Altra decisione per cui Twitter non è State actor (nè è ravvisabile joint action con organi statali)

Un avvocato statunitense, divenuto acceso sostenitore di Trump, si vede etichettati in modo sfavolrevole (labeled) suoi post su Twitter e poi sospeso l’account in via definitiva.

Agisce allora contro Twitter (ed altri organi pubblici USA di alto livello con cui avrebbe commesso  conspiracy) facendo valere il diritto di parola/free speech.

L’ovvia eccezione di inesistenza di ogni state action nella condotta di Twitter viene però accolta.

Viene respinta pure la qualifica di <joint action> Stato/Twitter: il relativo test cheide “whether the state has `so far insinuated itself into a position of interdependence with [the private entity] that it must be recognized as a joint participant in the challenged activity“, sub III.A.1 (qualifica esaminata in dettaglio).

Si tratta del Tribunale del Nord California, 10.01.2022, Case No. 21-cv-07063-CRB. ,  ROGAN O’HANDLEY v.  ALEX PADILLA, et al., Defendants.

(notizia e link alla sentenza dal blog di Eric Goldman)

Quattro causae petendi relative al First Amendment/libertà di parola per contrastare la sospensione dell’account Youtube, ma nessuna accolta

Interessante sentenza californiana sulla solita questione della libertà di parola  (First Amendement)  asseritamente violata da sospensione dell’account su social media (politicamente di destra) da parte di una state action.

Si tratta della corte distrettuale di S. Josè, Californa, 19 ottobre 2021, Case No. 20-cv-07502-BLF, Doe c. Google,.

Sono azionate quattro causae petendi, tutte rigettate visto che nessuna è applicabile alla censura/content moderation di Youtube:

1) Public function: curiosamente l’attore e la corte invocano in senso reciprocamente opposto il  noto precedente Prager Univ. c. Google del 2020.

2) Compulsion: <<Rep. Adam Schiff and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and an October 2020 House Resolution, which “have pressed Big Tech” into censoring political speech with threats of limiting Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act (“CDA”) and other penalties.>>. Alquanto inverosimile (è però la più lungamente argometnata)

3) joint action: <<Joint action is present where the government has “so far insinuated itself into a position of interdependence with [a private entity] that it must be recognized as a joint participant in the challenged activity.” Gorenc v. Salt River Project Agr. Imp. and Power Dist., 869 F.2d 503, 507 (9th Cir. 1989) (quoting Burton v. Wilmington Parking Authority, 365 U.S. 715, 725 (1961)). Further, a private defendant must be a “willful participant in joint action with the state or its agents.” Dennis v. Sparks, 449 U.S. 24, 27 (1980). Joint action requires a “substantial degree of cooperative action” between private and public actors. Collins v. Womancare, 878 F.2d 1145, 1154 (9th Cir. 1989).>.

Per gli attori la  joint action theory starebbe in un  <<Twitter exchange between Rep. Schiff and YouTube CEO Susan Wojnicki in which Ms. Wojnicki states, “We appreciate your partnership and will continue to consult with Members of Congress as we address the evolving issues around #COVID19.” FAC, Ex. E at 1; Opp. at 10-15. Plaintiffs argue that this Twitter exchange shows Defendants and the federal government were in an “admitted partnership.”>>. Allegazione un pò leggerina.

4) Governmental nexus: ricorre quando c’è << “such a close nexus between the State and the challenged action that the seemingly private behavior may be fairly treated as that of the State itself.” Kirtley v. Rainey, 326 F.3d 1088, 1094-95 (9th Cir. 2003). “The purpose of this requirement is to assure that constitutional standards are invoked only when it can be said that the State is responsible for the specific conduct of which plaintiff complains.” Blum, 457 U.S. at 1004-1005>>. (sembra assai simile alla prcedente).

Non avendo accolto alcuna di quesrta, non affronta il safe harbour ex 230 CDA, p. 12. Curioso l’rodine logico : il criterio della ragine più liquidqa avrebbe potuto a rigttare (nel merito) con tale norma.

(sentenza e link dal blog di Eric Goldman)

Ancora sugli annuari on line che usano dati personali degli ex studenti

In Knapke v. Peopleconnect Inc , 10.08.2021, un Tribunale di Washington decide una lite sul right of publicity sfruttato indebitamente dall’annuario Classmates (C.) (nella fattisecie proponendo nome e immagine in niserzioni publiciitarie).

