August 11, 2006
FCC Releases Reference Book of Rates, Price Indices, and Household Expenditures for Telephone Service
The FCC has released its annual Reference Book of Rates, Price Indices, and Household Expenditures for Telephone Service. See the press release here.
August 10, 2006
CBS To Air 9/11 Documentary In Spite of New Legislation, FCC Clampdown
In spite of the newly okayed increase in broadcast indecency fines, CBS plans to re-broadcast the documentary "9/11", made by French filmmakers Gedeon and Jules Naudet without cuts. The film, which first ran in 2002, has been updated and carries information about the surviving firefighters mentioned in the original. The filmmakers and CBS note that the strong language in "9/11" might offend, but think that it belongs within the context of the documentary. They plan to run advisories before the film airs. Read more in an article by Paul F. Gough here.
News of the World Editor Charged
Clive Goodman, the News of the World editor who covers the Royal Family for that paper, has been charged with multiple counts of intercepting royal phone messages. Other celebrities, including perhaps British politicians, may also have been victims of telephone hacking, according to an article in today's Media Guardian.
The Rules of Photographs
Patrick Barkham discusses how photographs--and photographers--may lie, and how the resulting fallout affects the media, in an article for the Media Guardian here. After Reuters ends its relationship with freelance journalist Adnan Hajj over allegedly doctored photos, the lens turns on the press once again.
Worldcat Now Available To Public
OCLC's Worldcat is now available to the public. A worldwide database listing books, periodicals, films, audiotapes and other materials held by libraries around the globe, it was previously available only to library users and will indicate which libraries hold particular materials. Get access here. (Oh, go ahead--type in your name).
August 9, 2006
The Future of Digital Archiving
Diane Zimmerman, New York University School of Law, has published "Can Our Culture Be Saved? The Future of Digital Archiving" as NYU Law School Public Research Paper 06-23. Here is the abstract.
The enormous interest and controversy generated by the Google Library project demonstrates three important points. First, the potential of digitization as a way to preserve works to prevent their loss and destruction is tremendous. Second, the potential of digitization as a way to given access to what is preserved without regard to a user's physical location is also both tremendously exciting and, from the copyright owner's perspective, horrifically threatening. Third, copyright as it is currently designed is likely to be a serious barrier to meaningful experimentation with new methods of preservation and access.
This article steps behind the Google Library controversy to examine in depth what the enormous public benefits that would flow from allowing a broad right of digitization for preservation purposes, and why such a right by necessity would require changes in existing copyright law. It also then asks whether we can realistically hope to "save" the fragile embodiments of our cultural life this way without making some provision for public access to the databases in which works are preserved. Finally, the article attempts to identify what the public-regarding goals of digital archiving for purposes of preservation should be, the responsibilities that would attach to the right to archive, and the kinds of compromises between the interests of the copyright owning community and the public that might be feasible to enable citizens of the world to create and protect their modern version of the Library of Alexandria.
Download the entire paper from SSRN here.
News of the World Journalists In Trouble With the Law--Again
Clive Goodman, who covers the Royal Family for the British paper News of the World, and two other men, have been detained by the police for allegedly intercepting telephone conversations out of Clarence House, the Prince of Wales' official residence. The News of the World recently lost a defamation suit brought by Tommy Sheridan, a Scottish politician. Earlier this year, one of NOTW's most famous reporters was involved in a sting operation which went awry, ending in a spectacular trial. Read more in a Media Guardian article here.
August 8, 2006
More on Access and Anti-Circumvention
Zohar Efroni, the Max Planck Institute for Intellectual Property, has published "Towards a Doctrine of "Fair Access" in Copyright: The Federal Circuit's Accord" in IDEA: The Intellectual Property Law Review. Here is the abstract.
This Article argues that the Federal Circuit in Chamberlain and Storage Tech is developing a parallel common law doctrine of fair access. As applied, this doctrine manifests the court's approach as to the appropriate balance between the interests of copyright owners and information users in the context of access to copyrighted works. It is parallel to the statutory approach due to its deviation from Congress's policy as reflected in the DMCA.
Applying the Hohfeldian model of fundamental jural relations to the anti-circumvention norms, the Article criticizes Chamberlain's theory, which argues that the anti-circumvention law did not establish a new property right allowing owners to prohibit access to their digital works.
