Media Law Prof Blog

Editor: Christine A. Corcos
Louisiana State Univ.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Irina Krupnik Sues Over Use of Photo In "Couples Retreat" Scene

Former model Irina Krupnik, who now works as a makeup artist, is suing over the use of her photograph in the 2009 film "Couples Retreat," which stars Vince Vaughn and Kristen Bell. She alleges that her photo, originally a "commonplace swimwear ad" is used in one scene, as "softcore pornography." The studio obtained the picture from a company that supplies stock photographs. Read more here and here.

March 12, 2010 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

"Mad Men" Goes Mattel

Mattel is licensing the rights to some of the characters on the popular show "Mad Men" in order to create a line of "Barbie" dolls: Don Draper, wife Betty, Roger Sterling, and Roger's companion, Joan Holloway. Read more here.

March 12, 2010 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Leading British Judge Says Contradictory Legal Systems Have Led To Unpredictability, "Inhibiting Effects" on Free Expression, In UK

Mr. Justice Eady, a noted British libel law judge, indicated in a speech before a group at City University that contradictory decisions made by the European Court of Human Rights and the English judiciary has confused the question of defamation law in the UK. The result, said Mr. Justice Eady, has been unpredictability and "an inhibiting effect on the exercise of our freedom of expression, and on journalists in particular." Read more here in a Guardian article.

March 12, 2010 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, March 11, 2010

ABC Under Fire For Two-Second Clip In Toyota Piece

ABC is reversing on its use of a two second clip in an investigative piece showing rapid acceleration in a Toyota. Reporter Brian Ross and Professor David Gilbert are discussing the phenomenon while Mr. Ross drives the Toyota, and the camera seems to zoom in on the car's dashboard, showing the acceleration while they discuss it. But the dashboard shown in the video is not the dashboard of the car Mr. Ross is driving at the time.

According to the article by the AP's David Bauder, ABC shot a video in a parked car because the parked car produced a steadier shot and defends its decision by saying the results were essentially the same when the car was driven. But Toyota believes the report is misleading, and some Toyota dealers reacted by pulling advertising from local ABC affiliates.

March 11, 2010 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

School Webcam Privacy Lawsuit Could Be Settled

Local Philadelphia media outlets report that the lawsuit between parents of a suburban teen alleging he was spied off campus on by school officials via a school webcam and the school district might be settled before the trial, which is scheduled for trial. School administrators say they used the webcam only to locate missing school equipment. The family says the webcam invaded the teen's privacy.

March 11, 2010 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Blogger's Second Trial Ends In Mistrial; Jury Unable To Agree On Verdict

The AP reports that a blogger's second trial has ended in a mistrial. Hal Turner is accused of threatening three judges via statements published on his blog in 2008. Here's more from the New York Daily News.

March 11, 2010 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Irish Further Detain Seven Suspected of Plotting To Murder Swedish Cartoonist

Irish authorities are extending the detention of seven persons linked to a plot to assassinate a Swedish cartoonist, Lars Vilks, who drew pictures offensive to Muslims. The seven have also been linked to Colleen LaRose, the U.S. citizen recently arrested and charged with terrorism who has called herself "Jihad Jane."

March 10, 2010 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Freedom of Expression and Copyright

Xinglong Cao, A University School of Law, has published "Expression in Copyright, and its Reflections in Patent and 'Freedom of Expression'." Here is the abstract.


This article carefully peruses the pivotal theories in copyright, patent and "freedom of expression," including dichotomies of expression/idea, aesthetics/utility, invention/nature, method/idea. The finding is that the existent definition of expression, invention and method induces contradiction in case decisions, leaving thorny crux unsettled, especially in the tide of modern scientific and technological development. The author's philosophical research reaches that the traditional dichotomies are unfeasible in actuality, for the ubiquitous merger of the antithesis. The conclusion is that expression, invention or the method of communication is always merged with uncertain idea, or nature. This new theory provides an efficient approach for the current and impending puzzles in the intellectual property field, such as self-justification of the legal systems, randomized works in modern society, without toppling the existent intellectual property institution. Still, such a new theory puts forward some unsettled question for the future.

Download the paper from SSRN at the link.

March 10, 2010 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Newly Updated Charts On Law Review Submission Information

Allen Rostron and Nancy Levin, University of Missouri (Kansas City) School of Law, Information for Submitting Articles to Law Reviews & Journals. Here is the abstract. 

This document contains information about submitting articles to law reviews and journals, including the methods for submitting an article, any special formatting requirements, how to contact them to request an expedited review, and how to contact them to withdraw an article from consideration. It covers 195 law reviews. The document was fully updated in March of 2010.
Download the paper from SSRN at the link.

