Recently in Digital Media Category

Online Anonymity Continues to Challenge Courts, Plaintiffs

In spring and summer of 2010, courts around the country issued rulings on whether websites must reveal the identities of anonymous commenters in response to subpoenas, adding to the growing jurisprudence on an evolving legal problem. Meanwhile, a 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruling might limit First Amendment protection for anonymous online speech that can be considered "commercial speech."

Online Anonymity Continues to Challenge Courts, Plaintiffs

In spring and summer of 2010, courts around the country issued rulings on whether websites must reveal the identities of anonymous commenters in response to subpoenas, adding to the growing jurisprudence on an evolving legal problem. Meanwhile, a 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruling might limit First Amendment protection for anonymous online speech that can be considered "commercial speech."

A federal district court judge ruled on March 18, 2010, that financial news website Theflyonthewall.com (Fly) had misappropriated the financial recommendations of three prominent Wall Street firms and instituted strict time guidelines for the site's future publication of stock recommendations.

New Federal Trade Commission guidelines became effective on December 1 that require online product reviewers to disclose any compensation or payment received in exchange for publishing the review.

Reporting Errors Haunt Major News Outlets

In the fall of 2009, several inaccurate stories in the mainstream news media circulated widely among reputable organizations before they were retracted or corrected.

A proposed federal law intended to combat a form of Internet-based harassment known a "cyber-bullying" was criticized by a House subcommittee this fall. Meanwhile, local police made several arrests attempting to enforce similar, state-based legislation.

A U.S. District Court judge in Boston authorized a live Internet video stream of oral arguments in a widely followed file-sharing lawsuit in January 2009, but the plaintiff recording companies seeking to prevent the webcast have appealed the order to the 1st Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals.

On Feb. 17, 2009, a federal judge refused to dismiss The Associated Press’s (AP) claim that the AP can assert an ownership interest in “hot news” against a competing online service.

Plaintiffs in several defamation lawsuits are seeking court orders to identify anonymous Internet users, raising First Amendment concerns regarding the protections afforded to anonymous communicators on the Internet.

A federal judge in Minnesota ruled on April 28, 2009 that CBS does not have to pay to use the names and statistics of National Football League players in its fantasy football league because the information is in the public domain.

In July 2009, a federal judge in Los Angeles threw out a criminal case against a Missouri woman convicted of computer fraud stemming from a 2006 hoax on the Web site MySpace targeting a teenage girl, who later committed suicide.

Judge also Acquits Blogger Accused of Soliciting Violence against Juror

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