Media Law Prof Blog

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Louisiana State Univ.

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Monday, March 9, 2009

Japanese Magicians Lose Case Over Disclosure of Secrets

That Japanese magicians' lawsuit against the Nippon Television Network alleging exposure was apparently dismissed. I'm relying here on a blogpost since I don't read Japanese.

The problem here for the magicians was that the broadcasts involved centered on the delivery of news. Specifically, they were reporting on the arrest of two people who were attempting to defraud using coin tricks. The reports explained the tricks during the course of the reports, and the magicians sued, claiming that the explanations were not necessary to report the stories.

Apparently the judge ruled that the tv network's intent was to impart news and not to deprive the magicians of their professional secrets. He also ruled that magicians' secrets are generally available in books and the like, although I don't know if he found specifically that these particular secrets are generally available. Obviously, that might make a difference. If the defendants got hold of them and used them to commit crimes, then revealing them could easily be part of a news story. But if not, and a reporter went ahead and revealed them, then I could understand how a magician might easily make the argument that a reporter need not reveal a trade secret in order to illustrate such a story. The magicians say they will appeal.

[See here for related post].

http://lawprofessors.typepad.com/media_law_prof_blog/2009/03/japanese-magici.html

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