March 1, 2007
A Comparative View of the "Cartoon Crisis"
Juan Ferreiro Galguera, University of Coruna, has published "Cartoons Crisis, Religious Feelings, and European Court of Human Rights," in Revista Electrónica de Estudios Internacionales, volume 12 (2006). Here is the abstract.
This article deals with Freedom of Expression, which is a fundamental right, and one of its limits, respect for religious feelings, which is included within the scope of Religious Freedom, another fundamental right. We start referring in detail to the so-called crisis of cartoons, which started in Denmark in September 2005. Then we advance some reflections about the criteria elaborated by the jurisprudence of European Court of Human Rights in cases of conflict between Freedom of Expression and religious feelings, as part of Religious Freedom. After analyzing several judgments we point out two criteria: a) certain priority of freedom of expression as it is not only a human right but also a fundamental principle of democratic societies, b) three elements that must be applied to the interpretation of any limit of religious freedom or any other limit of freedom of expression: the limits must be prescribed by national law (in broad sense), they must pursue a legitimate aid, and they must be necessary in a democratic society. We end with some conclusion referring to the juridical scope of freedom of expression and the political and juridical responsibility of Mass Media in these difficult but possible equilibrium between freedom of speech and respect for religious feelings.
Download the article from SSRN here.
N.B.: It is in Spanish.
February 28, 2007
Canadian Company Seeking To Acquire Additional Properties Itself Being Sought
Music Giants Laying Off Work Force
The Globe and Mail is running a story today about layoffs in the music industry due to music piracy and a downturn in CD sales. Both EMI and Sony are cutting back on their Canadian workforces.
Authors' Rights and Consumers' Desires
Alan L. Durham, University of Alabama School of Law, has published "Consumer Modification of Copyrighted Works," in volume 81 of the Indiana Law Journal. Here is the abstract.
Much existing scholarship focuses on the rights of authors to modify copyrighted works; this article explores of the rights of consumers. Advances in technology are providing consumers new opportunities to alter copyrighted works for their private enjoyment. The recent dispute involving the ClearPlay technology for skipping offensive content in DVDs demonstrates how important, and how controversial, the clash of interests between authors and consumers may be. In this article, I consider the state of the law on consumer modifications and the arguments, both economic and non-economic, for expanding or restricting the freedom of consumers. A distinction can be drawn between modifications performed on behalf of consumers and modifications performed by consumers, perhaps using tools supplied by others. I conclude by advocating a “safe harbor” for certain modifications performed by consumers for their own use.
Download the entire article from SSRN here.
February 27, 2007
Insurer Offering Coverage to Documentary Filmmakers
Media/Professional Insurance, a company that specializes in offering coverage to media and internet clients, has decided to offer a program to documentary filmmakers that would enable them to rely on the "fair use" doctrine for the clips they use in their work but still obtain insurance coverage. Media/Professional and Stanford University Law School's Fair Use Project developed the idea of such coverage together. Read more here in an article from Variety (also available through LEXIS) or here in an article from the Hollywood Reporter.
Blogger Appeals Four Year Sentence
The AP reports that Abdel Kareem Nabil, the Egyptian sentenced to four years for insulting Islam and the President of Egypt, is appealing his sentence. Read more here.
Harvard Law Review Publishes Developments in the Law Section: Focus is on Media Law
Check out the February 2007 issue of the Harvard Law Review: the Developments in the Law section focuses on the Law of Media. Full text is available here. The students provide excellent coverage of a variety of topics ranging from whether bloggers should be able to avail themselves of the shield law to criminal prosecution of the press for the act of publishing to when HIPAA may be used to prevent publication. Thanks to second year Alex Boni-Saenz for the information about this extremely interesting HLR issue.
February 26, 2007
A Working Paper on Wireless Net Neutrality
Tim Wu, Columbia Law School, has published "Wireless Net Neutrality: Cellular Carterfone on Mobile Networks" as New America Foundation Wireless Future Program Working Paper No. 17. Here is the abstract.
Over the next decade, regulators will spend increasing time on the conflicts between the private interests of the wireless industry and the public's interest in the best uses of its spectrum. This report examines the practices of the wireless industry with an eye toward understanding their influence on innovation and consumer welfare.
This report finds a mixed picture. The wireless industry, over the last decade, has succeeded in bringing wireless telephony at competitive prices to the American public. Yet at the same time we also find the wireless carriers aggressively controlling product design and innovation in the equipment and application markets, to the detriment of consumers. Their policies, in the wired world, would be considered outrageous, in some cases illegal, and in some cases simply misguided.
Download the entire paper from SSRN here.
Search Engine Law
James Grimmelmann, Yale Law School Information Society Project, has published "The Structure of Search Engine Law," via SSRN. Here is the abstract.
This article will provide a road map to the legal issues posed by Internet search engines. It will indicate what questions we must consider when thinking about search engines, and it will detail the interconnections among those questions. It will not endorse any particular normative framework for search. Nor will it recommend who should regulate search. Instead, it will provide the necessary foundation for informed decision-making, by whatever regulator and whatever its normative approach.
Part I will explain how modern search engines function and describe the business environment within which they operate. Part II, the heart of the article, will present a descriptive analysis of the legal struggles over search, showing how questions of search policy, many of which have long been latent in different fields of Internet law, are increasingly confronting lawyers, courts, and regulators. Part III will then show, with five examples, how taking a broad view of search yields otherwise unavailable insights into pressing controversies. This is not to say that the end result must be a body of search-specific law, only to note that failing to consider the larger forces at work in search is antithetical to sensible policy-making.
Download the entire paper here.