Saturday, January 25, 2014

"On free speech and blogging: The First Amendment applies to everyone, not just journalists"

"An appeals court has struck a blow for free speech and freedom of the press by ruling that First Amendment protection should be available to bloggers, regardless of whether they fit the definition of who qualifies as a journalist."

"When Montana blogger Crystal Cox lost her defamation case in 2011, the decision was greeted by a chorus of cheers from journalists, who were quick to argue that Cox wasn’t a journalist in any real sense of the word, and therefore didn’t deserve any protection from the First Amendment. An appeals court for the Ninth Circuit has disagreed, however: on Friday, a panel of judges overturned the original decision and said that Cox was in fact entitled to protection.

The implications of this ruling go beyond just a single defamation case. It’s another link in a chain of decisions that are gradually helping to extend the principle of free-speech protection beyond professional journalism to anyone who is publishing information with public value — and as such, it helps shift the focus away from trying to define who is a journalist and puts it where it should be: on protecting the practice of journalism, broadly defined.

Legislators who have been trying to design a “shield law” for journalists have been doing their best to specify who should be protected from government interference, but as journalism professor Jay Rosen and others have argued, it is the content itself that requires protecting, not some specific group of professional journalists who are able to fill in the correct checkboxes."

Source
http://gigaom.com/2014/01/19/on-free-speech-and-blogging-the-first-amendment-applies-to-everyone-not-just-journalists/

Keep in Mind that David Carr, New York Times and Forbes GOT IT WAY Wrong

See Cox v. Carr
http://ia601708.us.archive.org/31/items/gov.uscourts.nysd.411955/gov.uscourts.nysd.411955.2.0.pdf

Cox v. Hill, Forbes
https://drive.google.com/file/d/0Bzn2NurXrSkiME55Ynk2VnE2anM/edit?usp=sharing

"Kudos to Free Speech Warriors - Crystal L. Cox and Eugene Volokh!"

Confirmed: Bloggers Have First Amendment Rights as Corporate Media

"Kudos to Free Speech Warriors - Crystal L. Cox and Eugene Volokh!


A big mahalo to Crystal L. Cox and Eugence Volokh for their valiant 

efforts to protect free press and free speech!"

"On January 17, 2014, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals sided with Crystal L. Cox from Eureka, Montana who was sued by for defamation by Kevin Padrick, an attorney and his company - Obsidian Finance Group, LLC. Cox had written posts exposing fraud, corruption, money-laundering and so forth."

"This ruling should be a clear reminder to misguided attorneys, corporations, developers or those with affluence to cease bullying or intimidating those who report the issues of the day.

Many concerned citizens have no choice but to create their own blogs and websites to level the playing field in this blossoming social media warfare.

The government has its plentiful public relations specialists, paid for by taxpayers. Corporations and special interests have their hired PR consultants. There are hired mercenaries who feel no qualms about spinning the facts. News media can be bought or controlled by big money or shut down.

It's not uncommon for the public to read articles or watch the TV news only to lament the irregularities or inadequate reporting. Oftentimes, critical issues are shunned or ignored by corporate media because of entwined relationships.

Bloggers with information or have intimate experiences and understanding of issues are critically needed now, more than ever."

source
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/choon-james/confirmed-bloggers-have-f_b_4657313.html

Bloggers To Receive Same Freedom Of Speech Protection As Journalists, Court Rules; Oh and Kevin Underhill States " there is NO QUESTION, that "Crystal Cox is a Real Creep"





This videos shows the importance of this case. And well Yes I have set a precedent for guys like Kevin Underhill to say "Crystal Cox is a Real Creep", when the TRUTH is that Crystal Cox EXPOSES Creeps and Corruption.

 Kevin Underhill says there is NO QUESTION, that "Crystal Cox is a Real Creep". 

Yet Kevin Underhill has no clue what the TRUTH is and must simply believe what "Big Media" has said to paint Crystal Cox out as a "Creep". Oh, well the First Amendment now protects FLAT Out WRONG Information such as "Crystal Cox is a Real Creep", and for that we are all thankful..

These Guys are lacking in information, can't fault them for that.

I Fought for this Protection, against ALL Odds. 

Crystal Cox Statement
http://www.crystalcoxcase.com/2014/01/investigative-blogger-monica-foster.html

Also Check out where Forbes CLAIMS Crystal Cox was under investigation by the Oregon Attorney General.
https://drive.google.com/file/d/0Bzn2NurXrSkiME55Ynk2VnE2anM/edit?usp=sharing

"Bloggers To Receive Same Freedom Of Speech Protection As Journalists, Court Rules"

"SAN FRANCISCO, Jan 17 (Reuters) - A blogger is entitled to the same free speech protections as a traditional journalist and cannot be liable for defamation unless she acted negligently, a federal appeals court ruled on Friday.

Crystal Cox lost a defamation trial in 2011 over a blog post she wrote accusing a bankruptcy trustee and Obsidian Finance Group of tax fraud. A lower court judge had found that Obsidian did not have to prove that Cox acted negligently because Cox failed to submit evidence of her status as a journalist.

But in the ruling, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco said Cox deserved a new trial, regardless of the fact that she is not a traditional reporter.

"As the Supreme Court has accurately warned, a First Amendment distinction between the institutional press and other speakers is unworkable," 9th Circuit Judge Andrew Hurwitz wrote for a unanimous three-judge panel.

Steven Wilker, an attorney for Obsidian and the trustee, pointed out the 9th Circuit still concluded that there was no dispute that Cox's post was false.

"Ms. Cox's false and defamatory statements have caused substantial damage to our clients, and we are evaluating our options with respect to the court's decision," Wilker wrote in an email.

Eugene Volokh, a UCLA School of Law professor who represented Cox, said Obsidian would now have to show that Cox had actual knowledge that her post was false when she published it.

