"Will people discount or treat less seriously speech posted on Facebook or a video uploaded to YouTube than they would in person or in a traditional medium such as newspapers or television? The Court never has considered how the nature of online media affects a true threats analysis," he wrote.

Supreme Court weighing when online speech becomes illegal threat | Ars Technica

The question of how to deal with students’ videotaping of classroom interactions has become more pressing for colleges as technological advances have made both the production and dissemination of such recordings easier. The University of Wisconsin at Whitewater is one of several higher-education institutions that have come under fire in recent years after covertly obtained recordings of controversial statements by faculty members have been posted online. Of 72 four-year colleges whose faculty leaders recently responded to a Chronicle question on the subject, 20 said they had policies intended to prevent the unauthorized recording and redistribution of classroom speech. In December officials at the University of Colorado at Boulder cited fears of such videotaping to justify their decision to discipline a sociology professor over a classroom skit on prostitution.

Campus Stung by Controversial Video Moves to Ban Recordings in Class - Faculty - The Chronicle of Higher Education

A US court just ruled that censorship by search engines is a form of free speech

A US District Court judge dismissed a lawsuit March 27 that accused Chinese search engine Baidu of illegally suppressing free speech by censoring information about democracy movements in China on the internet. The decision raises some unsettling questions about the world’s dependency on a handful of search engines.

The group of activists who brought the suit said Baidu’s government-mandated censorship was preventing Baidu’s users in the US from seeing their work, and thus violated their right to free speech under the US constitution’s First Amendment. Judge Jesse M. Furman’s paradoxical conclusion was that forbidding Baidu from censoring results would be a violation of its right to free speech

» via Quartz

Without comment, the justices let stand an Iraq war veteran’s 18-month sentence for singing in a YouTube video he would kill a local Tennessee judge if the judge did not grant him visitation rights to his young daughter. The veteran’s petition to the high court comes at a time when it’s routine for adults and juveniles to be prosecuted in federal and state court for their threatening online speech.

Supreme Court Declines to Decide When Online Speech Becomes an Illegal Threat | Threat Level | Wired.com

New anti-speech low: buyer sued over negative eBay feedback

Ratings are important on eBay. Lots of buyers use them to assess the quality and reliability of particular sellers, and lots of sellers will go to great lengths to keep perfect or near-perfect ratings.

But an Ohio company named Med Express has shown it’s willing to go further than other sellers: it’s willing to litigate. When Med Express got its first piece of negative feedback, it filed a lawsuit, insisting that the feedback be removed from eBay.

» via ars technica

Twitter Censors Users for the First Time

For the first time ever, Twitter censored a controversial account at the request of local government earlier this week. It was run by neo-Nazis. The ban, which is the first of its kind under a relatively new Twitter policy that gives the company “the ability to reactively withhold content from users in a specific country — while keeping it available in the rest of the world.” As such, the ban is only effective in Germany. The rest of the world is free to follow the bigots.

» via The Atlantic

Actress in Anti-Islam Film Sues YouTube on Copyright Grounds

A California actress who appeared in the infamous “Innocence of Muslims” flick on YouTube is again asking a federal court to remove the anti-Islam footage that has spawned deadly protests and sparked a U.S backlash in the Middle East.

Actress Cindy Lee Garcia is now claiming a copyright interest in the film, and says that Google ignored five DMCA takedown notices served on YouTube seeking removal of the film.

The latest development comes days after a Los Angeles County judge refused to take down the film in a previous suit. Garcia argued she was fired from her job, received death threats and was tricked into starring in the “hateful anti-Islamic production.”

» via Wired

California second state to forbid colleges from social media monitoring of athletes

California legislators last week sent a bill to the governor’s desk that would prohibit colleges from requiring students to hand over access to their social media accounts, raising the re-emerging question of how much control athletes — who are very much public faces of many universities — should have over personal accounts that nonetheless are visible in the public domain.

The California Senate passed the bill the same week the Universities of Kentucky and Louisville became the latest institutions to take flak on the issue, for requiring athletes to install software that monitors posts on their accounts or forfeit their spot on the team. The Golden State is the second in two months to pass such a bill, after Delaware, which forbade colleges from requesting or requiring login information or software installation, or allowing officials to view content that an athlete has classified as private online. (Both Facebook and Twitter allow users to customize privacy settings.) Maryland’s Senate passed a similar bill that ultimately stalled.

The only content of concern is what the public can see because that is what affects “the brand” of the university and the athlete, the Kentucky athletics spokesman DeWayne Peevy said.

» via Inside Higher Ed

Judge Blocks U. of Cincinnati From Restricting Students' Freedom of Speech

A federal judge issued a final order on Wednesday that directs the University of Cincinnati not to enforce an earlier campus policy on free speech that a student group had protested in a lawsuit. The lawsuit challenged restrictions that had, among other things, limited demonstrations to a small “free speech” area and set conditions on where and when groups could collect signatures on petitions.

» via The Chronicle of Higher Education (Subscription may be required for some content)

The ACLU wrote, “Liking” a political candidate on Facebook—just like holding a campaign sign—is constitutionally protected speech. It is verbal expression, as well as symbolic expression. Clicking the ‘Like’ button announces to others that the user supports, approves, or enjoys the content being ‘Liked.’ Merely because ‘Liking’ requires only a click of a button does not mean that it does not warrant First Amendment protection.

Facebook and the ACLU tell court a “like” is protected speech | Ars Technica