So says the Florida District Court of Appeal, and Eugene Volokh. In the case described below, a man made a documentary based upon online documents and pictures from social media. The documentary was about a former girlfriend.
So said the Florida District Court of Appeal, in O’Neill v. Goodwin(decided late last month):
In this case, the trial court placed a premade stamp on the final order stating that Appellant “shall not ‘post’ on the internet regarding” Appellee. As seen in David v. Textor, 41 Fla. L. Weekly D131 (Fla. 4th DCA Jan. 6, 2016), and Neptune v. Lanoue, 178 So. 3d 520 (Fla. 4th DCA 2015), such a restriction “prevents not only communications to [the petitioner], but also communications about [the petitioner].” David, 41 Fla. L. Weekly at D132. “Such prohibition by prior restraint violates the Constitution.” Id. …
There is a level of creepy in the story which apparently the court was able to overlook.
[O’Neill] met [Goodwin] three years prior to the allegations at issue. [Goodwin] briefly worked with [O’Neill] until she began to believe he was romantically interested in her. At that point, [Goodwin] informed [O’Neill] she wanted no further contact with him. [O’Neill] complied and two years passed without contact between the parties.
During this two-year period, [O’Neill] attended film school and began to make a documentary exploring subcultures on social media. This documentary prominently featured [Goodwin] and made use of photographs she had posted on her Instagram page. Although [Goodwin] had previously blocked [O’Neill] from viewing her Instagram profile, she admitted that she had accepted anonymous friend requests that allowed these unnamed persons access to her photos.
[Volokh is now being paid by the bracket, and has doubled his income! — Dave]
The young man tried to contact the subject of the documentary, and the judges stated that this wasn’t harassment. From the opinion:
In this case, both Appellant and Appellee agree the purpose of Appellant’s communication with Appellee was to inform her of the pending documentary. While the creation of this documentary certainly appears to be unwelcome, alerting Appellee to its existence was a legitimate reason for contact.
Oddly, the the communication TO the young woman was also considered protected, since it served a purpose.
Still, this relates directly to Brett Kimberlin and Bill Schmalfeldt, who claim harassment over things said about, but no to them. In most cases, the comments about them are restatements of fact and/or opinions based upon the facts. They demand that the courts act as censors of these comments. That’s Shutuppery.
Let’s hope that more courts and legislatures support the First Amendment.