Blawg Review #267 on Spam Notes

Welcome to Blawg Review # 267 on Spam Notes!

I was considering doing a Gandhi-themed (or "Gandhiji-themed," to use a term of respect) blawg review.  As Gandhian as I am in my outlook (in many respects) it just seemed cliché.  Instead, I decided to pick a topic that rarely receives any attention in the blawgosphere. 


A certain heavyweight blogger led things off with a discussion titled "Through the Eyes of Scott Greenfield."  The author provides us with an excellent example of "navel-gazing," which is a must have tool in the toolbox of every blogger.

Meanwhile, Norm Pattis [whose writing I love, incidentally] responds to one of Scott's earlier posts in a post titled:  "I'll Regret This Internecine Squabble, But . . . "   Also a member of the CDL Clique, Brian Tannebaum provides some sage advice to lawyers that may have trouble seeing where the ethical lines lie as far as lawyers and blawgging goes:  "Lawyer Blogging Tip:  When the Judge is a 'Total Asshole.'"

I sometimes wonder where blawgers (especially "prolific" ones, like Scott Greenfield) come up with time and energy to think of topics for their posts.  Adrian Dayton must be thinking the same thing, as he posts about inspiration for blawgging topics:  "Do you Think up Blog Posts in the Shower? "  [Scott: please don't answer that.]

Blogging, leads naturally to another activity, which happens to also be the topic of this blawg review.  [Some say blawgging is the gateway drug.]  Mirriam Sediqq responds to a Mashable article on the use of social media by lawyers and wonders what it all means:  "Things I Don't Understand."  [Sounds to me, Mirriam like you need to find yourself a good social media consultant!]  Jamison Koehler, who also happens to be a criminal defense lawyer, posts about blawgging and perceived censors:  "Writing for Scott Greenfield and Other Censors."  [Are we sure this edition of blawg review shouldn't just be called the 'Scott Greenfield' edition?]

Moving closer to home, my buddy Dan Harris recently blogged about his blawg's switch to a new home:  "Meet the New China Law Blog - Same as the Old."  [Congrats on the move, Dan!]   Speaking of which, he moved over to Kevin O'Keefe's LexBlog platform.  Kevin - also a powerhouse law blogger - blogged recently about lawyers and social media: "The Indy 500 and Social Media for Lawyers."

Some lawyers blog about their cases or clients, and others don’t.  Most blog about their notable victories.  Mark Bennett notes one such lawyer who does not.


Last edition's host of Blawg Review, Peter Black, blogged about a topic that's near and dear to all of our hearts, and that seems to warrant frequent attention:  "Facebook's Privacy Update."  Facebook's numerous privacy policy changes and gaffes have prompted more than a few notables to quit Facebook.  Ken at Popehat provides his reasons here:  "Why I'm Quitting Facebook."

Professor Goldman blogged recently about a copyright case involving Facebook that just doesn’t seem to go away: "Contributory Copyright Infringement Claim May Need Direct Infringer as a Defendant to Succeed." 

Molly DiBianca blogged about a waitress who was fired for making intemperate comments on Facebook:  "Waitress Is Fired for Her Complaint on Facebook: Lesson Learned for Employers?"

Facebook's CEO has been in the hot-seat recently, and Fred Abramson posted about Facebook's privacy double standard, with a bonus of some video of its CEO sweating it out in the hot-seat:  "Watch For Yourself: CEO of Facebook Mark Zuckerberg Speaks About Privacy."  The Zuckerberg interview prompted a blog to look into the strange insignia inside CEO-Zuckerberg's hoodie:  "Zuckerberg's Bizarre Facebook Insignia Revealed, and What it Means."  [Personally I think it's cool that he wears a hoodie on stage, regardless of what insignia it has inside it!  The sandals I could do without though, not that I’m in a position to provide fashion advice to anyone.]

Finally, Declan McCullagh posts at CNET about Facebook's recent implementation of the "like" button, and how it drew the ire of privacy advocates:  "Facebook 'Like' Button Draws Privacy Scrutiny."


Before there was social media, there was spam, and before spam, email.  So it's fitting that this edition of blawg review should note some posts about spam and email.

