FAN 191 (First Amendment News) “Robotica” — First Book on Speech Rights & Artificial Intelligence Published
But is such data speech under the First Amendment? Are such transfers even communication within the meaning of the First Amendment? And if so, to what extent, any why, can the government regulate these new technologies? Such questions and others are explored for the first time in book form in the latest work by First Amendment scholars Ronald Collins and David Skover.
The book (their tenth) is ROBOTICA: SPEECH RIGHTS & ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE (Cambridge University Press, June 2018).
“Collins and Skover have produced a wonderfully readable, thorough, and insightful exploration of the intersection of technology and free speech theory, from the beginning of time well into the future. If any current scholarly work of free speech theory survives into the next century, it will undoubtedly be this book.” — Martin Redish, Louis and Harriet Ancel Professor of Law, Northwestern University Law School
“Collins and Skover have long been among the finest minds focused on free expression in America. In this remarkable book, they now turn insightfully to an incredibly complex and timely issue associated with ‘robotic expression’: how should the First Amendment handle contests involving regulation of ‘robot speech’ as artificial intelligence grows rapidly in prominence? This book conveys their deep knowledge – and the knowledge of other noted scholars – of the history, law, and technology that inform the way we should think about this emerging field of constitutional inquiry. ” — John Palfrey, Head of School at Phillips Academy, Massachusetts & former Executive Director of the Berkman Center for Internet and Society, Harvard University
New Book on Right of Publicity
- Jennifer Rothman, The Right of Publicity: Privacy Reimagined for a Public World (Harvard University Press, May 2018)
Jennifer Rothman has written an important, informative study of the right of publicity as it has developed in the United States and its connections to a robust privacy right. By reexamining the past, she has elaborated principles that will be useful in defining both publicity and privacy rights for the digital age.―Rebecca Tushnet, Harvard Law School
Abstract: Who controls how one’s identity is used by others? This legal question, centuries old, demands greater scrutiny in the Internet age. Jennifer Rothman uses the right of publicity―a little-known law, often wielded by celebrities―to answer that question, not just for the famous but for everyone.
In challenging the conventional story of the right of publicity’s emergence, development, and justifications, Rothman shows how it transformed people into intellectual property, leading to a bizarre world in which you can lose ownership of your own identity. This shift and the right’s subsequent expansion undermine individual liberty and privacy, restrict free speech, and suppress artistic works.
The Right of Publicity traces the right’s origins back to the emergence of the right of privacy in the late 1800s. The central impetus for the adoption of privacy laws was to protect people from “wrongful publicity.” This privacy-based protection was not limited to anonymous private citizens but applied to famous actors, athletes, and politicians. Beginning in the 1950s, the right transformed into a fully transferable intellectual property right, generating a host of legal disputes, from control of dead celebrities like Prince, to the use of student athletes’ images by the NCAA, to lawsuits by users of Facebook and victims of revenge porn.
The right of publicity has lost its way. Rothman proposes returning the right to its origins and in the process reclaiming privacy for a public world.
→ Related — Rothman’s Roadmap To The Right of Publicity
Steve Brill’s Latest Book Discusses First Amendment Law (among other things)
- Steven Brill, Tailspin: The People and Forces Behind America’s Fifty-Year Fall (Knopf, 2018)
Abstract: “In this revelatory narrative covering the years 1967 to 2017, Steven Brill gives us a stunningly cogent picture of the broken system at the heart of our society. He shows us how, over the last half-century, America’s core values–meritocracy, innovation, due process, free speech, and even democracy itself–have somehow managed to power its decline into dysfunction. They have isolated our best and brightest, whose positions at the top have never been more secure or more remote.”
→ While it is not entirely about law, there is a fairly extended discussion of the First Amendment and commercial and corporate speech. In particular, Brill focuses on some debates between Professors Robert Post and Martin Redish.
Committee on Oversight & Government — Challenges to the Freedom of Speech on College Campuses
- William Nardi, Hold administrators accountable for campus free speech crisis, First Amendment advocates tell Congress, The College Fix, May 23, 2018
“College administrators must accept blame for the severe restrictions on free speech seen on campuses and should be held accountable by Congress so First Amendment rights in higher education can be protected, several pro-free speech panelists told Congress on Tuesday.”
“‘Make them fess up,’ Princeton University Professor Robert George told members of the subcommittees on healthcare, benefits and administrative rules and intergovernmental affairs during a joint hearing on ‘Challenges to the freedom of speech on college campuses’ . . .”