C. pubblica annuari di scuola e università, parte gratjuitamente (ma con pubblicità) e parte a pagamento.

C. si difende strenuamente ma la corte rigetta la domanda di dismiss.

E’ rigettata l’eccezione di safe harbour ex 230 CDA, trattandosi di materiale proprio e non di soggetti terzi.

Inoltre si v. le analitiche difese di C..

La più interessante è basata sul First Amendment: <<Classmates argues that “where a person’s name,  image, or likeness is used in speech for ‘informative or cultural’ purposes, the First Amendment renders the use ‘immune’ from liability.”>> (sub F).

La corte però la rigetta.

Avevo già dato notizia mesi fa di altro caso relativo agli annuari, CALLAHAN v.
ANCESTRY.COM INC..

(notizia e link tratti dal blog di Eric Goldman)

Azione in corte di Trump contro i colossi digitali che lo esclusero dai social (ancora su social networks e Primo Emendamento)

Techdirt.com pubblica l’atto di citazione di Trump 7 luglio 2021 contro Facebook (Fb)   che nei mesi scorsi lo bannò.  E’ una class action.

Il link diretto è qui .

L’atto è interessante e qui ricordo solo alcuni punti sull’annosa questione del rapporto social networks/primo emendamento.

Nella introduction c’è la sintesi di tutta l’allegazione, pp. 1-4.

A p. 6 ss trovi descrizione del funzionamneot di Fb e dei social: interessa spt. l’allegazione di coordinamento tra Fb e Tw, § 34 e la piattaforma CENTRA per il monitoraggio degli utenti completo cioè  anche circa la loro attività su altre piattaforme ,  § 36 ss. .

 Alle parti III-IV-V l’allegazione sul coordinamenot (anche forzoso, sub III, § 56)  tra Stato  Federale e piattaforme.  Il che vale a preparare il punto centrale seguente: l’azione di Fb costituisce <State action> e dunque non può censurare il free speech:

<<In censoring the specific speech at issue in this lawsuit and deplatforming Plaintiff, Defendants were acting in concert with federal officials, including officials at the CDC and the Biden transition team. 151.As such, Defendants’ censorship activities amount to state action. 152.Defendants’ censoring the Plaintiff’s Facebook account, as well as those Putative Class Members, violates the First Amendment to the United States Constitution because it eliminates the Plaintiffs and Class Member’s participation in a public forum and the right to communicate to others their content and point of view. 153.Defendants’ censoring of the Plaintiff and Putative Class Members from their Facebook accounts violates the First Amendment because it imposes viewpoint and content-based restrictions on the Plaintiffs’ and Putative Class Members’ access to information, views, and content otherwise available to the general public. 154.Defendants’ censoring of the Plaintiff and Putative Class Members violates the First Amendment because it imposes a prior restraint on free speech and has a chilling effect on social media Users and non-Users alike. 155.Defendants’ blocking of the Individual and Class Plaintiffs from their Facebook accounts violates the First Amendment because it imposes a viewpoint and content-based restriction on the Plaintiff and Putative Class Members’ ability to petition the government for redress of grievances. 156.Defendants’ censorship of the Plaintiff and Putative Class Members from their Facebook accounts violates the First Amendment because it imposes a viewpoint and content-based restriction on their ability to speak and the public’s right to hear and respond. 157.Defendants’ blocking the Plaintiff and Putative Class Members from their Facebook accounts violates their First Amendment rights to free speech. 158.Defendants’ censoring of Plaintiff by banning Plaintiff from his Facebook account while exercising his free speech as President of the United States was an egregious violation of the First Amendment.>> (al § 159 ss sul ruolo di Zuckerberg personalmente).

Ne segue che il safe harbour ex § 230 CDA è incostituzionale:

