Can internet service providers necessarily be compelled to unmask anonymous copyright infringers? In an opinion touching on Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) subpoenas, First Amendment concerns, and fair use, the Northern District of California said, in this one particular instance, no, granting Twitter’s motion to quash a subpoena seeking to reveal information behind an anonymous poster. (In re DMCA § 512(h) Subpoena to Twitter, Inc., No. 20-80214 (N.D. Cal. June 21, 2022)). The anonymous figure at the center of the dispute is @CallMeMoneyBags, an anonymous Twitter user who posts criticisms of wealthy people—particularly those working in tech, finance, and politics. Some such criticism lies at the heart of this dispute.
Web 3.0 and the promise of the metaverse has generated excitement about new markets for businesses large and small. But as with any technological frontier, legal uncertainties cause new risks to emerge alongside the opportunities. One area currently full of legal questions is trademark law. We will examine what we…
The above maxim is so often repeated that it is taken as true in all cases. But chapter 231, section 92 of the Massachusetts General Laws says otherwise, according to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit in Noonan v. Staples, No. 07-2159 (1st Cir. Feb. 13, 2009), rehearing and rehearing en banc denied (1st Cir. Mar. 19, 2009). Section 92 provides in its entirety as follows: "The defendant in an action for writing or for publishing a libel may introduce in evidence the truth of the matter contained in the publication charged as libellous; and the truth shall be a justification unless actual malice is proved."
Construing Section 92 in a defamation action brought by a discharged employee, the appeals court concluded that "Massachusetts law … recognizes a narrow exception to [the defense of truth]: the truth or falsity of the statement is immaterial, and the libel action may proceed, if the plaintiff can show that the defendant acted with ‘actual malice" in publishing the statement.’
With the rough and tumble of the debate over the stimulus legislation starting to wind down, Congress is starting to turn to other subjects. The House Judiciary Subcommittee on Commercial and Administrative Law held hearings yesterday on “libel tourism,” the filing of libel lawsuits against U.S. defendants in libel-plaintiff friendly countries such as the U.K.
This is not the first Congressional run at the subject, which is of particular interest to authors and media companies that publish online and thus are more likely to be susceptible to claims of harm caused in distant locations. Indeed, authors and publishers of print works that may be sold online to offshore purchasers should be concerned as well, as a foreign court may predicate jurisdiction on even a small number of such sales.