Press Release

Cooley Files Amicus Curiae Brief Defending Wikimedia’s First Amendment Rights

December 11, 2023

San Francisco – December 11, 2023 – Cooley filed an amicus curiae brief on behalf of the Wikimedia Foundation in two US Supreme Court cases, NetChoice, LLC v. Paxton and Moody v. NetChoice, LLC, to be argued in 2024. Partner Kathleen Hartnett led the Cooley team.

The cases address Texas House Bill 20 and Florida Senate Bill 7072, which prohibit website operators from banning users or removing speech and content based on the viewpoints and opinions of the users in question. Although the drafters may have intended to target large, commercially run social media platforms, the laws are written so broadly that they could potentially be applied to volunteer-run projects, like Wikipedia.

Cooley’s brief argues that the bills are unconstitutionally vague, as their definitions of “social media platforms” and other terms are so broad that they could potentially be applied to any website or service that allows people to exchange information over the internet – including Wikipedia and its long-standing volunteer-led systems of content moderation. The brief also argues that the bills violate the First Amendment prohibition of compelled speech, and that if these laws were applied to Wikimedia projects, they would violate the constitutional First Amendment rights of volunteer contributors by restricting them from editing and improving information on the platform.

Read the full brief

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