June 26, 2009
New York Times In Battle With Anti-Corzine Group Over Website
Via the blog Copyrights and Campaigns, this story about a cease-and-desist demand from the New York Times against the Republican Governors' Association for its parody of the paper. The RGA is in full pursuit of Senator Jon Corzine, up for re-election this year, and thought "The Corzine Times," attacking the incumbent Corzine would be a neat tactic. Not so amusing, said the NYT, which claims that the parody infringes the NYT's IP rights.
The title for the site is designed to recall the world famous, protected New York Times logo, and the pages use the same fonts and layout as nytimes.com in order to mimic its design. Such copying is a clear infringement of The Times's rights under the Copyright Act of 1976 and falsely suggests, in violation of the Lanham Act, that the Times has sponsored or is otherwise affiliated with your website.
Allegations Hit University of Hawaii Former Student Newspaper Editor
From the Chronicle of Higher Education News Blog: a story about problems at the University of Hawaii's student newspaper EIC.
The university has confirmed that from January 2008 to May 2009, the editor, Kris DeRego, made up the names of 21 sources in his articles and quoted eight people identified as students who were not enrolled at the time the articles were published.
While most of the articles listed on the correction page describe minor campus-life issues, one story — about the university’s presidential finalists — includes “candid” quotes from nonstudents about what officials were looking for in a president, Pacific Business News reported.
Read more here.
Ofcom: Sky TV Should Offer Content To Others
Watchdog agency Ofcom says Sky TV (BSkyB), owned by Rupert Murdoch, should share its premium channel content with other broadcasters in order to ensure a competitive market, and asked all parties to make their opinions known by the middle of August. But Sky TV has already indicated it opposes the idea and will fight it in court.
Ofcom says the price at which Sky TV's content could be offered to other parties would be regulated. Read more here. Here's more on the "must offer" regulation from the Wall Street Journal and the Financial Times.
June 25, 2009
Daily Star Retracts Statements About David Beckham
Yet another retraction from a British paper: The Daily Star agrees that its story that David Beckham "made a play" for a Hungarian model was untrue. It is paying him substantial damages. Read more here.
Deadline Hollywood Daily Sells For $15 Million
Nikki Finke has sold her Deadline Hollywood Daily blog for a nice profit of $15 million. The blog became a prime site for information during the writers' strike and has stayed prominent since then as a source for breaking news. Read more here.
Update On Franklin, Anderson & Lidsky, Mass Media Law Due Out Soon
From Professor David Anderson, co-author of Franklin, Anderson & Lidsky on Mass Media Law:
The 2009 Supplement to Franklin, Anderson, & Lidsky, Mass Media Law, will be sent no later than July 10 to all law teachers known to Foundation Press as users of the casebook. The Supplement reports developments from the date of the 7th edition (2005) through June 2009 and is designed to be assigned to students along with the casebook. It covers changes in information policies initiated by the Obama administration, the Supreme Court decision in the “fleeting expletives” case, and many other recent developments in media law.
If you are a user of the casebook and do not receive your complimentary copy of the Supplement by mid-July, please contact Foundation Press directly.
Greek Quiz Show Banned
A program produced by Elisabeth Murdoch, called "The Moment of Truth," that is among the most popular on Greek television has been banned by Greek regulators after it aired some particularly embarassing scenes. The program, which is also on the air in a number of European countries, features a sort of "truth or dare" format for contestants, who answer questions while they are hooked up to a lie detector. Winning contestant can earn cash for truthful answers.
The Greek regulatory agency told the broadcaster it had finally gone too far after a series of shows that raised concerns. The company is now deciding whether to challenge the ban in the courts. Read more here and here.
Gender Bias In the Theater
Harvard doctoral student Emily Glassberg Sands is presenting the results of empirical research that demonstrates that there is perceptable gender bias in the theater, in terms of how artistic directors choose which plays to present. Directors seem to prefer male playwrights to female playwrights, and the directors who do the preferring seem to be female. Philip Boroff's article for Bloomberg.com explains Ms. Sands' research, which she carried out while a student at Princeton. Here's more on her work from the New York Times.
Politkovskaya Verdict Tossed; Supreme Court Orders New Trial
Russia's highest court has ordered a new trial in the case of three men acquitted of murder in the case of journalist Anna Politkovskaya. The three were acquitted in February. Ms. Politkoskaya's three children have now said it is time for a real investigation into their mother's death. Read more here and here.
June 24, 2009
It's Thyme For Some Catnip For the IP Lawyers: The "Coming Through the Rye" Lawsuit
FindLaw's Julie Hilden considers J. D. Salinger's copyright infringement lawsuit against Frederik Colting (that's "J. D. California" to you and me), the author of the "Catcher in the Rye" sequel "60 Years Later: Coming Through the Rye." She discusses the analogies with the J. K. Rowling/RDR Books lawsuit of last year; here's her commentary on that issue.
Stars and Stripes Reporter Request For Embed Denied; Paper Says It's Censorship
Editors of the newspaper distributed to all U.S. troops say it has been censored by military brass because of what one reporter has previously written about the U.S. occupation in Iraq. Heath Druzin asked to be imbedded with the U. S. Army's 1st Cavalry Division in Mosul, but the Army said no, referencing an article Mr. Druzin had published about local lack of support for the continued U.S. presence in Mosul.
The paper quotes an Army public affairs person as saying,
“Despite the opportunity to visit areas of the city where Iraqi Army leaders, soldiers, national police and Iraqi police displayed commitment to partnership, Mr. Druzin refused to highlight any of this news,” Major Ramona Bellard, a public affairs officer, wrote in denying Druzin’s embed request.