The ruling on Friday is particularly important in the era of online content, Volokh said.

"In this day and age, with so much important stuff produced by people who are not professionals, it's harder than ever to decide who is a member of the institutional press," Volokh said."

Source
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/01/17/blogger-journalist-protection-court-crystal-cox_n_4619271.html?utm_hp_ref=media

"Free At Last: Federal Court Hands Bloggers Legal First Amendment Protections"

"At long last we get a proper ruling on the First Amendment status of bloggers, one affording them the same legal status as “real” journalists; this from the Ninth Circuit Court in California, no less.

The Ninth Circuit is often derided as the “Ninth Circus” because its rulings are almost invariably left-wing and anti-American. But this time the court made a sensible ruling, for sure.

Lawyer Eugene Volokh reports that the ruling in Obsidian Finance Group v. Cox (9th Cir. Jan. 17, 2014) holds that, “all who speak to the public, whether or not they are members of the institutional press, are equally protected by the First Amendment.”

The relevant section in the ruling is as follows:

The protections of the First Amendment do not turn on whether the defendant was a trained journalist, formally affiliated with traditional news entities, engaged in conflict-of-interest disclosure, went beyond just assembling others’ writings, or tried to get both sides of a story.

As the Supreme Court has accurately warned, a First Amendment distinction between the institutional press and other speakers is unworkable: “With the advent of the Internet and the decline of print and broadcast media … the line between the media and others who wish to comment on political and social issues becomes far more blurred.” Citizens United, 558 U.S. at 352. In defamation cases, the public-figure status of a plaintiff and the public importance of the statement at issue–not the identity of the speaker–provide the First Amendment touchstones.

I’d suggest that this “advent of the Internet” bit is superfluous in fact, but may be necessary for a benchmark to grasp that the ruling relates to bloggers and Internet-based information.

Still, it is superfluous nonetheless. The founders didn’t need an Internet to be the “bloggers” of their day nor did they need newspaper training or imprimatur to legitimize their writing. They printed their own pamphlets by the millions and flooded the country with their opinions. And, yes, they used newspapers to disseminate opinion, too, but they did so more often with letters to the editor than as “reporters” working for the newspaper itself.

Our founders understood that their ideas of free speech pertained to political speech most especially, too. After all, that was the whole point of their protections when they fashioned the Constitution. It was to protect political speech."

Source
http://wizbangblog.com/2014/01/18/free-at-last-federal-court-hands-bloggers-legal-first-amendment-protections/

"Federal appeals court rules bloggers are real reporters under the First Amendment"

"Remember when Juan Williams told Michelle Malkin that he was a "real reporter," not just a "blogger"? Well, one of the most liberal federal courts in the country says that's a distinction without a difference under the First Amendment.

The Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals' decision Friday recognizing bloggers as journalists under the First Amendment came about in a defamation lawsuit.

"The protections of the First Amendment do not turn on whether the defendant was a trained journalist, formally affiliated with traditional news entities, engaged in conflict-of-interest disclosure, went beyond just assembling others' writings, or tried to get both sides of a story

"Obsidian had filed a lawsuit against Crystal Cox over accusations against the company that she had published on the Internet. Cox countered that the First Amendment protects such speech because the topic was of public interest and the people she wrote about were public figures, but a lower court judge rejected those defenses on the theory that Cox had not proven — nor had provided — "evidence suggestive of her status as a journalist."
," the court ruled in Obsidian Finance Group v. Cox."

Source
http://washingtonexaminer.com/federal-appeals-court-rules-bloggers-are-real-reporters-under-the-first-amendment/article/2542432?custom_click=rss

"Bloggers Are Same as Media Under 1st Amendment"

"Bloggers First Amendment Rights Confirmed"

"Another court has determined that you don’t have to be part of the traditional media to be entitled to First Amendment protections.  In essence, bloggers ARE the media when it comes to the First Amendment.
What this means is, if a blogger is sued for libel on “matters of public concern,” the injured party has to prove the blogger made the statement “with negligence.”
The case involved a blogger who made some strong accusations on several blogs.   Here’s a simplified summary of the case:
  • A blogger published blog posts on sites such as BankruptcyCorruption (.com).  In one post, she accused a company and one its principals of  tax fraud.
  • Naturally, the company and the person she spoke about were none too happy.  They sent her a cease and desist letter.
  • The blogger neither ceased nor desisted.  One thing led to another,  and the blogger ended up being sued for libel.  
  • The case went before a jury. The jury found the blogger liable for defamation — and awarded a $2.5 million judgment against her. 
  • The blogger appealed, getting Professor Volokh (a blogger and eminent law professor) to represent her on appeal.
  • She didn’t deny that her statement was untrue.  Instead, she argued that the other side had to prove she made her statement “negligently” just as in the case of any journalist charged with defamation in similar circumstances. But the jury hadn’t been told to decide negligence by the judge, and so the judgment was invalid.
  • The appeals court agreed — and reversed the judgment.
    http://smallbiztrends.com/2014/01/bloggers-first-amendment-rights.html
"Some journalists have argued there should be a distinction between journalists and bloggers. However, that distinction carried over to the law would be an example of “bad facts make bad law.”  In other words, when it’s an ugly situation, there’s a temptation by a court to make up a new rule to solve a unique problem. But in so doing, the court just creates more issues.

Here it would have had the unintended consequence of giving someone with a title of “journalist” higher free-speech rights than the average person.

You may not agree with the blogger’s tactics in the case.  But the appeals court said that’s a not a reason to deny a freedom-of-speech protection. Let a jury decide — in a new trial — whether she was negligent when she made the untrue statement. But don’t deny her a constitutional protection just because she isn’t employed as a “journalist.”

