As Californians lose patience with the stay-at-home orders, we can expect more protests across the state. And as customers face shortages and stores enforce limits on their purchases, protests at grocery stores may be particularly likely. How can grocery stores protect themselves?
California’s Constitution grants broader free speech rights than the First Amendment. Indeed, under certain circumstances – namely cases involving shopping malls – courts have held that California’s free speech right extends to private property where that property is the functional equivalent of a traditional public forum. See Robbins v. Pruneyard Shopping Center, 23 Cal. 3d 899 (1979). Continue reading “How Can Grocery Stores Protect Themselves?”
In Prager University v. Google LLC, et al., Case No. 18-15712 (9th Cir. Feb. 26, 2020), the Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit dismissed a First Amendment lawsuit against YouTube late last week, holding that the video hosting giant is a private forum that is free to foster particular viewpoints – and need not be content-neutral. The victory is a significant message to other online content hosts, aggregators and service providers that they need not feel threatened by censorship claims for selecting and curating content on their systems.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (“Federal Circuit”) has struck down the Lanham Act’s ban on the registration of “immoral” or “scandalous” trademarks as an unconstitutional restriction of free speech under the First Amendment. See In re: Erik Brunetti, No. 2015-1109 (Fed. Cir. Dec. 15, 2017). The ruling comes less than six months after the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Matal v. Tam, 137 S. Ct. 1744 (2017), in which it similarly struck down the Lanham Act’s ban on “disparaging” marks as unconstitutional under the First Amendment.