Media Law Prof Blog

Editor: Christine A. Corcos
Louisiana State Univ.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Center for Media and Democracy's Follow-Up Report on "Fake TV News"

The Center for Media and Democracy has released a follow-up report on video news releases (VNRs) called "Still Not the News". The FCC has been investigating VNRs for some time, and Commissioner Jonathan Adelstein commended the CMD for its investigation in a statement recently.

November 17, 2006 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

FCC Chair Kevin Martin Confirmed For Second Term

Kevin J. Martin has been confirmed for a second term as Chair of the Federal Communications Commission. Here is his statement.

"I am deeply honored to have been confirmed by the Senate for a second term as Commissioner and Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission. I thank President Bush and the Congress for the privilege to continue to serve in his Administration and alongside my colleagues on the Commission.

I look forward to working with the Administration and Congress, as well as with my fellow Commissioners and the incredibly able staff at the FCC to ensure that all Americans share in the benefits and opportunities offered by the best communications system in the world. I will continue to work to provide a regulatory environment that promotes competition and drives investment and innovation while protecting consumers and promoting public safety."

Here is a link to the press release.

November 17, 2006 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Florida Appellate Court Reverses Lower Court on False Light Action

In a false light action filed against a newspaper, a Florida appellate court has ruled that the invasion of privacy claim is subject to a two-year statute of limitations that applies to defamation actions, rather than "the general four-year statute that applies to unspecified torts" and has reversed the lower court. The appellate court noted that its decision conflicts with another Florida appellate court's decision.  "Irrespective of the decisional conflict, we believe that our decision passes upon an important issue that should be addressed by the Supreme Court of Florida. Accordingly, we certify the following question as a question of great public importance: Is an action for invasion of privacy based on the false light theory governed by the two-year statute of limitations that applies to defamation claims or by the four-year statute that applies to unspecified tort claims?"

The case is Gannett v. Anderson, Case no. ID05-2179.

November 17, 2006 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, November 16, 2006

O. J. Simpson Offering Account of How He "Might" Have Murdered Nicole, Ron Goldman

According to the Fox Network and ReganBooks, which is publishing it, O.J. Simpson has written a volume called If I Did It, Here's How It Happened, apparently an account of how he might have killed his ex-wife Nicole Brown, and Ron Goldman, if he had done so. The publisher says she considers it "his confession." Simpson's attorney, Yale Galanter, says he knew nothing about the book until this week. Mr. Galanter had earlier denied The National Enquirer's reports that such a book was in the works. Mr. Simpson will discuss the book during an extended interview on the Fox network on November 27 and November 29. Barnes and Noble online is advertising this book at a list price of $24.95, discounted to 17.46. The cover shows a photo of Mr. Simpson, with the word "If" in white and the words "I Did It" in red. The announcement is already causing outrage among members of Brown's family and other supporters. Read more here and here.

November 16, 2006 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

BBC Techs Walk Out

BBC1 and 2 technicians walked out for 24 hours just as Parliament opened today. The labor action was called in a dispute over new work rules, and the union says it may walk out again later this month if it cannot resolve the problem with management. Read more here and here.

November 16, 2006 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Julie Hilden on Britney Spears' Defamation Suit Against US Weekly

Julie Hilden analyzes the dismissal of Britney Spears' defamation lawsuit against US Weekly and argues that the judge acted far too early--arguing that Spears might indeed have a claim. Read more here.

November 14, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

U. S. Supreme Court Denies Cert in "Da Vinci Code" Case

The Supreme Court has denied certiorari in the copyright infringement case that author Lewis Perdue brought against Dan Brown. Perdue alleged that Brown's best seller The Da Vinci Code, published in 2003, was substantially similar to Perdue's own Daughter of God, published in 2000. Perdue v. Brown, 2006 U.S. LEXIS 8569; 2006 WL 2332372 (U.S.), 75 USLW 3074.

The Second Circuit had affirmed the district court's judgment in favor of Brown.

"To establish copyright infringement, "two elements must be proven: (1) ownership of a valid copyright, and (2) copying of constituent elements of the work that are original."....In the case before us, the parties do not dispute that Appellant obtained valid copyrights for his books. Appellant therefore needs only to demonstrate that Appellees copied original, constituent elements of his books. In the absence of direct evidence, copying may be established by showing "(a) that the defendant had access to the copyrighted work and (b) the substantial similarity of protectible material in the two works." ....For purposes of the summary judgment motion, Appellees have conceded that they had access to Perdue's books. This case therefore turns on the second part of the test: "whether, in the eyes of the average lay observer, [The Da Vinci Code is] substantially similar to the protectible expression in [Daughter of God]." ....As to the copyrightable material in Appellant's books, the court concluded, on the basis of a comparison of "the similarities in such aspects as the total concept and feel, theme, characters, plot, sequence, pace, and setting of the [two sets of books]," that "no reasonable trier of fact could find the works substantially similar."....On that basis, the court granted summary judgment in favor of Appellees. Having considered the matter de novo, we now affirm the decision below for substantially the reasons given by the district court."

The case is Brown v. Perdue, 177 Fed. Appx. 121; 79 U.S.P.Q.2D (BNA) 1958; 34 Media L. Rep. 1609 (2006). Read more here.

November 14, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

The Infamous "Borat" Contract

Slate has posted a copy of the contract signed by participants in the "documentary" that turned out to be the film "Borat." Take a look here.

November 14, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, November 13, 2006

More on the Moore Lawsuit

Adam Liptak of the New York TImes covers the Daniel Moore/University of Alabama lawsuit over Moore's paintings of 'Bama athletes. The University claims that the artist's renditions of Crimson Tide players in their uniforms violate the school's trademark rights. Moore says his First Amendment rights allow him to paint sports scenes incorporating the players. Read more here. Read an earlier post here.

November 13, 2006 | 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:

November 13, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Seeking Your Input in a Survey of New Attorneys

LexisNexis has offered to help us (the Berkman Center's research initiative) learn more about how prepared new lawyers are for today’s legal work world by conducting a survey of recent graduates. I ask anyone with an interest in the topic to submit your suggestions for what this survey should entail. While not every question can be answered by this survey, I hope to get some good ideas as well as instigate some good discussion.

Because our project focuses on the influence of technology on practice and on education, I would especially appreciate questions that poke in that general direction.

So, to restate the question: As someone interested in legal education or training (whether you’re a law professor, law firm manager, CLE provider, director of professional development, legal technologist, associate, or law student), what did you wish you knew about today’s newest attorneys (say, those with 0-5 years of experience)? Also, given limited resources, should we attempt to survey one population (say, big firm associates) more thoroughly, or try to get participants from across practice settings?

Cross posted from the Law School Innovation Blog

November 13, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)