Marc John Randazza’s Techdirt Profile


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  • Nov 11th, 2015 @ 2:37pm


    If you look at your first photo, Farenthold is the sponsor of the current federal Anti-SLAPP bill, and if you go to the fourth guy in that photo, that's Steve Cohen (D - TN) who was the first one to sponsor federal Anti-SLAPP legislation.

  • Nov 4th, 2015 @ 7:06pm

    Re: Not just any lawyer...

    she is not an IP lawyer. she's a fucking idiot who managed to get hired as an IP "professor." Find me one IP case she has ever worked on. I'll wait....

  • Nov 2nd, 2015 @ 12:36pm

    (untitled comment)

    "A better candidate could have gone further."

    That quote makes me respect Lessig a lot. I've alway thought highly of him since he published a piece criticizing himself for losing Eldred v. Ashcroft. (

    I greatly respect his self-reflection and his humility in the face of a loss.

  • Oct 10th, 2015 @ 8:35am


    Another issue I didn't like in it -- trademark registrations need not be renewed for at least 10 years.

    Under our current law, they expire if not renewed in 5 years. Since most businesses fail within 3 years, this gives a business ample time to get off the ground, time to fail, and time to sell off its assets, including its trademark -- or to succeed and renew.

    Trademark trolling is not all that common, so it isn't on the level of horrifying (as some of the copyright and patent changes are). But still, it shows a theme of maximizing IP and not considering the practical implications of it.

  • Oct 5th, 2015 @ 11:01pm

    Nice article - slight correction

    Just a slight tweak suggestion: Tobinick was not an "IP abusing" claim, as it wasn't trademark infringement that he claimed under the Lanham Act, but rather "false advertising."

    If you're interested in the key docs in the case, here they are.

  • May 3rd, 2015 @ 2:14pm

    (untitled comment)

    There is some authority suggesting your view might be right. See Hinton v. Mainlands of Tamarac, 611 F.Supp. 494 (1985) ( 1&oi=scholarr)

    But, a later case seems to focus it more. Fermata v. Champions Golf Club, 712 F.Supp. 1257 (1989) ( HAMPIONS%20GOLF%20CLUB)

  • May 3rd, 2015 @ 2:09pm



    You're wrong. Legally speaking, it is a public performance. I actually dealt with this issue representing a homeowners' association.

  • Apr 29th, 2015 @ 11:07am


    Yep, when a copyright case puts me and Masnick comfortably in the same boat, there's something unquestionably rotten about the case!

  • Oct 7th, 2014 @ 6:19am

    Details... details....

    It might help if we knew what some of the domains were. (Might not, but might)

  • Sep 6th, 2014 @ 6:29am

    A possible explanation...

    Just speculation, but....

    The dispute between Twitter and Twitpic is at the TTAB. A TTAB proceeding is a limited proceeding over a trademark registration. Therefore, the issues are limited, making the costs also a bit more limited than full blown litigation.

    Nevertheless, during TTAB disputes, the parties will sometimes also at least discuss or mediate other potential disputes. Think of the TTAB proceeding as a low-risk place to have a skirmish, but sometimes you let that skirmish inform your decisions about how you'll handle other possible disputes.

    So, Twitpic may not be shutting down over the trademark issue - but the trademark fight is where the other issues got negotiated to this point.

  • Mar 28th, 2014 @ 3:04pm

    Re: Re:

    No, no, no, no...

    Losing the trademark registration does not mean that they lose the trademark. They can still enforce the mark, they simply lose some of the presumptions that come along with a registration.

  • Mar 28th, 2014 @ 3:00pm

    You receive no points, and may god have mercy upon your soul (as Marc Randazza)

    Tim, you wrote:

    And if the NFL team's mark was removed, it wouldn't mean Snyder had to change the name of the team, it would just mean that anyone else, were they so inclined, would be able to use the term in football commerce at that point (although, not the logo, or other trademarked identifiers for the team).


    All it would mean is that Snyder would lose his registration, which would cost him some presumptions in litigation, and some international priority rights. But, he would still have a common law trademark.


  • Mar 21st, 2014 @ 4:37pm

    (untitled comment)


    I suspect that not too many people are actually "afraid" and that they are just being dishonest, because they do not want to moderate. So, they put on the cheshire smile and say "oh, I would act responsibly, but if I did, I would lose my 230 protection."

    I really can't see how anyone could have trouble understanding that very simple language in 230.

  • Feb 18th, 2014 @ 8:51am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Good arguments, but...

    Well, PaulT, you might not like a pretty vast body of law in the United States and all other legal systems I've studied. Third party liability, contributory liability, vicarious liability, are all theories that are alive and well. I'd be pleased to direct you to resources on that, if you're interested.

    Further, you seem to be ok with that concept -- you just draw the line at the wall (or website) owner being liable only after a court order. I'm not arguing for liability prior to a court order. I'm arguing that the website owner should get the choice - once put on notice - of either defending the content or complying with a takedown request (with appropriate safeguards and blowback for bogus complaints).

  • Feb 18th, 2014 @ 7:47am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Good arguments, but...

    So you would say liability should attach to the wall owner never?

    Including if the aggrieved party is willing to clean the graffiti off himself, but the wall owner says "nah, I like it there" -- or "well, I might not have written it, but so many people come by to see it, that it has actually improved my property values, so I am leaving it."