" Blogging around America just received Vindication and Respect"

"Blogging around America just received vindication and respect, as the 9th Circuit overturned a lower federal court ruling yanking away 1st Amendment protections for Blogger Crystal Cox. The 9th Circuit said the issues she raised IS OF PUBLIC Interest and that Crystal Cox is entitled to "Freedom of the Press" protections."

 Special interests and main stream media know they are at risk in their dominance and propaganda efforts, due to contemporary social media outlets. - Facebook, Twitter, Blogs etc., etc., ARE the real main stream media outlets of modern day."

Source and More
http://www.dailykos.com/story/2014/01/20/1271130/-JT-s-Blog-9th-Cir-Reversal-Crystal-Blog-Entitled-to-Freedom-of-Press-Protection#

"The ruling will set a strong precedent that enables a broader practice of the freedom of speech and gives bloggers long-overdue responsibilities."

"Though many consider the case as a major win for bloggers and freedom of speech advocates, the court ruling establishes clear-cut rules for bloggers, in terms of both their rights and limitations. Contrary to popular belief, the ruling does not completely favor the blogging community. The rule does not allow the public to have complete freedom to post absolute fraudulent or defamatory claims, but rather justifiably holds bloggers responsible for the same standards as journalists.

This ruling is a huge divergence from what had long been blurred lines and assumptions drawn from court precedents. Bloggers have typically assume
d the same aforementioned rights and protections that the Supreme Court established to protect journalists’ freedom speech in the press in the 1974 Gertz v. Robert Welch Inc. case. But before last week, no federal judge or court had ever specifically ruled that bloggers or personal freelance writers were protected by the same rules.

Now that virtually anyone has the opportunity to upload and publish content on the Internet, it’s about time that the courts established appropriate guidelines. According to a 2013 Pew Research Center study, 50 percent of Americans now use both Internet publications and blogs as their main news sources, instead of print newspapers or television programs. Additionally, the report noted that American
use of social media sites like Twitter and Facebook as news outlets doubled from 2010 to 2012. These new standards make any online user liable for their careless comments, posts and articles found on any of these media.

As society shifts toward becoming more reliant on online media to stay both informed and express their opinions, it only seems reasonable to prevent bloggers from abusing their First Amendment rights. The ruling will set a strong precedent that enables a broader practice of the freedom of speech and gives bloggers long-overdue responsibilities."

Source
http://ucsdguardian.org/?p=16596

Note; "standards as journalists", wow well most traditional outlets simply repeat the AP press story, fatual or not. Many journalists answer to the corporate machine or politics, oftentimes dictated by their "BOSS" so those standards are simply whamby bamby news riddled with holes, lacking details, documents and actual real news the story. News had become whatever corporate news shoveled up, until blogs. And now this precedent levels the playing field. Lying, distorting fact, not reporting what is really going on in the world but instead serving up entertainment or new on the lives of celebrities. Traditional Journalists, in my opinion, do not have the freedom to really report the news, and the STANDARDS we want, as a News consuming public is the TRUTH, all of it to the best of the reporters ability, not some sugar coated "both sides" hearsay served on a cozy bed of "everything is ok in the world"

Friday, January 24, 2014

"Kudos to Free Speech Warriors - Crystal L. Cox and Eugene Volokh!"

Confirmed: Bloggers Have First Amendment Rights as Corporate Media

"Kudos to Free Speech Warriors - Crystal L. Cox and Eugene Volokh!


A big mahalo to Crystal L. Cox and Eugence Volokh for their valiant 

efforts to protect free press and free speech!"

"On January 17, 2014, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals sided with Crystal L. Cox from Eureka, Montana who was sued by for defamation by Kevin Padrick, an attorney and his company - Obsidian Finance Group, LLC. Cox had written posts exposing fraud, corruption, money-laundering and so forth."

"This ruling should be a clear reminder to misguided attorneys, corporations, developers or those with affluence to cease bullying or intimidating those who report the issues of the day.

Many concerned citizens have no choice but to create their own blogs and websites to level the playing field in this blossoming social media warfare.

The government has its plentiful public relations specialists, paid for by taxpayers. Corporations and special interests have their hired PR consultants. There are hired mercenaries who feel no qualms about spinning the facts. News media can be bought or controlled by big money or shut down.

It's not uncommon for the public to read articles or watch the TV news only to lament the irregularities or inadequate reporting. Oftentimes, critical issues are shunned or ignored by corporate media because of entwined relationships.

Bloggers with information or have intimate experiences and understanding of issues are critically needed now, more than ever."

source
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/choon-james/confirmed-bloggers-have-f_b_4657313.html

"Judge Marco Hernandez clarifies that Bloggers can Be Journalist, just not that one Pesky Blogger Crystal Cox exposing the biggest law firms, utilities companies, finance companies and politicians in his jurisdiction of Portland Oregon."


"Do you really believe that laws that protect traditional journalists and reporters DO NOT protect a blogger who has been writing about a bankruptcy for 3 years, interviewed insiders, listened to hearings, read documents for years, read motions and court transcripts, watched videos of insider emails, read internal emails from the Dept. Of Justice and much more for over 3 years, is NOT protected by the laws that protect traditional journalists and reporters, nor is she protected as a citizen of the United States by the U.S. Constitution all because a Judge says she has no ethics or standards, and had "malice", meaning Judge Hernandez claimed that Cox simply reported on the Summit Bankruptcy all those years, hours a day for 3 years, her time, her money and all to one day 3 years later, Extort the attorney she was Exposing AFTER he sued her for 10 million dollars? Really? You folks are really buying this?  How in the world is this possible?"

Source
http://accesstoinfo.blogspot.com/2013/09/the-system_925.html

"Why would the constitution, the First Amendment not apply to Cox simply because one judge did not like her standards or ethics. And Judge Hernandez implied that Cox had committed a crime, the crime of extortion, yet Cox had been on trial in a CIVIL Case and there transcripts and court filed documents where Cox asks Judge Hernandez for help in the matter of Tonkon Torp Attorney David Aman accusing her of extortion, and Cox is clearly ignored. Then Judge Hernandez, in a denial of a New Trial, implies that Cox is guilty of the crime of extortion.

