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Category Archives: First Amendment

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Sixth Circuit Affirms First Amendment Win for Movie/Soundtrack Defendants in Soul Men Lawsuit

Posted in Entertainment, First Amendment
The Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit ruled in favor of a major motion picture studio, movie distributor and music company yesterday, affirming summary judgment in the decision Moore v. The Weinstein Company, LLC, et al. Waller is proud to have successfully represented the filmmakers in the matter. In affirming the decision by District … Continue Reading

Seizure of AP Phone Records Reignites Interest in a Federal Reporter Shield Law

Posted in First Amendment
Last Friday, the Associated Press learned that the U.S. Justice Department had secretly seized telephone records in April and May of 2012 for more than 20 separate lines assigned to the AP and its journalists. (The AP story is available here.)  While the Justice Department gave no explanation for the secret subpoenas, the seizure may be … Continue Reading

Defendants Prevail in Soul Men Lawsuit

Posted in Entertainment, First Amendment, News and Announcements, Trademark
Waller is pleased to report a win in the case Moore v. The Weinstein Company, LLC, et al.  Yesterday, a federal judge granted summary judgment to The Weinstein Company, LLC, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios, Inc., Genius Products, LLC, and Concord Music Group, Inc. in a trademark, publicity and false light lawsuit filed by soul singer Sam Moore … Continue Reading

No Joke: Communications Decency Act Protections

Posted in First Amendment
On April 1, a number of online sources (including Abovethelaw.com) reported that Connecticut Senator Joe Lieberman planned to propose legislation that would strip internet service providers (ISPs) of their protection under the Communications Decency Act, 47 U.S.C. § 230 (the “CDA”).  Luckily, these stories were later revealed to be a concerted April Fool’s prank, and … Continue Reading

Survey Indicates Decreased Vigilance Among News Organizations in Enforcing State and Federal Freedom of Information Laws

Posted in First Amendment
In late 2011, the Media Law Resource Center (MLRC) and National Freedom of Information Coalition (NFOIC) published a survey of media lawyers and NFOIC member coalitions regarding trends in enforcement of and government official compliance with freedom of information (FOI) laws. The majority of respondents reported some positive trends, such as increased vigilance from citizens … Continue Reading

Supreme Court Upholds Congress’ Power to Restore Copyright Protection to Public Domain Work

Posted in Copyright, First Amendment
The Supreme Court this week upheld the power of Congress to restore copyright protections to public domain work against challenges based on the Copyright Clause of the U.S. Constitution.  In a nutshell, the ruling opens the door for Congress to restore, or remove, copyright protections from any work so long as it has a rational … Continue Reading

Reaffirming Tennessee’s Commitment to Open Courtrooms and Judicial Records

Posted in First Amendment
What sort of case is “a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma”?  [Winston Churchill, radio broadcast of October 1939, referring to future Russian actions.]   One involving a child adopted out of Russia and sent back to Moscow on a one-way ticket by an adoptive mother who says she was unable to deal with … Continue Reading

Two Upcoming First Amendment Decisions to Watch on the Supreme Court’s Fall Docket

Posted in Copyright, Entertainment, First Amendment
Though the talk of the Supreme Court’s current term will be the constitutionality of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, the Court’s fall docket includes several highly-anticipated First Amendment decisions.  The following two decisions  could prove definitive for the First Amendment legacy of the Roberts Court, which has been on balance rather media-friendly so … Continue Reading

Recent Defamation Ruling from New York Provides Rare Guidance on the Status of Online Opinion Speech

Posted in First Amendment
On August 3, 2011, New York Supreme Court Judge David M. Barry held in a defamation lawsuit that anonymous comments on an online newspaper’s website would be understood by a reasonable reader as non-actionable expressions of opinion, not statements of fact.  The plaintiffs in Varrenti v. Gannett Co., Inc., police officers for the Village of … Continue Reading