Professor Michael Geist posts about proposed anti-spam legislation in Canada:  "The Anti-Spam Bill: New Name, Roughly Same Bill."  [I'm hoping you all take into account the experience of your Southerly neighbors...]

Meanwhile, in the US, there has been some activity around email "bombardement campaigns."  Kevin Thompson ("FTC v. Trudeau – Are Emails Within a Judge’s 'Presence'?") and Eric Robinson ("Seventh Circuit Vacates Contempt for E-Mail Barrage") both blogged about the Seventh Circuit's reversal of a district judge’s contempt order in response to a defendant’s encouragement of his fans to send mass amounts of emails to the judge. 

Not to be outdone, AT&T recently tried to threaten a customer - who emailed its CEO - with a cease and desist letter.  It quickly backtracked, as noted by Mike Masnick here.  That’s not all in the ‘email harassment’ category.  Masnick also notes that someone was charged with harassment for sending an email complaint to Senator Bunning.   [If the Free Speech Clause doesn’t help this guy out, maybe the Petition Clause will!]


In the realm of social media, if there’s one topic that seems to receive a fair amount of attention, at least from the subset of lawyers that are taking their social media medicine, that would be Twitter.  Our favorite little pajarito is the topic of many blog posts, and of course, tweets. 

Chris Vail posts about an enlightened approach to brand management in social media that global energy company "BP" may want to consider taking vis a vis the proprietor of the hilarious (and wildly popular) "BPGlobalPR" Twitter account.  [On a related note, netizens have recognized the tarnishment that BP’s brand has suffered and have risen to the occasion by putting together a 'crowdsourced' contest to find a replacement brand for BP. ]

Professor Volokh notes that the Pennsylvania Attorney General, who caused an uproar by issuing subpoenas seeking the identity of Twitter users, wisely withdrew these subpoenas in response to public criticism. 

Lest you think all us Twitter users live in some sort of First Amendment nirvana where anything goes, the Guardian notes that the Twitter user [that’s ‘Tweep’ in our parlance] who was convicted of sending a Tweet about intending to blow up an airport has appealed his conviction.  On a loosely related note, James Fallows asked a pretty interesting question in the Atlantic about whether Twitter (and the internet) is more of a tool for dissidenters or dictators.


MySpace may no longer be the premier social networking website, but it still seems to generate a slew of activity in the courts.

Evan Brown warns about the dangers of creating a fake MySpace page here ("That bogus social networking website can send you to jail").  Howard Bashman posts about the Third Circuit’s consideration of a MySpace/school discipline case here.


Kashmir Hill (of Above the Law) posts at her True/Slant blog about her own personal experience in being the victim of a crowdsourced Craigslist revenge scheme.   Legal Blog Watch picks up on Kash’s post here.


Above The Law (Elie) posts about the much maligned 'Star Wars kid' who after therapy and litigation, finally righted his ship, and . . . is en route to becoming a lawyer (??): "Law Student of the Day: Star Wars Kid."  [Someone should tell him that lawyers are an angst-ridden bunch.]

Ron Coleman wonders whether YouTube is a "Copyright Infringement Mecca."

THR, Esq., updates us on goings on in the Viacom/YouTube case that’s spawned a lot of commentary: "Ebay, Facebook, Yahoo Back YouTube in Viacom Case."

Meanwhile, Ars Technica, updates us on the status of the Wi-Fi data purloined by Google: "Google relents, to give WiFi data to Germany, France, Spain."  The Google Wi-Fi story has an additional twist, noted by Wired here: "Lawyers Claim Google Wi-Fi Sniffing 'Is Not An Accident.'"


Nixon Peabody provides an update on a lawsuit that raises "novel, far-reaching questions" for employers:  "Restrictive-covenant federal lawsuit over social media conduct raises novel, far-reaching questions for employers."

This raises the question of whether a social media policy could help a company in a situation like that.  I actually came across an excellent social media policy while surfing Twitter [naturally]:

Best social media policy: 'Don't be stupid' ~ love it!!!less than a minute ago via Twitter for iPhoneAmy D. Howell

That last Tweet was courtesy of Eric Meyer.


It looks like Yahoo! is still trying to stay relevant in the social networking space.  EFF helpfully provided instructions on how to opt-out of Yahoo!’s latest efforts to use your Yahoo! mail contacts: "Opt-Out Required to Prevent Your Yahoo! Mail Contacts From Being Used for Social Network."

