Media Law Prof Blog

Editor: Christine A. Corcos
Louisiana State Univ.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

New Book Forthcoming On Celebs and the Media

Robin Barnes, University of Connecticut, has published Outrageous Invasions: The Defamation and Harassment Surrounding Media Invasion of Celebrities' Private Lives (forthcoming from Oxford University Press, 2009). Here is an abstract for the book.
Cause Celebre, the French aphorism for famous lawsuit or surprising legal victory, is the best way to describe the June 2004 ruling of one of the World's most respected courts. As a matter of great social and political importance, the international community owes a great debt to Caroline Von Hannover, Princess of Monaco. Her longstanding determination prompted Europe's high court, in Case of Von Hannover v. Germany, to radically alter the extent to which the media can arbitrarily disrupt the private lives of the rich and famous.

Barnes highlights the seeming widespread immunity from liability granted to tabloid publishers in celebrity defamation cases, utilizing traditional press guarantees. This book chronicles the world of entertainment, the constitutional goals of a free press, and the legal battles of celebrities in the U.S. and EU against an entertainment press corps over invasion of their private lives.

Barnes draws upon Constitutional theory to demonstrate that the validity of our code of civility is under attack. We outlaw the behaviors commonly attributed to journalists, editors and photographers under rules designed to enforce communal norms and responsibilities. Ignoring their destruction of the substance and boundaries of community life is a violation that strikes at the heart of constitutional democracy. Celebrity citizens are routinely subjected to stalking, harassment, invasion of privacy, and intentional infliction of emotional distress and defamation, in clear violation of their constitutional rights.

Specific cases are introduced for analyzing the avowed purpose of a free press, and the nature of privacy in a democracy. The evolution of the entertainment press and the emergence of infotainment as a news format have prompted the Court to expand the legal categories that subject individuals to a lower standard of protection in actions for defamation.

Barnes assists the reader in identifying the universally recognized values that serve to distinguish public from private realms of authority, and how such conditions enable democracies to flourish. The process of erecting institutional democracy requires legal enforcement of certain prerequisites, especially as they pertain to the social and psychological conditions secured by individual rights.

As a matter of human right, every individual is entitled to protection for that sphere of privacy that guards familial dignity and shelters development of personal and political consciousness. This guarantee blunts the force of current legal trends toward elevating such loosely-defined concepts as the "public's right to know." Legal developments in the EU effectively secure personal power to shape the public images that represent who we are as free individuals. Barnes analyzes the doctrinal developments in cases comparing jurisprudence in the United States with ruling issued by the High Courts of Europe to demonstrate that American celebrities are entitled to, but not receiving the same protections as their European counterparts. Through this work, Barnes invites debate about the role of the press, and the importance of preserving long-cherished rights of privacy for the future of western democracy from an etymological, ethical and practical perspective.

September 6, 2008 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

India's Regulation of the Internet

Raman Chima, National Law School of India University, has published "The Regulation of the Internet With Relation to Speech and Expression by the Indian State." Here is the abstract.
Download the paper from SSRN here.

September 6, 2008 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Comcast To Appeal Adverse FCC Ruling on Internet Apps

The AP reports that Comcast plans to appeal the FCC's decision telling it to cease blocking customer filesharing, taking the position that its policy delays rather than blocks Internet traffic. Further, it maintains that network neutrality is not law, but is aspirational. Read more here and here. Here's more from the New York Times.

September 6, 2008 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Monday, September 1, 2008

Web Trademarking: Let the Battle Begin

The New York Times' Steve Lohr reports on the legal and public relations battle brewing over branding in the web and business world. Take cloud computing, for example....

September 1, 2008 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

I Want My Web TV?

In an article in yesterday's New York Times, Brian Stelter discusses how the web TV industry is developing, just months after the writers' strike. He reports that content is arriving, but so far, audience is not. Read more here.

September 1, 2008 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Media Commentary From Peter Preston

Peter Preston of the Observer discusses "serious sexism on TV news," the price of papers, and general media silliness here.

September 1, 2008 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

From Across the Pond: Reporters and Moby Dick

Siobhain Butterworth discusses why reporters' shield laws matter, as well as why classification matters, in an interesting opinion piece for the Guardian.

September 1, 2008 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

British Reporter Says She Will Sue Employer For Age Discrimination

British television reporter Selina Scott says she will sue Channel 5 for discrimination, alleging she was passed over in favor of younger reporters as a replacement for another journalist who is set to take maternity leave.

September 1, 2008 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

The Press and Gary Glitter

The Guardian's Peter Wilby discusses his colleagues' reaction to the return of Gary Glitter (born Paul Gadd) to the UK after his release from a Vietnam prison. Begins Mr. Wilby,

I suppose we should be used to it by now, but sometimes the hypocrisy of newspapers takes the breath away. Writing about Paul Gadd (alias Gary Glitter), recently released from a Vietnamese jail where he served nearly three years for sexual offences against girls of 10 and 11, the Daily Mail columnist Amanda Platell demanded: "Who gave this reptilian exhibitionist the oxygen of publicity? Who propelled him to world notoriety and made his claims for state protection legitimate?"

Read the rest of his story here.

September 1, 2008 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Sunday, August 31, 2008

The Twenty-First Century Internet

In the New York Times, John Markoff explains how changes in the structure of the Internet have economic and military significance for the U.S.

August 31, 2008 | Permalink | TrackBack (3)