A Texas court has thrown out an overbroad law prohibiting public photography with the intention to sexually arouse someone, on the grounds the previous ruling violated Texas' citizens' constitutional right to freedom of expression.
The Texas Court of Appeals ruled 8-1 to strike down part of a law which bans taking images of another person in public without their consent and with the intention to arouse or gratify the sexual desire of any person , criticising the paternalistic
intrusion into peoples' private right to be aroused.
The law was framed in response to a case of an upskirt invasion of privacy where the charges were contested on grounds of freedom of speech.
However the lawmakers went way beyond a law to deal with upskirt photography. Presiding judge Sharon Keller explained:
Protecting someone who appears in public from being the object of sexual thoughts seems to be the sort of 'paternalistic interest in regulating the defendants mind' the First Amendment was designed to guard against.
Lawyers argued that the above-mentioned law was the stuff of Orwellian 'thought-crime' . They said that the legislation failed to distinguish between up the skirt photography and taking an image of a girl walking down the
street, suggesting it could be used to criminalise paparazzi photojournalists.
A second actor has sued Google over a movie called Innocence of Muslims that mocked the religious character Mohammad. Segments of the film were released on YouTube and violent protests were initiated in response in the muslim world.
Gaylord Flynn said he has received death threats and fears for his life while Google continues to provide its users with access to the film, according to his lawsuit, filed in a California federal court.
Flynn, who is also suing the film-maker, Nakoula Basseley Nakoula , said Google had refused to block access to the movie, even though a ninth US circuit court of appeals panel last February ordered it taken off Google's video-sharing website, YouTube.
In that case, actor Cindy Lee Garcia sued Google for an injunction, claiming she owned the copyright of her performance.
Google argued at the time that an injunction amounted to restricting speech in violation of the US constitution. The company is demanding a rehearing from the full appeals court.
Flynn said the film-maker concealed the true nature of his production. He said he thought he was hired for a movie called Desert Warrior and never consented to be in a religiously oriented film nor in one that propagates hate speech . Flynn,
like Garcia, said he did not sign a release and his own copyright interests remain intact, according to the complaint.
A federal appeals court will reconsider a decision to order YouTube to take down an anti-Muslim film clip. Muslims in the Middle East responded violently resulting in death threats to the actors over claims of blasphemy.
An 11-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Pasadena will hear arguments by Google, which owns YouTube, disputing the court's decision to remove Innocence of Muslims from the popular video sharing service.
Alex Lawrence, a copyright and intellectual property lawyer in New York not connected with the case, said he thinks the court will reverse the earlier ruling because the judges reached a decision to give Garcia some relief on thinly grounded law:
There's a lot of sympathy for Miss Garcia, Lawrence said. She got paid $500 and received death threats. Everyone feels sympathy for her, but using copyright in this way is a real problem for a lot of industries.
Police in Washington state are asking the public to stop tweeting during shootings and manhunts to avoid accidentally telling the bad guys what officers are doing.
The TweetSmart campaign began in late July and aims to raise awareness about social media's potential impact on law enforcement.
A social media 'expert' at the International Association of Chiefs of Police said she's unaware of similar campaigns elsewhere but the problem that prompted the outreach is growing. Nancy Korb, who oversees the group's Center for Social Media said:
All members of the public may not understand the implications of tweeting out a picture of SWAT team activity.
It's not that they don't want the public to share information. ..[BUT].. .It's the timing of it.