Updated May 11, 2017. Keep your recommendations coming and I'll update periodically.
Nailing down the definitive literature on First Amendment expressive freedoms is a tricky task. What’s the consensus among scholars about the classics? Even more complex is figuring out what emerging scholarship on the intersection of speech and press freedoms with new media technologies will have a lasting impact.
A few weeks ago, after I published a blog post raising the question of what might happen to CDA 230 when internet intermediaries like Facebook invoke First Amendment protections – which civil liberties lawyers’ were calling on Facebook to do in the wake of the controversy over its trending newsfeed – I was fortunate enough to have a sustained email exchange with UCLA Law Professor Eugene Volokh.
Though much attention is focused on the court’s vindication of the FCC’s reclassification of ISPs as common carriers under Title II, the court also ensured significant protection of public interest regulations from spurious First Amendment arguments.
Though scholars have identified the expanding scope of First Amendment speech doctrine, little attention has been paid to the theoretical transformation happening inside the doctrine that has accompanied its outward creep. Taking up this overlooked perspective, this Article uncovers a new speech theory: the libertarian tradition. This new tradition both is generative of the doctrine’s expansion and risks undermining the First Amendment’s theoretical foundations.
After a year of debates and a month before the Federal Communication Commission’s (FCC’s) rulemaking on network neutrality, the GOP has finally joined the party. Through a draft bill released late last week, congressional Republicans have taken a step in the direction of supporting network neutrality. That’s a good thing, and moves them closer to the existing consensus. Roughly four million Americans submitted comments to the FCC calling for real network neutrality rules over the past year, and polls show that both Republicans and Democrats overwhelmingly support a ban on fast lanes.
Imagine that you are participating in a protest on a university campus. The campus police ask everyone to leave. Some protestors refuse to move, and suddenly they are doused with pepper spray by campus police. You pull out your cell phone and start recording, asking protestors to describe what happened. After some editing, you post the video to YouTube. But according to the two federal shield laws being considered by Congress, you likely would not qualify as a journalist—and consequently would not enjoy the right to protect your sources.
"The Republican bill, sponsored by Sen. John Thune (R-SD) and Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI), is "network neutrality in name only," according to the legal scholar and net-neutrality supporter Barbara van Schewick."
"Implementing a pro-speech policy internationally has its own challenges because — even in the West — there is not a unified legal approach to protecting free speech," Morgan Weiland, a graduate fellow at the Center for Internet and Society at Stanford Law School, told NBC News.
Of course, monitoring posts for all of these factors is a Herculean task. The fact that Facebook is approaching it with a sense of idealism is encouraging to Neil Richards, a law professor at Washington University in St. Louis.
"“These implications are most dangerous for — and indeed most likely to impact — smaller and marginalized speakers and listeners; those with the most controversial and least popular ideas who are unable or unwilling to pay,” said Morgan Weiland, a Student Fellow at Stanford’s Center for Internet and Society."
"The problem lies in how ISPs control high-speed internet in the United States, which “is one of captive monopoly,” Andrew McLaughlin, former Deputy Chief Technology Officer for President Obama, and former Vice President of Tumblr, said in an email."
"An amended FCC proposal in response to the public outcry shows concessions but maintains pay-to-play access fees and a new standard that “creates high costs of regulation, does not provide certainty to market participants, and tilts the playing field in favor of large, established companies that can pay lots of lawyers and expert witnesses and afford long and costly proceedings at the FCC” (“Evaluating the Chairman’s Revised Net Neutrality Proposal,” by Barbara van Schewick and Morgan Weiland, The Center for Internet and Society, May 12,
"Stanford’s Barbara van Schewick and Morgan Weiland called the reported revisions a good start, with a long way yet to go."
Attorney and scholar Morgan Weiland ’06 will present Carleton College’s weekly convocation on Friday, April 22 from 10:50 to 11:50 a.m. in the Skinner Memorial Chapel. A leader in the study of the law and policy around the internet and other emerging technologies, Weiland has been active in policy debates surrounding telecommunications, mass surveillance, and network neutrality.
Carleton convocations are free and open to the public. They are also recorded and archived for online viewing at go.carleton.edu/convo/.
From the First Amendment to Net Neutrality. How Media Regulation Affects What We Say
Does the FCC's recent ruling on net neutrality promise more equal media access? Or will it lead to years of divisive litigation? FCC Commissioner Mignon Clyburn will discuss implications of the new rules and the role of media regulation in creating a free press; Victor Pickard of the University of Pennsylvania will look at how media regulation choices in the 1940s affect us today; Stanford's Morgan Weiland will explain what the proposed federal shield law means for journalists.
President Trump has blocked Twitter followers on his personal feed--raising questions, and a lawsuit, about first amendment rights on social media. An expert on free speech in the online world says the case has wide implications for public figures on all forms of social media.
Morgan Weiland delivers Convocation at Carleton College entitled "Network Neutrality: A Perspective from the Frontline in the Battle for Free Speech in the Digital Era" on April 22, 2016.