Media Law Prof Blog

Editor: Christine A. Corcos
Louisiana State Univ.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Glyndebourne Soprano Has Accident On Stage, Understudies Step Up

Soprano Ana Maria Martinez fell into the orchestra pit at Glyndebourne during a performance of Dvorak's opera Rusalka, and was taken to the hospital to be checked out "as a precaution". Apparently she got entangled in the scenery and couldn't avoid the spill. The performance continued after understudy Natasha Jouhl took over and her own understudy, who ended up making her Glyndebourne debut, could be located. Ms. Martinez has been discharged from the hospital and is reported to be doing well. Read more here.

August 22, 2009 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

VH1 Pulls Reality Show Involving Murder Suspect, Considers Cancelling Production Of Second Show Which Also Includes Him As Contestant

Following up on my post about the hunt for Ryan Jenkins, suspected in the murder of his ex-wife, model Jasmine Fiore, I'm posting a link here to a New York Times story by Brian Stelter about VH1's response. The network cancelled showings of "Megan Wants a Millionaire," the show on which Mr. Jenkins was a contestant, and is deciding whether to continue with production of "I Love Money 3," a show with which Mr. Jenkins had become involved.

For an interesting blog and commentary on reality tv, check out Andy Dehnart's Realityblurred (also mentioned in the Stelter article). Courtesy of Time magazine, a history of reality tv.

August 22, 2009 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Apple and Google Voice

Two articles from the New York Times on Apple's argument with Google over Google Voice, the Google app for the IPhone. Now, the FCC is involved. Apple has responded to the agency that it has not formally rejected Google's app, and further explains a little more about the process of Apple apps.

August 22, 2009 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)


From today's New York Times, an article on how quickly today's slang changes.

August 22, 2009 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Touring Exhibit of MJ's Memorabilia Will Go Forward

L. A. Superior Court Judge Mitchell Beckloff has okayed the agreement between AEG Live and the current representatives of Michael Jackson's estate to exhibit some of his memorabilia in three cities, after initially granting Katherine Jackson's request for a delay. Mrs. Jackson had argued that the deal was too favorable to AEG.

August 22, 2009 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Friday, August 21, 2009

Richard Hatch, Let Out For Home Confinement, Rejailed For Giving Media Interviews

The American Civil Liberties Union says that Richard Hatch, recently allowed out of prison to serve the rest of his sentence for tax evasion under home confinement, should not have been returned to jail for granting two media interviews simply because they were technically not authorized by the agency overseeing Mr. Hatch's release. ACLU spokeperson Steven Brown said, "It's appalling to think that he has been sent to jail merely for speaking to the media about his own court case." Read more here.

August 21, 2009 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

News Corp Will Stop Publishing London Paper

The freebie London Paper will shut down, a victim of the economy. Read more here.

August 21, 2009 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Reality Show Contestant Sought In Death of Ex-Wife

Police are seeking reality show contestant Ryan Alexander Jenkins in the death of his ex-wife Jasmine Fiore. They believe he may have fled to Canada. Ms. Fiore's mutilated body was found in a suitcase last weekend. Mr. Jenkins appeared on the VH1 show "Megan Wants a Millionaire."  VH1 has now postponed airings of the show. Read more here and here.

This is not the first time questions about the vetting involved for a reality show contestant have surfaced. Questions arose about Fox TV's "Who Wants To Marry a Multi-Millionaire" after it turned out that the show's chosen bachelor, Rick Rockwell, had had a restraining order issued against him by a former girlfriend. And says (as does the New York Post) that Andre Birleanu, who appeared on VH1's "America's Most Smartest Model", has served time.

August 21, 2009 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Trolling For Patents

Christopher Anthony Cotropia, University of Richmond School of Law, has published "The Individual Inventor Motif in the Age of the Patent Troll." Here is the abstract.

The individual inventor motif has been part of American patent law since its inception. The question is whether the recent patent troll hunt has damaged the individual inventor's image and, in turn, caused Congress, the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), and the courts to not be as concerned with patent law's impact on the small inventor. This Article explores whether there has been an attitude change by looking at various sources such as congressional statements and testimony in discussions of the recent proposed patent reform legislation, the USPTO's response to comments on two recently proposed sets of patent rules, and recent Supreme Court patent decisions. These sources indicate that the rhetoric of the motif has remained unchanged, but its substantive impact is essentially nil. This investigation also provides a broader insight into the various governmental institutions' roles in patent law.

Download the paper from SSRN  here .

August 21, 2009 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Stella McCartney's New Perfume Goes To Market After Rival Perfume Maker Denied Injunction

Stella McCartney will launch her new perfume, STELLANUDE, on schedule, after a British judge refused to grant an injunction to Nude Brands, Ltd., which claims that it holds the rights to use the word "Nude" (all caps). The judge agreed with Ms. McCartney and her backers that granting the injunction would cause "massive disruption." Read more here.

August 20, 2009 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Making It Work

Project Runway is back, this season on Lifetime. Meanwhile, Trinny and Susannah make their appearance on U.S. tv.

August 20, 2009 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Regulating Sports Bloggers

From the New York Times, an article on the rise of sports bloggers and the attempts of sports leagues to regulate them.

August 20, 2009 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

New Morgan Creek "Mob" Film Project May Be Derailed

From the Hollywood Reporter, news that a movie in development at Morgan Creek might not find its way to the big screen after one of the real-life individuals on whom the project is purportedly based has filed a lawsuit to stop it.

