January 26, 2007
Court Grants Preliminary Injunction in Cybersquatting Case
In Larson v. Galliher, a federal district court has granted a plaintiff newspaper publisher a preliminary injunction in a case alleging cybersquatting, trademark infringement, and slander. The defendant alleged that the court lacked jurisdiction to hear the case because both parties reside and do business in California, the events giving rise to these claims occurred in California, and this court sits in Nevada. The court held that jurisdiction and venue is proper because the defendant brought a defamation suit against the plaintiff in Nevada state court, thus voluntarily waiving his defenses. The two actions (defamation and cybersquatting) involve the same set of facts. The domain names at issue are exactly those of the plaintiff's newspapers, with "www" and "com" on either end. "Plaintiff will suffer irreparable injury if the Court does not require Wild West Domains, Inc., the domain register, to place the infringing <holtvilletribune.com>, <imperialvalleyweekly.com> and <calexicochronicle.com> domain names on hold, and lock, change or disable the domain name server information, and deposit them with the Court, pending litigation of this matter...Plaintiff is likely to succeed on the merits of its claims for cybersquatting under 15 U.S.C. § 1114;...The balance of hardships tips in favor of Plaintiff because the preliminary injunction will merely place the infringing domain names on hold and lock pending trial, and failure to issue the injunction would potentially cause Plaintiff to suffer and incur additional expense in having to file additional lawsuits if the domain names were to be transferred to other registrants during the pendency of this action."
The case is Larson v. Galliher, 2:06-CV-1471-RCJ-GWF (U.S.D.C. Nev.), decided Jan. 5, 1007. Read the entire ruling here.
Lawsuit Over "Saving Angelo"
Ten-year-old Dominic Scott Kay, who voiced Wilbur the Pig in the live action picture Charlotte's Web, has sued Conroy Kanter, who provided financing for his short film Saving Angelo. Mr. Kay says Ms. Kanter claims total creative and distribution control over the film. Ms. Kanter says the disagreement is between herself and Mr. Kay's mother, and really does not involve Mr. Kay. Read more in a San Diego Union Tribune article here.
Family Sues Radio Station
The family of a woman who died after participating in a Sacramento radio station's ill-fated on-air contest sponsored by the station's "Morning Rave" show has now filed suit against the station. The Federal Communications Commission is also investigation the radio station's actions. Read more here. Read KDND's message to its listeners concerning the cancellation of the radio show Morning Rave. Here is an audio link to part of the show provided by the Sacramento Bee.
FindLaw's Anita Ramasastry discusses a pending lawsuit against the social networking site MySpace and the utility of banning users under the age of 16 from such sites. Read her thoughts here.
January 24, 2007
London Council Threatening to Ban Free Newspapers Unless They Assist in Cleanup
The London agency responsible for keeping the city clean is threatening the publishers that make newspapers available free that their products may be banned if they don't assist with the cost of disposal. Invoking the environmental principle of "polluter pays", Westminster City Council says it may require the companies that provide the immensely popular London Paper and London Lite do something about the deluge of newsprint left after readers are finished with the issue of the day.
Case Against Jared Paul Stern Over
Jared Paul Stern, the former New York Post reporter whom federal investigators suspected of trying to extort money from billionaire Ron Burkle in exchange for favorable coverage, will not be charged with any crimes. Mr. Burkle said Mr. Stern asked for money up front and additional regular payments to ensure that coverage; Mr. Stern denied the allegations. Read more here in a New York Times article. Here is coverage from the New York Post, Mr. Stern's former paper. Contrast it with the coverage the Post gave the case when Stern was initially accused.
January 23, 2007
Adrienne Shelly's Film Premieres at Sundance
Adrienne Shelly was murdered last year, but her film, "Waitress", premiered at Sundance Sunday. Her husband Andy Ostoy has announced the creation of a foundation to assist female filmmakers. Fox Seachlight Pictures has acquired the rights to "Waitress" for about four million dollars. Meanwhile, according to those in the know, Law and Order may be doing an episode based on the Shelly case sometime soon.
Investigations Begun Into Turkish Newspaper Editor's Murder
The Turkish government and police have begun investigations into the murder of newspaper editor Hrant Dink, shot Friday outside his office in Istanbul. Police have arrested a teenager believed to be linked to a far right nationalist party. Some commentators are now questioning whether the assassination shows that Turkey is unready to become a member of the European Union, because it further demonstrates what some see as intolerance of minorities and lack of acceptance of free speech. Read more here in an article in the Guardian and in an article in the Washington Post.
Actress Sues Daily Mail For Defamation
The Media Guardian reports that Keira Knightley (Pirates of the Caribbean 2, Pride and Prejudice) is suing the Daily Mail over recent reports suggesting that she might be anorexic, even though she denies it. Read more here. As the Media Guardian notes, Kate Hudson won a similar dispute against the National Enquirer (UK) in 2006.
January 22, 2007
More on Grokster
Laura A. Heymann, College of William and Mary School of Law, has published "Inducement as Contributory Copyright Infringement: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios, Inc. v. Grokster Ltd." in the International Review of Intellectual Property and Competition Law, vol. 37 at 31 (2006). Here is the abstract.
This brief commentary, published in January 2006, provides an analysis of the Grokster decision. It begins by characterizing the U.S. Supreme Court's decision in Sony Corp. of America v. Universal City Studios as conveying two important limitations on secondary liability: a recognition of the difference between knowledge acquired before product distribution and knowledge acquired afterward, and a requirement that this knowledge must relate to the product's design for infringement rather than for copying. It then goes on to describe the Court's inducement-based holding in Grokster and evaluates the two concurrences considering the Sony question sidestepped in the majority opinion, ultimately concluding that Justice Breyer's concurrence, which relies on the important distinction between the distribution of technology generally and the promotion of technology for a particular (infringing) purpose, is more faithful to the values underlying Sony.
Download the entire article from SSRN here.
Chronicle Reports That Brandeis Has Told Demme He Can't Film Carter
The Chronicle of Higher Education comments on a Boston Globe report that Brandeis University has told filmmaker Jonathan Demme that he may not film former President Jimmy Carter as he delivers a speech this week. Read the item on the Chronicle's blog here. Here's the Boston Globe article.
Ted Kaczynski, Government, Victims, in Argument Over Whether His Writings Can be Sold In Internet Auction
A furious debate continues over whether convicted Unabomber Theodore Kaczynski's writings, among other possessions, can be redacted and sold in an Internet auction. The federal government would like to do so, in order to compensate his victims, or the surviving families of his victims. A federal district court judge had given permission to do so, and the 9th Circuit had upheld his ruling. But Mr. Kaczynski claims that under the First Amendment the government has no right to alter his manuscripts, and he would prefer to give his work to an institution that would preserve them for posterity. Survivors of the bombings and families are in disagreement over how to proceed. The New York Times has an article today on the issue.