<<167.Congress cannot lawfully induce, encourage or promote private persons to accomplish what it is constitutionally forbidden to accomplish.” Norwood v. Harrison, 413 US 455, 465 (1973). 168.Section 230(c)(2) is therefore unconstitutional on its face, and Section 230(c)(1) is likewise unconstitutional insofar as it has interpreted to immunize social media companies for action they take to censor constitutionally protected speech. 169.Section 230(c)(2) on its face, as well as Section 230(c)(1) when interpreted as described above, are also subject to heightened First Amendment scrutiny as content- and viewpoint-based regulations authorizing and encouraging large social media companies to censor constitutionally protected speech on the basis of its supposedly objectionable content and viewpoint. See Denver Area Educational Telecommunications Consortium, Inc. v. FCC, 518 U.S. 727 (1996).170.Such heightened scrutiny cannot be satisfied here because Section 230 is not narrowly tailored, but rather a blank check issued to private companies holding unprecedented power over the content of public discourse to censor constitutionally protected speech with impunity, resulting in a grave threat to the freedom of expression and to democracy itself; because the word “objectionable” in Section 230 is so ill-defined, vague and capacious that it results in systematic viewpoint-based censorship of political speech, rather than merely the protection of children from obscene or sexually explicit speech as was its original intent; because Section 230 purports to immunize social media companies for censoring speech on the basis of viewpoint, not merely content; because Section 230 has turned a handful of private behemoth companies into “ministries of truth” and into the arbiters of what information and viewpoints can and cannot be uttered or heard by hundreds of millions of Americans; and because the legitimate interests behind Section 230 could have been served through far less speech-restrictive measures. 171.Accordingly, Plaintiff, on behalf of himself and the Class, seeks a declaration that Section 230(c)(1) and (c)(2) are unconstitutional insofar as they purport to immunize from liability social media companies and other Internet platforms for actions they take to censor constitutionally protected speech>>.

Come annunciato, ha fatto partire anche analoghe azioni verso Twitter e verso Google/Youtube e rispettivi amministratori delegati (rispettivi link  offerti da www.theverge.com) .

La libertà di parola sui social media (FB) da parte di soggetti critici verso le vaccinazioni (ancora sulla content moderation)

interessante caso sul diritto di parola e la content moderation di Facebook (Fb) in relazione ad un ente che sostiene la pericolosità di varie pratiche sociali, tra cui vaccini e la tecnocologia 5G per telefoni.

Si trata Tribunale del Nord California 29.06.2021, Case 3:20-cv-05787-SI, CHILDREN’S HEALTH DEFENSE (CHD) c. Facebook, Zuckerberg e altri.

Fb aveva etichettato i post del CHD come di dbbia attendibilità e simili (v. esempi grafici di ciò i nsentenza a p. 8/9).

Tra le causae petendi la prima era basata sul Primo (e 5°)  Emendametno in relazione al caso Bivens v. Six Unknown Named Agents of Fed. Bureau of Narcotics  del 1971 (il che dà l’idea del ruolo svolto dal precedente nella common law, degli USA almeno).

Gli attori diccono <<that “Facebook and the other defendants violated Plaintiff’s First Amendment rights by labeling CHD’s content ‘False Information,’ and taking other steps effectively to censor or block content from users. . . . Facebook took these actions againstPlaintiff in an effort to silence and deter its free speech solely on account of their viewpoint.” Id. ¶ 318. CHD also assertsa First Amendment retaliation claim, allegingthat after it filed this lawsuit, Facebook notified CHD that it “would modify the parties’ contractual term of service § 3.2, effective October 1, 2020, to read: ‘We also can remove or restrict access to your content, services, or information if we determine that doing so is reasonably necessary to avoid or mitigate adverse legal or regulatory impacts to Facebook.’”Id. ¶ 324>>, p. 12.

E poi: <<CHD alleges that defendants violated the Fifth Amendment by permanently disabling the “donate” button on CHD’s Facebook page and by refusing “to carry CHD’s advertising of its fundraising campaigns.” Id.¶ 319.6CHD alleges that “Defendants’ actions amount to an unlawful deprivation or ‘taking’ of Plaintiff’s property interests in its own fundraising functions. . . . without just compensation or due process.” Id. ¶¶ 320, 322.>>, ivi.

Il tribunale, però, conferma che le entità private non sono sottoposte al Primo emenda,mento ma solo Federal Actors, p. 12-13.

E’ curioso che gli attori avessero citato personalmente Mark Zuckerberg , dicendo che aveva realizzato <federal actin>per i due motivi indicati a pp. 14-15 (tra cui la combinazione con l’azione provaccini e contro la disinformazione, portata avanti dal  Congressman Adam Schiff ,consistente in una lettera aperta a MZ).

Che l’intevento diretto di MZ fosse probabile, non basta: dovevano dare la prova che egli actually partecipated, p. 16.

