Devin Nunes is a US Congressman and former dairy farmer from California. Imagine his surprise when a member of his cow herd started a twitter account that focused on Nunes’s failings as a politician. That account was quickly joined by several other parody accounts, including one purporting to be his mother. Nunes responded by filing multiple lawsuits against the offending accounts, against Twitter, and against lobbyist Liz Mair, claiming hundreds of millions of dollars in damages.
Yet the courts have typically protected parody and satire under the First Amendment to the US Constitution, giving the lawsuits little chance of winning in court. But Nunes filed the claims in Virginia, a state with few penalties for frivolous lawsuits, meaning that even in failure Nunes’s lawsuits may still intimidate his critics and tie them up in a long, expensive legal battle. Liz Mair joins Paul and Will to discuss Nunes, his cow, and how the lawsuit has created an internet backlash drawing even more attention to the parody accounts than before.
Who is Devin Nunes and why is he upset? Why is he suing Twitter, Liz Mair, other parties? What did Liz Mair do? What is the Streisand effect? What is an anti-SLAP law? What are the biggest changes to communication in the political world due to technological advances and social media?
Read the Pointed Tweets That Led to a Congressman to Sue Twitter, written by Rachel E. Greenspan
The Federalist No. 76, written by Alexander Hamilton
Will EU Copyright Break the Internet?, Building Tomorrow Podcast
Free Speech Online, Free Thoughts Podcast