Media Law Prof Blog

Editor: Christine A. Corcos
Louisiana State Univ.

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Friday, December 14, 2007

Santa Letters--Not Ho Ho Ho, But No No No

Canada Post is hot on the trail of whoever sent out some very naughty letters to good little boys and girls who mailed some letters to Santa and got back some very nasty messages. I won't print what they said; although in reading the article published in the Ottawa Citizen, you can certainly fill in the blanks. The article also discusses the reactions of the parents who read what their children received from the busy little elf or elves who sent them out, and the disbelief of Canada Post, which has shut down the local Write to Santa program while it searches for the culprit or culprits.

There was absolutely nothing Ho Ho Ho about the letters Rosalyn Da Costa's children got from Santa yesterday. In fact, they included filthy messages. They are two of 10, inappropriate letters dropped in mailboxes across Ottawa in the last two days, but there could be more....Ms. Da Costa was far more than disappointed, she was stunned....Each Santa letter Canada Post delivers contains the same main message with a hand-written personal postscript. Maya's personal "P.S." said: "This letter is too long, you dumb s---." "I went straight to Google, got the Canada Post number and called," said Ms. Da Costa. "A very nice lady at a call centre in Fredericton, New Brunswick, was shocked, and when I told her I also had a letter for Colton and was planning to let him read it when he got home, she said I should open it now just in case." Ms. Da Costa went downstairs, picked up the letter and returned to the phone. What she read had both ladies gasping. "Oh, my god! Oh, my god!," they kept repeating. The personal P.S. to Colton's letter read: "Your mom sucks d--- and your Dad is gay". This brought a Canada Post supervisor to the phone. "We were both going: 'My god, I can't believe it,' " Ms. Da Costa said. "He said: 'That's like dirt in my mouth. I can't even say it.' "

Then Ms. Da Costa called the Ottawa Citizen, which ran this story.

December 14, 2007 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Conrad Black Biographer Sued For Defamation

Tom Bower, author of the biography of Conrad Black, Dancing on the Edge, is facing a defamation lawsuit from Richard Desmond, concerning statements in the book. Mr. Desmond is the owner of Express Newspapers. Mr. Bower has been ordered to pay ten thousand pounds toward legal costs and to be prepared with a defense to the charges by February 8.

December 14, 2007 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Will Google Enter UK Market?

Ofcom head Ed Richards has told the media that Google might become a player in the hunt for UK broadcast spectrum when it becomes available via auction in 2009, just as the company might do in the US. Nothing bars the search engine company from bidding and acquiring such bandwidth, and thus entering the UK mobile phone and internet services market if it were interested in doing so. "We would be interested to discover if Google have an interest in the UK," said Mr. Richards. Read more here in a Guardian article.

December 14, 2007 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, December 13, 2007

J. K. Rowling Fairy Tales Garner Nearly Two Million Pounds

Fine arts and book dealers Hazlitt, Gooden and Fox paid a "fair fortune" for the lone copy of J. K. Rowling's Tales of Beedle the Bard made available for sale at a Sotheby's auction this week. The winning bid was nearly two million pounds. Ms. Rowling has specified that the text of the book can never be published. The Tales play a large part in Harry Potter's saga, specifically in the seventh volume. The dedication in the book reads: "Six of these books have been given to those most closely connected to the Harry Potter books during the last 17 years. This seventh copy will be auctioned, the proceeds to help institutionalised children who are in desperate need of a voice. So to whoever now owns this book, thank you - and fair fortune be yours!"

December 13, 2007 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

David L. Hudson on FCC Regulation of Cable and DBS

David L. Hudson of the First Amendment Center discusses possible results if Congress allows the FCC to regulate indecency on premium cable or satellite.

Proponents of government regulation stress society’s compelling need to protect children from harmful material online. Commentator Matthew S. Schwartz argued in a 2007 article for the Richmond Journal of Law & Technology that “if the government is serious about its stated goals of protecting children and the sanctity of the home, then the FCC should expand indecency regulations to cable and DBS.”

Opponents counter that extending FCC authority could lead to rank censorship. Gene Policinski, executive director of the First Amendment Center, wrote in 2007 that “the public ought to be very careful about handing over the national TV remote control to the heavy hand of government so that it can restrict the free choice of some viewers to tune in.”

Still others argue that while distinctions between cable and broadcast seem to have lessened, the FCC should abandon enforcement of broadcast indecency rather than expand into other realms.

Read more of his commentary here.

December 11, 2007 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Monday, December 10, 2007

Conrad Black Sentenced to Six and a Half Years

U.S. federal district court judge Amy St. Eve has sentenced former media executive Conrad Black to six and a half years in prison. He could have received thirty-five years. It's almost certain that he will appeal his conviction on fraud charges. The BBC provides a timeline of his rise and fall from power here.

December 10, 2007 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)