Da ultimo , non realizza Federal Action il fatto che Fb fruisca del safe harbour ex § 230 CDA. Gli attori infatti avevano così detto: <<CHD also allegesthat “government immunity [under Section 230of the CDA] plus pressure (Rep. Schiff). . should turn Facebook and Zuckerberg’s privateparty conduct into state action.” SAC ¶ 300.CHD asserts that Section 230, “by immunizing private parties against liability if they engage in conduct the government seeks to promote, constitutes sufficient encouragement to turn private action into state action.” CHD’s Opp’n to Facebook’s Mtn. at 6. With regard to coercion, CHD allegesthat Congressman Schiff pressured Facebook and Zuckerberg to remove “vaccine misinformation” through his February 2019 letter and his subsequentpublic statement that “if the social media companies can’t exercise a proper standard of care when it comes to a whole variety of fraudulent or illicit content, then we have to think about whether [Section 230] immunity still makes sense.” SAC ¶ 64. CHDrelies onSkinner v. RailwayLabsExecutives’ Association, 489 U.S. 602 (1989),as support for its contention that the immunity provided by Section 230 is sufficient encouragement to convert private action into state action>>, p. 24.

Ma la corte rigetta, p. 25: <<Skinner does not aid CHD.“Unlike the regulations in Skinner, Section 230 does not require private entities to do anything, nor does it give the government a right to supervise or obtain information about private activity.” >>

Altra causa petendi è la violazione del Lanham Act (concorrenza sleale a vario titolo e qui tramite informazioni denigratorie o decettive).

Per gli attori , 1) i convenuti erano concorrenti (è il tema più interessante sotto il profilo teorico) e 2) tramite la etichettatura di FB volutamente errata, avevano diffuso notizie dannose a carico degli attori, p. 28-29.

La Corte rigetta anche qui: <<However, the warning label and factchecks are not disparaging CHD’s “goods or services,” nor are they promoting the “goods or services” of Facebook, the CDC,or the factchecking organizations such as Poynter. In addition, the warning label and factchecks do not encourage Facebook users to donate to the CDC, the factchecking organizations, or any other organization. Instead, the warning label informs visitors to CHD’s Facebook page that they can visit the CDC website to obtain “reliable uptodate information” about vaccines, and the factchecks identify that a post has been factchecked, with a link to an explanation of why the post/article has been identified as false or misleading.>>, p. 30.

(notizia e link alla sentenza dal blog di Eric Goldman)

Il deepfake gode della libertà di parola protetta dal Primo Emendamento? No, secondo un recente studio

La risposta è negativa per Blitz, DEEPFAKES AND OTHER NONTESTIMONIAL FALSEHOODS:WHEN IS BELIEF MANIPULATION (NOT)FIRST AMENDMENT SPEECH?, Yale Journal of Law & TechnologyVolume 23, Fall 2020, p. 160 ss.

Conclusioni: <<Is all such deception protected by the First Amendment? If not, does it at least protect the deepfake video on the ground that video is now a recognized medium of expression? My argument in this article is that it does not. Video is, of course, in many circumstances, a medium of artistic expression, and deepfake technology can play a role in such artistic expression. Not only it is a tool for professional filmmakers to tell fictional stories. It is a means by which authors canvisually illustrate or embellish their arguments. But my argument here has been that video doesn’t always serve as a vessel for an author’s ideas. It has long served as a record of what a camera captured rather than as a picture and storyteller orargumentmaker wishes to show us. First Amendment law should leave government with room to preserve this nontestimonialfunction of video>>, p. 299-300.

Il che non significa che manchino di protezione ex 1st Em. in assoluto: <<The same deepfake that deceives an audience in one context, after all, can educate and entertain it in another. The same deepfake that is viewed as evidence external to a speaker might, at another time, be seen as a vessel for a speaker’sexpression. Deepfakes are thus in a First Amendment middle groundone where courts should seek to protect them when and to the extent they are expressive, but let government expose them as deepfakes when they pose as genuine camera footage.>>, ivi

Recensione di uno studio legale su Google e diffamazione

La recensione dell’operato di un avvocato , costituita dall’avergli assegnato una sola stellina (su 5 , come parrebbe desumersi in Google Maps) e null’altro (cioè senza aggiunta di parole), non costituisce diffamazione.

Così la Corte di appello del Michigan, 18.03.2021, Gursten c. John doe1 e altri, No.352225, Oakland Circuit Court ,LC No.2019-171503-NO.

