Media Law Prof Blog

Editor: Christine A. Corcos
Louisiana State Univ.

A Member of the Law Professor Blogs Network

Thursday, April 29, 2010

More On the Libel Suit Filed By Karin Calvo-Goller

From the Chronicle of Higher Education, a discussion of the libel suit filed by Karin N. Calvo-Goller over a book review of her work posted by Joseph H.H. Weiler. Ms. Calvo-Goller took issue with the review written by another academic, Thomas Weigend, a professor of law at the University of Cologne.

April 29, 2010 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Federal Judge Tells University of Wyoming To Allow William Ayers To Speak

A federal district court judge has ruled that the University of Wyoming cannot prohibit a planned speech by Professor William Ayers of the University of Illinois at Chicago, because of its concerns over possible violence. Judge William Downes noted that when Mr. Ayers was part of the Weather Underground, he (Judge Downes) was a Marine. "This court is of age to remember the Weather Underground. When his group was bombing the U.S. Capitol in 1971, I was serving in the uniform of my country. Even to this day, when I hear that name, I can scarcely swallow the bile of my contempt for it. But Mr. Ayers is a citizen of the United States who wishes to speak, and he need not offer any more justification than that." Read more here in an article from the Casper (Wyoming) Tribune online.

Here is a link to Judge Downes' order granting the plaintiffs' motion for a preliminary injunction.

April 28, 2010 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Evaluating the Graduated Response Approach in the Entertainment Industry

Peter K. Yu, Drake University Law School, has published The Graduated Response, in volume 62 of the Florida Law Review (2010). Here is the abstract.

In the past few years, the entertainment industry has deployed aggressive tactics toward individual end-users, online service providers, and other third parties. One of the latest proposals that the industry has been exploring is the so-called “graduated response” or “three strikes” system, which threatens to suspend the service of internet users after they have received two warnings from their ISPs about potentially illegal online file-sharing activities.

In December 2008, the RIAA made a formal public announcement of its change of focus toward greater cooperation with ISPs. This new collaborative effort seeks to replace the highly unpopular lawsuits the industry has filed against individual file-sharers in the past five years. To strengthen their legal positions, and to induce greater cooperation from ISPs, some industry groups have suggested that the graduated response system had been built into the framework under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998 - a proposition that had been vehemently rejected by ISPs, civil liberties groups, consumer advocates, and academic commentators.
Download the article from SSRN at the link.
Forthcoming from a mini-symposium on copyright law, this article explores the system's effectiveness in addressing massive online copyright infringement. It then examines whether the system has been built into the so-called DMCA framework and highlights the problems and unintended consequences brought about by the system. The article concludes by outlining six basic principles policymakers need to take into account if they choose to institute such a system despite its many shortcomings.

April 28, 2010 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

A Book Review of Lawrence Lessig's Latest

Edward Lee, Ohio State University College of Law, has published "Remixing Lessig," at 6 I/S 41 (2010). Here is the abstract.
   
This book review analyzes - and remixes - Lawrence Lessig's last copyright-related book, "Remix." It takes the central ideas, including some quotations, from Remix, and transforms them with some new examples and commentary of my own. Part I summarizes and critiques Lessig’s discussion of (1) the remix and read-write (RW) culture, and (2) its relationship to the sharing, commercial, and hybrid economies. Part II discusses some of Lessig’s reform proposals for our copyright system to foster a remix culture.
Download the book review from SSRN at the link.

April 28, 2010 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

A Book Review of Lawrence Lessig's Latest

Edward Lee, Ohio State University College of Law, has published "Remixing Lessig," at 6 I/S 41 (2010). Here is the abstract.
   
This book review analyzes - and remixes - Lawrence Lessig's last copyright-related book, "Remix." It takes the central ideas, including some quotations, from Remix, and transforms them with some new examples and commentary of my own. Part I summarizes and critiques Lessig’s discussion of (1) the remix and read-write (RW) culture, and (2) its relationship to the sharing, commercial, and hybrid economies. Part II discusses some of Lessig’s reform proposals for our copyright system to foster a remix culture.
Download the book review from SSRN at the link.

April 28, 2010 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Copyright and Vampires

Jacqueline D. Lipton, Case Western Reserve University School of Law, has published "Copyright’s Twilight Zone: Digital Copyright Lessons from the Vampire Blogosphere," in volume 70 of Maryland Law Review (2010). Here is the abstract.

