August 6, 2010
North Carolina Court Denies Motion To Quash in Anonymous Posters Case
A North Carolina court has denied a website operator's motion to quash a subpoena requiring it to divulge the names of anonymous posters who criticized a landlord living in Henderson, NC. The judge applied the Dendrite test and determined that the plaintiff had made out a prima facie case for some of the postings appearing on the website Homeinhenderson.com.
More on the case at Citizen Media Law Project.
Pentagon To Wikileaks: Give Back Those PapersThe Pentagon wants Wikileaks to disgorge those Afghan war documents. Read more here (from the Guardian) and here (from the New York Times).
August 4, 2010
Revamping Regulation of the Internet
As audiovisual content traditionally offered on radio and television shifts to the Internet, major reworking of the paradigms for audiovisual regulation is required. Effective norms for Internet activities are deployed in a networked manner. The requirements of the different normativities co-existing in the network space are relayed in accordance with the risks they entail for network stakeholders. Consequently, government strategies designed to ensure effective implementation of public audiovisual policy objectives have to be consistent with the way the network works and calibrated so as to generate the level of risk needed to ensure stakeholders will choose to comply.
Download the paper from SSRN at the link.
August 3, 2010
Bang, Bang! FBI Tells Wikipedia To Remove Insignia From Its Article About FBI
The Federal Bureau of Investigation fired off a letter in late July to the online encyclopedia Wikipedia telling it to cease and desist displaying the agency's seal, and noting that "[t]he FBI Seal is an official insignia of the Department of Justice. Its primary purpose is to authenticate the official communications and actions of the F.B.I." Wikipedia's lawyer Mike Godwin fired back, saying very politely, "We don't agree with your reading of the statute." The New York Times, BBC, and CNN are now covering this dust-up, and Wikipedia (via Wikimedia Commons) has happily included the dispute in its discussion of the FBI here. (Note the NYT, BBC and CNN all use photos of the seal to illustrate their coverage of the flap. Nice touch.)
In his reply to FBI counsel, Mr. Godwin notes that the Encyclopedia Britannica online also displays the seal. Both websites do so for illustrative purposes only. Images of the seal are actually available throughout the net. Download it here. Get it mounted on a plaque here. One site has the FBI Seal, the Presidential Seal, and possibly others. I tried searching "FBI badge" as well. Interesting results.
Hate Speech: The European Court of Human Rights Speaks
This article provides the analysis of three recent decisions of the European Court of Human Rights on the problem of hate speech, pertinent in the context of the danger of terrorism, an infamous (anti)-immigration debate, and an extreme nationalist historical mythology (Soulas & Others v. France, Leroy v. France, Balsytė-Lideikienė v. Lithuania). The author endeavours to answer if the ‘dernier judicial design’ of these decisions is actually posing a risk of chilling effect (as some scholars have recently argued) or the earlier Strasbourg proportionality is still à la mode.
Parents Television Council Sends Letter To Companies Planning To Advertise On New CBS SitCom
From the Hollywood Reporter: The Parents Television Council has sent out a warning to companies planning to advertise on the new CBS sitcom "$#*!" My Dad Says, which stars William Shatner. The PTC points out in the letter that advertisers run the risk that their products will be "associate[d]" with "excrement." CBS responds that the show will adhere to its broadcast standards and will not be indecent.
Daily Mail's Editor Annoyed With Criticism of PCC
Paul Dacre, editor of the Daily Mail, is upset at criticism of the Press Complaints Commission. The PCC, a self-regulatory body, is "an independent self-regulatory body which deals with complaints about
the editorial content of newspapers and magazines (and their websites)." Says Mr. Dacre, "The sadness is that much of this criticism simply misses the point, for it is an ineluctable truth that many provincial newspapers and some nationals are now in a near-terminal economic condition. If our critics spent as much zeal trying to help reverse this tragic situation and work out how good journalism - which is, by its nature, expensive - is going to survive financially in an internet age, then democracy and the public's right to know would be much better served."
August 2, 2010
The Journalist and Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights
When it comes to the protection of the freedom of the press, Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights, which protects the freedom of expression, fulfills a function similar to the First Amendment in controlling states’ regulation of damage to reputation. An analysis of the abundant case law of the European Court of Human Rights highlights the development of common professional standards for journalists, concerning publications with the potential to affect individuals’ reputations. It appears that the Court has developed distinct standards depending on the nature of the medium at issue, comprising two categories: information and opinions. It is clear that the Court wishes to promote and protect a press it considers serious and useful for the public debate.
Download the article from SSRN at the link.