October 25, 2008
Actress Jennifer Hudson's Mother, Brother Slain
Police have arrested William Balfour, actress Jennifer Hudson's brother-in-law, following the deaths of her mother, Darnell Donerson, and her brother, Jason Hudson, some time Thursday or Friday. Their bodies were found Friday in Mrs. Donerson's home. Mr. Balfour, who is on parole, is a suspect in the murders but has not been charged. At the same time, an Amber alert has been issued for little Julian King, Ms. Hudson's nephew, who has not been seen since the murders. Ms. Hudson is currently starring in the film The Secret Life of Bees. Read more here in an MSNBC.com story, and here in a Chicago Tribune story.
Discrimination Or Dollars, Off Broadway
Is it all about the money? Or is something more insidious going on? Female playrights say males are more likely to get their work produced off-Broadway, and they are beginning to hold meetings in which they say so directly, to crowds of people who listen. Read a New York Times article about the issue here.
October 24, 2008
A Reporter Takes Center Stage
October 23, 2008
Man Wants $180 Million From Oprah Winfrey and Others, Claims They Defamed Him As a Result of Extortion Arrest
Keifer Bonvillain is suing talk show host Oprah Winfrey, the FBI, and Ms. Winfrey's attorney charging that they caused him to be arrested over statements he made in a taped phone conversation with one of her company's employees in 2006 that law enforcement later determined sounded like extortion. The FBI arrested Mr. Bonvillain over the statements, but charges were dropped after he agreed to perform community service and pay restitution to a potential buyer of the taped conversation. Mr. Bonvillain now alleges that Ms. Winfrey and others have damaged his reputation. He wants $180 million. Read more here in an AP story and here in a Times of India story.
George Washington Law Review Issue Devoted to Access to the Media
In volume 76 of the June issue of the George Washington Law Review, "Access to the Media--1967 to 2007 and Beyond: A Symposium Honoring Jerome A. Barron's Path-Breaking Article". The issue includes
Introductory Remarks: The Honorable Stephen G. Breyer
Access Reconsidered: Jerome A. Barron
Substantive Media Regulation in Three Dimensions: Gregory P. Magarian
No Time For Equal Time: A Comment on Professor Magarian's Substantive Media Regulation in Three Dimensions: Ellen P. Goodman
Hohfeld's First Amendment: Frederick Schauer
Media Access: A Question of Design: Jack M. Balkin
New Media In Old Bottles? Barron's Contextual First Amendment and Copyright in the Digital Age:
Neil Weinstock Netanel
Power Without Responsibility: Intermediaries and the First Amendment: Rebecca Tushnet
The Right of Reply and Freedom of the Press: An International and Comparative Perspective: Kyu Ho Youm
A Reply to The Right of Reply: Stephen Gardbaum
Make Time for Equal Time: Can the Equal Time Rule Survive a John Stewart Media Landscape?: Jonathan D. Jamow
The Meaning of "Red Lion" In 2008
In this Article, a contribution to a retrospective symposium dedicated to Red Lion, I argue that the "inevitable" wasteland of commercial television programming has, over time, become an "irrelevant" wasteland. The most common critique of Red Lion relates to the discredited (and nonsensical) scarcity doctrine used to justify reduced First Amendment protection for radio and television broadcasters. A larger problem with Red Lion relates to the public interest doctrine itself, which seeks to obtain the production and provision of public goods from entities with little economic incentive to meet these programming needs. In sum, the Federal Communications Commission's efforts to enforce the public interest doctrine have done little to change the programming behavior of commercial broadcasters, notwithstanding the Supreme Court's endorsement of such efforts. In thinking more broadly about the "public interest," however, government might be able to take helpful steps to improve the vibrancy of the marketplace of ideas. In particular, imposing public interest duties or regulations on Internet Service Providers (ISPs) and also on entities that own or control popular web search engines might help to facilitate realizing the Internet's full potential as the ultimate marketplace of ideas. Thus, Congress and the Commission need to fundamentally rethink the public interest project; in the contemporary United States, the need to secure public interest values relates-or at least should relate-much more to ISPs and web browser providers than to commercial radio and television broadcasters. This is so because ISPs and companies that own popular web browsers have the ability to skew access to information and ideas in ways that are utterly non-transparent. In sum, in thinking about Red Lion, we should embrace the concept of the public interest and the concomitant principle that government may enact regulations to secure and advance it, but for the concept to retain relevance, it must be redeployed and redefined to reach the most important modalities of distributing and receiving information and ideas.
Download the paper from SSRN here.
Barbara Blake Hannah: British TV's First Black On-Air Reporter
Barbara Blake Hannah writes about breaking the journalism color barrier on British TV here.
