Media Law Prof Blog

Editor: Christine A. Corcos
Louisiana State Univ.

A Member of the Law Professor Blogs Network

Saturday, June 4, 2005

Federal Judge Hears Arguments Over AP's Publication of SEAL Photos

U. S. District Judge Jeffrey Miller (U.S.D.C., Southern District of California) heard arguments Wednesday in a lawsuit charging that the AP violated both intellectual property and privacy rights by publishing photos AP reporter Seth Hetterna says were found on an Internet website, Smugmug.com. The photos seem to be of Iraqi prisoners and civilians perhaps being humiliated, terrorized, or treated inhumanely. After the AP obtained the photos, the Navy began an investigation. The AP claims that the photos were newsworthy. The SEALS and their families claim that the AP violated copyright and invaded the privacy of those service personnel depicted in the pictures.

A visit to www.smugmug.com reveals that files can be password protected. At the time that the AP reporter found the pictures, they were not, and the reporter purchased copies for 29 cents apiece. According to Hettena's article, someone has now taken down the pictures.

The lawsuit tracks a state suit proceeding through the California courts. Read reporter Hettena's original story here.  Read more about the case here.

June 4, 2005 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Friday, June 3, 2005

Intellectual Freedom Among Issues Examined in New Documentary Featuring Librarians

It had to happen. The image of librarians in popular culture has been under examination for a while now, and someone has finally gotten the funding to do a documentary that will deal with, among other things, librarians and "censorship and intellectual freedom."  (Thanks to Kevin Gray of the LSU Law Library for this item). A good many films feature librarians interacting with the law and the media, among them All the President's Men (in keeping with this month's Watergate theme--remember the White House librarian who first confirmed, then denied that someone checked out books on Senator Ted Kennedy, and that helpful fellow at the Library of Congress who gave Woodward and Bernstein all those checkout slips?) Various webpages try to list such films, though none are complete. See as examples Movie Librarians:  Notable Librarians and Libraries in Films and Librarians in the  Movies: An Annotated Filmography.

Stephen Walker and V. Lonnie Lawson discuss "The Librarian Stereotype and the Movies" in MC Journal: The Journal of Academic Media Librarianship. Read it here.

June 3, 2005 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

British Agency Rules KFC Ad OK

The British agency in charge of overseeing television commercials has ruled that a KFC ad showing people singing with their mouths full does not violate agency standards. The Advertising Standards Authority says that such behavior is not likely to encourage UK children to be more bad mannered than they already are. Unhappy parents had complained loudly to the ASA, saying that the commercial was already leading their young ones astray, according to a Media Guardian article. While the ASA was sympathetic it said that "once taught good table manners children would be unlikely to adversely change their behaviour simply by watching this commercial....We appreciated that some viewers found poor eating habits unpleasant to watch. In this case, care was taken to avoid the more unsavoury sight of food in the women's mouths. While the intention was clear, they were shown simply speaking with bulging cheeks." The ruling also addresses other objections, such as the dangers of overeating, and of eating too quickly, running the risk of choking, and suggests that in view of the power parents and others have in countering the effects of the commercial, the commercial does not breach the agency's standards.

Read the ASA's ruling here.

June 3, 2005 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, June 2, 2005

Bob Woodward Writes About "Deep Throat"

Bob Woodward talks about developing W. Mark Felt as his source in today's Washington Post. Read the article online here (you will have to register but it's free). Today's edition has several other interesting "Deep Throat" related pieces, including Howard Kurtz's account of how the Post lost the scoop to Vanity Fair, and how the Hollywood machine is already eagerly pursuing Felt and his family to turn the story into film fare.

June 2, 2005 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Louisiana Moves to Continue Building Film Industry

The (Baton Rouge) Morning Advocate reports that the Louisiana House has voted 76-20 to limit tax credits to movie producers companies after several films made in the state last year earned their makers far more in tax write-offs than initially predicted. House Bill 731 limits the credit to work done in Louisiana. Movie industry insiders had wanted more concessions. The bill now moves to the Louisiana Senate.

Among the films made in Louisiana over the past year were a remake of All the King's Men, Ray (scenes were shot in Baton Rouge, New Orleans, Thibodaux, Hammond, Jefferson Parrish and Laurel Valley, Louisiana) and The Dukes of Hazzard. Read the text of HB 731 here. See the Advocate's article here.

June 2, 2005 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, June 1, 2005

For More on the Mark Felt Story

Here is John O'Connor's "Vanity Fair" article. The Washington Post's Paul Fahri covers the story further in a June 1 article, "Deep Background." Robert McMcMillan of the Post discusses the pros and cons of releasing such a scoop online in "All the News That's Fit for Print".

June 1, 2005 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, May 31, 2005

2 New Blogs Join Law Professor Blogs Network

We are pleased to announce the launch of two new blogs as part of our Law Professor Blogs Network:

These blogs join our existing blogs:

LexisNexis is supporting our effort to expand the network into other areas of law.  Please email us if you would be interested in finding out more about starting a blog as part of our network.

May 31, 2005 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Still Awaiting Canadian Appellate Decision in Bangoura v. Washington Post

The Washington Post is challenging an Ontario court's ruling that it has jurisdiction to hear a former UN official's allegation that an Internet Post story defamed him. The appellate court heard arguments in early March.The Post claims that the case does not have sufficient contacts with Canada to justify the court's jurisdiction. The case has been compared to the Australian case of Dow-Jones v. Gutnick. Read the lower court's opinion here.

May 31, 2005 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)