Media Law Prof Blog

Editor: Christine A. Corcos
Louisiana State Univ.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Bettie Page Dies

Actress/pinup/model Bettie Page, who scandalized the movie world with her willingness to pose in scanty clothes and in suggestive poses, has died. She left the entertainment world several decades ago after a religious conversion but her life still continued to be somewhat bumpy as this Time Magazine story notes. Gretchen Moll starred in a dramatization of Bettie's life, The Notorious Bettie Page, in 2005. Here's more from the L. A. Times about Ms. Page's life and impact.

December 12, 2008 | Permalink | TrackBack (1)

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Advertising Standards Authority Says More Ads Comply With Rules Regulating Marketing Foods To Children

The (UK) Advertising Standards Authority says its rules governing the advertising of foods to children are bearing fruit (shall we say), after releasing the results of its second survey in two years. The agency looked at 267 broadcast ads and found that only one was in breach of the code. It examined 660 non-broadcast ads and found that nine did not comply with the code. Read more here.

December 11, 2008 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Daily Mirror To Pay Damages To Josh Harnett Over Story

The Daily MIrror has agreed that its story about Josh Hartnett's "sexual dalliances" with a mystery woman" in a London hotel are fabricated, and will pay the star of Blackhawk Down and Pearl Harbor twenty thousand pounds in damages. Mr. Harnett is currently starring in the play Rain Man. Read more in a BBC story.

December 11, 2008 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Real Knife Substituted For Stage Prop Causes Injury To Actor

The BBC reports that VIennese police are investigating why a real knife, rather than a stage prop, was on stage when a performance of Friedrich Schiller's Mary, Queen of Scots, went on. Daniels Hoevels, the actor who used it, didn't notice, and cut his throat in a suicide scene, almost killing himself. The actor was treated and returned to perform the next night. Read more here and here.

December 11, 2008 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Tyler Perry Wins Copyright Infringement Lawsuit

Tyler Perry has won a copyright infringement lawsuit brought by Donna West, who claimed that the actor's film Diary of a Mad Black Woman infringed on her work Fantasy of a Black Woman. A federal jury in Marshall, Texas, did not agree. Ms. West had also sued the distributor of the film, Lionsgate. Read more here in an AP story.

December 10, 2008 | Permalink | TrackBack (1)

The Art of Writing

Sherry Colb examines the claim that term paper writing for profit is protected by the First Amendment.

December 10, 2008 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Mark Lester Wins Apology, Damages From Daily Mail Over Divorce Story

The Daily Mail has agreed that claims in a story it published that former child actor Mark Lester (Oliver!) assaulted his ex-wife and let his son sleep in the same room as pop singer Michael Jackson were false. The paper apologized and will pay Mr. Lester damages, according to this story from the Guardian. Mr. Lester is now an osteopathic physician in Cheltenham.

December 10, 2008 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

SAG Sets Strike Vote For Early Next Year

From the AP: The Screen Actors Guild says it will begin mailing out ballots for a strike vote on January 2. Here's more from the SAG website.

Screen Actors Guild today announced that strike authorization ballots will be mailed to paid-up SAG members on Friday January 2, 2009, and will be tabulated on Friday, January 23. A yes vote by 75% of members voting is required to pass the measure, which would authorize SAG's national board of directors to call a strike, if and when the board determines it is necessary.

Screen Actors Guild National President Alan Rosenberg said, ”SAG members understand that their futures as professional actors are at stake and I believe that SAG members will evaluate the AMPTP’s June 30 offer, and vote to send us back to the table with the threat of a strike. A yes vote sends a strong message that we are serious about fending off rollbacks and getting what is fair for actors in new media. I am encouraged by the response of the capacity crowd at our Los Angeles town hall meeting Monday night."

