Sunday, January 22, 2023


Lollygagging means "messing around" in more ways than one. Delete the frozen, fruity sweet treat portion of the word, and one comes to the meat --if you will pardon the mixed metaphor--of today's topic which is inspired by the legal blogs and a select few news outlets.

The left-leaning, and sometimes laudable Electronic Freedom Foundation blogged this week about freedom of expression around the world. It is horrifying reading for those who like to opine online.
The fourth item on the excellent EFF list is further expounded on by a British daily newspaper, "The Guardian".

It would seem that a certain amount of guarded circumlocution is in order these jolly days, if one wishes to discuss other people's books, or ones own adverse reactions to this that or the other.

One hears that well-known e-commerce site that is named after an enormous quantity of imperilled trees and that got its start selling a by-product of dead trees is alleged to indulge (circumlocution) in some very creepy-crawly behavior.

"We apologize but Amazon has noticed some unusual reviewing activity on this account. As a result, all reviews submitted by this account have been removed and this account will no longer be able to contribute reviews and other content on Amazon."

If true, that is pretty chilling. Not only may one not contribute reviews, but one is cut off from posting other content... would that mean "seller accounts"? "author accounts"?

Some allege that the enterprise in question trawls through any "user's" Facebook, Goodreads, and possibly other social media accounts to see if an author or reviewer has ever liked or been liked, or friended or been friended by the author/seller/reviewer. If the bots find a connection, be it ever so slight the review is made to disappear.

egal bloggers for the law firm Greenberg Traurig LLP, discuss the legal difficulties that beset a number of social media influencers after they spoke freely (or perhaps they were compensated) about some stocks.  

Seven of the eight were successful traders, the eighth was a podcaster who had the misfortune to interview the seven as guests and is accused of giving them a forum to spread their "misinformation".

Apparently they might have insufficiently disclosed the nature, scope, and amount of compensation that they might or might not have received for their speech.

Disclaimer, just in case. This alien romances blog does not accept any payment or other compensation for our time and efforts. The parent of our host once offered to pay us for hosting advertisements and we did not take them up on the opportunity.

Legal blogger Benjamin E. Marks of the law firm Weil Gotshal and Manges LLP posted a splendid article on the Lexology platform about free speech and media freedom.

He explains what are so-called protected forms of expression, what is protected false speech (which is interesting given the gagging of anecdotal speech on inconvenient topics), when even "hate speech" is theoretically protected, but when commercial speech veers over the line and is not protected.

There is much, much more in this particularly excellent article, and anyone who intends to blog, or publish longer material should read it.

All the best,

Rowena Cherry 


1 comment:

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