France to prohibit the use of #hashtags

It amazing to see just how far the French Government is willing to go to prevent Anglicization of its country. A French governmental commission, charged with assuring that Anglican words and traditions don’t infiltrate its boarders, has directed that all official French government legislation and correspondence use the word mot-diese, (meaning sharp word) in place of the familiar hashtag.   A few years back the French government was successful in changing the word email to courriel, and so there is no reason to think that the new word for hashtag might just catch on beyond the governmental mandate.  Interesting to see just how far a country can go in mandating language, without the cloak of the Constitution as a bar.


Want to see the UK Supreme Court’s newest decisions? Just check out YouTube

The UK Supreme Court now “publishes” its decisions on YouTube.  Most recently, the Court, under the title UKSupremeCourt, broadcast its decisions from December 19, 2012.  Shockingly, (or not) as of today, January 27, the video has only garnered 453 hits.

Check out the video here.


7th Circuit Strikes Down Sex Offender Ban on Social Media

The  7th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled yesterday that an Indiana Law prohibiting a convicted sex offenders from using social media, violates the First Amendment Right to Free Speech. The ACLU brought the suit on behalf of John Doe, an anonymous registered sex offender who had been convicted of child exploitation.  Doe challenged Indiana Code Sec 35-42-4-12, which disallows registered sex offenders from using websites, chat rooms and instant messaging services if such entities are known to be accessible to minors.  In rendering the decision, Judge Joel Flaum, writing for the three member panel, found that the statute “broadly prohibits substantial protracted speech rather than specifically targeting the evil of improper commu I action to minors”.  What do you think?  Did the court get it right?





What do we mean when we say social media?

The Dayton Business Journal recently published the list of the top ten most visited social media websites. The list was compiled based on total number of visits.  No big surprise with Facebook, YouTube and Twitter in the top three spots.  Interesting to me was that Pintrest ranked fourth and that two relatively new sites, MeetMe and Tagged, scored pretty high up there, bumping Yelp at the same time.  Nothing much legal about a list of sites, but I think it interesting to have a sense of just what we are speaking of when we say “social media.”

Should Apple prohibit new NRA App?

The NRA recently released a new app called Practice Range, which is exactly what it sounds like; allowing users to engage in virtual target practice.   Now it is time for Apple to decide whether to accept or reject the App for distribution to its iPhone and iPad consumers.   According to an article Dan Rowinski posted on Breadwrite Mobile, activists are lining up to encourage Apple CEO Tim Cook to reject the App.  The issue presents another instance of the increasingly debated concern over whether Apple’s “censorship” policy is overreaching.  Read more about the issue and Rowinski’s full article at

Watch your reputation!

This one comes from Megan Hodes.  Time Magazine recently published an article titled, “Don’t Ignore Your Social Media Reputation,” which discusses the (surprising) failure of small businesses to monitor what others post about them.  The article discusses a study by the Zeno Group which found that while 71% of large companies concern themselves with social media, only 55% of small companies do the same.

One issue the article doesn’t raise, is the problem of monitoring favorable and non-favorable reviews of both large and small businesses.  Companies face two major legal issues in their fight against maintaining a positive on-line reputation; the First Amendment rights of posters and the ability to post anonymously (making potential defamation and or other dignitary wrongs virtually impossible to mount)

Perhaps the inability to monitor the veracity of on-line postings is making them inconsequential.  (note to students – is this folly for an article?)

The Time Magazine article is available at

The Facebook effect – it does exist!

During yesterday’s law and social media class we discussed the effects of social media.  When queried on the downside of social media, students (and even this prof.) discussed the feeling of mild dissapointment in our own daily lives after watching others post their “good fortune” for all to see.  Facebook envy, however,  isn’t the only problem caused by excessive Facebook browsing. Prof. Darren Rosenberg alerted me to a recent study by researchers at the University of Pittsburgh and Columbia Business School, which finds that self-esteem can be tied to the number of “likes” one receives.  But beware, the self-esteem boost that comes from “likes” can be followed by a loss of self-control which may lead to excessive noshing or on-line purchases.  For a more comprehensive article on the study, go to

Top Ten Internet Law Developments of 2012

With thanks to Prof. Anne Bartow, I am posting Prof. Eric Goldman’s recent article in Forbes Magazine.  The article shares his list of top ten developments in Internet law for 2012.  Scroll down and you can find his top finds for years past.