Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Miscellaneous updates

Today's LA Times reports that porn king Larry Flynt is suing his nephews, apparently on a basis of alleged trademark violation, for using the Flynt name on what he argues are inferior adult videos that are tarnishing his good name. After all everyone knows the Flynt name stands for refinement and good taste. Says one of the defendants: ""The fact of the matter is my name is Flynt. If I can't use my name to do business, then what kind of society, what kind of world is that?" He may well have a point. I know little to nothing about IP law, but I suspect the case to turn on just how the name is used, and whether buyers would be confused about which Flynt products are which.

The NY Times reports on the government's bid for Supreme Court review in U.S. v. Stevens, the (so far successful) challenge to a federal ban on depictions on animal cruelty. The article notes that the law was designed to target fetishistic "crush videos" but has been used by the Justice Department to go after dogfight videos. It also notes that the Supreme Court is likely to take the case, since the lower court struck down a federal statute. The case is particularly interesting because it poses the question whether First Amendment exceptions for obscenity and child pornography can be expanded to reach other "harmful" and "low-value" speech.

And marriage equality group Freedom to Marry has issued an analysis of the Prop 8 vote that includes these findings:
  • Party, ideology, religious attendance, age were the four major factors that drove voters' approval.
  • Higher Black and Latino support was largely explained by higher religious attendance; when controlling for this factor the racial differences largely disappeared.
  • Compared to the 2000 vote, support for marriage equality grew significantly across every demographic group (age, race, religion) except Republicans.
Finally, the en banc Ninth Circuit has allowed gay San Diego lesbians and agnostics to move forward with a claim that the city's lease of park land to the Boy Scots violates the California Constitution's ban on religious preferences. The court ruled that the plaintiff's had standing to sue based on their use of, and exclusion from certain functions on, the city-owned property, and sent the case to the state's high court.

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