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May 2021

MediaLawLetter May 2021

PUBLICATION:
in this issue

Things that Keep a Conference Organizer Awake at Night

Michael Norwick

Guest column from staff attorney Mike Norwick on the inner workings of the recent Legal Frontiers in Digital Media conference.

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#TimesUp On #MeToo Defamation Suits—Defendants Need Our Help!

Natalie A Harris

For many victims inspired to come forward as part of the #MeToo movement, the relief and liberation of telling their stories is followed by a retaliatory defamation suit.

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Chart-Topping, Grammy-Nominated Music Producer Not a “Public Figure”

Kelly L. McNamee and Michael J. Grygiel

Unless New York’s recently amended anti-SLAPP statute applies, the ruling clears a pathway for Dr. Luke to prevail at trial on his claim that Kesha defamed him by falsely accusing the producer of abuse and rape.

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Roy Moore Allowed to Proceed to Discovery on Defamation Claim Against PAC

Christopher Proczko

Judge Maze set the table for what remains of GOP Senate candidate Roy Moore’s two defamation suits—one against political action committees that ran ads against Moore’s candidacy in Alabama’s 2017 special election, and one against the Washington Examiner and several of its editors and columnists—for calling Moore a “pedophile” and a “child molester.”

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Connecticut Court Upholds Fair Report Privilege and Anti-SLAPP Law

William S. Fish, Jr. and Alexa Millinger

Two recent Connecticut Appellate Court decisions based on The Hartford Courant’s reporting on a local lawyer’s professional sanctions affirmed the strength of the fair report privilege as a defense to a defamation claim under Connecticut law and also represented the first appellate case decided under the state’s relatively new Anti-SLAPP law.

Judge Dismisses Defamation Lawsuit and SLAPPs Plaintiffs with Newspaper’s Legal Fees

Karim A. Abdulla and Joseph M. Finnerty

The court granted the motion, holding not only that the article was substantially true and privileged, but also that the amended anti-SLAPP legislation required dismissal and attorney’s fees.

Florida Court SLAPPs Anti-Muslim Activist Laura Loomer’s Lawsuit

Lauren Russell, Matthew Cate and Charles Tobin

The court concluded that Loomer’s Complaint was “precisely the type of harassing lawsuit condemned by” the anti-SLAPP statute.

Washington Enacts Uniform Public Expression Protection Act

Bruce E.H. Johnson

With the Governor's signature, Washington has become the first state to enact the Uniform Act adopted by the Uniform Law Commission in July 2020.

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Petty Tyrants, Dethroned: Michigan Court Dismisses Frivolous Lawsuit by City Officials Against Their Constituents Over Social Media Criticisms

Brian D. Wassom

If ever there were a case that called out for an Anti-SLAPP statute, it would be this one.

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Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court Digs Into Section 230 for the First Time

Jeff Hermes

The decision, which involves the question of whether peer-to-peer vehicle marketplace Turo is immunized by § 230 from liability for users’ unauthorized activity at Boston’s Logan Airport, is the first significant ruling from Massachusetts’ high court on the scope of § 230’s protection.

Prometheus IV: Supreme Court OKs FCC Updates to Local Media Ownership Rules

Julia Ambrose and Patrick Cross

The Opinion, authored by Justice Kavanaugh, upheld the FCC’s 2017 Order as “reasonable and reasonably explained” under the statutory standard governing agency decision-making set forth in the Administrative Procedure Act.

Oracle v. Google: It’s Not Over

Moon Hee Lee

The Court’s decision may have ended the decade-long fight between Google and Oracle, but sets the stage for decades of future copyright litigation.

Second Circuit Affirms Fair Use Dismissal of “Fish Sticks” Copyright Suit

Joe Slaughter

The Second Circuit affirmed the trial court’s dismissal of a copyright infringement lawsuit on fair use grounds

Talk to the Hand: Michigan Copyright and Trademark Lawsuit Over Similar Hand Gesture Images Clapped Back

Brian D. Wassom

This lawsuit vindicates the maxim that “no good deed goes unpunished,” but the outcome provides some encouragement for those using advertising images that are minor variations on common themes.

Law Banning Audio Recording of Bail Proceedings in Philadelphia Is Unconstitutional

Paul Safier and Shawn F. Summers

This ruling appears to be the first federal court decision to recognize a First Amendment right to record judicial proceedings in any circumstance.

Ten Questions to a Media Lawyer

Steve Zansberg

Colorado attorney Steve Zansberg on career, law school, quarantine life, karaoke and more.