February 9, 2007
Court TV Back On Dish
EchoStar and CourtTV have reached an agreement after several weeks of talks, and CourtTV is back on the schedule. EchoStar had pulled the network from its programming on January 1st. Read more here.
Head of Cartoon Network Resigns
Jim Samples, who directs the Cartoon Network, has announced he is resigning as a result of the advertising campaign that went awry recently in Boston. The campaign, planned for a new Cartoon Network series called "Aqua Teen Hunger Force", turned into a scare that ended in two arrests. Read more here.
Mail on Sunday Journalists Face Contempt of Court Charges
Prosecutors in the murder trial of Peter Tobin, accused in the murder of a young student found dead last year in a Catholic church, are charging two Mail on Sunday reporters with contempt of court for publishing an interview with a witness in the proceeding. Media had already been told that they might face sanctions for publishing stories that might interfere with the conduct of the trial. Read more here in a Guardian article about the history of contempt of court charges brought against the press in the past and the impact of the Human Right Act on the Contempt of Court Act 1981.
Paper Loses Defamation Case Over Bad Review
The Belfast paper Irish News has lost a defamation case over its 2000 review of the food at a local eatery, the Goodfellas Restaurant and Pizzeria. The angry restaurant owner demanded a retraction and when he didn't get one, sued for libel. The jury failed to accept the defense of fair comment and justification and returned a twenty-five thousand pound damage award plus costs. The paper just has announced that it will appeal. Read more here and here.
February 8, 2007
Legislator Wants New Yorkers To Listen Both Ways When Crossing the Street
State Senator Carl Kruger plans to introduce legislation that would force iPod, cell phone and Blackberry users to turn the mechanisms off temporarily while crossing the street. His bill would also ban other electronic devices that distract pedestrians and bicyclists. Two recent incidents, one fatal, have alerted him to what he considers the rampant dangers of city streets. Read more here.
BNA Ceases Publication of Media Law Case Alert
BNA's Media Law Case Alert is no more. The last issue appeared February 2. For updates BNA now provides news of new cases, as well as many other materials, at Media Law Reporter.
State Judge to OJ: Stop Spending
California judge Gerald Rosenberg has ordered O.J. Simpson to stop spending any payments he may have received for the as yet unpublished manuscript of If I Did It, which was to have appeared under the ReganBooks imprint last year. A nation-wide uproar forced the publisher to abandon the launch of the title; publisher Judith Regan lost her job, and the book has yet to appear. The judge's order is the latest attempt of Fred Goldman, father of the late Ron Goldman, and former Simpson in-laws the Browns to obtain the millions in a civil judgment that a court awarded them in 1997 against Mr. Simpson. Read more here.
February 7, 2007
The Name Game
Zohar Efroni, Max Planck Institute for Intellectual Property, has published "Names as Domains, Names as Marks: Issues Concerning the Interface Between Internet Domain Names and Trademark Rights," as a chapter in Intellectual Property and Information Wealth: Issues and Practices in the Digital Age (Peter K. Yu, ed.; Praeger Publishers, 2007). Here is the abstract for the chapter.
This book chapter addresses various domain name issues and the interface between registration of domain names and trademark rights. It provides technical and historical background to domain names disputes and moves to focus on particular matters of interest such as regulation in the U.S. and via ICANN, conflict of laws, international aspects, potential abuse of regulatory mechanisms, litigation strategies and freedom of speech issues.
Download the entire chapter from SSRN here.
Defamation and the Internet
Anthony M. Ciolli, University of Pennsylvania School of Law, has published "Defamatory Internet Speech: A Defense of the Status Quo." Here is the abstract.
This brief essay is a critique of Glenn Reynold's paper "Libel in the Blogosphere: Some Preliminary Thoughts." I conclude that Reynolds's proposal to treat defamatory internet and blog speech as slander, while well-intentioned, would have a devastating impact on defamation victim' ability to recover due to the interplay between Reynold's proposal and Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act.
Download the entire paper here from SSRN.
FCC Expands Eligibility for Rural Health Care Pilot Program
From a news release dated February 7, 2007
FCC EXPANDS ELIGIBILITY TO INCLUDE NATIONAL LAMBDARAIL’S BACKBONE IN RURAL HEALTH CARE PILOT
– The Federal Communications Commission today expanded eligibility in its new rural health care pilot program to include connections to National LambdaRail, Inc. (NLR), in addition to Internet2. NLR is a non-profit backbone provider that, like Internet2, serves government research and academic institutions, as well as public and private health care institutions.