Bellard also alleged that Druzin used quotes out of context, “behaved unprofessionally” and persisted in asking Army officials for permision to use a computer to file a story during a communications-blackout period.
The Army did suggest Mr. Druzin could be embedded with another unit. Stripes denies the allegations about Mr. Druzin. Read the Stars and Stripes story here. It lists several other stories that it alleges the Army has criticized. Read a CNN story here.
June 23, 2009
Google's ItalianTrial On Hold
The trial of Google execs over a video posted on YouTube, which began this week, is delayed because of an interpreter's illness. Italian prosecutors claim that Google had an obligation to prevent airing of the video in order to protect the subject of the video, a youngster with Downs syndrome. Read more here.
Lily Allen Sues Over Comments In British, French Mags
Singer Lily Allen is suing the Sun over a report it published claiming she called former Spice Girl Victoria Beckman "a monster" and X Factor judge Cheryl Cole "stupid and superficial." Ms. Allen says the Sun is republishing comments from an article which originally appeared in a French sports magazine, which she is also suing. Read more here.
Protecting Virtual IP
Intellectual property holders have invested significant resources into Second Life in pursuit of customers and virtual market share. 15.8 million residents are available to hear your message. Within this virtual world, however, they have found age old intellectual property problems: counterfeiters with virtual Herman Miller furniture and Rolex watches.
Similarly, participants have become residents of Second Life for the opportunity to develop virtual intellectual property.
Virtual art galleries, magazines, and bar associations have sprung up. The United States Patent and Trademark Office has granted
registration to virtual trademarks created within Second Life.
Both real world and virtual world intellectual property holders have come to Linden Research’s Second Life on the premise that their intellectual property would be protected. Is it? How should the added exposure of a virtual intellectual property portfolio be managed by an intellectual property right holder?
Recently filed complaints indicate that Linden Lab’s “commercially reasonable efforts” may not be sufficient. In fact, they may be detrimental to the intellectual property owner. Here, I will discuss suits filed against Linden Lab regarding Second Life’s intellectual property protection. The complaints are illustrative of the peril in having intellectual property rights be privately adjudicated and enforced.
Download the paper from SSRN here.
June 22, 2009
More On Libel Laws In the UK, and the Response of the Congress
From the Guardian's Robert Sharp, a commentary on libel laws in the UK and reaction to the US House of Representatives' passing of a bill intended to protect against the effects of British defamation judgments. Says Mr. Sharp,
The bill erects a legal barricade for Americans against the growing problem of "libel tourism", the phenomenon whereby foreigners sue each other in British courts, sometimes on the most spurious of grounds.
When the concept of a "gentleman's good reputation", devised in the 18th century to avoid the problem of duels, is applied uncritically in the globalised and connected 21st century, Her Majesty's judges are cornered into handing down rulings which amaze her subjects.
With laws stacked overwhelmingly in favour of the claimant, the UK has become the jurisdiction of choice for anyone wishing to silence or suppress a journalist working anywhere in the world. We have unwittingly allowed our courts to become an international libel tribunal, and free speech is suffering as a result.
But no longer for Americans. Ever the exceptionalists, they are acting to ensure that at least their investigative journalists are protected. The measures enacted, first by the state of New York and now mirrored at a federal level, seek to end the principle of comity, a legal reciprocity whereby libel damages awarded in the UK can be enforced in the US.
The Blogger, Cincicatus
The New York Times discusses the uses of cute cats and their ability to put political censors off the the track. It's hard to find political messages hidden among all those kitties, says Harvard researcher Ethan Zuckerman. Read more here.
Lawyers For "Bruno" Play Hardball
News on the "Bruno" bingo lawsuit.
Lawyers, Lawyers, Everywhere....
The Hollywood Reporter Blog has this on a law student who took seriously a lawyer's "challenge" that no one could " fly from Orlando to Atlanta, exit one of the busiest airports in the world, and arrive at a hotel five miles away in less than a half hour." That's the lawyer's client's alibi, and, said the attorney, James Mason of Orlando, "I challenge anybody to show me, I'll pay them a million dollars if they can do it."
It had to happen, and it did. South Texas College of Law student Dustin Kolodziej videotaped himself zipping through that itinerary, and he claimed the million bucks. But Mr. Mason declined to pay up, and now Mr. Kolodziej is suing.
Blogger Arraigned On Incitement Charges
Blogger Harold Turner is being arraigned on incitement charges. Mr. Turner had urged his readers to "take up arms" against Connecticut legislators who supported a bill to allow the lay public more control over affairs of the Roman Catholic Church. Read more here.
With regard to that Connecticut bill, here's more from courant.com.
June 21, 2009
NYT Reporter Escapes Taliban
The New York Times reports that its reporter David Rohde has succeeded in escaping from the Taliban. Mr. Rohde, another reporter, Tahir Ludin, and their driver, were captured seven months ago. Mr. Rodhe and Mr. Ludin climbed over a wall. Mr. Mangal, their driver, did not escape with them.
The Times kept the news of Mr. Rohde's captivity quiet and prevailed on other media to do so as well in order to try to negotiate Mr. Rohde's release. In an interview today on CNN's Reliable Sources, Mr. Keller, executive editor of the Times, indicated that he had had anxious moments over the period, thinking that the information might leak out, particularly when Mr. Rohde, along with other Times journalists, won a Pulitzer Prize for reporting on events in Pakistan and Afghanistan. Mr. Keller declined to provide many details about Mr. Rohde's escape or the negotiations.