March 10, 2010 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

The History of Copyright Law In British Palestine

Michael Birnhack, Buchmann Faculty of Law, Tel Aviv University, has published "Hebrew Authors and English Copyright Law in Mandate Palestine," in volume 12 of Theoretical Inquiries in Law (2011). Here is the abstract.


This article (re)tells the as yet-untold story of copyright in Mandate Palestine. It is a story about the introduction of copyright law in one region, beginning a century ago: the Ottoman province that became Palestine under the British rule (1917-1922) and a Mandate (1922-1948), and then Israel (1948). The account provides an early case of legal globalization through colonialism (although Palestine was a Mandate, not a colony). The imposition of copyright law in Palestine enables us to observe the difficulties of applying an uninvited legal transplant and to trace its dynamics.
The discussion queries the fate of copyright law in Mandate Palestine from two perspectives. First, the Colonial-Imperial point of view: I will ask "why that then", i.e., why did the British government impose copyright law in the newly administered territory only a month after the establishment of the civil administration in the summer of 1920 and then replaced it in 1924. The answers are to be found in the general imperial agenda, its Palestine agenda, as well as the nature of copyright and additional reasons. Second, from the local point of view, I will trace the first steps of copyright law within the Hebrew community and especially within the literary circle in the 1920s.

The discussion is located within several frameworks. The first is that of globalization and legal transplants. Copyright law today is at the forefront of the battle on globalization. Copyright features high on the agenda of those nations that push for stronger legal protection and for more enforcement measures in the name of free trade, private property as well as harmonization and unification. The new global copyright regime imposes foreign concepts on countries which are not always interested in these legal formulas. While copyright law was first introduced in the region by the Ottoman Empire in 1910, it was the 1911 (British) Imperial Copyright Act, applied to Palestine in 1924 (with a precursor in 1920), alongside a Copyright Ordinance that left their mark in the long run. Here, I focus on the non-Orthodox Jewish Zionist Hebrew community, known as the Yishuv. The article examines the literary field.

A second framework of the discussion is the interaction between law and social norms. This framework is a subset of the previous, globalization one, as copyright law was foreign and the social norms were local. It took a while for copyright law to be absorbed in the region and for the notion of a legal protection for intangible creative works to resonate within the local community. One main goal of the article is to point out this slow absorption and seek for explanations. This does not mean that there were no local copyright-related needs. There were such needs. The legal issues that bothered the literary field concerned the author-publisher relationship, attribution, the integrity of the work and international transactions. However, the answers to these problems were not found in the law but rather in private ordering, namely contracts and social norms.

March 10, 2010 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Data Protection Company Settles With FTC; Will Pay $12 Million

Lifelock has settled a deceptive advertising lawsuit with the FTC. The federal agency charged that Lifelock, which claims that it can secure consumers' private data, failed to provide "far less protection" than it promised its clients. The company says it will revise its practices and will pay $12 million to settle claims. Here's more on the settlement. The Chicago Sun-Times reports more here.

March 9, 2010 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Robert Halderman May Plead Guilty In Letterman Case

The Associated Press reports that Robert Halderman, the CBS News employee accused of trying to extort money from David Letterman over Mr. Letterman's relationships with female staff, is likely to enter a guilty plea today. As a result, he may receive a six month prison sentence. The New York Daily News reports he will also receive an additional sentence of community service and probation.

March 9, 2010 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Research On the Effects Of Using/Watching Porn

From The, an article by Milton Diamond assesses research that suggests that watching or using pornography might make men more, not less, tolerant of women, and individuals less, not more, sexually repressed.

March 9, 2010 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Monday, March 8, 2010

Bearing Witness

Sean O'Hagan on the ethics of photography.

March 8, 2010 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

The Kouwe Affair: A One-Off, Or Symptomatic Of a System-Wide Problem

Clark Hoyt discusses the resignation of former New York Times business reporter Zachary Kouwe. Once again, the Kouwe affair embroiled the Times in questions about its ability to police its own. Says Mr. Hoyt,

Though Kouwe was gone the next day, questions remain: How did his serial plagiarism happen and go undetected for so long? Why were warning signs overlooked? Was there anything at fault in the culture of DealBook, the hyper-competitive news blog on which Kouwe worked? And, now that the investigation is complete, what about a full accounting to readers?

As Mr. Hoyt notes, online journalism poses its own problems in addition to those it inherits from traditional journalism. How does the press deal with those?

March 8, 2010 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)