Is It Legal To Film Police?

A crime?

I’m sure everyone can remember a YouTube video of police brutality or an invasive TSA pat-down that made them cringe. Imagine all of the encounters that never make it to the internet.  Those moments are only made public because of someone exercises their First Amendment right.

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New Apple iPhone Patent Raises First Amendment Concerns

iPhone issues

Apple recently acquired a patent  that would disable an iPhone’s camera, recording ability and even put it into sleep mode.  The patent characterizes its function as “forcing certain electronic devices to enter ‘sleep mode’ when entering a sensitive area”.  There are certainly some benefits of this feature that would make life a little less annoying.  Wouldn’t it be wonderful to never enjoy a film without the interruption of someone’s cell phone?  College lectures would be silent of ringtones and it could even cut down on cheating.  While these functions appear to be harmless and even beneficial, there are serious legal questions being raised that cause some to worry about other uses of the patent.   What exactly is a sensitive area and who gets to determine this?

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Natalee Holloway’s Mother Seeks Revenge Against Tabloids

Tabloid showdown

It’s puzzling how ragmags can hide behind the First Amendment and get away with publishing outlandish headlines and blatant hurtful lies.  Take a trip down the checkout aisle and you’ll see some outrageous headlines.  You have “John Travolta’s Cross Dressing Scandal”, next to that, the gut-wrenching “Brad & Angelina Twins Health Shocker: Tragic Down Syndrome”, and right before you can whip out your wallet, you are overcome with disgust when you still see headlines regarding the disappearance of Natalee Holloway.  You might ask yourself, “how can these magazines publish such lies, and seven years going, no less?  Isn’t this libel?  And what about that poor girl’s still-living mother?”  Well, after nearly a decade of enduring near-daily assaults on the memory of her daughter, Beth Holloway is ready to fight back against tabloids.

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Right to Wear a T-Shirt Confirmed for High School Student

No dress code

An Ohio teenager won the right to wear a “Jesus is not a homophobe” t-shirt at his high school.  Maverick Couch first wore the t-shirt in April 2011 to commemorate a “Day of Silence”, an event where participants remain silent throughout the day, representative of the inability of many LGBT students to speak out against bullying due to fear, undeserved shame, doubt, etc.  Being a young gay man himself and participating in an LGBT awareness event, Maverick thought nothing much of donning his thought-provoking and pro-LGBT t-shirt.  The Powers that Be at the high school, however, probably incensed that dem der homos get a whole day to themselves in the first place, told Maverick that he had to wear the shirt inside-out in order to hide the supposedly-incendiary message.  Later that same year, Maverick asked his principal for permission to wear the shirt again.  This time, he was threatened with suspension if he wore the shirt.  Unfortunately for the high school, instead of wearing the shirt, Maverick decided to sue the school, alleging that his First Amendment rights were trounced.  The suit snowballed, and soon brought the controversy to a global audience, providing yet more evidence that the Streisand Effect should not be taken lightly.

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Business v. Class Action

How much are you signing away to get that sweet, sweet 1994 Toyota Tercel?

An article in the New York Times caught my attention today.  It’s about the fallout from the 2011 Supreme Court decision in AT&T v. Concepcion, which stated that corporations can write clauses into contracts to prevent class action lawsuits.  To do this, the clauses require customers to settle disputes through arbitration (instead of in an actual court of law) and to relinquish their right to litigate as a class.  In effect, the contracts waive the customers’ right to due process.  Since that decision, the legal world has changed.  For the better or for worse?

Keep reading the full post to see what’s up with these clauses and to learn a tip on how to get around them.

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