November 10, 2006
South Carolina Frat Members Sue Over Appearances in "Borat"
Two as yet unnamed fraternity members are suing 20 Century Fox and three other companies over what they claim is their unsuspecting appearance in the hit movie Borat. Their attorney, Olivier Taillieu, says "They were induced to agree to participate and were told the name of the fraternity and the name of their school wouldn't be used." Read more here. You may remember Taillieu as one of the participants in the short-lived David E. Kelley 2005 reality show The Law Firm.
Google Faces Copyright Infringement Lawsuit; May Face Others
Google's recent SEC filing disclosed that it has been sued for copyright infringement, and now that it is acquiring the popular site YouTube, it may face further suits. Unwary users often upload copyrighted clips to YouTube and copyright owners are now approaching the website much more often to demand that those clips be taken down. Observers suggest that lawsuits may be filed in a flurry once Google completes its purchase of the innovative website. Read more here.
November 9, 2006
Reporters Without Borders Lists Thirteen Nations As Most Likely To Censor Online
The group Reporters Without Borders listed thirteen nations, including Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and Vietnam, which it says are the most likely to target bloggers, citizen journalists and other online opponents. Read more in a report by AP writer Verena Dobnik here.
FCC Reconsiders March 2006 Indecency Decisions
The FCC released the following with regard to "The 2003 Billboard Music Awards", "The Early Show", "The 2002 Billboard Music Awards" and "several episodes of "NYPD Blue", based on an opinion issued by the 2d Circuit.
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) today released an Order addressing several television indecency decisions that were remanded to the Commission by the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. As part of its March 15, 2006 Omnibus Indecency Order, the FCC originally found that the broadcasts of “The 2003 Billboard Music Awards,” “The Early Show,” “The 2002 Billboard Music Awards,” and several episodes of “NYPD Blue” were apparently indecent and profane. Penalties were not proposed, however, because of specific circumstances associated with the broadcasts.
In today’s Order, the Commission replaces its prior decisions about the above programs with new findings based on its review of affected licensee responses and public comments, and a fresh look at the issues raised by the broadcasts. Specifically, the FCC finds that the use of offensive language by participants in “The 2003 Billboard Music Awards” and “The 2002 Billboard Music Awards” was indecent and profane. The FCC also finds that the broadcast of the “S-Word” during “The Early Show” was neither indecent nor profane in this instance due to the fact that it occurred during news programming. Finally, the Commission dismisses the indecency complaint regarding the “NYPD Blue” episodes as inadequate to trigger enforcement action.
Read the entire release here.
Journalist Ed Bradley Dies
November 8, 2006
Wikipedia's Conflict of Interest Policy
Brock Read reports on a conflict of interest flap concerning a Wikipedia entry written by someone who knew a great deal about the subject in question--the originator of the theory under discussion. Anthony Benis (Wikipedia page now seems to be missing) could write in detail about "NPA personality theory" for Wikipedia because he developed the theory. Alerted by another Wikipedia contributor and blogger, the Wikipedia editors eventually took down the entry. Meanwhile, Slashdot.com took up the discussion. Read more here in the Chronicle of Higher Education. Here's a blogpost from the New Scientist Technology Blog that also discusses the situation.
November 6, 2006
Texas ADA Kills Himself As Police Move In to Arrest Him In "To Catch a Predator" Sting Operation
The Dallas Morning News, CBS News and MSNBC now report that an assistant district attorney for Rockwall County, Texas, Louis Conradt, Jr., shot himself fatally as police prepared to serve an arrest warrant on him for soliciting sex with a juvenile. He had been identified through a sting operation set up through Perverted Justice and the prime time NBC series Dateline. Read more here or here.
Defaming the Dead?
The November 5 New York TImes has an interesting article about a website called Legacy.com, which monitors online guest books, meant for mourners, in which some disaffected individuals try to post less than flattering comments about the dead. Employees, called "screeners", attempt to head off these comments before they appear online. Read the piece by Ian Urbina here.