Annie Leibovitz on the Queen's Photograph and the BBC's Editing
Annie Leibovitz gives her recollection of the day Queen Elizabeth turned up for that photo shoot, which became the infamous "Crowngate." The BBC was eventually skewered for editing footage of the shoot that implied that the queen was upset over the situation. Read more here in a Guardian story.
Radio Host Impersonates God in Skit on Dubai Show, Loses Job
Virgin Radio host Revin John ran afoul of the law and lost his job when he imitated the voice of God on-air in Dubai during his show on the Arabian Radio network. Such an impersonation is strictly prohibited under Islam, which does not allow the representation of God or the Prophet Mohammed. Mr. John reappeared on air to apologize and then left for good. Read more here.
Reporters Without Borders Releases Press Freedom Index For 2008
Here's the newly released Reporters Without Borders Press Freedom Index: the U.S. ranks 36th, along with Bosnia and Herzegovina, Cape Verde, South Africa, Spain and Taiwan. Iceland is first. The report points out that the countries that most protect press freedoms tend to be at peace, to have strong parliamentary democracies, to resist government corruption and to be secular. Read more here.
October 22, 2008
O.J. Simpson Witness Sues "Dr. Phil" For Defamation, False Light Over Remarks, Editing After Appearance On Show
Thomas Riccio, who testified in the recent O.J. Simpson trial in Las Vegas, is suing Phil McGraw ("Dr. Phil") and Stage 29 media, which produces his show, for defamation and false light, alleging that his appearance on the Dr. Phil show and his remarks on the show were edited to give a false impression of his testimony and position on gun control. Mr. Riccio claims that Dr. McGraw also referred to him variously as "a puppet master who would sell his soul for a coin" and "the ring leader of this crime." A spokesperson said Dr. McGraw had no comment. Read more here in an AP story (another link here).
Take Down at the YouTube Corral
NPR's Laura Slydell reports on the use of news clips in campaign ads, and the problems that such use engenders when the ads turn up on YouTube, and the networks then send YouTube take down letters in conformity with the DMCA.
Media Figure Al Franken and Incumbent Norm Coleman Go Toe To Toe In Minnesota
Here's an NPR story on the Senatorial battle between comedian and writer Al Franken and incumbent Norm Coleman.
Jordanian Poet Charged With Blasphemy
Jordan has arrested a poet for blasphemy based on the accusations of a leading religious figure, the Grand Mufti Nuh Qdah, who says that Islam Samham's recent poems are "a type of atheism and blasphemy," because they link material from the Koran and "sexual themes." If Mr. Samhan is found guilty, he could receive a three year sentence. Read more here.
Britney's LA License OK To Drive In L.A.
An L.A. judge has dismissed the case against pop diva Britney Spears after a jury was unable to agree in her "driving without a valid California license" case. Ten of the jurors favored acquittal, apparently accepting the defense's argument that Ms. Spears is a Louisiana resident and that her Lousiana driver's license is fine for the driving she does on those California freeways. So prosecutors informed Judge James Steele that they did not intend to pursue the case.
MPAA, Universities Try a Meeting of the Minds on Illegal Student Downloading
From the Wired Campus Blog (Chronicle of Higher Education), this piece on a workshop set up by the Motion Picture Association of America intended to find common ground between universities and the MPAA in order to cut down on illegal piracy committed on campuses by students. A major problem: higher education officials don't see themselves as in the business of corralling criminals, but to the MPAA, that's exactly what students are. Didn't anybody arrange for a faciliator?
October 21, 2008
New Conlaw Blog Debuts
Steven D. Schwinn, John Marshall Law School, Ruthann Robson, CUNY Law School, and Nareissa L. Smith, Florida Coastal Law School, have started the Constitutional Law Prof Blog. Check it out here.
Afghan Appeals Court Overturns Death Sentence For Journalist
The AP reports that an Afghan court has overturned a death sentence meted out to a journalist convicted of blasphemy, but still sentenced him to 20 years in prison. Parwez Kambakhsh had received a death sentence from a lower court for distributing an Internet article about women's rights. Mr. Kambakhsh still has the right to appeal the revised sentence to the country's Supreme Court.
Lessig On the Intersection of Copyright and Free Speech In This Election Year
Lawrence Lessig discusses the copyright issues that this year's political campaign has highlighted, such as the use of copyrighted material in campaign ads, in this opinion piece for the New York Times.
Update On Little Rock TV Anchor
Here's a CNN update on the condition of Little Rock TV anchor Anne Pressly, who was attacked in her home earlier this week (commercial or PSA may precede video clip).