”We want SAG members to have time to focus on this critical referendum, so we have decided to mail ballots the day after New Year's. We will continue our comprehensive education campaign and urge our members to vote yes on the strike authorization. I am confident that members around the country will empower our negotiating team with the leverage and strength of unified Screen Actors Guild members. Our objective remains to get a deal that SAG members will ratify- not to go on strike," said SAG National Executive Director and Chief Negotiator, Doug Allen.

Ballots will be tabulated at Integrity Voting Systems in Everett, Washington. Passage requires 75% yes vote from those voting.

December 10, 2008 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Chicago Tribune Held Story On Illinois Governor

The Chicago Tribune released a statement concerning its investigation of Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich. Gerould Kern, Executive Editor of the Trib, said in part,

As a standard practice, our reporters contact individuals involved in these stories for confirmation and comment prior to publication....On occasion, prosecutors asked us to delay publication of stories, asserting that disclosure would jeopardize the criminal investigation. In isolated instances, we granted the requests, but other requests were refused....In each case, we strive to make the right decision as reporters and as citizens. That's what we did in this case.

December 10, 2008 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Wikipedia Page No Longer Blocked In Britain

It's over. The Guardian reports that the ban on a Wikipedia page discussing a Scorpions album cover is over, following a review by the Internet Watch Foundation, of its decision to place the page on its "censored" list because of an image on the page. A problem with the way the page had been listed resulted in unintended consequences: British users were unable to edit any Wikipedia pages. The IWF itself also received a great deal of criticism for its original action, since some Internet users did not understand why the page was deemed "potentially illegal," and many commentators thought the action simply drew more attention to the album cover, which has been around for decades and has never been construed as obscene. The IWF is a private organization, and has no official standing in Britain, although it has been viewed as a watchdog group. Here's more from Channel 4.

December 10, 2008 | Permalink | TrackBack (1)

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

House Committee Releases Report on FCC

Here's a link to the recently released report on the FCC, Deception and Distrust. The report comes from the House Committee on Energy and Commerce.

December 9, 2008 | Permalink | TrackBack (1)

Illinois Governor Arrested On Federal Corruption Charges

Here's a link to the criminal complaint filed against Governor Rod R. Blagojevich of Illinois. He's charged with, among other things, "corruptly solicit[ing] and deman[ing] a thing of value, namely, the firing of certain Chicago Tribune editorial member responsible for widely-circulated editorials critical of ROD R. BLAGOJEVICH...." Read more in a CNN story.

December 9, 2008 | Permalink | TrackBack (1)

Wikipedia Article Page May Run Afoul of British Child Porn Internet Laws

A flap has developed over a Wikipedia page's use of the image from the 1976 "Virgin Killer" album cover, the work of the German band Scorpions. The British group the Internet Watch Foundation indicated that it thought the cover, which depicts a nude young girl, is "potentially illegal," after looking at the page and consulting law enforcement. In response, some British ISPs have blacklisted the site, because of the page's discussion of the "Virgin Killers" article, but some have not. Read more here in a Guardian article. Here's discussion from the Guardian's Frank Fisher. Here's reaction from Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales.

December 9, 2008 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

A View of Computer Crime in Colombia

Carlos Pablo Marquez, Pontifical University Javeriana Inicio & University of Oxford, has published Information, Economics and Crime: Computer Crimes in Colombian Criminal Code (Editorial Leyer, 2008). Here is the abstract.

The author studies, from the legal and economic perspective the Colombian Criminal Code on those felonies regarded as information related. The author advances in the notion of information crimes, a notion not addressed before in the literature and using dogmatic crime structures studies a set of felonies where information is the crime's object. The author also develops a theory of information and communication to deduct his reasoning regarding information crimes, and distinguish them from computer crimes or informatic crimes.

December 9, 2008 | Permalink | TrackBack (2)

Real Life Criminal Law and Virtual Harassment

Chris Reed, University of London, Queen Mary, has published "Why Must You Be Mean to Me? - Crime, Punishment and Online Personality." Here is the abstract.

