Marc Randazza

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Marc J. Randazza
Born Marc John Randazza
(1969-11-26) November 26, 1969 (age 48)
Gloucester, Massachusetts, USA
Nationality American and Italian (dual nationality)
Alma mater University of Massachusetts Amherst (Journalism, 1994)
Georgetown University Law Center (J.D., 2000)
University of Florida (M.A., Mass Communication, 2003)
Università di torino Facoltà di Giurisprudenza (L.L.M. International IP Law, 2014)[1]
Occupation First Amendment Attorney

Marc J. Randazza is a First Amendment attorney, a commentator on CNN and Fox News on legal matters, and the editor of the law blog The Legal Satyricon.[2]

Early life and education[edit]

Randazza was born in Gloucester, Massachusetts, on November 26, 1969. He graduated from Gloucester High School in 1987. Randazza attended the University of Massachusetts Amherst, where he majored in journalism.[3] Randazza worked as a journalist and in advertising in Washington, D.C., Palermo, Rome, New York City, and Miami.[4] In 1996, Randazza was inspired to attend law school by the film The People vs. Larry Flynt.[citation needed] He attended Georgetown University Law Center and graduated in 2000.[citation needed] During law school, he interned for Denise Johnson of the Vermont Supreme Court.[citation needed] He continued his First Amendment education by attending the University of Florida, where he earned a master's degree in communications,[citation needed] writing his thesis on vote pairing, which was cited by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.[5]


Randazza is licensed to practice law in Massachusetts (2002), Florida (2003), California (2010), Arizona (2010), and Nevada (2012).[6] Randazza's first case was representing a fraternity at Boston University when the brothers of that fraternity were accused of destroying their house and other misconduct. He then began practicing in Florida as a real estate attorney. He quickly returned to the First Amendment and media field, taking on representation of an adult bookstore in Fort Myers, Florida. Soon thereafter, he moved to Orlando, Florida where his practice in First Amendment and media law expanded. He started representing defendants in SLAPP suits,[7] pornography businesses, protestors, in often unpopular constitutional law matters.

In 2004, his University of Florida thesis gained attention as vote pairing became a minor issue during the 2004 election. Randazza was asked to debate the issue on Fox News, and thereafter has been a frequent legal commentator on television and in print. Randazza served as a professor of law at Barry University School of Law, located in Orlando, Florida.[8][9] where he taught First Amendment law, copyright law, trademark law, and entertainment law.

Randazza has a practice that primarily focuses on the areas of First Amendment litigation, adult entertainment, trademark and copyright litigation, and domain name arbitration disputes.[10] He has represented a number of well-known adult entertainment companies including, Bang Bus, and Milf Hunter. He also represents media businesses such as BME and bloggers in SLAPP suits.[11][12]

Adult entertainment law[edit]

Randazza has gained notoriety for handling high-profile First Amendment cases and for his defense of the adult entertainment field.[13]

Randazza was named one of the Top 50 newsmakers of the adult entertainment industry by XBIZ World Magazine for the year 2011.[14]


He represented Anthony Ciolli, one of the administrators of AutoAdmit in the high-profile case regarding that website, securing his dismissal from that case. He has represented the defendant in Beck v. Eiland-Hall, a case before the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) filed by political commentator Glenn Beck, concerning a satire website parodying Beck.[15][16] The WIPO arbitrator ruled against Beck in the case, and in favor of Randazza's client.[17] Citizen Media Law Project assistant director Sam Bayard said of the WIPO arbitrator's decision, "It's good to see that this WIPO arbitrator had no interest in allowing Beck to circumvent the guarantees of the U.S. Constitution".[17] He went on to congratulate Randazza, "Congratulations to Marc for this big victory and for his innovative brief that not only won the case, but also brought 'Mr. Spock Ate My Balls' into the legal lexicon."[17]

Randazza has been criticized by feminists for supporting Rush Limbaugh and the rights of the adult film industry as well as his representation of adult film companies in copyright infringement cases[citation needed]. However, despite representing copyright plaintiffs, in late 2011, Randazza and his firm effectively killed Righthaven, a "copyright troll" company briefly infamous for buying limited rights to copyrighted works for the sole purpose of bringing lawsuits against alleged infringers.[18][19] On May 9, 2013, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit affirmed the lower court's decision dismissing the case for lack of standing.[20] Righthaven complained of what it called Randazza's "scorched earth judgment enforcement efforts" in its legal filings.[21] This is consistent with Randazza's use of the Latin term murum aries attigit when he defends defamation cases. In addition, in October 2012, Randazza launched a crowdsourced investigation of the "revenge porn" site IsAnybodyDown?, run by Craig Brittain and Chance Trahan, which posted women's nude photos and personal contact information while advertising the services of the non-existent "takedown lawyer David Blade III", who promised to have the photos removed for a fee. Randazza described his approach, "When it comes to porn, here are my rules: Rule #1: The subjects must be adults. Rule #2: The subjects must be consenting adults. If you don't break either of those rules, I am on your side. I will defend your right to make, watch, display, and sell that content. Break either rule, and I want to hurt you for the damage you do to others".[22]