Crystal L. Cox had no criminal charges filed and was not under investigation for extortion, extortion was no part of the Obsidian v. Cox CIVIL Trial, yet Judge Hernandez with the help of Forbes and the New York Times simply make the life, assets, business and quality of life of Anti-Corruption Blogger Crystal Cox and her co-workers, friends, ex's, and family the collateral damage of their protection of Portland Oregon Corruption and their war on bloggers to STOP them from having equal rights as traditional journalists.

Judge Marco Hernandez violated the rights of due process of Crystal Cox by using a court opinion, a ruling that quickly went to public media, in order to convict Cox of a crime of which she was never charged with nor under investigation for, nor was there a criminal investigation of.

The Reputation Management Services was in FACT offered AFTER Cox was sued for 10 million dollars, as a remedy to STOP a long and costly court case. Yet with a part of one email and no facts in the matter, Judge Hernandez as well as Forbes and the New York times simply defamed, ruined the life of Cox in order to protect corruption and to PROTECT the monopoly of Free Speech that Big Media has."

Source
http://accesstoinfo.blogspot.com/2013/09/the-system_925.html

"A Win for Bloggers and The First Amendment’s Protection of Citizens’ Freedom of Speech"


"A win for blogger Crystal Cox, thanks to her lawyers, Eugene Volokh and, submitting an amicus brief, Tom Goldstein, from SCOTUS blog:

The protections of the First Amendment do not turn on whether the defendant [is] a trained journalist, formally affiliated with traditional news entities, … a First Amendment distinction between the institutional press and other speakers is unworkable…With the advent of the Internet and the decline of print and broadcast media . . . the line between the media and others who wish to comment on political and social issues becomes far more blurred."

Source of Post
http://www.minnesota-litigator.com/2014/01/18/win-bloggers-amendments-protection-citizens-freedom-speech/

Also Note, I am VERY Thankful to Eugene Volokh, my lawyer and to Tom Goldstein of SCOTUS, however, one must NOTE that they were defending the case, as I had preserved it Pro Se. One must preserve the elements in the lower court that are used in the higher court, as most lawyers know. There can be no more, or new evidence introduced, they defend the case I presented.

"Ninth Circuit Court Of Appeals has ruled that bloggers enjoy the same journalistic protections as traditional print and broadcast media "

"The Ninth Circuit Court Of Appeals has ruled that bloggers enjoy the same journalistic protections as traditional print and broadcast media when commenting on matters of public concern. Financial blogger Crystal Cox now won’t have to pay a $2.5 million jury award to an Oregon attorney and his financial services firm, whom she had accused of fraud and money laundering. Why does this First Amendment victory for a finance blogger matter to the future of the Second Amendment? . . ."

".. up until now
there was no clear rule on which legal standard should apply when bloggers and other new media were sued for vague ‘presumed damages’ for defamation."

"The 9th Circuit ruled that bloggers are treated as full journalists for purposes of defamation laws."

"she should have been treated just like any other journalist. Journalists cannot be liable for defamation unless the plaintiff proves that they acted with negligence when speaking about a private figure, or with malice when speaking about a public figure.

This case makes it clear that when bloggers like TTAG report on matters of public concern like gun control, they can’t be silenced by lawsuits from pissed-off plaintiffs unless they prove the bloggers were more than just wrong."

"It’s a good thing that we’ll be treated the same from here on out."

Source and Full Article
http://www.thetruthaboutguns.com/2014/01/chris-dumm/ninth-circuit-affirms-bloggers-journalists-matters/

Liberty and Justice for All
Una Stamus

Thursday, January 23, 2014

"Cox, is covered as a journalist for her information gained in writing the article ...."


"Remember when Crystal Cox made the blogosphere news about having to pay an unusually large monetary amount for writing an article about a corporation’s employee?

Apparently the corporation had sued her for defamation. And the court agreed with the corporation despite Ms. Cox assertion that the requests to reveal her sources violated her first amendment rights as well as her right to keep her sources confidential. Now a federal court has overturned that decision remanding it back to be tried in court again with her having those rights in place. The monetary amount awarded to the corporation will probably be modified at that time.

For those who aren’t aware of this I am copying a link to a post that I had written back in December of 2011 entitled A Discussion Revisited- Are Bloggers Like Journalists and Should You As A Blogger Worry About Defamation Charges Being Filed Against You? Link: http://teribelle.wordpress.com/2011/12/19/a-discussion-revisited-are-bloggers-like-journalists-and-should-you-as-a-blogger-worry-about-defamation-charges-being-filed-against-you/"

"Cox, is covered as a journalist for her information gained in writing the article meaning that she is not penalized or required to relinquish her sources that she used to help write the article, that the person written about or entity was for purposes of this article a public figure and therefore the person or entity being written about must show negligence on the part of the author of the article."

Source
http://teribelle.wordpress.com/2014/01/23/so-now-a-blogger-if-in-court-has-the-same-rights-as-a-journalists/

Note: Forbes LIED about me, Blogger Crystal Cox

Here is a Permanent Record of my Lawsuit Attempting to GET JUSTICE.

Cox v. Hill Docket
http://ia801701.us.archive.org/24/items/gov.uscourts.cand.265997/gov.uscourts.cand.265997.docket.html


Cox v. Hill Complaint
http://ia601701.us.archive.org/24/items/gov.uscourts.cand.265997/gov.uscourts.cand.265997.1.0.pdf

" Blurred Lines: Ninth Circuit Applies Same First Amendment Protections to Bloggers as Traditional Media"

"01.23.14
By Jim Rosenfeld, Ambika K. Doran and Jeremy A. Chase

"May Plaintiff Cut off a Poor Defendant’s Appeal, by Having the Sheriff Sell off Defendant’s Right to Appeal?" Eugene Volokh on Obsidian Finance Group V. Crystal Cox, as Plaintiff Obsidian Finance Group, Kevin Padrick, David Brown and their Attorneys Steven Wilker and David Aman of Tonkon Torp Law Firm Attempt to SEIZE the "Appeal Rights" of Defendant Crystal Cox.