New Scholarly Article — 0n Free Press & National Security
- Alan Wehbé, The Free Press and National Security: Renewing the Case for a Federal Shield Law, First Amendment Law Review (2018)
Abstract: Freedom of the press is a cherished freedom enshrined in the First Amendment and upheld in myriad contexts. However, under the prevailing case law and without a federal shield law, the executive branch may be able to “annex the journalistic profession as an investigative arm of government” to reveal its‘confidential’ sources as aid to prosecution. This would serve to chill the freedom of the press and conflicts with the spirit of the First Amendment. In many cases, courts have failed to extend the common law to such protection. The legislative branch should step in to make such protection clear. For example, in the field of national security, where the stakes are so high, the Government utilizes federal laws, such as the Espionage Act, to prosecute so state shield laws provide inconsistent and insufficient protection against federal prosecution. The case for a federal shield law is heightened in the matters of national security, which is different and where, arguably, the stakes are higher. Based upon the aforementioned discussion, this Article reinvigorates the argument in favor of a federal reporter’s shield law, specifically implemented as an evidentiary privilege under the Federal Rules of Evidence.
→ Related — Alan Wehbé, Increasing International Legal Protections for Freedom of Expression, Notre Dame Journal of International & Comparative Law (2018)
New Scholarly Article — on First Amendment Coverage
- Amanda Shanor, First Amendment Coverage, New York University Law Review (2018)
New Scholalrly Article — on Future of Burger Court’s First Amendment Jurisprudence
- David L. Hudson, Jr. & Emily H. Harvey, First Amendment Tests from the Burger Court: Will They Be Flipped?, Mitchell Hamline Law Review (2018)
New Scholarly Article — on Managing Dissent
- Timothy Zick, Managing Dissent, Washington University Law Review (2018)
New Podcast — On Medieval Heretics & Inquisitors
This is an especially fascinating podcast epsiode — rklc
- The Hounds of God – Medieval Heretics & Inquisitors, Clear & Present Danger, FIRE, May 2018
From the High Middle Ages, Europe developed into a “persecuting society,” obsessed with stamping out the “cancer” of heresy. But questions about how this was accomplished — and the consequences of these developments — abound:
- Why did popes and secular rulers shift from persuasion to persecution of heretics?
- Why was human choice in matters of religious belief considered a mortal threat to Christendom itself?
- Why did bookish inquisitors armed with legal procedure, interrogation manuals, data and archives succeed where bloody crusades and mass slaughter failed?
- How did the “machinery of persecution” developed in the Late Middle Ages affect other minority groups such as Jews?
- Are inquisitions a thing of a past and dark hyper-religious age, or a timeless instrument with appeal to the “righteous mind” whether secular or religious?
- What are the similarities between medieval laws against heresy and modern laws against hate speech?
We try to answer these questions — and more — in the latest episode of our Clear and Present Danger podcast.
New Podcast — on Street v. New York
What pushes a 51 year-old decorated World War II veteran to burn the American flag? In June of 1966, Sidney Street heard the news that James Meredith, an icon of the Civil Rights Movement, had been shot on the second day of his March Against Fear. Street, an African American himself, burned the flag and was arrested. Street declared, “If they let that happen to Meredith, we don’t need an American flag.” So sparked the question of whether the government can punish someone for using words to defile or disrespect an American flag.
In this episode of Make No Law, the First Amendment Podcast by Popehat.com, host Ken White examines Street v. New York, the Supreme Court case which concluded that the First Amendment allows freedom of expression towards the American flag — if not yet the right to burn it. The episode features the input of Professor Aram Goudsouzian, the chair of the History Department at the University of Memphis, and the author of the book Down to the Crossroads: Civil Rights, Black Power, and the Meredith March Against Fear.
The episode also features a listener question from Ben Olson about the inclusion of the word “Congress” in the First Amendment — if the First Amendment says it only applies to Congress, why is it applied to protect us from action by state and local government? This question leads Ken to discuss the Fourteenth Amendment and the Incorporation Doctrine. If there’s a case you want to hear about, or a First Amendment question you’d like answered on the podcast, email Ken at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
New Podcast — Is there a campus free speech crisis?
- Debating ‘Is there a campus free speech crisis?’ with Sullivan, Haidt, Nossel, Sachs, & Foster, So to Speak, FIRE, May 16, 2018
Is there a campus free speech crisis? In March, FIRE staff discussed the question. On today’s episode of So to Speak: The Free Speech Podcast, we put the question to others and feature audio from a live debate that occurred on May 8 in New York City.
Freethink’s Kmele Foster moderates.
