May 28, 2010
Gallup New Mexico Mayor Sues Newspaper Publisher For Defamation
Gallup, New Mexico, mayor Harry Mendoza is suing Bob Zollinger, publisher of the Gallup Independent, over articles published in the paper last summer which link Mr. Mendoza to a gang rape from the late 1940s. Mr. Mendoza says he was never charged in the rape. What's more unfortunate is that Mr. Mendoza and Mr. Zollinger engaged in a fight in a bank parking lot in January. Mr. Mendoza does face charges in that case.
Read more here in an Associated Press story.
May 27, 2010
Winner and Loser States When TV and Film Crews Come To CallFrom the Hollywood Reporter, a round-up of the current success of all those film and tv state tax credits and initiatives. Texas claims three new television shows, Illinois one. Michigan might get a new show. But New York, long a popular venue, lost the long running flagship "Law & Order" series when NBC cancelled it earlier this month. The Empire State continues to be expensive and its legislature still hasn't acted on a multiyear tax initiative for tv and film production. So few tv shows still film there, although holdouts include "Curb Your Enthusiasm" and "The Good Wife."
Are Photographers Being Allowed To Document the Deep Water Horizon Spill?
Newsweek investigates whether BP and the government are blocking the media's attempts to photograph the Gulf oil spill mess.
May 26, 2010
Bill Shock: It's Out There
The FCC has released the findings of a new survey that indicates that nearly twenty percent of Americans have had "bill shock"; that is, they've discovered their monthly cell phone bills are much higher than expected. In addition, the survey reveals that many Americans either are subject to early termination fees from their mobile phone companies or don't know if they would be subject to such fees.
The survey provides more information about user opinion and satisfaction concerning cell phone and broadband service, including by demographic breakdown.
Protecting Anonymity and Association in Cyberspace
The Internet has become a communication medium of intense group interaction, and individuals with marginalised identities have used anonymity as a tool with which to participate in online interaction. In order to capture the full spectrum of the role that anonymity plays in cyberspace, I explore in this article the US constitutional right to anonymous association. I draw on the concepts of anonymity defined in the social science literature - identity protection, visual anonymity, and action anonymity - and analyse US case law regarding the right to anonymous association in both offline and online worlds. The examination suggests that (1) the right to anonymous association has been especially meaningful for those who are marginalised in society; (2) future courts - in light of established legal rules governing the right to anonymous association - must give careful consideration to the question as to who is seeking anonymity; (3) different concepts of anonymity have greater independence in cyberspace and, therefore, need to be distinguished by scholars and courts. Overall, the right to anonymous association in cyberspace can be understood as the positive right of individuals to control information about themselves in order to find and associate with others. The examined case law shows that strong support for such a right is embedded in the US legal tradition.
Download the article from SSRN at the link.
May 25, 2010
Iranians Release Famed DirectorThe BBC reports that the Iranian government has released director Jafar Panahi ("The White Meadows," "Border Cafe") on bail. He had been detained after he expressed support for anti-government politicians in last year's elections.
Request for Public Comment On "Bill Shock" Initiative
On May 20, 2010, the Consumer & Governmental Affairs Bureau of the Federal Communications Commission (Commission) released a Public Notice (Notice) seeking to gather information on the feasibility of instituting usage alerts and cut-off mechanisms similar to those required under the European Union (EU) regulations that would provide wireless voice, text, and data consumers in the United States a way to monitor, on a real-time basis, their usage of a wireless communications service, as well as the various charges they may incur in connection with such usage (e.g., roaming services, voice service “minute plans,” text message plans). Specifically, the Commission sought comment on whether technological or other differences exist that would prevent wireless providers in this country from employing similar usage controls as those now required by the EU.
The Notice was published in the Federal Register on May 20, 2010.
 75 Fed. Reg. 28249 (May 20, 2010).
May 24, 2010
Regrets...He's Had a FewFrom the New York Times, a discussion of the RIAA lawsuit against Mark Gorton and LimeWire.
Jurors, Twitter, and Fair Trials in UK Law
Despite jury instructions designed to prevent jurors from commenting upon the trial, their deliberations or the process by which they reached a verdict, some have ignored these instructions and face the risk of prosecution under s8 of the Contempt of Court Act 1981. In the past few years following an explosion in the use of blogging, microblogging via mobile technologies (i.e. Twitter) and social networking sites such as Facebook and MySpace, there have been reports of juror impropriety and this has led to concerns being raised by many, including the Lord Chief Justice.
This paper sets out to review a snap-shot study of Twitter, a widely-used microblogging tool that can be updated easily from a mobile phone and read widely by anyone with an Internet connection, even without being an account holder. The use of twitter, in particular by celebrities, has also become synonymous with updating the world at large on every single thought and movement of the account holder to the point of information overload. This study has limited validity, but aims to review whether jurors do indeed tweet about anything relating to their experience of jury service.
Download the paper from SSRN at the link.
Balancing Free Speech and National Security In European Law
In this paper I examine the impact that the struggle against terror has had on free speech protections in three European states. Specifically, I argue that prosecutors have overbroadly interpreted and expanded the definition of laws designed to target individuals who provide material support to terrorists. As a result, some prosecutions undertaken by European states threaten to undermine the core democratic value of free speech. By analyzing specific cases, I explore how some liberal democratic states have chosen to navigate the tension between security and liberty that Hannah Arendt referred to as the “crisis of authority.” Although I discuss each state’s relevant legislation, my primary focus is to draw distinctions and comparisons between the three countries based on recent cases that attempt to criminalize speech. This approach will allow me to assess the pulse of free speech in several democratic states that face significant terrorism threats.
Download the paper from SSRN at the link.
May 23, 2010
Stieg Larsson's Estate
The New York Times has a feature story on the battle over the late novelist Stieg Larsson's ("The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo") estate. The writer died intestate, and did not marry his companion, Eva Gabrielsson. Swedish law does not recognize common law marriage. So who should get his property? And who should control the royalties from his very successful mysteries, one of which hits the bookstores this week?
News of the World Alleges Sarah Ferguson Offered To Sell Introduction To Duke of York To Undercover Reporter
From the BBC: News of the World alleges it has filmed Sarah Ferguson, the former wife of the Duke of York, offering to introduce a reporter posing as a businessman to her ex-husband, for payments totaling up to five hundred thousand pounds. Buckingham Palace has not commented. NotW has posted a video clip.