Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Washington Post Takes Story on Mayor Suing YouTube Activist

James Butt - Mayor of Inglewood - Who Goes Around
Suing Activists
Well - Eugene Volokh writes again about Mayors who go around suing activists for posting YouTube videos of him. Again, it's another classic case of small minded city officials bullying the voice of dissent.

City sues critic for supposedly infringing city’s copyright by posting city council video clips (with commentary) on YouTube

Eugene Volokh

The city of Inglewood is suing a longtime critic of the mayor and city officials, alleging he violated copyright law by using footage of council meetings in videos blasting them for abusing their power.
Joseph Teixeira, who calls himself Inglewood’s Watchdog, is being represented pro bono by a defense team led by First Amendment specialist Tom Burke, a lawyer in Davis Wright Tremaine’s office in San Francisco.
(Peter Scheer (First Amendment Coalition) seems to have first broken this story.) Three of the videos are herehere, and here:
I’ve looked at Teixeira’s motion to dismiss and Inglewood’s response, and it seems to me the city is going to lose. First, County of Santa Clara v. Superior Court (Cal. Ct. App. 2009) suggests that California law generally does not allow cities to claim copyright in public records; and while the city claims that this provision is trumped by federal copyright law, I don’t think the city is right — federal law treats local governments as political subdivisions of the state, and a state has the power to control what its subdivisions do (including which federal rights they claim).
[Read the rest on the Washington Post. You have to get to the end of the article to see who pointed out the article to Volokh.

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