Friday, January 29, 2010
Thursday, January 28, 2010
Radio host Jon Gaunt will be allowed to challenge Ofcom's ruling that he breached the broadcast code by calling London councilman Michael Stark a "health Nazi" and other things on air, a London court has ruled. Mr. Justice Stadlen accepted Mr. Gaunt's arguments that Ofcom's adjudication that the comments breached Ofcom's code raised enough questions concerning Mr. Gaunt's freedom of expression under the UK's Human Rights Act, enacted in 1998. Mr. Gaunt lost his job with TalkSport over the incident.
Read the text of Ofcom's challenged ruling here.
Tuesday, January 26, 2010
From the Washington Post, news that Ilich Ramírez Sánchez, known as Carlos the Jackal, is suing for the right to review a new documentary about him being produced for the French network Canal Plus. His attorney Isabelle Coutant-Peyre, who is married to Mr. Ramírez Sánchez, says the film violates her client's right of publicity and intellectual property rights.
The film studio, Film In Stock, says its work is protected under the French constitution's right to freedom of speech.
Monday, January 25, 2010
From the Chronicle of Higher Education, news that a member of the Texas State Board of Education asked that a book by "Bill Martin" be banned from the third grade social studies curriculum because it promulgated "very strong critiques of capitalism and the American system."
As it turns out, the late Bill Martin who wrote Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?, the book to which TSBE member Pat Hardy objected, isn't the Bill Martin who wrote Ethical Marxism: The Categorical Imperative of Liberation. Mr. Hardy took the recommendation of another board member, who told him she hadn't actually read the book, and had relied on a description from the Borders.com website.
More here from the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.
The grey-listing (ageism) lawsuit against various tv studios seems to be at an end, with a court-okayed settlement.
Various writers, led by Tracy Keenan Wynn, filed the suit in 2000, alleging that they were systematically prevented from competing for work by talent agents and the networks and studios, work instead going to younger writers who were perceived as more likely to appeal to viewers. According to an article in Variety, among the defendants who have settled by agreeing to a payment of $70 million to the 165 plaintiffs are ABC, CBS, Fox, NBC, DreamWorks TV, Spelling Telelvision, Carsey Werner, and Warner Brothers Television, and agencies APA, UTA, and William Morris. Creative Artists Agency has not agreed to the settlement.
Here's more from the Fresno Bee.
On February 4, 2009, Senator Patrick Leahy introduced the “The Performance Rights Act” to the Senate, joined by Representative John Conyers in the House of Representatives. Thirty-eight years after sound recordings were first granted federal copyright protection against unauthorized reproduction and distribution, and more than ten years after gaining a limited digital performance right, legislation is pending that would once again expand the scope of sound recording copyrights to encompass terrestrial radio broadcasts - broadcasts that have historically been exempt from sound recording performance royalties.
The fighters in this brawl are sophisticated heavyweights. In one corner of the ring are record labels - an industry in distress, which has consistently struggled to adapt to the digital market. In the other are the broadcasters - a media behemoth whose cries of “promotional compensation” seem increasingly unconvincing in our digital world. Standing on the sidelines are music fans that rely more and more on digital performances, unknowingly thinning record label wallets, and perhaps stalling creativity, in the process.
Instead of (or in addition to) seeking remuneration from terrestrial radio stations, this paper suggests that sound recording copyright holders should seek to further expand their digital performance right to permit collection of royalties from websites which regularly perform user-generated audiovisual works. In consideration for an annual blanket fee, these performance-based sites would be secure against DMCA notice-and-takedown proceedings and infringement actions from participating sound recording copyright owners. Such a compromise would permit sound recording copyright holders to receive just compensation for their works performed online, save sites like YouTube millions in administrative and legal fees, and permit users to freely and fairly post sound recordings online.
Download the article from SSRN at the link.
Worrying about privacy is a growth industry. The public is highly concerned about how its personal information is collected, stored, and processed. Technology companies compete to create new applications that will analyze personal data and meet new needs, such as the ability to broadcast one’s GPS data to family and friends (no more lunches alone). The government is interested in access to personal data for law enforcement, regulatory, and administrative purposes. And the media, when not reporting on the latest privacy invasions by companies or government, is publishing “tell-all” stories on anyone viewed as newsworthy, that is, deemed worthy of its attention.
Two excellent guides to this cauldron of law, social change, and technology have now been published. These are Lawrence Friedman’s Guarding Life’s Dark Secrets, and Daniel Solove’s The Future of Reputation. In this Review, I discuss and analyze the main arguments of both books. Friedman and Solove make major contributions to our understanding of privacy law. The great benefit of Friedman’s work comes from its rich depiction of the legal and social context of privacy in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries and the uncertain fate of it in the twenty-first century. The merit of Solove’s work is his precise guidance through the new landscape of Internet-based phenomena and his insights into how these affect privacy and reputation - often in a fashion unanticipated by the general public. I also offer critiques of each volume. Regarding Guarding Life’s Dark Secrets, I argue that Friedman’s terminology regarding social structure is looser than it should be, which leads to a sacrifice of some intellectual clarity in the otherwise brilliant landscape of his book. Moreover, Friedman warns that in the future, technology will work as a way to squeeze discretion and privacy out of the legal system. In my view, however, technology is today accompanied by a series of discretionary choices that affect privacy. Technology provides new and complex ways to disguise discretion.
In The Future of Reputation, Solove is interested in how norms can affect behavior and even supplement law. I would have liked to have heard more from him, however, about how cyberspace affects the generation of norms, and how his privacy-promotive norms are to be generated. Moreover, Solove largely views law as an independent variable. He approaches law as a norm entrepreneur and calls for a number of changes in it. Yet, in certain instances, I wished his proposals to be more detailed and more fully operationalized. Finally, I suggest a number of new Internet-based phenomena that Solove might consider in the future, perhaps in Reputation 2.0, the (hypothetical) next edition of his book.
Download the book review from SSRN at the link.