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Internet and the Government

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Regulating revenge porn and explicit online communications with children – easier said than done

Everyone supports the prevention of sexual predators texting illicit material to people under 17.  Everyone knows that revenge porn is a scourge on public decency.  But, can the law do anything about it?  Should it?
Texas Throws Out Law Banning Explicit Online Communications With Minors.
Yesterday, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals (our highest court that hears … Continue Reading

2013 Texas Leg Watch: Retracting the defamation and notification after a data breach

While the second special session is winding down (thank goodness), we will take a look at a couple more new laws impacting online media and technology in Texas.  While most of the attention was on social media password protections, service via social media and online “compelled prostitution” legislation,  two additional bills made it through to … Continue Reading

Zero tolerance gone too far: When does a Facebook comment cross the line into a threat?

Sometimes, when you read the basics of a story, it sounds so incredulous, you think “surely, there has to be more to it.”  Enter the story of 19-year-old Texan Justin Carter.   The quick headlines usually read – Texas Teen Faces Eight Years for Facebook Comment.
Unfortunately for Justin, the post was about shooting up kindergartners. … Continue Reading

Do I need to comply with E.U. privacy laws?

I have not posted in some time because I enjoyed some traveling with the family in Hungary.  Some of my cousins – by marriage – are lawyers in Budapest.  They mainly peppered me with questions about the NSA and our take on privacy.  I can’t repeat the compelling soliloquy I made for all Americans after … Continue Reading

Will there be an “eraser button” on social media for teens?

There are two bills (SB 568 and SB 501) working their way through the California Legislature that may require social media sites to erase the content of minors.
Oops . . . I shouldn’t have posted that.
California Senate Bill 568, which has already passed the Senate, would allow minors to request websites to remove that picture the … Continue Reading

Texas Leg 2013 Wrap-Up – Texas Does Not Take the Lead on Social Media Issues

Although the Governor called a special session extending the Texas Legislative session, the topics to be addressed are political ones and not the ones we have been tracking.  We can therefore wrap-up our watch of the three bills we were monitoring.
First, bring out your dead!

HB 318/SB 118 social media passwords
A bill that would have prohibited … Continue Reading

You “like” me, you really “like” me – Looking at the legal effect of Facebook likes and friends

Is liking something expressive activity protected by the First Amendment?  Does being a Facebook “friend” create the appearance of impropriety requiring the judge to recuse himself from the case?  Leave it to Facebook to make us answer these questions.
You don’t like me, you just want my coupon . . .
The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals is … Continue Reading

Are The Legal Rules For User Generated Content Becoming More Nuanced?

The general legal advice to website operators who allowed User Generated Content (UGC) in the form of comments, videos or pictures used to be relatively easy.  The Digital Millennium Copyright Act protected you from copyright and Section 230 of the Communication Decency Act protected you from defamation and other liability.  Recent developments are bringing a … Continue Reading

GUEST POST: Internet Sales Tax is Coming

Looper Reed has a number of good blogs.  My colleagues Jamie Ribman and Cleve Clinton write Tilting the Scales which takes a light-hearted look at some of the more general legal issues of the day.  For my lawyer readers, their hypotheticals will remind you of law school finals.  They recently tackled the Internet Sales Tax … Continue Reading

Social Media for the CEO: Lessons Learned from the Netflix/SEC Tussle and Reg FD

[Updated on 4/11/13 at the bottom]
Yes, you can use social media to make material public disclosures.  The SEC did not punish Netflix CEO Reed Hastings.  The reality is, however, the SEC gave a warning to executives: we are not going to do anything this time because our rules weren’t clear, but now you are on notice.
The Netflix CEO … Continue Reading