Milwaukee, Pokemon Go, and the First Amendment

Is the City's New Ordinance a Step Too Far?

I have been warning for years of an upcoming clash between First Amendment free speech rights and the regulation of augmented reality content. Now it looks like that day may have arrived. The Milwaukee Record reports that, yesterday morning, “members of the Milwaukee County Board unanimously recommended for approval a proposed ordinance that would make […]

Rosa Parks’ Legal Force Awakens, But Her Likeness Will Stay at Target

Apologies for the horrible Star Wars puns, but such are the times. A more salient headline probably would have been, “Freedom of Speech Outweighs Rosa Parks’ Publicity Rights.” This case has been broadly covered by the legal blogosphere, but it’s too central to my practice area not to discuss here. I have long been developing […]

Who Watches the Machines Watching You?

On March 13, 2014, I gave the special guest presentation at the Embedded Vision Alliance membership meeting on the Qualcomm campus in San Diego, California. Titled “Who Watches the Machines Watching You? Regulating Privacy in the Era of Machines That See”  (and delivered a week before Sen. Rand Paul’s ovation-inspiring speech in Berkeley on “watching […]

Augmented Reality as Free Speech – A First Amendment Analysis

Does the First Amendment to the United States Constitution protect the right to augment reality? As with most legal questions about augmented reality (or “AR”), we can’t answer definitively, because no court has yet considered the issue.  But with consumer-level digital eyewear just around the corner, we will soon be faced with questions just like […]

5 Predictions for Social Media Law in 2013

The law governing social media in the United States continued to evolve and mature in 2012.  As predicted, some of the most significant developments in this field over the past year included a new appreciation for publicity rights online, guidance on the rights of employees to advocate for better workplace conditions, privacy rules, social media […]

Is a Facebook “Like” First Amendment-Protected Speech? It’s Complicated.

When is a “like” not an expression of liking something?  And does it, like, matter? In an April 24, 2012 opinion in the case Bland v. Roberts, Judge Raymond A. Jackson of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia sparked an online firestorm by ruling that “merely ‘liking’ a Facebook page is insufficient […]

High School Ok’d to Suspend Student for Rapping About “Dirty” Coaches

To the surprise of exactly no one, kids are continuing to post material online that adults find inappropriate.  Schools keep punishing them for it, and several parents are continuing to sue in response.  The most recent example comes to us from Itawamba County, Mississippi. On March 15, 2012, in Bell v. Itawamba County School Board, […]

Justice Department Agrees: First Amendment Protects the Right to Video Police

I’ve previously argued in court briefs, on this blog, and in the press that citizens have a qualified right under the First Amendment to take and share video of police officers acting in the course of their duties in public spaces.  If we didn’t have that right, then people like the videographer who filmed the […]

Prediction Fulfilled(?): Supreme Court Turns Down Student Social Media Cases

In my January 5 Mashable article “5 Predictions for Social Media Law in 2012,” I described the chaos that is the current state of the law on social media posts by students.  Public high school (and even middle school) students have been suspended or expelled for things they’ve written online about teachers, administrators, and fellow […]

Would SOPA & PIPA Violate the First Amendment?

Today, thousands of sites across the internet have voluntarily blacked themselves out in protest of two bills pending before Congress: the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) in the House of Representatives, and its Senate version, the Protect IP Act (PIPA).  Although intended to serve the laudable goal of combating online piracy of copyrighted works , […]