Media Law Prof Blog

Editor: Christine A. Corcos
Louisiana State Univ.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

"The Family Guy" Sued For Copyright Infringement

FindLaw's Julie Hilden writes about yet another lawsuit filed against "The Family Guy", this time for its use of "When You Wish Upon a Star". The show's writers replaced the original lyrics with words may suggest anti-Semitism, and we're off and running to the courthouse. Read Ms. Hilden's analysis of this suit here.

November 3, 2007 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Student Press Law Center Appoints New Executive Director

The Student Press Law Center today named Frank Daniel LoMonte as its new executive director. He succeeds Mark Goodman, who will leave the SPLC at the end of the year to become Knight Chair in Scholastic Journalism in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Kent State University.

LoMonte will officially join the SPLC on Jan. 2, 2008. Currently he is an associate attorney with Sutherland Asbill & Brennan LLP, Atlanta, where he has had a diverse commercial practice focusing on energy and telecommunications litigation. Prior to joining that firm in 2003, LoMonte was law clerk, in 2002-2003, for the Hon. R. Lanier Anderson, III, at the Eleventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals, and law clerk, in 2000-2002, for the Hon. C. Christopher Hagy, U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia. LoMonte also has more than 12 years' experience as a journalist, including serving two years as a state Capitol reporter for the Florida Times-Union, nine years as bureau chief for the Morris News Service in Atlanta, and two years as Washington correspondent for Morris.

"The board of directors of the SPLC enthusiastically welcomes Frank LoMonte to the organization. His strong credentials -- both legal and journalistic -- made him a compelling candidate to lead the SPLC, and his passion for our cause impressed us as just the right combination of qualifications we sought. We are confident he will continue the SPLC's important and outstanding work advocating for student journalists, while pursuing new and creative ways to expand our outreach," said Rosalind Stark, board chair.

Since early 2005, LoMonte has been a member of the Student Press Law Center's Attorney Referral Network, a group of about 150 attorneys across the country who serve, on a pro bono basis, to represent student journalists facing legal conflicts. In addition, he has been involved in pro bono cases to represent juveniles in immigration court deportation proceedings. He is a member of the State Bar of Georgia and holds memberships on the state legal committee of the ACLU of Georgia, Georgia First Amendment Foundation, American Constitution Society and the American Bar Association. He is an active volunteer with the Atlanta Bar Asylum Project and Atlanta Legal Aid.

In 2000, LoMonte received his law degree, magna cum laude, from the University of Georgia School of Law, where he was symposium editor of the Georgia Law Review. He received his bachelor's degree from Georgia State University in 1994, and also attended the University of Florida where he held multiple staff positions, including editor in chief, of The Independent Florida Alligator. He also spent two years on the staff of his high school newspaper at Buchholz High School in Gainesville, Fla.

According to the SPLC's outgoing executive director, Mark Goodman, "Frank's passion for student journalists and their rights of free expression came through loud and clear during the several interviews the board of directors held with him. His work on his own college newspaper, his track record in civil liberties issues, his commitment to the issues central to the Student Press Law Center's mission and his strategic way of thinking are just what the SPLC needs as it develops plans for the future. I know the SPLC is in capable hands, with Frank LoMonte as executive director."
For more, see the SPLC website here.

November 3, 2007 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Indian Judge Dismisses Rowling Lawsuit

A Delhi court has dismissed J. K. Rowling's lawsuit against the people who organized a religious event and included a replica of Harry Potter's alma mater, Hogwarts Academy. She had alleged copyright infringement. Judge Sanjay Kishan Kaul told the event organizers that their right to use the castle was time-limited and they were not to use Ms. Rowling's characters without permission. Read more here.

November 3, 2007 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Negotiator Attempts to Avert WGA Strike Set for Monday

The Hollywood Reporter reports today that a federal negotiator is attempting to get both sides to the table to continue talks to avert the Writers Guild strike set for Monday, November 5th. Read more here (subscription may be required) and here.

