Friday, March 23, 2007
The FCC has released its first report on the state of competition in the satellite industry. Here is the text of its press release. Here are links to statements by Commissioners Copps, Adelstein, and Tate.
Washington, D.C. – Today, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) adopted its
First Annual Report to Congress on the state of competition in the communications satellite services industry. This inaugural report examines six wholesale and two retail satellite services markets for the period of 2000 through 2006.
The FCC finds effective competition in the satellite markets addressed, based on a range of standard economic indicators commonly used to assess market concentration, conduct and performance. As the initial review of the satellite services sector, the Report provides a brief outline of the history and structure of the industry, and identifies certain capacity and pricing aspects specific to the sector, and notes intermodal competition from terrestrial technologies. At Congress’ direction, the Report also discusses the Commission’s policies regarding foreign participants’ entry into the U.S. market, and as well as U.S. companies’ ability to access to certain foreign markets.
The FCC concludes that the commercial satellite services sector continues to benefit U.S. consumers, government at all levels and American industry by providing important connectivity and ongoing technology innovation.
Action by the Commission March 22, 2007 by Report (FCC 07-34). Chairman Martin, Commissioners Tate, and McDowell, with Commissioners Copps and Adelstein concurring. Separate statements issued by Commissioners Copps, Adelstein, and Tate.
[From a PCMLP Announcement]
Monroe E Price International Media Law Moot Court Competition
The Programme in Comparative Media Law and Policy at the Centre for Socio-Legal Studies, Oxford University, is pleased to announce the launch of the Monroe E Price International Media Law Moot Court Competition. The goal of this competition is to encourage interest in international standards of protection of media freedom and to encourage interest in media defence work among students worldwide. The case is scheduled to be announced in September 2007, and the finals of the First competition will take place in Oxford in March 2008. For more details, see the website: http://pricemootcourt.socleg.ox.ac.uk/ The competition will take place annually.
Thursday, March 22, 2007
U. S. District Judge Lowell Reed has ruled that the Child Online Protection Act (COPA) "facially violates the First and Fifth Amendment rights of the plaintiffs" in ACLU v. Gonzales because "at least some of the plaintiffs have standing;...COPA is not narrowly tailored to Congress's interest;...defendant has failed to meet his burden of showing that COPA is the least restrictive, most effective alternative [in achieving that interest] ...and COPA is impermissibly vague and overbroad. As a result, I will issue a permanent injunction against the enforcement of COPA." Read the entire ruling here.
Like Ofcom, the FCC is taking a look at the link between TV advertising and childhood obesity, and like Ofcom, the agency is beginning to consider whether more, or more consistent regulation might be the answer. In comments before a Senate-FCC task force, FCC Commission Deborah Tate said a balance depicting eating habits of characters on shows and ads might be one way to proceed. The Hollywood Reporter has more. Besides Commissioner Tate, other Commissioners released their remarks in writing. Read them here.
Deborah R. Gerhardt addresses non-compete clauses in publishing contracts in an essay for the Chronicle of Higher Education's "Chronicle Careers" column in this week's issue here. Professor Gerhardt is an IP lawyer and director of the Intellectual Property Initiative at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.
Jocelyn Noveck of the AP covers how the anonymity available to the public on the Internet, particularly on message boards, allows the posting of thoughtless or mean-spirited comments. It includes reactions from newspapers that have dealt with the problem in various ways. The Globe and Mail, which carries the article, includes (signed) comments from readers.
Tuesday, March 20, 2007
In an email, Mr. Steiner tells me that the link allowing faculty to request removal of material has been in place since the site went up. He also tells me that he responds to all faculty inquiries about the posting of materials. He may have misunderstood my comment in an earlier post, so I'm happy to clarify it here: I was not talking about whether he responds promptly and politely to faculty inquiries. I was commenting on the objections that some faculty are making to the existence of the site. In any case, an interesting issue, and it will probably not go away soon, since law students have been and are on the alert for assistance in studying for exams and the bar. BTW, the discussion has hit the blogosphere. Read more here.
Swapnotes is a new service launched by Adam Steiner, a 3L currently finishing up at Cardozo Law School. It allows students (not just law students, incidentally) to post their outlines, class notes, and, I suppose, other potentially helpful study materials on the site. Students apparently pay nothing; the owners (if there are others, whoever they are, apart from Adam Steiner, the 3L we know about), obtain revenue from ads. Over the past couple of weeks or so, law faculty around the country have become increasingly annoyed at the thought that Mr. Steiner has been allowing students to post what may be law prof copyrighted material on the site and have been expressing themselves pro and con with regard to this venture (mostly con) on lawprof, the law faculty listserv. Some have also contacted Mr. Steiner about this concern, and he has responded, though not satisfactorily according to some of the faculty. Note that the Swapnotes venture seems to have no connection with Cardozo, the school Mr. Steiner attends.
One can notify the site of a potential violation. I have to admit that I don't know if that is a new feature or if it predates the controversy. John Mayer of CALI posts an interview with Mr. Steiner here. Mr. Mayer also notes that he has invited Mr. Steiner to be part of a panel discussion at the upcoming CALI Conference June 18-20, 2007 in Las Vegas. Stay tuned.
Monday, March 19, 2007
Carol Burnett has sued 20th Century Fox for copyright infringement and violation of her right of publicity over use of her "charwoman" character in a 2006 episode of "The Family Guy." Ms. Burnett alleges that after she declined an invitation from the show to allow it to use her theme music, those associated with the show retaliated by making her famous character part of a porn-themed episode. Read the complaint and more about the dispute here, courtesy of The Smoking Gun. There's a smidge more information in this story on the San Francisco Chronicle's SFGate site.