Rachel Ann Stephens

Rachel Ann Stephens is a second-year at University of North Carolina Law with a passion for media law and its interaction with entertainment mediums such as film, television, and video games.

Can I sue for libel?

Defamation is a catch-all term for any statement that hurts someone’s reputation, that can be divided into “slander” which are spoken statements, and “libel” for written. A person who believes he or she has been defamed by another can sue the person who did the defaming for damages. Libel law varies by state, but overall …

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What is § 230 Immunity?

The internet is sometimes perceived as a largely unregulated place because of the sheer volume of content that can be uploaded and shared, as well as the seemingly anonymous nature of what can happen online. Providing stability in this swirling chaos are Internet Service Providers (ISPs), that act as a hub for activity and content …

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What is libel?

Libel is complicated and often difficult to litigate; however, it is one of the few ways speech is allowed to be restricted under the First Amendment and, in my opinion, has produced some of the most interesting court opinions in American jurisprudence. A few of my favorites include Evel Knievel bringing a defamation suit against …

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What is a trademark? And what is fair use of a trademark?

We see trademarks every day. Ones that we recognize, like Coca-Cola, Apple, Exxon, Pepsi and Ford, and ones that may go unnoticed, like the color of a Tiffany’s blue box. A trademark is a word, phrase, slogan, symbol, design, or combination that (1) identifies the good or service and (2) distinguishes source. Trademarks can (but …

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When does a spiritual successor become copyright infringement?

The world of video game creation has unique challenges in spiritual successors or homage works. Some of these works defeat challenges of copyright infringement while others do not. For example, 2014 game TxK was sent a letter by Atari threatening action due to the similarities between TxK and Artari’s classic Tempest. What is a spiritual successor? …

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Terms of Service and Clarity

Update: 1/26/2019: Unity has updated its terms. Over the past week, the video game world has been closely following the tumultuous relations between Improbable, Unity and Epic Games centering on an interpretation of an update (or clarification) of Unity’s Terms of Service. This case has brought into the spotlight an ordinary and extremely common contract: Terms …

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