June 15, 2007
Seizure of Journalists' Tape Recordings, Papers Improper
The government has decided that a federal marshal should not have acted to seize tape recordings made by two reporters of Justice Antonin Scalia's remarks at a 2004 event. The original investigation of the incident ended in a ruling that the marshal did nothing wrong, but after the Associated Press and the Hattiesburg American sued, the Marshals Service re-evaluated its actions and has announced a new policy, which limits federal marshal responsibility to the protection of "federal judicial officers". Justice Scalia later sent apologies to the two reporters involved. Read more here. Here's a New York Times article by Adam Liptak written at the time of the incident.
June 14, 2007
Movie Review May Have Cost Projectionist His Job
Jesse Morrison, who up until this Monday worked at a Memphis area movie theater as a projectionist, has apparently lost his job over the review he wrote of the film Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer. Mr. Morrison reviews films for the site www.aintitcool.com. Mr. Morrison's review, written under his pen name Memflix, was rather negative. He thinks it raised the hackles of someone at Fox, who contacted his employer. The movie theater's ownership says that's not the reason, however: it's simply that Mr. Morrison wrote a review "in advance", and Fox brass pointed this fact out. Read more here in a Hollywood Reporter story at CNN.com.
June 12, 2007
Assistant Director Suing Movie Studio For Termination on Racial Grounds
Frank Davis, a former assistant director on the set of the film 2 Fast 2 Furious, is moving forward with a lawsuit against Universal Studios for firing him from that picture. He says the decision was racially motivated. Universal says race did not play a part. The film's director was John Singleton, also African-American. Read more here in a BBC story. Here's the EEOC's press release on the Frank Davis case. Here's the press release announcing the court ruling allowing the case to move forward.
June 11, 2007
New York Considering Right of Publicity Bill for Dead Celebrities
Al Pacino and Yoko Ono are among the rich and famous in support of a bill being considered by the New York legislature that would protect the rights of publicity of dead celebs, and those to whom they bequeath those rights. Two recent federal court rulings, both involving the late Marilyn Monroe, have pushed the Legislature to consider an enactment. The texts in question are Assembly Bill 8836 and Senate Bill 6005.
Assembly Bill 8836 reads as follows:
Section 50. Right of privacy [A> AND PUBLICITY. <A] A person, firm or corporation that uses for advertising purposes, or for the purposes of trade, the name, portrait, [A> VOICE, SIGNATURE <A] or picture of any living person without having first obtained the written consent of such person, or if a minor of his or her parent or guardian, is guilty of a misdemeanor. [A> A PERSON, FIRM OR CORPORATION THAT USES FOR ADVERTISING PURPOSES, OR FOR THE PURPOSES OF TRADE, THE NAME, PORTRAIT, VOICE, SIGNATURE OR PICTURE OF ANY DECEASED NATURAL PERSON WHO DIED WITHIN SEVENTY YEARS PRIOR TO JANUARY FIRST, TWO THOUSAND EIGHT (REGARDLESS OF WHETHER SUCH PERSON DIED BEFORE OR AFTER THE EFFECTIVE DATE OF THE CHAPTER OF THE LAWS OF TWO THOUSAND SEVEN WHICH AMENDED THIS SECTION), WITHOUT HAVING FIRST OBTAINED THE WRITTEN CONSENT OF SUCH PERSON'S RESIDUARY OR OTHER LEGATEES, DEVISEES, DISTRIBUTEES OR THE SUCCESSORS IN INTEREST THEREOF, IS GUILTY OF A MISDEMEANOR. THE RIGHTS ESTABLISHED UNDER THIS ARTICLE ARE DEEMED TO VEST RETROACTIVELY TO THE DECEASED PERSON BEFORE SUCH PERSON'S DEATH, SO THAT THE TRANSFER BY THE DECEASED PERSON OR HIS OR HER TRANSFEREES CAN OCCUR BEFORE OR AT THE TIME OF DEATH OF THE DECEASED PERSON, INCLUDING BY MEANS OF THE DECEASED PERSON'S WILL. <A]
The Senate Bill reads similarly.
Read more here.
Chinese Reporter Sues Yahoo in U. S. Court Over Sentencing
Shi Tao, the Chinese journalist jailed for 10 years in 2005 for "leaking state secrets", has joined a lawsuit against Yahoo for turning over material to the Chinese government that led to his arrest and conviction. Yahoo says it was compelled by Chinese law to turn over the material, consisting of an email. The suit was filed in U. S. District Court in the Northern District of California. Read more here. Here's more from Boing Boing with a link to the complaint.
June 10, 2007
C of E Blasts Sony For Video Game
The Church of England is angry at Sony over the use of digitally produced images of Manchester Cathedral as a backdrop for its new Playstation video game Resistance: Fall of Man. The Church says that siting a shoot-out in the nave of the Cathedral is "highly irresponsible" and sends the wrong message to individuals who might play the game, particularly young people. Manchester has seen a rise in violence over the past few years. The Church also says that Sony did not request permission to depict the Cathedral in its game. A Sony spokesperson says that because the images were digitally produced, the company did not need such permission. Read more here in a story from the BBC website.