Author Archives: Paul Levy

Virginia Again Upgrades Its Anti-SLAPP Law

After years of being a happy haven for outrageous libel tourism, providing a steady source of income for certain lawyers and a source of intimidation for many speakers, Virginia has been slowly upgrading its anti-SLAPP law. The changes may even be applicable to diversity cases pending in federal court. A few years ago, Virginia created […]

May Political Slogans Criticizing Public Figures Be Trademarked?

When I first saw the decision of the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in Elster v. Vidal, won by my friends and former colleagues Jon Taylor and Greg Beck, holding that the First Amendment forbade the United States Patent and Trademark Office from withholding registration of the proposed trademark “Trump Too […]

A note of caution about signing up for Threads

Twitter has become such  a mess that  it is  not surprising that there has been a rush of sign-ons for the new service offered by  Meta to compete in that space. But note the following language in  the Supplemental Privacy Policy :  You may deactivate your Threads profile at any time, but your Threads profile […]

Can Frederic Eshelman Avoid the First Amendment by Claiming That He Plans to Sue a US Critic Abroad?

Frederic Eshelman, a pharmaceutical magnate, resents being criticized by an anonymous gmail user who called him a “piece of shit” and urged companies to stop collaborating with Eshelman for, among other things, “abusing police resources” when he used his political influence to secure the arrest and prosecution of hunters who “corner-crossed” his hunting reserve to […]

Expressive use of marks dodges a bullet in the Supreme Court

Today’s Supreme Court decision in Jack Daniel’s v. VIP Products reverses the appellate decision below in a way that minimizes the possible damage to free speech interests that impelled Public Citizen and others to file amicus briefs in the case. It confines the decision to the narrow issue on which certiorari was granted, rather than […]

Mathew Higbee’s Client Rebels

A number of my first few tilts against the abusive copyright enforcement practices pursued by Mathew Higbee and Associates  involved, in part, the issue whether the posting of an inline deep-link to a copyrighted photograph constitutes copyright infringement.  Higbee insisted that the Ninth Circuit’s invocation of the “server test” to hold that such displays are […]

Resistance to Extortionate Copyright Infringement Claims by Prepared Food Photos

Earlier this year, I confronted Daniel DeSouza over his law firm’s  demand  for a “settlement” of $30,000 based on the claim that Asheville acupuncturist James Whittle had infringed the copyright of Prepared Food Photos by posting a colorful image of fruits and vegetables taken by its corporate predecessor Adlife Marketing and Communications. My response explained […]

First Amendment protects reporters against liability for persuading a source to violate an NDA

In the course of ruling that the New York Times and its reporters could not be sued for persuading Mary Trump to disclose tax returns that had been disclosed in previously litigation, and which her lawyers had been keeping subject to a nondisclosure clause that formed part of the settlement agreement in that litigation, a […]

Ohio Court Adopts Standard to Protect Anonymous Speakers Against Being Outed Based on Weak Claims

A trial judge in Cleveland has rejected a motion for discovery to identify the authors of various comments criticizing the police chief in Beachwood, a Cleveland suburb. (With the help of Cleveland lawyer Tom Haren, we filed an amicus brief  in the case) The court adopted what it described as a modified version of the […]

The death of the Journalism Competition and Preservation Act – but might other new legislation emerge?

In recent years, major media organizations have been lobbying Congress to enact legislation, the “Journalism Competition and Preservation Act,” requiring search engine providers to engage in a form of collective bargaining about the tax they would pay to media publishers for the privilege of providing links to their news articles, backed up by mandatory interest […]