The development of online social spaces such as YouTube, MySpace and Second Life, has created new opportunities for their users to behave towards others in a way which constitutes offline offences such as harassment. It has also enabled users to create online personae which are distinct from, and in many cases not obviously connected to, their real-world personality. This article explores three questions: whether the redress mechanisms built in to those online spaces provide sufficient remedies that the criminal law should, at least for the present, stand aloof; whether existing criminal law can protect those online personae; and whether the law might be extended to protect them on the basis that they are some kind of property or exhibit sufficient elements of personhood.

Download the paper from SSRN here.

December 9, 2008 | Permalink | TrackBack (1)

A Market Analysis of Net Neutrality

Nicholas Economides, New York University, Stern School of Business, and Joacim Tag, Research Institute of Industrial Economics, have published "Net Neutrality on the Internet: A Two-Sided Market Analysis," as NYU Working Paper No. 2451/26057. Here is the abstract.

We discuss the benefits of net neutrality regulation in the context of a two-sided market model in which platforms sell Internet access services to consumers and may set fees to content and applications providers "on the other side" of the Internet. When access is monopolized, we find that generally net neutrality regulation (that imposes zero fees "on the other side" of the market) increases total industry surplus compared to the fully private optimum at which the monopoly platform imposes positive fees on content and applications providers. Similarly, we find that imposing net neutrality in duopoly increases total surplus compared to duopoly competition between platforms that charge positive fees on content providers. We also discuss the incentives of duopolists to collude in setting the fees "on the other side" of the Internet while competing for Internet access customers. Additionally, we discuss how price and non-price discrimination strategies may be used once net neutrality is abolished. Finally, we discuss how the results generalize to other two-sided markets.

Download the paper from SSRN here.

December 9, 2008 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Max Planck Institute Missteps

The Independent reports that the Max Planck Institute, looking for a Chinese poem to reproduce on a cover for a recent issue of a journal it publishes worldwide, got hold of something it thought fit the bill. But the "poem" turned out to be an ad for desperate Chinese housewives. The online version of the journal has been updated with something more seemly. Here's comment from the blog Language Log.

December 9, 2008 | Permalink | TrackBack (1)

Monday, December 8, 2008

Madonna Wins Privacy Lawsuit Against Mail on Sunday

A judge has found for singer Madonna in her breach of privacy and copyright lawsuit against the Mail on Sunday. The paper published photos of her 2000 wedding to Guy Ritchie; the pair is now divorced. The pop star is asking for five million pounds. The paper paid five thousand pounds for the photos, which it apparently got from an interior decorator who had access to the star's home.

December 8, 2008 | Permalink | TrackBack (1)

Tribune Company Files For Bankruptcy Protection reports that the Tribune Company, so recently taken private by Sam Zell, is filing for bankruptcy protection. The Company owns the Chicago Cubs, many newspapers, and a slew of tv stations. Read more here and here (in a story).

December 8, 2008 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Examining Media Concentration in the U.S. and Latin America

Thomas J. Pate, Harvard Law School & University of Miami Law School, has published "Media Concentration: Different Solutions to a Growing Problem in the Contexts of the United States and Latin America." Here is the abstract.
An analysis of the problem of media concentration is analyzed in the context of the United States, including a brief description of the current state of affairs. Possible forms of regulation and past attempts to regulate the media, such as the Newspaper Preservation Act, are briefly discussed. Finally, this paper offers an analysis of whether First Amendment rights and their strict interpretation by the Supreme Court and the appellate courts allow for structural regulation of media ownership.

Taking a comparative approach, media concentration and its consequences are analyzed in an historical context in Latin America. Four countries and the media conglomerates that largely control their informational needs are reviewed. Emphasis is placed on the unique differences of the Latin American tradition and democratic development vis a vis the United States' experience. Lastly, two different conclusions are offered for each of the regions studied, highlighting these differences.
Download the paper from SSRN here.

December 8, 2008 | Permalink | TrackBack (1)