Facebook, Censorship, and the First Amendment

Recently, over 70 civil rights groups wrote to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, demanding transparency in the company’s censorship of user posts. Complaints about Facebook’s censorship arose earlier this year when Gizmodo reported that Facebook’s “trending news” section was intentionally manipulated to hide stories of interest to conservative readers. In response to these allegations, the Senate Commerce Committee sent Zuckerberg a letter requesting an explanation of Facebook’s practices in populating its “trending news” section. The Committee Continue Reading →

If You’re Going to Delete All My Facebook Posts, Then You Might As Well Do It Right

Judicial benchslap stories are juicy legal fodder, and this story was no different. Recently, the legal community eagerly gossiped about a federal judge that lashed out against a well-known New York law firm. The offense? Judge Nicholas Garaufis of the Eastern District of New York was infuriated that the firm had sent a mere junior associate instead of a partner to a hearing on two cases that “implicate[] international terrorism and the murder of innocent people Continue Reading →

Broad Immunity Provided by Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act Should be Protected

From Wikipedia to Google, and Facebook to Yelp, many of the country’s biggest tech giants build their platforms on user-generated content, which can inject user subjectivity into the business space. Such content can be potentially defamatory in nature, but until recently, the legal landscape has been relatively consistent in preventing misappropriation of the blame on the platforms that share and promote user-generated information. In Stratton Oakmont, Inc. v. Prodigy Services Co., 23 Media L. Rep. Continue Reading →

WikiLeaks Reveals the Trans-Pacific Partnership’s Expansion of International Copyright Law

WikiLeaks Publishes TPP IP Chapter As the Trans-Pacific Partnership or “TPP” moves closer to becoming a reality , leaked documents of the international trade agreement published by WikiLeaks have sparked concerns that the treaty’s re-envisioning of intellectual property rights could prove detrimental to citizens of signatory nations. The latest version of TPP’s intellectual property chapter, hosted on WikiLeaks servers,[1] details a series of sweeping modifications to the international status quo in regards to copyrights as well as Continue Reading →

ACTA: Activists Stay Alert in the Aftermath of SOPA

Earlier this century, the entertainment industry attempted to vanquish illegal downloading and the online services that made it possible. Remember the injunctions against Limewire and Napster? The astronomical RIAA (Recording Industry Association of America) lawsuits filed against more than 35,000 individuals who downloaded and shared a handful of copyrighted music files? The industry achieved mixed results: the RIAA decided to abandon its suits against individuals, but Limewire is still enjoined from distributing its peer-to-peer file Continue Reading →

STLR Link Roundup – February 3, 2012

In Washington, the House and the Senate backed competing spectrum incentive auction bills, which would encourage current licensees to sell their under-utilized frequencies at auction to wireless carriers.  Lawmakers in both chambers want to package it with the payroll tax extension, which is expected to pass before the end of February.  Former FCC Chairman Reed Hundt called the House legislation “the single worst telecom bill” he’d ever seen and Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass) called on Continue Reading →

U.S. Senate Subcommittee Examines American Companies’ Compliance With Censorship Abroad

Ever since Google’s recent announcement that it would no longer comply with China’s requirements for censored search results, U.S. companies doing business in China have come under increased scrutiny from human rights groups and American lawmakers, the New York Times reports. This scrutiny is directed at the companies’ compliance with internet censorship demands from the Chinese and other governments. Among the companies targeted for criticism are Google, Amazon, McAfee, Yahoo, eBay, Microsoft, Apple and Verizon. Continue Reading →