"That is the question I’m facing with the latest twist in Obsidian Finance Group, LLC v. Cox, a pro bono First Amendment case that I’m litigating before the Ninth Circuit.

For more on the substantive First Amendment issue, see the materials
 collected here. But this twist is all about procedure (as so many legal questions are).
Here’s the matter in a nutshell, and somewhat oversimplified:
  1. Obsidian Finance and Kevin Padrick sue Crystal Cox. They win at trial, and get a large judgment.
  2. Cox appeals on First Amendment grounds (I’m representing her on appeal). Cox has very little money, so she can’t put up a so-called “supersedeas bond” (a bond for the full amount of the judgment) that is required to keep plaintiffs from seizing her assets to execute the judgment. But that doesn’t block her appeal, since under federal law one generally doesn’t need to put up a bond in the amount of the judgment to appeal — one only needs the bond to stop execution on the judgment pending appeal.
  3. But plaintiffs have a different view: They go to Oregon court, register the judgment, get a writ of execution, and ask the sheriff to seize and sell to the highest bidder Cox’s “intangible personal property,” in the form of ... Cox’s right to appeal.
That’s right: Plaintiff’s plan is to have the sheriff sell off Cox’s right to appeal, so that “Cox will be incapable of continuing the suit and the highest bidder at the foreclosure sale (whether that be plaintiffs or someone else) will take an assignment of Cox’s interest in the appeal, becoming the real party in interest.” Presumably the plan is that the highest bidder would be the plaintiffs, who will buy Cox’s rights for a modest amount, and then use those rights to drop the appeal. No more appeal; the judgment is final; end of story.

Of course, if plaintiffs can do this to Cox, any plaintiffs who win a judgment against a defendant who can’t afford a supersedeas bond can do the same. Poor civil defendants’ rights to appeal would thus be lost, and so would the rights to appeal of plaintiffs who weren’t poor at the outset but face a ruinous judgment that they can’t afford to stay.
To be sure, in practice poor civil defendants often can’t appeal in any event, because they don’t have the money to hire a lawyer. But right now at least they can sometimes get pro bono counsel who is interested in the legal issue, or hire a lawyer with the promise to pay if they win the appeal and their assets are thus freed up, or get help from a lawyer friend, or appeal themselves if they are legally trained, or appeal pro se even if they aren’t legally trained. If the plaintiffs’ stratagem is accepted, though, such defendants’ appeal rights could be categorically cut off.
I know what you’re thinking — you’re thinking, “Yowza!” Yes, that’s what I thought as well, and I wrote a motion and accompanying memorandum all about it. You can now read my Memorandum in Support of the Motion to Make the Judge Say, “Yowza!,” Too, and also the plaintiffs’ response, filed this afternoon. I just finished the rough draft of the reply, which is due tomorrow afternoon; I will post it here some time tomorrow evening. [UPDATE: The reply has now been posted.]
And this coming Tuesday morning, I’ll be in beautiful Portland, Oregon, arguing this very matter in federal district court. As I always say, there’s no practice like pro bonopractice."

Source

"Court: Bloggers Are Same as Media Under 1st Amendment"

"Another court has determined that you don’t have to be part of the traditional media to be entitled to First Amendment protections.  In essence, bloggers ARE the media when it comes to the First Amendment.
What this means is, if a blogger is sued for libel on “matters of public concern,” the injured party has to prove the blogger made the statement “with negligence.”

http://smallbiztrends.com/2014/01/bloggers-first-amendment-rights.html

"Did you know that if you're a blogger and someone tries chill your speech with defamation law, your rights are protected by the First Amendment? "


"Did you know that if you're a blogger and someone tries chill your speech with defamation law, your rights are protected by the First Amendment? Considering the flurry of litigation, specifically the whole "blogger vs. real journalist" legal debate, one might be well inclined to believe that bloggers live in an anti-constitutional bubble, where the rights, privileges and immunities granted to every other believer in the First Amendment bounces off this imaginary bubble like water of a ducks back. But there's good news from the 9th circuit Court of Appeals.

Blogger Crystal Cox

Thus begins our story of Ms. Crystal Cox, Internet blogger who posted articles on her now defunct bankruptcycorruption.com blog, accusing two bankruptcy officers "of fraud, corruption, money-laundering, and other illegal activities in connection with the Summit bankruptcy." At the district court level, Cox actually did well for representing herself. All but one of her blog posts in contention were found to be protected as they merely contained hyperbolic speech. But the one article at issue here was different, as it "fairly specific allegations[that] a reasonable reader could understand . . . to imply a provable fact assertion" about the officer's alleged failure to pay taxes. The story that follows is familiar - a demand to remove the articles was refused by Cox and litigation ensued in Obsidian Financial Group v. Cox.

One of the major issues of this case is dealing with the level of scrutiny the court will apply to Cox's speech. In other words, what do the plaintiffs (Obsidian) have to prove in order to win a defamation suit against Ms. Cox? The court has two landmark cases to sort through, New York Times Co. v. Sullivan and Gertz v. Robert Welch. The Times case gives us the rule for defamation involving public officials, while Gertz gives us the rule for defamation involving private individuals. Gertz offers slightly less protection, but ultimately, both cases give strong First Amendment protections, no matter who you are."

