Brendan Nyhan (author of ‘Spinsanity’): “Michael Crichton Slurs A Critic,” in which the Small Penis Rule in Libel law is discussed.
Here’s a fact pattern for the libel law final: A publishes someting per se libelous about B, however they do so using a code that is only understand by A’s group, all of whom hate B and among whom B has no reputation to damage. The public at large can’t read the message when exposed to it. Inspiration for that odd thought here.
Discourse.net discusses the possibility of libel in fictionalized accounts.
He calls a fellow (female) Selectman a name at a meeting which, if they both knew what it meant, would be, at a minimum, very insulting (it’s a term for the outline of something that’s located close to something that rhymes with Mulva), however, she doesn’t know what it means, and he claims that he didn’t think it meant something as bad as what it does mean. What if no one else at the meeting knew what the term meant?
Good fact pattern for defamation class. If a vulgarity is used and no one knows what it means, is it still vulgar, or merely obscure?
Atrios is the pseudonym for a blogger who writes for the popular Eschaton blog. Three times today he posted critical comments of Arlen Specter and ended all of them by providing Specter’s contact info and the exhortation that his readers call Specter and ask him provocative questions.
If many people called Specter and ask him provocative questions, Specter may well be annoyed.
Does Specter have a cause under the new Intent to Annoy law (that he had a hand in drafting)? Can he force Atrios to testify as to his ‘intent’?
Atrios provides a link to what he says is his real name. Is that a complete defense? Does Atrios have to forego anomynity because of this law?
More on Intent to Annoy here from Professor Volokh, (emphasizing that for purposes of anti-stalking laws, one-to-one communications such as phone and emial, are qualitatively different from one-to-many communications, such as websites.
A TV Ad linking Congressman DeLay was pulled after threat of legal action by the Congressman, alleging that the ad contained falsehoods. Via Chron.com.
‘Minnesota Political Blogger Sued For Defamation,’ via Media Law Blog.
Internet damage control in action. A neighbor forwarded me an email this morning indicating that Swiffer WetJet contains anti-freeze, and that pets die after licking the floor where Swiffer has been used. As we use Swiffer and have two extremely bad dogs, this concerned me. I Googled ‘Swiffer pets’ and got this disclaimer from Swiffer.
How do these things get started?