Joe Lieberman, the Senator from Connecticut who has evolved into a cartoon-level villain on the left, is at it again. The Daily Kos reports that Lieberman is proposing to gut Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act. For you commenters who don’t know what Section 230 is, I have neither the time nor the inclination to explain it to people who benefit from the freedom that it provides and then question the manner in which it provides it.
Seriously though, if Lieberman has his way, websites could be held responsible for the filthy, disgusting, misogynist, racist, and often quite funny comments left on their posts. This could lead sites to crack down on or eliminate anonymous commenting.
If you think I’m going down so somebody can make a walrus joke about the wrong person, you’ve got another thing coming….
Every so often we hear a new story about a student getting suspended / expelled / paddled for some nonsense offense. These days, the disciplinary problems usually are are a result of some alleged electronic misconduct.
A debate usually follows, where people question the legality and general appropriateness of several issues: was the student punished for something he did at school or at home? Was he or she making some kind of threat, whether serious or sarcastic? How much should a school insert itself into its students’ private lives?
Whatever side of those questions you fall on, at least they are valid points to raise. But what about the student who is expelled for a 2:30 a.m. tweet from his home — a tweet that was simply a juvenile exploration on the word “f***”?
* So you made some anti-war comments, touched Dick Cheney, got arrested, claimed your First Amendment rights were violated, and your case made it all the way to SCOTUS. Greatest accomplishment? Not getting shot by Cheney. [Huffington Post]
* Whoa, whoa, whoa. You mean to tell me that Wachtell’s name partner, Martin Lipton, the man who created the “poison pill,” supports staggered boards? Consider my mind blown. [DealBook / New York Times]
* M&A maven Dennis Block and real estate rock star Jeffrey Feil each donated $1M to their alma mater, Brooklyn Law School. See, you don’t need to go to a T14 school to make bank. [National Law Journal]
* Protip: not even Dov Charney’s world-renowned creepiness can save you from an arbitration agreement. A former employee’s $260M sex slave suit has been tossed out of court. [New York Daily News]
People always ask the Above the Law editors, “What kinds of people leave such horrible comments on your website?” And we always say, “Regular people, the ones you work with or socialize with.”
Most internet commenters are regular people who, under the Invisibility Cloak of cyberspace, feel free to say whatever disgusting/ridiculous/illogical thing that pops into their heads.
Lest anyone think the phenomenon is unique to our website, please think again. For better or worse, trolling is an inevitable part of online media. Most of the time, it’s best to just ignore it. Once a while, however, anonymous online commenting may signify something larger and more pernicious.
Case in point: our inbox was flooded over the weekend with the emerging scandal of a prosecommenter (yeah, you read that right) in New Orleans. This is what happens when a federal prosecutor takes his case to the interwebs instead of the court. Bad times…
And so last week I wrote about mentors, questioning whether today’s young lawyers considered them crucial to professional and personal development. I questioned whether the high calling of being a lawyer has today been reduced solely to a desire for cash, and as such, nothing more than the hope to be “first” on Google and have a “game changing” web presence.
Which brings me to what you can call “Part II” of last week’s mentoring post, and an example of a lawyer to emulate.
There are certain lawyers that bring to mind a one- or two-word description. David Boies — Bush / Gore, Morris Dees — Civil Rights, Clarence Darrow — Criminal Defense, and when I hear “First Amendment,” I think Marc Randazza.
When I hear “first page of Google,” I can’t name one lawyer, and if I can, it’s not a lawyer that matters, except maybe to a bunch of lawyers looking to be the next internet sensation. Being an internet sensation as a lawyer is no different than having been a yellow pages sensation in the previous generation. Ever seen an obituary of a lawyer that said: “She was respected for her two-page, multicolored ads that were placed ahead of all other lawyers in the yellow pages”?
Marc Randazza isn’t an internet sensation. He’s only got about 275 followers on Twitter (and is therefore clearly on his way out of the profession if you ask any social media expert), but Marc Randazza matters.