Source and Full Article
http://www.slyck.com/story2272_Court_of_Appeals_Reconfirms_that_Bloggers_have_First_Amendment_Rights

"Federal appeals court rules bloggers are real reporters under the First Amendment"

"Remember when Juan Williams told Michelle Malkin that he was a "real reporter," not just a "blogger"? Well, one of the most liberal federal courts in the country says that's a distinction without a difference under the First Amendment.

The Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals' decision Friday recognizing bloggers as journalists under the First Amendment came about in a defamation lawsuit.

"The protections of the First Amendment do not turn on whether the defendant was a trained journalist, formally affiliated with traditional news entities, engaged in conflict-of-interest disclosure, went beyond just assembling others' writings, or tried to get both sides of a story," the court ruled in Obsidian Finance Group v. Cox."

Source
http://washingtonexaminer.com/federal-appeals-court-rules-bloggers-are-real-reporters-under-the-first-amendment/article/2542432?custom_click=rss

"9th Circuit: First Amendment media protections apply to bloggers, too"

".. a case involving a blogger crusading against what she saw as fraud in a bankruptcy-counseling firm, a judge ruled that the plaintiffs in the libel suit did not have to prove malice to win punitive damages."

"Should bloggers have the same legal protection as other media outlets? One might think that the lack of a requirement for credentialing in the First Amendment would mean yes, but a federal district court disagreed in 2011. In a case involving a blogger crusading against what she saw as fraud in a bankruptcy-counseling firm, a judge ruled that the plaintiffs in the libel suit did not have to prove malice to win punitive damages. Yesterday, the Ninth Circuitunanimously overruled that decision:
A federal appellate court ruled Friday that the author of a blog post deserves the same treatment in a defamation case as “institutional media.”
The three-judge panel of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals held unanimously that there is no difference between a journalist for a media outlet and another speaker when it comes to First Amendment protections. …
“The protections of the First Amendment do not turn on whether the defendant was a trained journalist, formally affiliated with traditional news entities, engaged in conflict-of-interest disclosure, went beyond just assembling others’ writings, or tried to get both sides of a story. As the Supreme Court has accurately warned, a First Amendment distinction between the institutional press and other speakers is unworkable,” Hurwitz wrote.
The subject of Cox’s blog posts were a matter of public concern, the court held, so in order to prove defamation, the plaintiffs would have to show she acted with negligence or malice in making false statements against them.
Eugene Volokh, who argued for the blogger in the appeal, notes the victory (viaInstapundit):
I think that’s right, not just as a matter of First Amendment principle but also as a matter of history and precedent (as I documented at length in Freedom for the Press as an Industry, or for the Press as a Technology? From the Framing to Today, 160 U. Pa. L. Rev. 459 (2012)). The specific legal issue that the Ninth Circuit was confronting in this passage, by the way, is whether all who speak to the public are equally protected by the Gertz v. Robert Welch, Inc. rules, which are that
  1. libel plaintiffs suing over statements on matters of public concern must prove that the defendant was negligent about the falsity of the statement, and
  2. libel plaintiffs suing over statements on matters of public concern and seeking presumed or punitive damages (as opposed to identifiable compensatory damages) must prove that the defendant knew that the statement was false or recklessly disregarded the possibility that it was false.
Well, of course he’s right, although it was disturbing to see a district court get this so wrong. The media protections that have developed by legal precedent under the First Amendmentmust apply equally, as does the First Amendment itself. In fact, the media protections should probably apply equally to all speakers, and not just those who publish their works via paper, broadcast, or the Internet. One can make the argument that the media has to put itself in a more vulnerable position in order to function as communication sources and therefore should have more leeway, but that applies to bloggers at the very least as well as newspapers and television news outlets. It might apply even more, since bloggers are much less apt to have legal resources readily available and are much more vulnerable to intimidation."

"Bloggers get the same libel protection as traditional journalists, federal court rules"

"What’s the difference between a blogger and a journalist? Congress is still debating that question, but today a federal appeals court ruled that there’s no difference when it comes to defamation.

In 2011, blogger Crystal Cox lost a trial when an Oregon judge denied her a First Amendment protection traditionally reserved for the press. She claimed that Obsidian Finance Group was guilty of tax fraud — a statement with no basis in fact — and a jury awarded Obsidian $2.5 million in damages. Normally, Obsidan would have had to prove that Cox was negligent to recover some of that money, and that she acted with “actual malice” to get the rest. However, those rules came from Supreme Court cases that only applied to journalists — cases that predated blogging — and the Oregon judge decided she didn’t have the credentials of a journalist.

Today, however, the appeals court decided it doesn’t matter whether Cox is part of the traditional press. Wrote Judge Marco Hernandez:

“The protections of the First Amendment do not turn on whether the defendant was a trained journalist, formally affiliated with traditional news entities, engaged in conflict-of-interest disclosure, went beyond just assembling others’ writings, or tried to get both sides of a story. As the Supreme Court has accurately warned, a First Amendment distinction between the institutional press and other speakers is unworkable.”

“In defamation cases, the public-figure status of a plaintiff and the public importance of the statement at issue — not the identity of the speaker — provide the First Amendment touchstones,” added the judge.

Source
http://dewaynenet.wordpress.com/2014/01/18/bloggers-get-the-same-libel-protection-as-traditional-journalists-federal-court-rules/

"Court of Appeals says bloggers may enjoy same free speech protections as journalists"

"The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals unanimously ruled today that a blogger should enjoy the same free speech protections as a journalist, and ruled that the blogger, Crystal Cox, deserved a retrial on her defamation case.

“As the Supreme Court has accurately warned,” the court said, “a First Amendment distinction between the institutional press and other speakers is unworkable: ‘With the advent of the Internet and the decline of print and broadcast media . . . the line between the media and others who wish to comment on political and social issues becomes far more blurred,’” said the court, citing the Citizens United case (PDF).

“Because Cox’s blog post addressed a matter of public concern… the district court should have instructed the jury that it could not find Cox liable for defamation unless it found that she acted negligently.”

