Litigation and Amicus Advocacy

Overview

The Cyberlaw Clinic has, directly and working in tandem with law firms located throughout the United States, represented individuals and organizations in connection with pre-litigation disputes and active litigation concerning a wide range of issues, including online speech and intellectual property matters.  In addition to working on behalf of parties in connection with disputes and active lawsuits, the Clinic has represented advocacy groups, academics, media organizations, and the like in submitting “friend of the court” briefs in jurisdictions throughout the United States.  By helping amici curiae to offer their perspectives on cutting-edge legal issues, the Clinic has not merely reacted to the law but has worked to shape and develop it.  Several examples of the Clinic’s work on behalf of amici curiae may be found on the Filings & Publications page of this website.

Representative Projects

C&D Response, Motion to Quash

The Clinic has responded to cease-and-desist letters on behalf of individuals and organizations (professors and media entities) accused of defamation online and drafted a successful motion to quash a subpoena seeking the identity of an anonymous blogger.

Wind of Changes

The Clinic helped secure an important victory for free speech on the Internet by assisting in defending against RICO and defamation claims brought by a “spiritual-healing” group against two former members of the group who had started a web site devoted to revealing its true nature.  Students drafted legal arguments in a summary judgment motion and reply memorandum that helped persuade a federal court to throw out the case, Gentle Wind Project v. Garvey (D.Maine).  When the case was re-filed in state court, Clinic students prepared draft jury instructions and assisted with other aspects of trial preparation.  The plaintiffs finally abandoned their claims and settled the case on our clients’ terms shortly before the scheduled trial date.

Access to Court Records

The Clinic prepared a motion on behalf of an online media outlet seeking access to court records filed under seal during a legal proceeding, in an effort to support the media outlet’s coverage of the pending case.

OpenCourt

The Cyberlaw Clinic served as co-counsel for OpenCourt, a Knight Foundation-funded project of WBUR in Boston which livestreams and archives audiovisual recordings from Quincy District Court.  A prosecutor and criminal defendant filed separate cases seeking to limit OpenCourts ability to archive public court proceedings on its site.  In Commonwealth v. Barnes, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ruled in OpenCourt’s favor, holding that the relief sought by petitioners constituted unlawful prior restraints that violated the First Amendment.