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Link Wrap: Free Speech Edition

It is not merely coincident with the start of the Supreme Court term that lots of people seem to be talking about free speech. After all, the court's docket includes key cases that will test the limits of the First Amendment. In what could be the most important of the lot, the court is being asked to decide whether the First Amendment protects videos depicting dogfighting.

But even outside the halls of the high court, the issue of free speech is in the news on various fronts. Other reasons for this include the start of National Newspaper Week and the end of Banned Books Week. (Did you know that soon-to-be-a-major-motion-picture "Where the Wild Things Are" was once banned for its elements depicting witchcraft and the supernatural?) Whatever the reason, here are some of the free speech stories making the news:

Boasting about Botox. In a lawsuit filed last week in federal court in Washington, the pharmaceutical company Allergan challenges Food and Drug Administration restrictions on its advertising for the anti-wrinkle drug, asserting it has a First Amendment right to promote the drug's unapproved uses.

Defamation of the legal profession. Setting aside the question of whether "defamation of the legal profession" is an oxymoron, we turn our attention to India, where the Madras High Court has dismissed the legal profession's defamation actions against Bollywood. The lawyers' lawsuits alleged "opprobrious visual artistic work designed against lawyers and the legal profession" in connection with the film "Sivakasi." After the filmmakers apologized and removed the objectionable scenes, the matters were dismissed. [Here and here, via Idealawg.]

An athlete's right to tweet. Should professional athletes have a constitutional right to bare their souls in 140 characters or less? With the NFL, NBA and NHL banning tweets and several coaches setting their own bans, Twitter-loving players may have to turn to the courts.

Stifling stupid speech. Should the Internet be more tightly regulated to prevent against incidents such as the recent Facebook poll asking whether the president should be killed? Lawyer Travis Crabtree says no, let's not let bad cases drive a rush to bad law. "Existing laws and the marketplace will handle out-of-bounds conduct."

No First Amendment right to game. The California man who sued Sony after it banned him from participating in multiplayer games has lost his court case. A federal judge ruled that the ban did not violate Erik Estavillo's First Amendment rights.

Posted by Robert J. Ambrogi on October 5, 2009 at 11:41 AM | Permalink | Comments (1)


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