    Should the wall owner be automatically or immediately liable? I say no. However, I see no reason why the wall owner should be able to reap the benefits of the content without enjoying the responsibility for it as well. That responsibility should not attach immediately, nor should the system have "clean the wall" as its default. But, if a party has a legitimate legal grievance, is willing to bear the cost of cleaning the wall, and asks the wall owner for permission to do so, then the wall owner should either have to permit it, or make the words his own.

    The reflexive desire to protect Section 230, in its current form, at all costs, borders on irrational.

    Only Sith think in absolutes, PaulT.

  • Feb 17th, 2014 @ 7:18am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Good arguments, but...

    If you look at the court cases dealing with this, I think you might find yourself to be a little more optimistic. In general, the courts have not been too quick to pull the mask off of a speaker without the right level of proof.

  • Feb 17th, 2014 @ 7:11am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Lets not totally close our minds...

    That's a good question: I agree that you have a First Amendment right to speak anonymously. However, if you look at the line of cases dealing with this right, (Dendrite, Cahill, etc.) the right is not absolute. (Nor do I believe it should be absolute). Nevertheless, the cases (and I) agree that the aggrieved party must put forth some showing of liability for the speech, before the speaker may be legally unmasked.

    To answer your question, I do not wish to erode the protection for anonymous speech. I think that the balance we have is pretty good -- when the courts actually follow it. I think a very good case articulating the standard is Krinsky v. Doe 6:

    The bottom line is, if the speech is truly actionable (and shows that before revealing the speaker's identity), then the speaker should not be able to evade liability only because the speaker manages to hide. On the other hand, I do not think that plaintiffs should be able to unmask anonymous speakers without making a showing that the speech is actionable, because First Amendment.

  • Feb 17th, 2014 @ 6:23am

    Re: Re: Good arguments, but...

    You wrote:

    You're basically arguing that the owner of a wall should be liable for the content of the graffiti painted on it.

    Is that such a bad standard?

    I agree that it would be absurd to have strict liability for the owner of the wall to be liable for graffiti painted on it. But, lets agree that the graffiti is somehow violating a third party's rights.

    Then, I think nobody would say the wall owner is liable at the moment that the graffiti is placed there. After all, he had nothing to do with creating the graffiti, and probably didn't even want it there.

    But, would you argue that he should never become liable? If he gets a letter from the subject of the graffiti, bringing it to his attention? If it is easy to remove? And, yet, the wall owner decides that he just doesn't care? At some point wouldn't you want the wall owner to have any responsibility at all?

  • Feb 16th, 2014 @ 9:09am

    Re: Re: Lets not totally close our minds...

    I think you may have very little experience with the legal system. I've defended cases on this very principle -- "go after the person who posted it." I've been paid to support the Section 230 arrogance. And, for as long as it is the law, then I'm fine doing so.

    But, I can't say that I don't have personal feelings of sympathy for the poor bastards trying to deal with that. Did the original poster use Tor? Tough shit for you then. Is the original poster judgment-proof? Tough shit for you then.

    And, if someone does wind up proving that the content violates some right, they do that after five-to-six figures in attorneys fees, and two years of fighting. Meanwhile, the OSP could have made a judgment call.

    Now sometimes they do. I've represented Sect. 230 businesses who would act responsibly, and take clearly violative content down. I've also represented aggrieved parties, and sent Sect. 230 businesses letters stating "I know you're protected by Section 230, but here's why this should come down..." and I have had good results.

    The current system is very nice for me, Google, and Facebook. I love the money I make defending Section 230. Google loves having as much content as it can, without giving half a shit about anyone else. But, to think that the current system is the best one is to think quite narrowly.

  • Feb 16th, 2014 @ 7:51am

    Lets not totally close our minds...

    One exercise I like to engage in is to take something that I believe in dearly, and challenge myself on that belief.

    Section 230 is one of those beliefs. When I look back at all the Section 230 cases that I have both handled and researched, it seems to me that it might be superior from a policy perspective to have some kind of notice and responsibility provision. If an OSP receives a notice that the content is somehow violative of the complainant's rights, then the OSP can either a) take it down, or b) accept legal responsibility for the content.

    I would, however, suggest that it would not be that simple -- as there should be prevailing party attorneys' fees on both sides - so if the OSP takes responsibility and gets sued, the content had better be actually violative of some legal right. I'd also like to see a provision that the author would receive statutory damages (payable by the complaining party) if the content was taken down due to a bogus complaint. And perhaps even the right of the OSP to bill the complaining party for its fees in having a lawyer review the complaint, whether the complaint is bogus or legitimate (after all, the OSP should not be taxed with the cost of a letter writing campaign by someone with censorious intent).

    Section 230 has been a good engine for development of countless services, and that is a good thing. Unfortunately, it has also been a good engine for harmful arrogance on the part of a lot of 650/415 area code businesses.

    There are companies that exercise responsibility - in my experience, Automattic is pretty protective of its users' rights, but it will not simply cover its ears and say "Section 230, Section 230, Section 230" when concerns are brought to its attention. I've represented a number of companies that have internal responsibility policies that make me proud to represent them. I have Sect 230 clients who don't give a shit too, and for as long as that is the law, then I'll defend their right to not give a shit until they tell me to relent.

    But, the problem with Section 230 is that it has become a license to not give a shit. The more irresponsible, the more profitable. That's not really desirable.

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