In January 2012, he discussed being admitted to the Nevada Bar, his plans to reform nationwide anti-SLAPP legislation, and changes to copyright protections as a result of Righthaven.[23]

In 2013, Randazza was instrumental in lobbying the Nevada legislature to update Nevada's Anti-SLAPP statute.[24][25] This brought Nevada's Anti-SLAPP statute up to date, and in line with California, Oregon, and Washington, thus protecting free speech in Nevada to the same extent it is protected in the West Coast states.

On June 8, 2015, Governor Sandoval signed Nevada Senate bill 444,[26] which in its initial form, stood to largely repeal the Nevada Anti-SLAPP law.[27] The initial form of the law was backed by casino mogul, Steve Wynn. Randazza lobbied to keep the statute in its speech-protective form.[28]

On September 30, 2015 Randazza prevailed in his defense of Dr. Steven Novella in a SLAPP case in Florida, filed against him by Edward Tobinick.[29] Edward Tobinick filed a civil action in Florida Southern District Court naming Novella, Yale University, Society for Science-Based Medicine, Inc. and SGU Productions, LLC as defendants.[30] The main allegations of the action were that "in violation of the Lanham Act, Novella has and continues to publish a false advertisement disparaging Plaintiffs entitled 'Enbrel for Stroke and Alzheimer's', ('the 'Advertisement') and implying that the INR plaintiffs' use of entanercept is ineffective and useless;" and "The Advertisement is extremely inflammatory and defamatory in nature as it contains multiple false and misleading statements of fact regarding Plaintiffs." "The Advertisement" referred to in the action is an entry for the Science-Based Medicine blog that Novella wrote and posted on May 8, 2013.[31]

Randazza filed an Anti-SLAPP motion in the under the California Anti-SLAPP law, despite the case being in Florida.[32] The motion was granted, since one of the plaintiffs was from California.[32] It was successful, and the federal court awarded Novella a victory in the case.[33] "As a prevailing defendant, Novella is entitled to recover his attorney's fees and costs under the anti-SLAPP statute. Cal. Civ. Proc. Code § 425.16(c)(1). He may seek to recover his fees and costs by separate motion." [32]

Thereafter, Tobinick's strategy was focused the "false advertising" claims under the United States' Lanham Act. Tobinick was unable to show that Novella had profited from his blog post or that it was in any way an advertisement. " [34]

On October 21, 2015, Randazza prevailed in another high profile free speech case involving the website Pissed Consumer. Randazza represented the consumer review website when a diet company, Roca Labs, brought a defamation claim against them.[35] In that case, Roca Labs sued the company, but then accused Randazza of bribery.[36] Roca Labs then sued Randazza personally for defamation.[37] Roca Labs sought a prior restraint against Pissed Consumer, which Randazza defeated.[38] Ultimately, Randazza prevailed at summary judgment.[35]

On March 14, 2017 MormonLeaks released a letter written by Randazza addressed to the Intellectual Property Office of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.[39] The letter is a response to a DMCA take-down request MormonLeaks had received from the LDS Church concerning a PowerPoint slide deck leaked in late February 2017.[40] Randazza claimed that MormonLeaks had obtained the document "lawfully and had a right to distribute it in its capacity as a journalistic resource devoted to discussing facts about the LDS Church." He compared the Church's attempt to censor the document to a "single candle [knocked] over into a field of dried leaves" claiming that the "attempted censorship simply caused the document to be further reproduced and redistributed that even a hypothetical divine being could not possibly undo the dissemination."[41]

On September 19, 2017 Randazza represented MormonLeaks once again in response to a DMCA take-down request, but this time from the heirs of Bruce R. McConkie in response to the July 24, 2017 release of 37 never-before-published documents penned by McConkie.[42][43] Randazza claimed the documents were obtained and published legally under fair use. He accused the McConkie family of censorship saying "...the purpose of copyright law is to incentivize the creation of original works of authorship. It is not a tool for censorship."[44]

Arbitration Proceedings[edit]

