Archive for Free speech

City Tries, Fails to Convince Judge to Order Video of Officer’s Embarassing Testimony Removed from the Internet

The City of Collinsville, Illinois really doesn’t want people to see a video of one of its police officers admitting to some questionable training practices.  So much so that it tried (and failed) to convince a judge to issue a protective order requiring that the video be stricken from the internet.

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Charles Carreon (Almost) Concedes in Satirical Chas First Amendment Case

When we last jumped off the Charles Carreon train, he had finally been served after evading service in the Satirical Chas case.  As you might recall, Carreon was mighty upset that a satirical blogger had taken up residence at  With a mighty roar and great bravado, Carreon issued one of the greatest censorious threats of internet history, raising the specter of a trademark infringement case and promising to litigate the unique trademark and First Amendment issues up and down the appellate courts.

It may be that Charles Carreon realized that the moment he stops making an ass of himself, Satirical Chas will start to run out of material and Carreon can fade back into the internet ether from which he came.  Or it may be that he doesn’t want to waste the time or money litigating a case he stands a good chance of losing.  Or maybe – just maybe — this holiday season, Charles Carreon’s heart grew three times in size and he realized the error of his ways.

For whatever reason, Charles Carreon is crying uncle.

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Examining Student Speech Policies at California Private Schools

In preparation of writing in depth about California’s Leonard Law, which aims to protect student speech rights at California’s private institutions of higher learning, I will be writing about institutions’ student speech policies, one-by-one. I’m curious as to how effective the Leonard Law has been in deterring speech codes and how far institutions will go when left to their own devices. I’ve already started by writing about the speech policies of my alma mater, Whittier College.

If you’re a student (or alumni, faculty or staff member) facing questionable policies or censorious acts, or if there’s a particular institution you’d like me to look at, feel free to email me and perhaps I’ll write about your institution sooner rather than later. You’ll also probably want to drop a line to the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, which has already covered the policies of a good number of private colleges here.

Charles Carreon (finally!) gets served in Satirical Charles case

You might recall that way back during the Oatmeal/Funnyjunk saga, Charles Carreon — the villainous attorney defeated in that story — went after an anonymous blogger, Satirical Charles.

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Whittier College and Free Speech — again.

This weekend, Whittier College — my alma mater — will mark its annual homecoming, bringing together students, alumni, professors, administrators, and trustees to reflect on and celebrate our gratitude for having been molded by a community which celebrates diversity of perspectives and opinions.  This century-long heritage survives, a product of Whittier’s Quaker roots — a community which made its decisions by consensus, incorporating by principle the concerns of dissenters.  Richard Nixon stood up to Whittier’s socially conservative administration, relying on reasoned argument to successfully convince administrators that, however morally uncomfortable they were with the prospect of on-campus dances, they were preferable to the dangers students faced when they sought out social events in the speakeasies of Los Angeles.

This tradition of protecting speech continues in spite of Whittier’s policies, which reflect neither the reality of Whittier’s traditions, its promises, or the First Amendment. Given that it’s Free Speech Week, it’s time to revisit Whittier’s speech rules — again.

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Better Dead than Read: UGA student paper’s board confuses sticks, carrots

Yesterday afternoon, editors and staffers of the Red and Black, a student-run newspaper at the University of Georgia, resigned en masse to protest a proposal by a member of the paper’s Board of Directors, a body apparently made up of alumni and PR professionals — but not current students at UGA.

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Did get punked by Charles Carreon?

One of the more remarkable developments concerning free speech on the Internet was the creation of private registrations of domain names. This allows someone to create a website without revealing their identity and thus subjecting themselves to the censorious impulses of butthurt litigants and governments alike.* Sure, it’s a tool that can be abused by spammers, fraudsters, and con-artists, but protection of anonymous speech is a long-standing tradition, harking back to the days even before the First Amendment, when John Peter Zenger refused to unmask the authors of articles critical of the Crown Governor of New York.

But that protection is meaningless if, unlike John Zenger, who had the courage to face prison to protect the identities entrusted to him, domain name registers cave in to flimsy legal threats.

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A Brief Primer on Carreon v. Inman (the Oatmeal charity case)

I’ve decided to start blogging again in large part because of the Carreon v. Inman, et al case, which hits upon two of my favorite legal subjects: free speech and the internet. If you’re unfamiliar with it, here’s a brief primer on it. If you’re a rubber-necker already well-acquainted with this trainwreck, I’ll be posting my own thoughts shortly, starting with the sexy First Amendment issues and saving the boring, tech stuff for last.

Matthew Inman writes, draws, and manages The Oatmeal, an irreverent (yet cerebral) humor website featuring comics that would make Jim Davis blush. Inman is known to playfully lampoons his critics, so it comes as no surprise that when he received an audacious demand from an attorney, Inman upped the ante.

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