offender knows that the site permits minor children to become members or to create or maintain personal Web pages,” impermissibly restricts lawful speech in violation of the First Amendment.
Criminal Copyright Infringement
A California man who shared a copy of the movie Deadpool on Facebook has been arrested and charged with criminal copyright infringement. If convicted, he faces a penalty of up to three years in prison.
The Value of Section 230 Immunity
Techdirt offers a pretty compelling argument for supporting Section 230 immunity for social media providers like Facebook and Twitter. Personally speaking, I agree with most of what they say. My only issue is what should be done with the Backpage.com’s of the world. I have a hard time seeing the justification for granting them immunity when they are accused of sex trafficking. I think Section 230 needs some modification to address sites like Backpage.com, which have little to no incentive to regulate their sites.
With the rise of the super-platforms, we tend to look down (on their effect on consumers) rather than up (their effect on sellers and upstream providers). In looking down it seems like Google, Amazon and Facebook are using their power in the marketplace to deliver great value to us — wrestling lower prices from producers in the case of Amazon, bringing news onto a single platform in the case of Facebook, and organizing the world’s information, in the case of Google.
While these companies appear to be furthering our interests, a closer look reveals how these super-platforms may wield their power downstream to harm us, the consumer. As our book Virtual Competition explores, the super-platforms can use our personal data to better price discriminate and their disincentive to protect our privacy (and promote technologies that do).
Less discussed, but of significant concern, are the upstream effects of these super-platforms. They have the power to harm many of the companies from whom they buy or acquire content — and that harm ultimately harms us.
In looking up rather down, we see how the super-platforms can squeeze millions of sellers, including photographers, photojournalists, writers, journalists and musicians. Our competition laws deal with this kind of buyer power. These concerns, however, are often low on the enforcement agenda due to the indirect effects on “consumer welfare,” which is often measured by the price you pay for the goods or service. So if we stream the YouTube video ostensibly for “free,” the assumption is that our welfare is maximized. In the digital age, as this essay argues, that urgently needs to change.