On June 3, 2015, there was an interim arbitration award against Randazza involving Liberty Media Holdings LLC, for whom Randazza had been General Counsel from 2009 to 2012. The Ars Technica article[45] on that case referenced a statement from Randazza's arbitration attorney to the Law Society of Upper Canada calling the arbitrator's neutrality into question. The arbitration dispute arose following Randazza's departure from Liberty and his filing of employment claims against them. Liberty's counterclaims against Randazza in the arbitration focused on allegations Randazza had negotiated bribes from opposing parties in copyright litigation, engaged in conflicts of interest, destroyed evidence, unjustly enriched himself, and committed other breaches of fiduciary duty. Following two and a half years of arbitration proceedings, the arbitrator issued an interim award in favor of Liberty and against Randazza on all claims.[46] Following his arbitration loss, Randazza filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

Klingon language[edit]

On April 27, 2016, Randazza filed a friend of the court brief in the lawsuit by Paramount Pictures and CBS against Axanar Productions on behalf of the Language Creation Society. The lawsuit concerned a 21 minute fan made short film, Prelude to Axanar. Paramount Pictures and CBS claimed, among other things, that the film infringed their rights by making use of the Klingon language.[47][48][49] Randazza argued that Klingon is a living language,[50] and as such, is a "state of mind"[51]—a system or process, which cannot be copyrighted, unlike a work.[52] Randazza contended that since Klingon was invented in the 1980s, the language has expanded past its origins, pointing to examples like dictionaries,[53] translations of Shakespeare, the Klingon Language Institute,[54] official government statements, a wedding conducted in Klingon, and translation service available through Bing.[55] To support its point,[52][56] portions of the brief were written in Klingon, employing the Klingon alphabet.[55][57]

Response to the brief was generally positive. Attorney and blogger Kevin Underhill called it "a terrific brief",[58] and Attorney Ken White of Popehat wrote that "Marc continues to demonstrate that legal writing can be entertaining, irreverent, and persuasive at the same time."[59] In an article on the blog Mental Floss, Linguist Arika Okrent particularly praised the incorporation of the Klingon Language into arguments.[60] Ethan Chiel of Fusion called the brief "a joy to read" and remarked that it was "wonderful to see what is essentially (very serious) fun being had in demonstrating a point in a legal proceeding."[53]

Approximately three weeks after the brief was filed, in an interview on May 20, 2016, J.J. Abrams said that Paramount would drop the lawsuit "within the next few weeks."[61][62] Abrams further stated that he pushed the studio to stop the lawsuit because "we realized this is not the appropriate way to deal with the fans."[61][63]


Randazza has handled a number of "cameras in the courtroom" cases, defending the rights of the news media to attend and televise courtroom proceedings. Most notably, Randazza successfully argued this issue against Alan Dershowitz. In that case, Randazza represented Courtroom View Network in its quest to televise a highly publicized trial in Las Vegas involving the Las Vegas Sands.[64]

In July 2012, VegasInc and named Randazza one of Las Vegas' Top Lawyers.

On Oct. 1, 2014, Randazza was named by Desert Companion Magazine to its top lawyers in Southern Nevada list.[65]


The Satanic Temple[edit]

In May 2018 The Satanic Temple (TST) sued Twitter for religious discrimination with pro bono support from Randazza.[66] Some members of TST objected to the use of Randazza because of his representation of clients on the far-right (including Alex Jones, Mike Cernovich, and The Daily Stormer).

In August, the Los Angeles chapter of TST disaffiliated in protest, calling Randazza a "Twitter troll and an agent of the alt-right."[67][68][69]

Nevada State Bar Disciplinary Proceedings[edit]

On July 23, 2018, Randazza filed an appeal with the Nevada Supreme Court of a disbarment recommendation made by the Southern Nevada Disciplinary Panel. The disbarment recommendation came after the Disciplinary Panel found “true” allegations of violations of Nevada Rules of Professional Conduct 1.4 (Communication), 1.7 (Conflict of Interest: Current Clients), 1.8 (Conflict of Interest: Current Clients: Specific Rules), 1.10 (Imputation of Conflicts of Interest), 1.15 (Safekeeping Property), 1.16 (Declining or Terminating Representation), 2.1 (Advisor), 5.6 (Restrictions on Right to Practice), and 8.4 (Misconduct).[70]

Selected legal commentary in the mass media[edit]