The case at the center of the ruling involved the blogger Crystal Cox who wrote accusing a bankruptcy trustee and Obsidian Finance Group of tax fraud. A lower court ruled that because Cox failed to provide evidence that she was a journalist that she was not protected in the same way a reporter would be – that is, the person would have to prove that the author knowingly knew the information was false when it was published."

Source
http://www.talkingnewmedia.com/2014/01/17/court-of-appeals-says-bloggers-may-enjoy-same-free-speech-protections-as-journalists/

"Blogger gets same speech protections as traditional press: U.S. court"

"SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - A blogger is entitled to the same free speech protections as a traditional journalist and cannot be liable for defamation unless she acted negligently, a federal appeals court ruled on Friday.

Crystal Cox lost a defamation trial in 2011 over a blog post she wrote accusing a bankruptcy trustee and Obsidian Finance Group of tax fraud. A lower court judge had found that Obsidian did not have to prove that Cox acted negligently because Cox failed to submit evidence of her status as a journalist.



But in the ruling, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco said Cox deserved a new trial, regardless of the fact that she is not a traditional reporter.

"As the Supreme Court has accurately warned, a First Amendment distinction between the institutional press and other speakers is unworkable," 9th Circuit Judge Andrew Hurwitz wrote for a unanimous three-judge panel.

Steven Wilker, an attorney for Obsidian and the trustee, pointed out the 9th Circuit still concluded that there was no dispute that Cox's post was false.

"Ms. Cox's false and defamatory statements have caused substantial damage to our clients, and we are evaluating our options with respect to the court's decision," Wilker wrote in an email.

Eugene Volokh, a UCLA School of Law professor who represented Cox, said Obsidian would now have to show that Cox had actual knowledge that her post was false when she published it."

Source
http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/sns-rt-us-usa-blogger-ruling-20140117,0,7794290.story

"Court ruling helps bloggers in libel cases"

"Bloggers are entitled to the same First Amendment protections as traditional journalists in libel suits, a federal appeals court ruled Friday.

That means someone who was harmed by a false statement posted online and seeks damages must prove, at least, that the blogger acted carelessly. A more demanding standard - proof that the statement was a deliberate lie - applies if the person filing suit is a public figure or public official, or can't show economic loss from the falsehood."

""The protections of the First Amendment do not turn on whether the defendant was a trained journalist, formally affiliated with traditional news entities ... or tried to get both sides of the story," Judge Andrew Hurwitz wrote in the court's decision, which entitles Cox to a new trial.

Although the U.S. Supreme Court has never ruled on the issue, other appeals courts have agreed that the high court's constitutional standards in libel suits against the media also cover individual speakers, Hurwitz said. This is apparently the first appellate case to specifically address bloggers, said Cox's attorney, Eugene Volokh, a UCLA law professor who is also a prolific blogger.

The ruling "shows that every person has a role to play in discussing public issues," said Tom Goldstein, publisher of the legal-affairs website Scotusblog, who submitted arguments in the case."

Source
http://www.sfgate.com/nation/article/Court-ruling-helps-bloggers-in-libel-cases-5153915.php

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

"US appeals court rules bloggers, public have same First Amendment protection as journalists"

"It's not a special right to the news media," he said.
 "So it's a good thing for bloggers and citizen journalists and others."

"Though Cox acted as her own attorney, UCLA law professor Eugene Volokh, who had written an article on the issue, learned of her case and offered to represent her in an appeal. Volokh said
such cases usually end up settled without trial, and it was rare for one to reach the federal appeals court level.

"It makes clear that bloggers have the same First Amendment rights as professional journalists," he said. "There had been similar precedents before concerning advocacy groups, other writers and book authors. This follows a fairly well established chain of precedents. I believe it is the first federal appeals court level ruling that applies to bloggers."

Source
http://www.startribune.com/politics/national/240917881.html

"Bloggers = Media for First Amendment Libel Law Purposes"

"So holds today’s Obsidian Finance Group v. Cox (9th Cir. Jan. 17, 2014) (in which I represented the defendant). To be precise, the Ninth Circuit concludes that all who speak to the public, whether or not they are members of the institutional press, are equally protected by the First Amendment. To quote the court,
The protections of the First Amendment do not turn on whether the defendant was a trained journalist, formally affiliated with traditional news entities, engaged in conflict-of-interest disclosure, went beyond just assembling others’ writings, or tried to get both sides of a story. As the Supreme Court has accurately warned, a First Amendment distinction between the institutional press and other speakers is unworkable: “With the advent of the Internet and the decline of print and broadcast media … the line between the media and others who wish to comment on political and social issues becomes far more blurred.” Citizens United, 558 U.S. at 352. In defamation cases, the public-figure status of a plaintiff and the public importance of the statement at issue — not the identity of the speaker — provide the First Amendment touchstones.
I think that’s right, not just as a matter of First Amendment principle but also as a matter of history and precedent (as I documented at length in Freedom for the Press as an Industry, or for the Press as a Technology? From the Framing to Today, 160 U. Pa. L. Rev. 459 (2012)). The specific legal issue that the Ninth Circuit was confronting in this passage, by the way, is whether all who speak to the public are equally protected by the Gertz v. Robert Welch, Inc.rules, which are that
  1. libel plaintiffs suing over statements on matters of public concern must prove that the defendant was negligent about the falsity of the statement, and
  2. libel plaintiffs suing over statements on matters of public concern and seeking presumed or punitive damages (as opposed to identifiable compensatory damages) must prove that the defendant knew that the statement was false or recklessly disregarded the possibility that it was false.
But the court’s reasoning reaches the First Amendment more broadly, and correctly so (again, see the Freedom for the Press as an Industry, or for the Press as a Technology? article, which sets out the historical evidence). Note, though, that the court’s reasoning is limited to First Amendment protections; it doesn’t discuss state or federal statutes that provide extra protection to the “media” or to other subsets of speakers."
Source

"Appeals court rules blogger, press get same protections"

"A federal appellate court ruled Friday that the author of a blog post deserves the same treatment in a defamation case as "institutional media."