In connection to a possible interpretation of the fair access doctrine that would allow fair use (and other copyright defenses) as a valid protection against anti-circumvention and anti-trafficking claims, it shall be argued that the Federal Circuit's decisions have paved the way not only for the incorporation of traditional copyright infringement defenses into the anti-circumvention law, but also provided solid arguments to defendants in cases where such defenses, and particularly statutory fair use, are inapplicable.
The court's analysis effectively opens up the door to an alternative judicial approach of anti-circumvention construction - the fair access doctrine. In light of the legislature's bewilderedness as to if and how to modify the flawed access control provisions of the DMCA, Its development in the course of future disputes could furnish an effective shield for defendants in circumstances of unjustified application of the anticircumvention rules.
Download the entire article from SSRN here.
Open Access to Legal Scholarship
Michael Carroll, Villanova School of Law, has published "The Movement For Open Access Law" in the Lewis & Clark Law Review. Here is the abstract.
My claim in this contribution to this important symposium is that the law and legal scholarship should be freely available on the Internet, and copyright law and licensing should facilitate achievement of this goal. This claim reflects the combined aims of those who support the movement for open access law. This nascent movement is a natural extension of the well-developed movement for free access to primary legal materials and the equally well-developed open access movement, which seeks to make all scholarly journal articles freely available on the Internet. Legal scholars have only general familiarity with the first movement and very little familiarity with the second. In this contribution, I demonstrate the linkages between these movements and briefly outline the argument for open access law.
Download the entire paper from SSRN here.
Consumer "Fair Use" and Copyrighted Works
Alan Durham, University of Alabama School of Law, has published "Consumer Modification of Copyrighted Works" in the Indiana Law Journal. Here is the abstract.
Much existing scholarship focuses on the rights of authors to modify copyrighted works; this article explores of the rights of consumers. Advances in technology are providing consumers new opportunities to alter copyrighted works for their private enjoyment. The recent dispute involving the ClearPlay technology for skipping offensive content in DVDs demonstrates how important, and how controversial, the clash of interests between authors and consumers may be. In this article, I consider the state of the law on consumer modifications and the arguments, both economic and non-economic, for expanding or restricting the freedom of consumers. A distinction can be drawn between modifications performed on behalf of consumers and modifications performed by consumers, perhaps using tools supplied by others. I conclude by advocating a “safe harbor” for certain modifications performed by consumers for their own use.
Download the entire article from SSRN here.
August 7, 2006
New Jersey Allows Phone Companies To Provide Pay TV
New Jersey is joining several other states in allowing telephone companies to provide pay tv services and therefore more competition for Cablevision and Comcast, the two cable tv providers in the state. Lawmakers and consumers hope cable tv rates will come down. Read more here.
RIAA Sues File Sharing Software Company
The Recording Industry Association of America is suing LimeWire, a company which distributes file-sharing software, for encouraging users to pirate music. Sony, Vivendi, Time-Warner, and EMI filed the lawsuit in federal district court in New York City on a copyright infringement theory. Read more here in the New York Times.
UK Politician Wins Libel Verdict Against News of the World
Scottish politico Tony Sheridan has won a two hundred thousand pound libel verdict against News of the World after a sensational trial, in which he fired an attorney and took on his own case. The newspaper had alleged that he engaged in sex orgies and visited "swingers' clubs." Peter Preston of the Media Guardian analyzes the case, and its possible fall-out, here.
Reuters Says It Will No Longer Use Lebanese Photographer's Work
Reuters has dropped Lebanese photographer Adnan Hajj after allegations surfaced that he had enhanced an image of a photo to show more smoke above Beirut after an Israeli air strike. Read more in the Media Guardian here. The news agency has also eliminated Hajj's photos from its database. Read more here.
Time Warner Must Continue To Carry NFL Games on Newly Acquired Stations
The FCC has ruled that Time Warner must continue to carry NFL games on its newly acquired Adelphia and Comcast stations until the Commission resolves issues raised by the NFL in an emergency petition filed earlier. Time Warner had discontinued carriage of the games without notice to its subscribers on August 1. The FCC ordered Time Warner to reinstate service; Time Warner requested a review of that order. Here is a link to the FCC's Order on Reconsideration, dated August 7, 2006.