Free speech / censorship


The Slants and That Washington Football Team: Why “offensive” trademarks matter

January 8th 2016

While this post touches on culture, freedom and offense – and of course dance music – its hero is buried in the story as I imagine he’d prefer. Ron Coleman’s writing and good spirit has been an occasional inspiration and benefit of working on this blog. Arguing on constitutional grounds is a long and heavy climb. Congratulations to Ron and The Slants. Any friends of Ron have special standing here. Cheers.


Rick Santorum Has a Dirty Problem with SEO, and He’s Made it Worse

February 15th 2012

The gay rights protest site “Spreading Santorum” now eclipses the official Santorum campaign site on the major search engines. Its a text book case bad SEO decisions, and the power of offensive though apparently resonate free speech.


Steal this Blog Post (While You Still Can)

January 17th 2011

In just a few years I think geeks will look back to 2010 like hippies recall the bashes of the halcyon late sixties. Here are 5 things I think you’ll miss about 2010 in 2015.


Democrats Free Speech Power Grab: Is Your Blog a Press or a Public Accommodation?

January 9th 2011

Life is metaphors, I live on them. And so does the law, when it comes to the digital world. Obama officials claim your online life is a “public accomodation” like a restroom (so it can be regulated). But I say that parts of our online lives are form more like virtual presses. And presses are protected because the lead to unfettered speech.


Is WikiLeaks Ethical, Criminal, or an Immune Nuisance?

December 3rd 2010

Washington politicians are falling over each other to establish who can be the most bombastic about WikiLeaks. But is there a crime or ethical offense the website is guilty of?

Boston’s WHDH and ADM Make Bogus Copyright Claims to Silence Critics and Clowns

February 24th 2010

Do you remember conservative radio talk-show host Michael Savage? He sued a Muslim advocacy group for copyright infringement because it dared to quote what he said on the radio as part of an advertiser boycott. A U.S. District judge tossed the suit, and supported the doctrine of Fair Use, saying that anyone who listens to [...]

Boston Police Charge Those Who Videotape Arrests as “Wire Tappers”

February 22nd 2010

This week the ACLU filed a lawsuit against the Boston Police Department for using “wiretapping” laws to prevent citizens from taking video footage of police arrests.  Some would naively think such laws were passed to protect the people from the authorities, not vice versa. (details in Following Training? Boston police spokeswoman Elaine Driscoll rejected [...]

Protecting Kids Will Legitimize Surveillance and Censorship: 2010 Online Law Trend

February 17th 2010

Your Digital Papers, Please? Last week at the Davos World Economic Forum, Microsoft’s chief research and technology officer floated what to date has been an obviously bad idea: that Internet users should be licensed. The suggestion is covered and advanced in a Time Magazine article that takes the familiar dystopic theme of the Net as the [...]

Digital Marketing Regulation and the Fear of Clowns Are 2010 Themes

February 1st 2010

Last week I asked readers what they think may online law trends for  2010.  Here’s the first of what looks like a half dozen responses to that question. The Coulrophobia Epidemic of 2010: trademark owners’ fear of clowns may be rational. When a competitor uses your mark and pretends to be your company, that’s [...]

Communist Chic Banned: My Marketo Shirt’s Illegal in Poland

January 20th 2010

A few years ago I showed my wife a t-shirt from Marketo, the San Mateo-based lead generation company. They were revolutionary, and to underscore that they had a manifesto, and their shirt featured an image of Che Guevara. My wife is a marketer who has lived in Central America; she immediately noted the use of [...]