November 3, 2007 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Friday, November 2, 2007

Writers Guild on Strike

The Writers Guild of America (WGA) is on strike--for the first time since 1988--over royalties and the sure sense writers do not command the same kind of power that directors, actors and producers do in Hollywood. Writers want more of a share of the income stream from DVDs and the results of online technology. Audiences will first notice the effects on shows that rely on a daily influx of writing talent--late night talk shows, for example. Read more here in an article by AP writer Gary Gentile.

November 2, 2007 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Regulation of Network Neutrality

Rob Frieden, College of Communications, Dickinson School of Law, Pennsylvania State University, has published "The Costs and Benefits of Separating Wireless Telephone Service From Handset Sales and Imposing Network Neutrality Obligations." Here is the abstract.

Wireless operators in the United States qualify for streamlined regulation when providing telecommunications services and even less government oversight when providing information services, entertainment and electronic publishing. Congressional legislation, real or perceived competition and regulator discomfort with ventures that provide both regulated and largely unregulated services contribute to the view that the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) has no significant regulatory mandate to safeguard the public interest. Such a hands off approach made sense when cellular radiotelephone carriers primarily offered voice and text messaging services in a marketplace with six or more facilities-based competitors in most metropolitan areas.

However the wireless industry has become significantly more concentrated even as wireless networking increasingly serves as a key medium for accessing a broad array of information, communications and entertainment (“ICE”) services. As wireless ventures plan and install next generation networks (“NGNs”), these carriers expect to offer a diverse array of ICE services, including Internet access, free from common carrier regulatory responsibilities that nominally still apply to telecommunications services. Wireless carrier managers reject the need for governments to ensure consumers safeguards such as nondiscriminatory access and separating the sale of radiotelephone handsets from carrier services.

This paper will examine the costs and benefits of government-imposed wireless network neutrality rules with an eye toward examining the lawfulness and need for such safeguards. Because wireless carriers package subsidized handset sales often with a blend of ICE services and consumers welcome the opportunity to use and replace increasingly sophisticated handsets, the FCC has refrained from ordering handset unbundling. But for other services, such as cable television, the Commission has pursued public safeguards that attempt to allow consumers the opportunity to access only desired content using least cost equipment options.

The paper concludes that the rising importance of wireless networking for most ICE services and growing consumer disenchantment with carrier-imposed restrictions on handset versatility and wireless network access will trigger closer regulatory scrutiny of the public interest benefits accruing from wireless network neutrality.

Download the entire paper from SSRN here.

October 30, 2007 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Another Look at IP Piracy in China

Aaron Schwabach, Thomas Jefferson Law School, has published "Intellectual Property Piracy: Perception and Reality in China, the United States, and Elsewhere," in Journal of International Media and Entertainment Law, Vol. 2, 2007-08. Here is the abstract.

This article is intended as a counterpoint to the all-too-frequent portrayal of China as the world's leading violator of intellectual property rights. In fact, by many measures, China, taken as a whole, is not the leading violator. Some measures show China as the leading violator only because they are aggregates, and do not take into account China's size. When figures are adjusted for population, China's rates of intellectual property violation are lower than those of many other countries, including the United States.

The article first looks at examples of the current round of political and media China-bashing. It then examines figures on international movie piracy provided by the Motion Picture Association (the international counterpart of the Motion Picture Association of America) and compares those figures to the populations of the countries involved. It concludes that the problem of movie piracy is more severe in the U.S. than in China, possibly because of greater broadband access, and more severe still in other countries, including France, Spain, and the United Kingdom.

Download the article from SSRN here.

October 30, 2007 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Monday, October 29, 2007

Vonage, Verizon Reach Settlement

Vonage and Verizon have announced a settlement in their patent dispute. Vonage will pay a maximum of $120 million, perhaps less, depending on the outcome of a rehearing of an appeal requested in the U. S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. Read more here in a Vonage press release.

October 29, 2007 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

FCC Nixes Monopoly Cable Contracts for Apartments Buildings

The Federal Communications Commission is getting ready to announce a new rule that would end cable monopolies for apartment buildings, giving options for renters to choose other cable providers or satellite companies. Read more here in a New York Times article published today.

October 29, 2007 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)