To give applicants sufficient time to consider this change, the Commission also extended the deadline for applications to the program by an additional 30 days. The new deadline for submission of applications will be 60 days after the Commission receives approval from the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) of the information collection requirements of the program. The OMB is in the process of reviewing these requirements. The FCC will issue a Public Notice upon OMB approval, which will be posted at http://www.fcc.gov/cgb/rural/rhcp.html.
Launched by the Commission on September 26, 2006, the Rural Health Care Pilot Program initially specified that applicants may seek funding for connections to Internet2, a non-profit dedicated nationwide backbone. In response to a petition filed by NLR, the Commission found several public interest benefits in the participation of more than one backbone provider, including, but not limited to, providing network redundancy, which will improve the health care community’s ability to respond in a national crisis.
With today’s ruling, program applicants seeking funding may pre-select either Internet2 or NLR, or seek competitive bids for nationwide backbone services from Internet2 or NLR.
Congress in the Telecommunications Act of 1996 recognized the importance of providing advanced telecommunications and information services to rural health care providers by authorizing universal service fund support for rural telemedicine services. The Rural Health Care Pilot Program is exploring ways to better use the fund for this purpose. For successful applicants, the pilot will fund up to 85 percent of the cost of deploying state or regional broadband networks dedicated to health care, and up to 85 percent of the costs of connecting these networks to Internet2 or NLR. Funding for the program is capped at $100 million dollars, less what is committed in a particular funding year for the existing universal service rural health care program.
See the original news release here.
Advertising Campaigns and the Criminal Law
FindLaw commentator Scott Moss analyzes why two young men should not be charged with felonies in the recent Turner network advertising campaign that went awry. Read his essay here.
February 6, 2007
No Bad Apples
After years of litigation and out of court negotiations, Apple and, well, Apple, have settled their differences. Apple Inc., the computer maker, and Apple Corps, the (Beatles) music folks, have agreed that Apple (the computer maker) owns all the Apple trademarks, and Apple (the music folks) can license certain marks back. Thus, a deal that many thought had been settled in 1991 now seems done. Read more here in today's New York Times and here in Monday's Guardian.
February 5, 2007
More on Blagging, the Ethics of British Journalists, and the Press Complaints Commission
Here's another column on reaction to the sentencing of Clive Goodman, the journalist convicted of tapping into the Royal Phones. The media continues to discuss whether the Press Complaints Commission should revise its code to ward off "blagging"--the practice of getting at an individual's personal information through trickery. The PCC maintains that the code, if adhered to, is adequate to protect the privacy of individuals and address the behavior of reporters.
Turner Broadcasting To Pay $$ For Boston Advertising Debacle
Turner Broadcasting and Interference Inc. have agreed to pony up one million dollars to pay for the costs incurred by local, state and national agencies who responded to reports that the electronic signs scattered around Boston intended to advertised a new cartoon show might be bombs. Another one million in "goodwill funds" will go to fund security programs. Read more here.
Sixth Circuit Decides Whether First Sale Doctrine Applies in Repackaged Recordings ("Audiobooks") Cases
In Brilliance Audio v. Haights Cross Communications, the plaintiff-appellant claimed that Haights Cross Communications had infringed its copyright and trademark by repackaging Brilliance's retail audio recordings as "library editions" and then renting, leasing, and lending them. Said the Sixth Circuit, "Brilliance has never authorized Haights to engage in this activity. Brilliance also claims that Haights uses the Brilliance mark on the repackaged products, which constitutes trademark infringement and results in the misrepresentation that Haights has a relationship with Brilliance and that its activities are authorized." The District Court had dismissed the complaint, "because the defense of first sale appeared on the face of the complaint. Construing the complaint broadly, and in the light most favorable to the plaintiff, we find this ruling to be in error....[t]here are two situations in which resale of a product does not fall under the first sale exception. The first...is when the notice that the item has been repackaged is inadequate....The second...is "when an alleged infringer sells trademarked goods that are materially different than those sold by the trademark owner."...."
Examining the statute carefully, the Court concluded that "the language of [sec] 109(b)(1)(A) is not unambiguous....[T]he combination of the legislative history, the context in which the statute was passed, and the policy rationales behind both [sec] 109 and copyright law in general provide strong evidence that Congress intended to exclude only sound recordings of musical works from the first sale doctrine." The Sixth Circuit concluded that the statute should be construed narrowly and reversed the district court's dismissed of the trademark claims. It affirmed the dismissal of the copyright claims. Read the entire ruling here.