The debate took place at The Village Underground and was sponsored by FIRE and the Comedy Cellar as a part of “The Underground Debate Series.”
Blog Posts from The Volokh Conspiracy
- Eugene Volokh, SUNY Binghamton Tries to Suppress Students’ Flyers Because They “Offended” Other Students, The Volokh Conspiracy, May 22, 2018
- Eugene Volokh, Will Lawyers Be Punishable for Using the “Wrong” Pronouns to Refer to Transgender People in “Social” or “Bar Association” Activities?, The Volokh Conspiracy, May 21, 2018
- Eugene Volokh, D.C. City Councilman Tried to Get Anti-Stalking Order Against Freelance Journalist, The Volokh Conspiracy, May 20, 2018
News, Editorials, Op-eds & Blog Posts
- Alicia Shepard, Donald Trump’s Amazon-Washington Post-Jeff Bezos attacks are attacks on First Amendment, USA Today, May 22, 2018
- Dara Kam, State Corrections Agency Wins First Amendment Dispute, Daily Business Review, May 22, 2018
- David D. Kirkpatrick, Is Facebook Just a Platform? A Lawyer to the Stars Says No, New York Times, May 21, 2018
- Binghamton University campus police surveil students and threaten prosecution over anti-racism flyers, FIRE, May 21, 2018
- Alex Swoyer, White supremacist groups cite First Amendment rights in battling against Charlottesville lawsuit, Washington Times, May 20, 2018
- Michigan State University’s Settlement with Gymnasts Could Set First Amendment Precedent, First Amendment Watch, May 18, 2018
Flashback — Christopher Hitchens on Free Speech
The real question — utterly dodged — is this: who’s going to decide? Who will you appoint to be the one who says, ‘I know exactly where the limit should be, how far you should go, and when you’ve gone too far’?
- Christopher Hitchens Defends Free Speech, Slams Austria (2006, IQ2, U.S.)
2017-2018 Term: First Amendment Free Expression Cases
Cert. Granted & Cases Argued
- Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission (argument: Dec. 5, 2017)
- Janus v. American Federation of State, Municipal and County Employees(argument: Feb. 26, 2018)
- Lozman v. City of Riviera Beach, Florida (argument: Feb. 27, 2018)
- Minnesota Voters Alliance v. Mansky (argument: Feb. 28, 2018)
- National Institute of Family and Life Advocates v. Becerra (argument: March 20, 2018)
- Benisek v. Lamone (argument: March 27, 2018)
Pending: Cert. Petitions
- Contest Promotions, LLC., v. City & County of San Francisco
- Flanigan’s Enterprise, Inc. v. City of Sandy Springs
- Nationwide Biweekly Administration, Inc., et al v. Perez
- CTIA v. City of Berkeley
- Harris v. Cooper
- A Woman’s Friend Pregnancy Resource Clinic v. Becerra
- Livingwell Medical Clinic, Inc. v. Becerra
- Berninger v. Federal Communications Commission
- Holmes v. Federal Election Commission
- Walker v. N.Y.C. Dep’t of Educ. et al.
- Shepard v. Florida Judicial Qualifications Commission
- Morris v. Texas (dismissed for want of jurisdiction)
- Connecticut v. Baccala
- Tobinick v. Novella
- Muccio v. Minnesota
- Elonis v. United States
- Final Exit Network, Inc. v. Minnesota
Free-Speech Related Cases: Cert. Granted
- Carpenter v. United States (Whether the warrantless seizure and search of historical cell phone records revealing the location and movements of a cellphone user over the course of 127 days are permitted by the Fourth Amendment.)
Free-Speech Related Cases: Cert. Pending
- Blagojevich v. United States (When the Government prosecutes a public official for soliciting campaign contributions in alleged violation of the Hobbs Act or other federal anti-corruption laws, must the Government prove the defendant made an “explicit promise or undertaking” in exchange for the contribution, McCormick v. United States(1991) (emphasis added), as five circuits require, or “only . . . that a public official has obtained a payment . . . knowing that [it] was made in return for official acts,” Evans v. United States (1992), as three other circuits hold?)
Free-Speech Related Cases: Cert. Denied
- MasTec Advanced Technologies v. National Labor Relations Board ((1) Whether, under NLRB v. Local Union No. 1229, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (Jefferson Standard), an employer may discharge an employee for his or her disloyalty when that employee makes disparaging and disloyal public statements about the employer’s only customer; and (2) whether, in such cases, the employee’s disloyalty is measured under an objective or subjective standard.)
Next Scheduled FAN # 192: Wednesday, May 30, 2018