Così già la corte di primo grado (confermata) :

<<A one-star review is pure opinion and is not a statement capable of being defamatory. Even if the review implies that John Doe 2 had an experience with [p]laintiffs as [p]laintiffs contend, the Court does not find that this implication would render what would otherwise be pure opinion, defamatory. The implication of an experience with [p]laintiffs is not a defamatory implication regardless of whether it is provable as false. The Court has not been presented with []authority for the contention that a one-star review[,]standing alone[,]is defamatory because it was posted anonymously or pseudonymously.Moreover, in considering the context of the review, the Court cannot ignore that the one-star review at issue in this case was made on Google Review. Such websites are well-recognized places for anyone to place an opinion. Within this context, an ordinary [I]nternet reader understands that such comments are mere statements of opinion. To hold that the pseudonymous review in this case is defamatory would make nearly all negative anonymous or pseudonymous [I]nternet reviews susceptible to defamation claims.Because the court finds that the one-star review is not a statement capable of being defamatory, [p]laintiffs’ claim for defamation and business defamation fail as a matter of law>>

L’avvocato attore aveva negato di aver mai avuto quel cliente e attribuiva la recensione ad un collega (competitor attorney, p. 2 in nota 1).

Per la corte di appello è centrale appurare se prevalga l’onore o il diritto di parola e di critica, p. 4.

E conclude che <<a one-star wordless review posted on Google Review is an expression of opinion protected bythe First Amendment. Edwards, 322 Mich App at 13. We have previouslyheld that “[t]he context and forum in which statements appear also affect whether a reasonable reader would interpret the statements as asserting provable facts.” Ghanam, 303 Mich App at 546 (quotation marks and citations omitted). In the context of Internet message boards and similar opinion-based platforms, statements “are generally regarded as containing statements of pure opinion rather than statements or implications of actual, provable fact…. Indeed, the very fact that most of the posters [on Internet message boards] remain anonymous, or pseudonymous, is a cue to discount their statements accordingly.” Id. at 546-547 (quotation marks and citations omitted). As plaintiffs note, Google Review is an online consumer review service where posters can share their subjective experience with, among otherthings, a business, a professional, or a brand. We therefore conclude that Google Review is no different than the[I]nternet message boards in Ghanam; that is,it containspurely a poster’s opinions,which are afforded First Amendment protection>>, p. 5.

Per l’avvocato attore la <<one-star Google review was a defamatory statement by implication. Plaintiffs assert that “Google review is an [I]nternet-based consumer review service” where individuals can post reviews of a business or professional on the basis of their actual experience; therefore, by posting a wordless one-star Google review, the poster implies that hisor her experience with that business was a negative one. . Because Doe 2 failed to establish that he or she was a prospective, former, or current client, plaintiffs contend that the review is defamatory as it was implied that Doe 2 had an actual attorney-client experience and received legal services from plaintiffs.>>

Ma per la corte spettava all’avvocato provare che la recensione era  <<materially false. American Transmission, Inc, 239 Mich App at 702. Indeed, plaintiffs do not even know Doe 2’s true identity. While plaintiffs urge this Court to assume Doe 2 is a competitor-attorney because Doe 1 was identified as such, this is mere speculation without any factual basis>>.

Sul punto però si è formata una dissenting opinion che ritiene opportuno indagare proprio la questione della falsità o verità del post in questione,anche se vede difficile la posizione del’avvocato attore: <<At this point, we must assume that which plaintiffs’ have alleged—the poster’s expressed opinion rested on nothing more than economic or personal animus, not actual experience. I would remand to permit the parties to conduct discovery focused on identifying the poster and determining whether he or she was truly a client of the firm or a person who had otherwise had an unsatisfactory interaction with it. That said, plaintiffs have a difficult road ahead. Despite that Milkovich does not preclude their claim at this stage, the First Amendment does offer substantial protection of John Doe 2’s right to opine regarding plaintiffs’ competence, work product, and legal abilities. If a substantially true implication or real facts underlieJohn Doe 2’s opinion, the First Amendment likely shields him or her from tort liability. As a matter of constitutional law, however, it is too early to make that determination>> (dissenting opinion del giudice Gleicher).

Caso interessante, dato che le decisioni sulla offensività delle recensioni in internet sono poche (qualcuna su Tripadvisor, anche italiana) e ancor meno sull’operato di un avvocato.

(notizia e link alla sentenza e alla dissenting opinion tratti dal blog di Eric Goldman)

Rimozione di pubblicità (già concordata) da giornale e state action doctrine: la rimozione è legittima, mancando state action

La pubblicità politica su giornale di provincia, a seguito di contratto,  può essere rimossa qualora ci si accorga che viola la policy del gioranle stesso, senza che ciò violi il Prmo Emendamento.

