A cop injured during a protest sued DeRay Mckesson, Black Lives Matter and a hashtag. His suit was tossed by the judge this week.
The officer argued Black Lives Matter was a “national unincorporated association” and called Mckesson its leader and co-founder. He claimed the activists had gathered in Baton Rouge to incite violence against police and that Mckesson was responsible for the actions of the unidentified demonstrator who hurled the rock. The judge disagreed. ... The judge also denied the officer’s attempt to add the hashtag #BlackLivesMatter to the suit, writing that “a hashtag is patently incapable of being sued.”
Cops and other government entities trying to sue protestors is an emergent free speech problem. Thankfully, Jeff Sessions will be fighting tooth and claw for minority activists' rights in the coming three years.
Look, I'm as delighted as you are to see Alex Jones' ability to spread hatred curtailed -- because in a world where all the important speech takes place online, and where online speech is owned by four or five companies, being kicked off of Big Tech's services is likely to be an extinction-level event.
When we worry about free speech, we mostly worry about governments suppressing speech, not private actors. It's one thing to say that the US government shouldn't have the ability to arbitrarily censor some speech, but it's another altogether to say, that, for example, Boing Boing shouldn't be able to kick jerks off its message boards […]
David Kaye (previously) is the UN's Special Rapporteur on freedom of expression; he just released a detailed report on the catastrophic free speech implications of Article 13, the EU's proposed copyright rule that would make sites filter everything their users post to check for copyright violations.
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