Linda Schiro and her daughter say they gave writer Nicholas Pileggi and director Antoine Fuqua interviews and information for the script of the new drama in development, based on the activities of the late Gregory Scarpa, in exchange for money and roles as consultants. Morgan Creek says it knows nothing about a lawsuit and is moving forward with the project.

Read more here.

August 20, 2009 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Reality Show Will Check On Contestants' Emotional Health Using Psychologists

Producers of the British reality tv show X Factor have announced they will use psychologists to make certain that contestants can withstand the pressure of performing, after several reality show contestants, including Britain's Got Talent's Susan Boyle, had highly publicized emotional breakdowns after their appearances. Read more here.

August 19, 2009 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

ASA Finds Skype's Ad Campaign For VOIP Misleading

The Advertising Standards Authority has ruled that Skype's advertising campaign for its Voice Over Internet Protocol (VOIP) which emphasizes the high quality of its video actually overstates the quality of the picture. The company had argued that it is really selling the ability to make and complete a call, not the actual video, but the ASA declined to accept this defense.

The ASA noted the ad did not depict a real time Skype video call but noted the Code did not prevent the use of techniques to overcome technical problems in filming TV ads.  

We understood Skype had sought to mimic the effect of the blurring and slowness users could experience in a real time video call through the movement of the laptop by the new father.  We also noted that the quality of a Skype video call depended upon the speed and quality of a users broadband connection.  Although the sound and picture quality achieved by the filming method used in the ad was not representative of the typical performance that users could achieve, we noted it was representative of the best possible standard which could be achieved.

While we understood the technology would continue to evolve and improve, we considered that viewers would infer that the sound and picture quality depicted in the ad was typical of the performance that all users could achieve.  Consequently, because we understood that that was not the case at the present time, we concluded that the ad could mislead and should therefore have included qualifying text to make clear that performance depended upon the speed and quality of a users broadband connection.

The ad breached CAP (Broadcast) TV Advertising Standards Code rules 5.1.1 and 5.1.2 (Misleading advertising), 5.2.2 (Implications) but did not breach rule 5.4.1 (Visual techniques and special effects).

August 19, 2009 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

British Film Board Denies Certificate To Japanese Horror Film

The British Board of Film Classification is refusing to allow the sale of a violent Japanese film which it says is "an unrelenting and escalating scenario of humiliation, brutality and sadism." Read more here and here.

August 19, 2009 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

More On the Debate Over the Google Settlement

Scott Gant, a lawyer at Boies Schiller & Flexner, and author of We’re All Journalists Now: The Transformation of the Press and Reshaping of the Law in the Internet Age, is filing a suit objecting to the settlement that would put an end to the class action lawsuit over Google's activities in scanning library books which it then posts online. A number of other groups representing authors and authors themselves have raised questions about the settlement, although many groups have said the settlement seems like a good compromise. Read more here in an article in today's New York Times. Here's more about the settlement and about registering's one's rights.

Note: The opt-out date has been extended to September 4, 2009.

August 19, 2009 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Hip Hop and Criminal Justice

Andre Douglas Pond Cummings, West Virginia University College of Law, has published "Thug Life: Hip Hop’s Curious Relationship with Criminal Justice," in volume 50 of the Santa Clara Law Review (2009). Here is the abstract.

I argue that hip hop music and culture profoundly influences attitudes toward and perceptions about criminal justice in the United States. At base, hip hop lyrics and their cultural accoutrements turns U.S. punishment philosophy upon its head, effectively defeating the foundational purposes of American crime and punishment. Prison and punishment philosophy in the U.S. is based on clear principles of retribution and incapacitation, where prison time for crime should serve to deter individuals from engaging in criminal behavior. In addition, the stigma that attaches to imprisonment should dissuade criminals from recidivism. Hip hop culture denounces crime and punishment in the United States in a way that essentially defies the underlying crime and punishment philosophy adopted and championed by U.S. legislators for decades. Hip hop artists, since the inception of hip hop as a musical genre, have rhymed in a narrative format that starkly informs all listeners and fans that the entire foundational regime of prison for crime in the United States is suspect, illegitimate and profane. As U.S. criminal law and punishment is profane and illegitimate to many, as hip hop artists fiercely argue, then the primary foundational underpinnings of U.S. criminal justice is lost on the hip hop generation, that of deterrence and stigma. Because, as hip hop aggressively describes, crime and punishment in the U.S. is fundamentally unfair, inequitable and biased against people of color and the poor, then punishment for committing certain crimes in America is viewed by the hip hop nation as illegitimate and imprisonment for committing suspect crimes is unaffecting. Hip hop culture has engendered in the global hip hop generation a tradition of exposing racial inequality and social injustice throughout the world, but particularly within the United States. To that end, this Essay argues that much like Critical Race Theory espouses a tradition of 'looking to the bottom,' that American purveyors of crime and punishment law consider the viewpoint of the hip hop nation, which espouses a better, more equitable theory of punishment and justice in the United States.

Download the article from SSRN here.

August 18, 2009 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Robert Novak Dies

Columnist Robert Novak, who worked for the Chicago Sun-Times since 1966, and as an on-air debater on the CNN show Crossfire from 1980 to 2005, has died of a brain tumor. He was 78. Mr. Novak was involved in the controversy surrounding the naming of Valerie Plame Wilson as a CIA agent.

Read more here and here.

August 18, 2009 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Hugo Chavez Trying To Quash Private Media

CNN reports that the U.S. government says Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez is aggressively moving against television and radio journalists who criticize his administration. Read more here.

August 18, 2009 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)