Date* Topic Print/broadcast entity
September 30, 2006 Violent video games and the First Amendment Fox News[71]
January 16, 2007 Online gambling CNBC[72]
April 10, 2007 Don Imus's Rutgers women's basketball controversy Fox News Channel[73]
June 7, 2007 The f-bomb Orlando Weekly[13]
July 1, 2008 Bauer v. Wikimedia defamation case, and Section 230 WABC New York[74]
August 7, 2008 United States vs. Karen Fletcher (2006) PC World[75]
January 15, 2009 Natalie Dylan controversy Fox News[76]
March 3, 2009 The Auto Admit Case National Public Radio[74]
March 11, 2012 It's un-American to silence Rush Limbaugh CNN[77]
July 31, 2012 Chick-fil-A and free speech CNN[78]
August 30, 2013 "N.J. Texting Ruling is Not What You Think"   CNN
April 30, 2014 "What Happened to Sterling was Wrong"   CNN
May 15, 2014 "We Need a 'Right to be Forgotten'"   CNN
May 29, 2014 "Posting Elliot Rodger's Video is Legal, but is it Right?"   CNN
June 21, 2014 "Why Redskins Decision is Wrong"   CNN
August 4, 2014 "ESPN's Stephen Smith is Entitled to His Opinion"   CNN
December 7, 2014 "Should we always believe the victim?"   CNN
March 6, 2015 "Why Schools Should Observe 'Day of the Dude'"   CNN
March 20, 2015 "What We Risk When We Ban Racist Speech"   CNN
March 23, 2015 "What's Wrong with Saying the Pledge in Arabic?"   CNN
April 23, 2015 "Decision on Asian-American Band's Name is Wrong"   CNN
May 4, 2015 "We Don't Shoot People for Bigoted Views"   CNN
May 12, 2015 "Why You Should Speak Up for Slain Blogger"   CNN
January 21, 2016 "Passenger who beat his Uber driver should drop his countersuit"   CNN
January 27, 2016 "For Missouri professor, the law bites back"   CNN
May 26, 2016 "Is Peter Thiel right about Gawker?"   CNN
December 16, 2016 "Does Melania Trump's libel suit really threaten a free press?" CNN
March 17, 2017 "MormonLeaks website squares off with Mormon Church, posts leaked ‘Enemies List’"   Washington Post
April 24, 2017 "Dear Berkeley: Even Ann Coulter deserves free speech"   CNN
May 5, 2017 "Jail for laughing protester is an outrage"   CNN
May 19, 2017 "Why Turkish embassy violence is unforgivable"   CNN
June 19, 2017 "Rock band The Slants' victory in court secures your rights"   CNN
August 8, 2017 "Randazza: Outrage over Google memo goes too far"   CNN
October 2, 2017 "The best way to respond to Las Vegas massacre"   CNN
November 7, 2017 "Randazza: Even Trump has a right to free speech"   CNN
March 22, 2018 "Randazza: Scottish comedian's Nazi salute dog video was awful. But it wasn't a crime"   CNN
* Nonexhaustive list[79]

Published works[edit]

Year Article Magazine / Journal
2001 "The Constitutionality of Online Vote Swapping"   34 Loyola of Los Angeles Law Review 1297
"Breaking Duverger's Law is not Illegal: Strategic Voting, the Internet and the 2000 Presidential Election" 2001 UCLA Journal of Law and Technology 6
2002 "Getting to Yes With Terrorists"   2002 Michigan State University Law Review 823
2003 "Cats Are Cats and Dogs Are Dogs But Neither is a Fish or a Bird (the Prisco Decision)"   [permanent dead link] 25 Actionline 4
"Copyright and the Clubhouse"   November 2003 Condo Management
"Copyright Issues for Free Fall Photographers"   [permanent dead link] October 2003 Skydiving Magazine
"Character Counts: Defamation Law for Community Associations"   [permanent dead link] January 2003 Community Update
2004 "The Other Election Controversy of Y2K: Core First Amendment Values and High-Tech Political Coalitions"   82 Washington University Law Quarterly 143
2005 "Republicans Save US Jobs"   [permanent dead link] May 2005 XBIZ
"Foreign Content and Section 2257"   [permanent dead link] June 2005 XBIZ
"2257 Regs a Boon to Patriotic Porn Producers"   [permanent dead link] June 2005 Adult Video News
"Condo Casino! Gambling in Florida Community Associations"   [permanent dead link] 79 Florida Bar Journal 8
2006 "The Florida Supreme Court Dulls the Edge of Rule 1.420(e)" 80 Florida Bar Journal 39
2007 "Gambling in America’s Senior Communities" (Daniel Russell, co-author) 8 Marquette Elder Law Advisor 343
2013 "The Need for a Unified and Cohesive National Anti-SLAPP Law" 91 Oregon Law Review 627
"Nevada's New Anti-SLAPP Law: The Silver State Sets the Gold Standard" 21 Nevada Lawyer Magazine 7
2015 "The Legal Status of Making Adult Films in Nevada" 23 Nevada Lawyer Magazine 20
2016 "Freedom of Expression and Morality Based Impediments to the Enforcement of Intellectual Property Rights" 16 Nevada Law Journal 107
2016 "Lenz v. Universal: A Call to Reform Section 512(f) of the DMCA and to Strengthen Fair Use" 18 Vanderbilt Journal of Entertainment & Technology Law __
2016 "Ulysses: A Mighty Hero in the Fight for Freedom of Expression" 11 University of Massachusetts Law Review 268


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External links[edit]