Michigan’s First Revenge Porn Money Judgment

Detroit Free Press
August 26, 2016

This is a great legal development in my home state’s internet law:

“In what might be Michigan’s first revenge-pornography case resulting in a monetary judgment, an Oakland County woman was awarded $500,000 Wednesday after her ex-boyfriend posted nude photographs of her on multiple Internet sites. 

“According to court records from the Oakland County Circuit Court, Judge Martha Anderson awarded the sum, which is set to accrue interest over time. Anderson also granted a permanent injunction against the ex-boyfriend, forcing him to immediately destroy and never republish the photos to third-party websites. If he does … he can be held in contempt and face prison or additional fines.”

The article also notes that “In April, a bill criminalizing the posting of sexually explicit images on the Internet without the depicted person’s consent was signed into law by Lt. Gov. Brian Calley. Anyone found guilty of violating the law could face up to 93 days in jail and a $500 fine for a first offense. If a second violation occurs, the person could face up to a year in jail and a fine of $1,000. The individual could also face separate charges in connection to the crime.”

Although many similar statutes have been passed around the country, they often have First Amendment defects, because they go too far in abridging the Constitution’s sacrosanct freedom of speech. Nevertheless, cases like this prove that existing tort laws will almost always provide a way to punish those who use the internet to abuse others.

New Firm & New Look!

For those who don’t already know, I have recently moved my law practice to the firm of Warner Norcross & Judd LLP. I couldn’t be happier or more excited about continuing my career with this fantastic group of legal professionals. Today the firm issued this press release about my move.

Together with this transition, I’ve also refreshed the look of this blog with the “Get Noticed!” WordPress theme from Michael Hyatt. I’ve followed Michael’s social media insights for years, and this theme is designed to make it easier to follow his advice. It will allow me to share a wider variety of content along with my standard blog posts, such as announcements like this one.

And with that refresh comes a renewed commitment to sharing fresh content on this blog. Over the past few months I’ve been on a mini-sabbatical, posting content closer to once per month than to my typical once per week approach. I’m now back to my regular schedule, and look forward to contributing to (or even starting) some Warner Norcross blogs soon as well.

It’s you, my audience, who make this effort worthwhile. Over the past five years, I’ve learned that although my readers rarely comment online (who has time?), there are more of you out there than I ever knew. It never ceases to amaze and humble me how often I meet someone who has been following these posts. Thanks for continuing to read!

Tomorrow I’ll be speaking on “Intellectual Property in an Augmented Reality” at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office in Alexandria, Virginia as part of the World Intellectual Property Organizations’ Summer School series.

Date: Thursday, August 11, 2016
Time: 12:30 p.m.
Event: Intellectual Property in an Augmented Reality
Topic: Intellectual Property in an Augmented Reality
Sponsor: World Intellectual Property Organization
Venue: U.S. Patent and Trademark Office
Location: 600 Dulany St.
Alexandria, VA 22314
Public: Private
Registration: Click here to register.

If you'd like me to speak to your organization about intellectual property, emerging media, or related legal topics, please feel free to contact me through my Contact page.

Pokestops, Go Away – The Backlash Against Augmented Reality Gamers

2015-10-06 18.13.32

2015-10-06 18.13.32The Kölner Dom Cathedral in Cologne, Germany has survived war, plague, and decay. Built in the 12th Century, it was the only major building in the city to survive the Allied carpet bombing in World War II. But the cathedral and its caretakers now stand against new invaders: hordes of Pokemon Go players.

Is the Increasing Use of Social Media Evidence a Game-Changer in Litigation of Insurance Claim Disputes?

This is a guest post by Peter Hamp, a student pursuing his JD and MBA as part of the joint degree program at the University of Michigan Law School and Stephen M. Ross School of Business. He earned his B.A., with distinction, in political science from Yale University. Over the past decade, social media has significantly changed […]

Why the Mugshots Case Matters Right Now

I write this post to share a thought that I didn’t get the chance to complete during my recent appearance on the Bloomberg Law Show. It’s about the July 14, 2016 decision in Detroit Free Press v. Department of Justice, in which the en banc 6th Circuit decided 9-7 to reverse 20 years of precedent that […]

Pokemon GO and the Crisis on an Infinitely Augmented Earth

In the classic comic book series Crisis on Infinite Earths, thousands of worlds collided. Prior to that title, virtually all of the various stories told and characters created by DC’s various comics were said to take place within parallel dimensions of the same universe. This convenient device allowed the “Golden Age” superhero stories from mid-century comic books […]

The New Axanar-Inspired Guidelines for Star Trek Fan Films

If you’ve been tuned at all to developments in the science fiction or intellectual property fields, you know that Paramount Pictures and CBS have been pursuing copyright infringement litigation against the producers of a Star Trek fan-fiction movie called Axanar. The fan/producers published the 20-minute teaser Prelude to Axanar on YouTube in August 2014 (which as of […]

Supreme Court Gives Guidance on Award of Fees in Copyright Cases

Today the U.S. Supreme Court issued its unanimous opinion in the Kirtsaeng case, concerning the standards that govern the award of attorneys’ fees to the prevailing party as an element of “costs” under the Copyright Act. The statute itself does not give guidance on when fees should be awarded. Prior Supreme Court case law was […]

Boston Globe Anticipates Augmented Reality Privacy Issues

A few hours before I left for the airport to attend this week’s Augmented World Expo 2016, I received a call from Boston Globe tech reporter Hiawatha Bray. We had a great and detailed conversation about several of the legal issues that AR-enabled smart glasses will raise, including personal injury concerns, intellectual property issues, and e-commerce regulations. It’s […]