The three-judge panel of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals held unanimously that there is no difference between a journalist for a media outlet and another speaker when it comes to First Amendment protections.

The case stems from a series of blog posts published in 2010 by a woman accusing a financial advice firm of fraud and corruption. One of the firm's principals was appointed as the bankruptcy trustee to a company that had misappropriated client funds, and the woman, Crystal Cox, accused him and his company, Obsidian Finance Group, of impropriety in advising the bankrupt firm in a series of online posts.

They sued Cox for defamation. The district court ruled that because Cox did not prove her status as a journalist, Obsidian did not need to prove malice or negligence on her part to win the case."

Source
http://www.politico.com/blogs/under-the-radar/2014/01/appeals-court-rules-blogger-press-get-same-protections-181447.html?hp=r3

"Blogger protected by 1st Amendment, appeals court says"


"This case is the first one from a federal court of appeals that specifically protects the rights of bloggers,” said UCLA constitutional law professor Eugene Volokh, who represented Cox without charge on appeal.

He said the ruling would also protect other individuals, including those who leaflet and who speak out on behalf of politicians or activist groups."

"A federal appeals court unanimously overturned a defamation award against a blogger Friday, ruling that 1st Amendment protections for traditional news media extend to individuals posting on the Web.

“The protections of the 1st Amendment do not turn on whether the defendant was a trained journalist, formally affiliated with traditional news entities,”  Judge Andrew D. Hurwitz wrote for a three-judge panel of the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.

The panel said its holding was the first of its kind within the 9th Circuit but that other circuit courts already have extended protections for journalists to individual speakers.
The case was brought by Obsidian Finance Group and one of its principals, Kevin D. Padrick. Writing on several websites she created, blogger Crystal Cox accused them of fraud, corruption and other misconduct.

Source
http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-blogger-1st-amendment-20140117,0,5295817.story#axzz2qhoYlHZR

“The protections of the First Amendment do not turn on whether the defendant was a trained journalist”

"The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled this week that a blogger shouldn’t be treated any differently from a traditional journalist in a defamation case.

“The protections of the First Amendment do not turn on whether the defendant was a trained journalist, formally affiliated with traditional news entities, engaged in conflict-of-interest disclosure, went beyond just assembling others’ writings, or tried to get both sides of a story,” wrote Judge Andrew Hurwitz. ”As the Supreme Court has accurately warned, a First Amendment distinction between the institutional press and other speakers is unworkable.”

This is an important ruling given the efforts by government – most notably Congress, last year – to define what a journalist is and, through that definition, exclude from legal protections people who may not be journalists by avocation but commit the act of journalism.

"It’s scary to think of the government as the final arbiter of what separates a real journalist from a fake one"

Source
http://sayanythingblog.com/entry/protections-first-amendment-turn-whether-defendant-trained-journalist/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+SayAnything+%28Say+Anything%29


"Court: Bloggers Have Same First Amendment Protections as Traditional Journalists"

"A blogger—and, really, the public at large—has the same protections for free speech in the United State as a traditional journalist and can only lose a defamation lawsuit on an issue of public concern if plaintiffs manage to prove negligence."

“To be precise, the Ninth Circuit concludes that all who speak to the public, whether or not they are members of the institutional press, are equally protected by the First Amendment,” writes Eugene Volokh, who represented Cox."

http://www.slate.com/blogs/the_slatest/2014/01/18/crystal_cox_bloggers_have_same_free_speech_protections_as_traditional_journalists.html

"Court Says Bloggers are Journalists Too"

"Freedom of the Press has always, of course, applied to traditional journalists. If someone accuses a journalist in say, The Washington Post, or the New York Times, or even a small town newspaper of defamation, and the issue is of public concern, the plaintiffs have to prove that there was negligence or worse in order to win damages. Essentially a plaintiff would have to prove that a journalist wrote their story without properly checking out their sources, or some other negligent behavior. If they cannot prove that a reporter didn’t do their due diligence, they cannot be found guilty. This was established by a 1974 Supreme Court case, Gertz v. Robert Welch, Inc.

For years, this 1974 case sufficed as protecting journalists, because official media was really the only kind of media that existed. There was radio, newspapers, and TV, and all of those were mostly composed of people who had journalistic training and were part of a larger company. But with the advent of the internet, everyone can have a blog. In fact, if I so decided, I could go get a free WordPress blog right now and start writing just a few minutes later. And out of that prevalence of individual-driven media came the question: does this freedom of the press also apply to the informal and individual press?"

"Last week, the 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the same standards that apply to journalists in print media also apply to bloggers and anyone else. The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press member Gregg Leslie said, “it’s not a special right to the news media. So it’s a good thing for bloggers and citizen journalists and others.”

Source
http://lawstreetmedia.com/news/headlines/court-says-bloggers-are-journalists-too/

"US District Court: Citizen Journalists Have Same Rights as News Media "

"The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled last week that bloggers have the same 1st Amendment rights as established journalists when involved in a defamation of character suit; as long as the issue is of public concern.

The outcome of this case establishes the fact that protections afforded the news media are not exclusive to their realm, but are also extended to citizen journalists and bloggers.

The decision was entered because of a defamation lawsuit brought in Oregon concerning a blogger who had written online that this person had “criminally mis-handled a bankruptcy case”.

"Most importantly, the judges found that “under the 1st Amendment, it doesn’t matter whether the person accused of defamation is a professional journalist, an amateur whistle-blower or a crank with a Web page.”

"This case is important to the future of citizen journalism because of the crusade against freedom of speech being perpetrated by members of Congress."

Source