How Can Grocery Stores Protect Themselves?

Preparing for Grocery Store Protests

Written by Emily F. Evitt

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?”

YouTube May Be An Enormous Town Square, But It’s Still Not Subject to The First Amendment

Photo Credit: istock.com/Mack15

Written by Theresa B. Bowman

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 lawsuit began in 2017, when conservative media company PragerU sued YouTube for imposing restrictions on some of PragerU’s short animated educational videos.  YouTube tagged several dozen videos for age-restrictions and disabled third party advertisements on others.  PragerU claimed the restrictions constituted censorship because they muted conservative political viewpoints. Continue reading “YouTube May Be An Enormous Town Square, But It’s Still Not Subject to The First Amendment”

The Federal Circuit Strikes Ban on Registering “Immoral” or “Scandalous” Trademarks

Trademark sign
Photo credit: iStock.com/devke

By Alesha Dominique

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.

Continue reading “The Federal Circuit Strikes Ban on Registering “Immoral” or “Scandalous” Trademarks”