Media Law Prof Blog

Editor: Christine A. Corcos
Louisiana State Univ.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

International Commission of Jurists Issues Report Detailing Concerns Over Nepalese Ban on Media Freedoms

In a report called "Power to Silence: Nepal's New Media Ordinance", the International Commission of Jurists has detailed its concerns about the Nepalese government's newly passed restrictions against the media. After measuring the restrictions against rights guaranteed in the Nepalese constitution and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), to which Nepal is a party, the ICJ made several recommendations, among which are the following: the government should consider decriminalizing defamation; imprisonment should never be an option for a media-related offense, and government should cease all proceedings against FM broadcast stations. The Nepalese Supreme Court has already ordered a temporary halt to the ban.

December 15, 2005 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Teaching Fellowships for Aspiring Law Professors

For practitioners and others contemplating joining the law professor ranks, many law schools offer wonderful opportunities to transition into the legal academy with one- or two-year fellowships which allow you to enter the AALS Faculty Recruitment Conference (the "meat market") armed with teaching experience and published scholarship under your belt:

A great discussion of many of these fellowship programs can be found in Patricia A. Cain (Iowa) & Faith Pincus (Iowa), Faculty Fellowship Programs That Lead to Law Teaching.

For more information on becoming a law professor, including a discussion of the advantages of these fellowship programs, see:

[Thanks to Paul Caron's TaxProf Blog for this post.]

December 15, 2005 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Appellate Court Upholds Dismissal of Charges Against Rappers

A French appeals court has upheld a lower court ruling that the rap group Sniper did not break the law by performing songs during an April 2004 concert which contained lyrics that police considered violent. Meanwhile, many members of the nation's legislature are demanding that rap be curbed, citing the recent widespread riots and linking the music to the violence. Read more here.

December 14, 2005 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Second Conviction Under Family Entertainment and Copyright Act of 2005

Mark Hoaglin pled guilty yesterday to posting a copyrighted film (Star Wars III: Revenge of the Sith) on the Internet in violation of the Family Entertainment and Copyright Act of 2005. He could receive up to three years in prison. Hoaglin said he received the copy of the movie from a colleague, and he uploaded it the day before it premiered. Read more here.

December 14, 2005 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

NBC Cuts Pam Anderson Pole Dance, Slated for Elton John Special

NBC decided to cut Pamela Anderson's pole dance from Monday night's Elton John "Red Piano" special previously taped at Caesar's Palace in Las Vegas, although the segment was said to have been included in preview copies and was mentioned in ads. The network's standards and practices department decided that the performance was not appropriate for the time slot, 8 p.m. Eastern Standard Time. Read more here.

December 14, 2005 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

The Demsetzian Trend in Copyright Law

Brett M. Frischmann, Loyola University of Chicago Law School, has written "The Demsetzian Trend in Copyright Law", which is available through SSRN. Here is the abstract.

Copyright law provides an excellent case study with which to study and evaluate Harold Demsetz's theory of property rights. Regardless of how one feels about the relationship between property and intellectual property, it is hard to escape the fact that intellectual property rights have expanded and grown more property-like and more privatized in recent decades. There has been an undeniable Demsetzian trend in copyright law.

In this article, I critique the Demsetzian trend in copyright law and challenge some of the fundamental premises upon which the normative arguments for continued privatization and propertization of intellectual resources rest. First, I focus on the perceived benefits of internalizing externalities. I argue that externalities do not necessarily distort incentives or, more generally, the market allocation of resources. For many externalities, there is no efficiency benefit to internalization (whether internalization is accomplished by Pigouvian taxes/subsidies or property rights). In the end, the benefits of internalization must be carefully assessed rather than assumed. The view that increasing the degree of internalization through private property rights inevitably leads to increased incentives to invest in creation or distribution is not well-established in either theory or practice.

Second, I focus on the frequently invoked solution of efficient licensing and the "logic" that property rights should be extended "into every corner in which people derive enjoyment and value . . . [so that] signals of consumer preference [may] trigger and direct [producers'] investments" (Goldstein, 1994). I argue that there is a fundamental flaw in this logic that undermines the efficient licensing hypothesis. Social demand for individuals' access to and use of copyright protected works often exceeds private demand. Purchasers'/licensees' willingness to pay reflects only their private demand and does not take into account value that others might realize as a result of their use. As I explain, many uses of copyrighted works generate value for third-parties.

Finally, drawing from the first two points, I argue that, from a Coasean perspective, both externalities and property rights have symmetrical and reciprocal potentials to distort the market allocation of resources. A priori and devoid of context, one cannot say that the potential distortions caused by a property right, externality, or incremental change in a property right have a net positive or negative effect on social welfare.

December 13, 2005 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, December 12, 2005

Author of Fake Seigenthaler Entry Says It Was a Joke

The author of the faked biographical entry on John Seigenthaler Sr. says it was a joke written earlier this year to shock a co-worker. Brian Chase, who worked at a Nashville, Tennessee, delivery company, has since resigned and apologized to Seigenthaler. Read more here and here.

December 12, 2005 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Court-Martial Proceedings Dropped Against Soldier Accused of Faking Abuse Photos

The UK's Crown Prosecution Service has decided to drop court-martial proceedings against Stuart Mackenzie, an army private whom it accused of faking photographs of abuse against Iraqi prisoners. The Daily Mirror obtained the photos and published them in 2004. Questions about the photos surfaced quickly, and the Mirror acknowledged that they were not authentic and apologized for running them. The Daily Mirror' subsequently fired its editor, Piers Morgan. Read more here.

December 12, 2005 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

"City Slickers" Verdict--And What It Means

The recent conviction of the "CIty Slickers", two British journalists who used their column for financial gain, troubles a Guardian financial writer. Read more here.

December 12, 2005 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Bootlegging Movies in New York

Read about the continuing problem of movie piracy in New York here in an article by David Caruso.

December 12, 2005 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Section 230 and Liability for Wikipedia

Findlaw's Anita Ramasastry suggests that Section 230 of the CDA may go too far if it immunizes sites like Wikipedia against defamation suits like the one John Seigenthaler could have filed recently. Read more here.

December 12, 2005 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)