Infatti il giornale non è Stato nè suo organo nè public forum.

Nel caso specifico un soggetto aveva concordato una pubblicità politica sul giornale The Astorian (dell’omonima piccola città dell’Oregon-USA) per due candidati a successive elezioni locali. La pubblicità venne  poi rimossa perchè il soggetto, pur avendo inizialmente accettato  di far inserire la precisazione che si trattava di <paid advetisment>, non aveva invece accettato la sucessiva richiesta di inserire anche il proprio nome e indirizzo o telefono (informazione richeista ddall’advertisment policy del giornale).

Si tratta di U.S. D.C. dell’Oregon, 8 marzo 2021, Case No. 3:20-cv-01865-SB, Plotkin c. “The Astorian” ed altri.

In Discussion-I.A, il giudice ricorda i principi generali sulla free speech clause del 1° Emendamento.

Poi in particolare così ragiona <<Defendants argue that The Astorian acted as a private entity—not a state actor—when it removed Plotkin’s advertisement from its publication, and therefore Plotkin’s allegations fail to meet the threshold required to prove that Defendants’ actions violated the First Amendment.

The Court agrees. 

Like the public access television channel in Halleck, here a newspaper does not perform a traditional or exclusive government function. See Halleck, 139 S. Ct. at 1929 (“The relevant function in this case is operation of public access channels on a cable system. That function has not traditionally and exclusively been performed by government.”); see also Brunette v. Humane Soc’y of Ventura Cnty., 294 F.3d 1205, 1214 (9th Cir. 2002) (holding that a newspaper “was not liable as a state actor” under any of the plaintiff’s state action theories); Byers v. The Reg. Guard, No. CV 04-438-HU, 2004 WL 1615220, at *1 (D. Or. July 19, 2004) (dismissing civil rights claims against the Eugene Register Guard in light of “the absence of an allegation that the defendant acted under color of state law”).

On the contrary, a press free and independent from the government is a basic tenet of our democracy. See Miami Herald Publ’g Co. v. Tornillo, 418 U.S. 241, 248-56 (discussing the history  of the press and how the separation between the government and the press is necessary to allow for “the free expression of views”).

Thus, Defendants are not state actors and Plotkin’s constitutional claims have no merit. >>

Nemmeno funziona la difesa del public forum.

<Plotkin attempts to salvage his claims by arguing that the dispositive issue here is not whether The Astorian is a state actor, but whether The Astorian’s creation of a public forum prevents it from limiting Plotkin’s speech under the First Amendment. (Pl.’s Resp. at 2-3; Pl.’s *6 Surreply at 2.)

The Supreme Court has rejected that argument, holding that when a private entity “provides a forum for speech, the private entity is not ordinarily constrained by the First Amendment because the private entity is not a state actor.” Halleck, 139 S. Ct. at 1930 (rejecting the same argument Plotkin raises here, because “[t]hat analysis mistakenly ignores the threshold state-action question”); see also Prager Univ., 951 F.3d at 997 (“YouTube may be a paradigmatic public square on the Internet, but it is ‘not transformed’ into a state actor solely by ‘provid[ing] a forum for speech'” (quoting Halleck, 139 S. Ct. at 1930, 1934)); Belknap v. Alphabet, Inc., — F. Supp. 3d —, 2020 WL 7049088, at *3 (D. Or. 2020) (“The Ninth Circuit, moreover, has explained that private entities who provide the public a forum for speech, including YouTube and Google, are not analogous to private entities who perform all the necessary municipal functions.”) (simplified). 

As a private entity, The Astorian is free to create a public forum subject to its own editorial discretion without running afoul of the First Amendment. See Halleck, 139 S. Ct. at 1930 (“The private entity may thus exercise editorial discretion over the speech and speakers in the forum.”); cf. Tornillo, 418 U.S. at 258 (holding that a privately-owned newspaper “is more than a passive receptacle or conduit for news, comment, and advertising” and “[t]he choice of material to go into a newspaper . . . constitute[s] the exercise of editorial control and judgment.”). Accordingly, Defendants did not violate Plotkin’s First Amendment 7 rights.>>

