August 25th, 2011 by Hasham
The Case Of Freedom Of Speech
The U.S. Supreme Court appeared sharply divided today on whether a high school student’s banner proclaiming “Bong Hits 4 Jesus” outside an Alaska high school was protected speech or a message that school authorities could suppress because it ran counter to their policies against the promotion of illegal drugs.
Justice Stephen G. Breyer seemed to capture the court’s concerns as the justices heard arguments in Morse v. Frederick (Case No. 06-278).“It’s pretty hard to run a school where kids go around at public events publicly making a joke out of drugs,” Justice Breyer told Douglas K. Mertz, the lawyer representing former high school student Joseph Frederick, who was suspended for 10 days in 2002.
“A Test Case for Roberts”
By E.J. Dionne Jr., The Washington Post (Online), Op-Ed, Monday, September 7, 2009
President Obama’s health-care speech on Wednesday will be only the second most consequential political moment of the week.Judged by the standard of an event’s potential long-term impact on our public life, the most important will be the argument before the Supreme Court (on the same day, as it happens) about a case that, if decided wrongly, could surrender control of our democracy to corporate interests.This sounds melodramatic. It’s not. The court is considering eviscerating laws that have been on the books since 1907 and 1947 — in two separate cases — banning direct contributions and spending by corporations in federal election campaigns. Doing so would obliterate precedents that go back two and three decades.
The full impact of what the court could do in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission has only begun to receive the attention it deserves. Even the word “radical” does not capture the extent to which the justices could turn our political system upside down. Will it use a case originally brought on a narrow issue to bring our politics back to the corruption of the Gilded Age?Citizens United, a conservative group, brought suit arguing that it should be exempt from the restrictions of the 2002 McCain-Feingold campaign finance law for a movie it made that was sharply critical of Hillary Clinton. The organization said it should not have to disclose who financed the film.Instead of deciding the case before it, the court engaged in a remarkable act of overreach. On June 29, it postponed a decision and called for new briefs and a highly unusual new hearing, which is Wednesday’s big event. The court chose to consider an issue only tangentially raised by the case. It threatens to overrule a 1990 decision that upheld the long-standing ban on corporate money in campaigns.
Summit Daily reports on a decision of the US 10th Circuit Court of Appeals. The court ordered the District Court to examine s.514 of the Uruguay Round Agreements Act under the First Amendment (freedom of speech), as it changed “the traditional contours of copyright protection in a manner that implicates plaintiff’s right to free expression.”
According to Lawrence Lessig, the case is notable because it means that copyright law isn’t just challengable on free speech grounds when the fair use exception is changed, or when the idea/expression dichotomy is attacked. Instead it can be revisited whenever the contours of copyright are altered in a way that implicates freedom of expression.The section under review in this change extends life+70 protection in the US to foreign works.
The IPKat is all for copyright protection being balanced with the needs of free speech (though some interference is necessary by the very nature of copyright protection). However, he can’t see a principled distinction between this balance when it comes to works of foreign authorship, as opposed to US works.
Yesterday, the Supreme Court heard arguments in Snyder v. Phelps, a free speech case that has stirred emotional reactions over the protests tactics of Westboro Baptist Church at the funeral of a young Marine. We talk about the case, the arguments, and how it will impact future law and freedom of speech with JEFF FRANTZ, who has been covering the case for the York Daily Record, TIM NIEMAN, who filed a brief in support of Albert Snyder, father of the marine, and JOSH WHEELER, a first amendment expert who filed a brief in support of the church’s pastor Fred Phelps.Starting with a whiteboard and a teacher’s instincts, Jason Schultz makes the Michael Crook free speech case as clear as a flowchart. He also explains why the EFF made a video apology part of the settlement.
Please note that this video was posted to Blip days before Stephen Colbert ripped Jason Schultz off, using a whiteboard to diagram the problems of the EFF’s case against Viacom to John Perry Barlow!
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