Would you like to matter in this profession? Will you ever do anything important — anything that causes others to think of you as “that” lawyer for “that” type of case or issue? Or are you just hoping to win that stupid lawsuit against your law school for forcing you to go there because they promised you a job? Or maybe you’ve just bought in to the lie that to survive as a lawyer, you must vomit all over the internet with whatever your marketer tells you is the latest trick to game Google?
And before the commentariat’s collective head explodes, yes, Marc Randazza is my lawyer. I’m in the group currently being sued by Joseph Rakofsky….
Yesterday I wrote about Justice Antonin Scalia delivering the distinguished Hugo Black Lecture at Wesleyan University. In my write-up of Justice Scalia’s remarks, I alluded to campusprotests held immediately prior to the speech. These protests, by a group calling itself the “Scalia Welcoming Committee,” were styled “Occupy Scalia” (a somewhat unfortunate moniker, in my view.)
I took some photographs and video footage of the protestors. Check these people out….
Justice Scalia speaking last night at Wesleyan University.
Last night, Justice Antonin Scalia delivered the prestigious Hugo Black Lecture at Wesleyan University, speaking in the university’s Memorial Chapel before a packed house. Wesleyan is an uber-liberal school — the basis for the movie PCU, about a very Politically Correct University — and Justice Scalia’s visit was preceded by campusprotests (dubbed “Occupy Scalia”). But I was pleasantly surprised by how respectful and appreciative the audience was of Justice Scalia’s deeply thoughtful and persuasive remarks; the protests during his speech were minor and clustered near the end.
I trekked up to Middletown from New York City to attend the lecture. What did Justice Scalia have to say? And what did the protests entail?
So let’s discuss what everyone else is discussing: the “Zombie Mohammed” case. Earlier this month, Judge Mark W. Martin dismissed a harassment charge against Talaag Elbayomy, a Muslim man who allegedly attacked Ernie Perce, an atheist who was dressed up as “Zombie Muhammad.” The incident took place during last year’s Halloween parade in Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania.
Since news of the ruling became public, things have gone crazy. Let’s discuss, and take an opinion poll….
At the end of January, we brought you a detailed report on a lawsuit filed by former prosecutor and Court TV analyst Matthew Couloute Jr., who alleged that his ex-girlfriends had taken to the internet to let loose about his alleged infidelities. His exes’ scathing words were found on LiarsCheatersRUs, a website created to “save others from the heartache” associated with a cheating significant other.
In his suit, Couloute alleged that his former girlfriends, Amanda Ryncarz and Stacey Blitsch, had caused “tortious interference with [his] prospective business relations” by virtue of their online diatribes. After all, if you Google any derivative of the man’s name, one of the first few hits that appears is his profile on the scandalous cheaters website.
All the man wanted was a clean Google search, but it looks like he’s never heard of the Streisand effect. Now, just about every piece of information about Couloute that can be found on the web relates to his lawsuit, including the latest ruling made by Judge Harold Baer….
* Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg thinks Roe v. Wade was a mistimed ruling, saying things would be different today if the court had been more “restrained.” Well, wire hanger sales would be up, that’s for sure. [CBS News]
* Bait and switch of the day: personal injury firms are enticing plaintiffs to sue with promises of free iPads, but they may never see them. Blame England for this one. At least it’s not happening in America… yet. [Daily Mail]
* Netflix is settling its nationwide video privacy lawsuit for $9M. It’s embarrassing enough that you know you watched the Twilight saga so many times. Netflix doesn’t need to keep your shame on record. [paidContent]
* Remember Sidney Spies, the sexy First Amendment freedom fighter? Her final yearbook photo submission was rejected, and now her family wants to file a complaint — because nobody’s gonna tell their daughter that she can’t look like a skank. [ABC News]
Ed. note: The Asia Chronicles column is authored by Kinney Recruiting. Kinney has made more placements of U.S. associates, counsels and partners in Asia than any other recruiting firm in each of the past six years. You can reach them by email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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