Pco sopra la corte aveva ricordato che <<A private entity may be a state actor when “the private entity performs a traditional, exclusive public function[.]” Id. (citation omitted). “It is ‘not enough’ that the relevant function is something that a government has ‘exercised . . . in the past, or still does’ or ‘that the function serves the public good or the public interest in some way.'” Prager Univ., 951 F.3d at 997 (quoting Halleck, 139 S. Ct. at 1928-29).>> e che però <<The Supreme Court “has stressed that ‘very few’ functions fall into that category.” Halleck, 139 S. Ct. at 1929 (citing the examples of running elections or operating a company town) (citations omitted). Further, “[t]he Court has ruled that a variety of functions do not fall into that category, including, for example: running sports associations and leagues, administering insurance payments, operating nursing homes, providing special education, representing indigent criminal defendants, resolving private disputes, and supplying electricity.” Id. (citations omitted). *5 Further, “merely hosting speech by others is not a traditional, exclusive public function and does not alone transform private entities into state actors subject to First Amendment constraints.” Halleck, 139 S. Ct. at 1930.>>.

(notizia e link alla sentenza dal blog di Eric Goldman)

Primo Emendamento e censura da parte di Google-Youtube

Un tribunale dell’Oregon decide la lite inerente una presunta violazione del diritto di parola (coperto dal Primo Emendamento) in relazione a post di commento ad articoli apparsi su Breitbart News: si tratterebbe di violazione ad opera di Google-Youtube (è citata pure Alphabet, la holding).

L’istante allegava la violazione del diritto di parola e poi pure del safe harbour ex § 230 CDA.

Sul secondo punto la corte rigetta in limine dato che non è stata prospettata alcuna violazione della citata normativa, trattandosi di safe harbour.

Sul primo punto, ribadisce l’orientamento prevalente per cui un forum privato (per quanto importante, aggiungo io) non costituisce <ambiente statale> (non vale “State action”) e per questo non è soggetto al PRIMO EMENDAMENTO. Tale  disposizione costituzionale, infatti, riguarda solo l’azione dello Stato.

<<Thus, fundamental to any First Amendment claim is the presence of state action …  Neither Alphabet, nor its subsidiaries, Google and YouTube, are state actors. See Prager Univ., 951 F.3d at 996 (noting that the defendants, YouTube and Google, operated their platforms without any state involvement). Google and YouTube do provide the public with a forum for speech, but that does not make them state actors>>.

Eì vero che talora le corti hanno affermato che <<a private entity was a state actor for First Amendment purposes, most notably when a private entity engaged in functions typically reserved exclusively to state or municipal government. See, e.g., Marsh v. Alabama, 326 U.S. 501 (1946). Belknap’s Complaint makes no allegations that Defendants’ are engaging in municipal functions. The Ninth Circuit, moreover, has explained that private entities who provide the public a forum for speech, including YouTube and Google, are not analogous to private entities who “perform [] all the necessary municipal functions.”>>.

La sentenza si appoggia abbondantemente al precedente di quest’anno Prager Univ. v. Google LLC (decisione di appello del 9 circuito) in cui il tema è analizzato con un certo dettaglio.

Purtroppo non è chiaro il contesto fattuale : non è chiaro se si trattasse di censura di commenti a video (cita Youtube) , magari su un canale o account di Breitbart, o di commenti ad articoli scritti (parla di articles).

Non si può quindi capire quale sia l’importanza della piattaforma portatrice dei post e dunque nemmeno se sia possibile un’applicazione analogica di tale protezione.

Si tratta di Distretto dell’Oregon  01.12.2020, Belknap c. Alphabet-Google-Youtube, caso n° 3:20-cv-1989-SI .

(notizia tratta dal blog di Eric Goldman)

Il deepfake non va trattato come lo speech tradizionale

Ottimo articolo di Mary Anne Franks sul deepfake (A dangerous form of unanswerable speech,  bostonglobe, 12.10.2020).

Deepfake è la notizia falsa (bufala) nlla forma di audiovisivo: per questo più persuasiva e dunque pericolosa della notizia solo scritta

la giurista A.M. Franks ricorda che non si può a questo proposito seguire l’approccio dei giudici Holmes e Brandeis  (e di moltissimi altri) del marketplace of ideas per cui la verità sconfigge la falsità (o the best cure for bad speech is more speech): < but especially given the state of disinformation in America, such a belief can most charitably be described as willfully ignorant. Lies, especially those that serve the interests of those in power, have always had a competitive advantage over the truth, and truthful speech frequently gets drowned out by fake, misleading, and salacious content.