The Answering Machine:

Although lawyers in the pre-social media days didn’t have to deal with social media spammers and scammers, they had to deal with other irritants. Niki Black posts about one such irritant (but with a nice twist at the end): "Answering Machine Hell."  

Bullying, Harassment, and Stalking:

The internet and social media has brought about a new species of harassment that has vexed individuals and lawyers (and lawmakers) alike.

Victoria Pynchon posts at Forbes about New York’s Anti-Bullying Law and why it’s a bad idea:  "New York Anti-Bullying Law A Big Bad Idea." [Congrats Victoria!]

Marco Randazza, a blogger who often stands up to (and on occasion defends) alleged online bullies, gets some well deserved ink in the New York Times "Dear Leader Randazza Quoted in NYT Article on SLAPP Suits."  [Congrats!]  

Antonin P. (aka, The Trial Warrior) provides a "Selected Internet Law Bibiography," in response to a Norm Pattis post which “provides a Lockeian and Hobbesian perspective on cyber-stalking, cyber-bulllying and cyber-harassment . . . ."

Professor Danielle Citron posts at Concurring Opinions about "The Potential Price of Sharing Your Phone Number."

Walter Olson blogs at Overlawyered about law enforcement efforts to squelch video and photography "[i]n response to a flood of Facebook and YouTube videos that depict police abuse."  The Gizmodo post referenced by Walter also links to Carlos Miller’s "Photography is Not a Crime," an excellent blog that’s been chronicling abuse of photographers for some time now: "Gizmodo Mentions PINAC in an Article."

Finally, if you’re a lawyer and you send out a cease and desist letter in response to some perceived online harassment or infringement, it’s well worth considering how the letter will be received on the internet.  In fact, Richard Russeth thinks (and I don’t disagree, judging from what goes on out there), that "[t]here should be a course on writing cease and desist letters that don’t look silly when they go viral on the Net."

The iPad (!!!!):

No post on blawggers and social media would be complete without an obligatory reference to that old game-changer . . . the iPad!  [I think game-changers are new by definition, but . . . ]

Charon QC has been hard at work designing his own version of the iPad – the 5.0 (!): "Postcard From the Staterooms-on-Thames - iPad Edition."  [Hopefully Gizmodo doesn’t kidnap Charon in an effort to leak photos of the iPad 5.0’s innards.]

Also across the pond, Jason Plant asks again whether or not the iPad will accelerate efforts of lawyers to go paperless "Stop Printing Your Emails – the iPad’s a Game Changer!"

The Internet & Stupidity:

While we’re all spending increasing amounts of time online, it’s worth asking whether this has any peripheral effects.  NPR profiles a new book which asks whether the internet is making us stupid.  Over at, this spurred a discussion of whether Cyberlaw is making us stupid:  "Is Cyberlaw Making us Stupid."

It’s an important topic, but my reaction to this was similar to Andy Borowitz’s:

The WSJ has a piece on how the Internet makes us smarter, which I will read once I'm done feeding my virtual sheep.less than a minute ago via webAndy Borowitz

Sick of the Social Media BS?:

I myself am a convert, and see many benefits to social media, but if you are not one of those in my camp, what are your options?

First, you could consider deleting all of your social media accounts.  Michael Zimmer provides a good look at how easy it is to delete various social media accounts:  "Comparing Ease of Deleting Accounts."

Another alternative is to call BS on the social media gurus.  Seattle-based author Scott Berkun, provides a roadmap for this:  "Calling BS on Social Media Gurus (Slides)."   You could also buy Amy Derby’s book which has been forthcoming for some time now.  [WindyPundit posted about a Chicago Tweetup with the "Chicago Twitter sensation" and others that looked pretty fun.]

When all else fails, you could log-out for a bit, and do what Colin Samuels did recently.

Thanks for reading.

The next edition of Blawg Review will be hosted by David Harlow's HealthBlawg.

  • No trackbacks exist for this post.
  • No comments exist for this post.
Leave a comment

Submitted comments are subject to moderation before being displayed.

 Name (required)

 Email (will not be published) (required)


Your comment is 0 characters limited to 3000 characters.