Web 2.0 technologies, characterized by user-generated content, raise new challenges for copyright law. Online interactions involving reproductions of copyrighted works in blogs, online fan fiction, and online social networks do not comfortably fit existing copyright paradigms. It is unclear whether participants in Web 2.0 forums are creating derivative works, making legitimate fair uses of copyright works, or engaging in acts of digital copyright piracy and plagiarism. As online conduct becomes more interactive, copyright laws are less effective in creating clear signals about proscribed conduct. This article examines the application of copyright law to Web 2.0 technologies. It suggests that social norms must take on greater significance because of the community-oriented nature of much of today’s online conduct. Social norms are significant both as a form of social regulation and because they can guide law and policy makers about appropriate new directions for copyright law reform. This article focuses on four case studies involving the popular Twilight book and movie franchise. These case studies illuminate the relationship between copyright norms and laws in the Web 2.0 context. The author draws lessons from the case studies that might inform future developments in copyright law and policy that would better align laws with expectations of Web 2.0 participants. Twilight is chosen as the focal point because of the complex online relationships that have developed in recent years between the various copyright stakeholders: the book author; movie directors; producers and distributors of the books and movies; actors and production crews; and, the fans.

 

April 28, 2010 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Former Cyclist Wins Defamation Case Against Australian Newspaper

Former world ranked cyclist and Olympic hopeful Mark French has won a defamation case against the Australian paper the Herald Sun, which called him a drug cheat after he was banned from the sport for two years in 2004. The Court of Arbitration for Sport later banned him for life for using and importing banned substances. The Herald Sun and Weekly Times must pay him about $200,000 damages and legal fees. Read more here.

April 27, 2010 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Ofcom Raps BBC Over Use Of Real Cell Phone Number In TV Show

Ofcom has upheld a complaint from a businesswoman regarding the broadcasting of a real cell phone number on the drama"EastEnders." Lisa Edwards' real cell phone number appeared during an episode of the show; as a result she received numerous text messages, some obscene. The network speculated that since Ms. Edwards also told the newspaper the Sun about the incident, that may have added to the total number of incoming messages. The BBC has apologized.

April 27, 2010 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Redbox Settles With Fox, Universal Over DVD Rentals

From the National Law Journal, news that Redbox, the movie rental company, has agreed to settle its antitrust dispute with Twentieth Century Fox and Universal. Under the settlement, the company will wait 28 days before putting the studios' newly released DVDs out for rental. Read more here.

April 27, 2010 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Monday, April 26, 2010

Supreme Court Will Hear California Video Game Statute Appeal

The Supreme Court has granted cert in Entertainment Software Association v. Schwartzenegger, the violent video games case. The Ninth Circuit had struck down the statute at issue in this case, California Civil Code Sections 1746-1746.5.

We hold that the Act, as a presumptively invalid content based restriction on speech, is subject to strict scrutiny and not the “variable obscenity” standard from Ginsberg v. New York, 390 U.S. 629 (1968). Applying strict scrutiny, we hold that the Act violates rights protected by the First Amendment because the State has not demonstrated a compelling interest, has not tailored the restriction to its alleged compelling interest, and there exist less-restrictive means that would further the State’s expressed interests. Additionally, we hold that the Act’s labeling requirement is unconstitutionally compelled speech under the First Amendment because it does not require the disclosure of purely factual information; but compels the carrying of the State’s controversial opinion. Accordingly, we affirm the district court’s grant of summary judgment to Plaintiffs and its denial of the State’s cross-motion. Because we affirm the district court on these grounds, we do not reach two of Plaintiffs’ challenges to the Act: first, that the language of the Act is unconstitutionally vague, and, second, that the Act violates Plaintiffs’ rights under the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.

Courts in other jurisdictions have struck down similar statutes. See for example Entertainment Software Association v. Blagojevich, 469 F. 3d 641 (7 Cir. 2006). Here's a link to the ESA's statement on the Supreme Court's grant of cert.

April 26, 2010 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Blogging As Norm

Jacqueline D. Lipton, Case Western Reserve University School of Law, has published What Blogging Might Teach About Cybernorms, forthcoming in the Akron Intellectual Property Law Journal. Here is the abstract.
 

Since the dawn of the information age, scholars have debated the viability of regulating cyberspace. Early on, Professor Lawrence Lessig suggested that “code is law” online. Lessig and others also examined the respective regulatory functions of laws, code, market forces, and social norms. In recent years, with the rise of Web 2.0 interactive technologies, norms have taken center-stage as a regulatory modality online. The advantages of norms are that they can develop quickly by the communities that seek to enforce them, and they are not bound by geography. However, to date there has been scant literature dealing in any detail with specific online norms, and comparing them with other forms of regulation. This article reverses that trend by presenting a detailed case study of one developing norm in the blogosphere - the norm against “hijacking” a comment thread in a blog by hyperlinking, and thereby redirecting readers, to another blog. Using this case study, the article draws some conclusions about the relative advantages and disadvantages of norms as regulators. In particular, the author concludes that too much weight is often placed on vague and opaque norms in online interactions. It advocates future emphasis on more well developed and clearly expressed norms.

Download the article from SSRN at the link.

April 26, 2010 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

What You Can't Show On Television

The New York Times' Ross Douthat on Comedy Central's scrapping of images of the Prophet Muhammad, after what seems like very violent warnings about their use emerged from one particular website.

April 26, 2010 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)