Media Law Prof Blog

Editor: Christine A. Corcos
Louisiana State Univ.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Hollywood Reporter Editor Hurt In L.A. Shooting

From the Hollywood Reporter: One of its editors, Chris Godley, was shot in the incident in which a gunman fired at passing motorists at the intersection of Sunset and Vine in Los Angeles yesterday. Police responded and ended by killing the suspect. More here from THR, including an interview with Mr. Godley, and video of the shooting. 

December 10, 2011 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Friday, December 9, 2011

BBC Review Finds No Evidence Of Phone Hacking

After a review, the BBC has found no evidence that its journalists participated in phone hacking but Director General Mark Thompson will recommend some changes in procedures to make certain that such problems don't arise in future. More here from the Guardian.

December 9, 2011 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

South African Defamation Law

Eric Descheemaeker, University of Edinburgh School of Law, has published ‘A Man of Bad Character Has Not so Much to Lose’: Truth as a Defence in the South African Law of Defamation as University of Edinburgh School of Law Working Paper No. 2011/39. Here is the abstract.

This paper examines, from a historical and comparative perspective, the role of truth in the South African law of defamation. In order to understand to what extent the law of South Africa might represent a mixture of civilian and common-law thinking, it first sets out the viewpoint of, on the one hand, Roman and Roman-Dutch law and, on the other hand, English law. Against this background, the dominant position of South African law appears avowedly civilian, a stand explained by the fact that the South African law of defamation really is a law of verbal insults, as in Rome, rather than a law of injuries to deserved reputation, as in England. However, an interesting dissident strand in favour of the sufficiency of truth can be seen to exist in the background, which is explored. This dissenting strand is certainly English in substance, but this does not entail that it has English roots.

Download the paper from SSRN at the link.

December 7, 2011 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

ECJ Hands Down Important ISP Liability Ruling

The European Court of Justice has ruled that member state internet service providers are not required to police their users' activity proactively in order to make certain that those users do not violate copyright holders' rights. The decision overturns a Belgian court's decision holding that ISPs must install filters to ensure that users did not improperly share copyrighted files. Link to the judgment (not yet available in English) here. More here from the New York Times. Comments from the blogosphere here (IPKat), here (Informationoverlord) and here (e-comm, in German).

Thanks to Hans Peter Lehofer, on the Austrian Administrative Court, (who also blogs at e-comm) for the ECJ and blogpost links.


December 6, 2011 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Supreme Court Resistance To Cameras In Its Courtroom

Lisa McElroy, Drexel University School of Law, has published Cameras at the Supreme Court: A Rhetorical Analysis as Drexel University Earle Mack School of Law Research Paper No. 2011-W-02. Here is the abstract.

For many years, the Supreme Court has resisted cameras in its marble palace, the temple on the hill. In studying the reasons that the Justices give for refusing cameras at the Supreme Court, it becomes apparent that their resistance is more about maintaining mystique than about defensible concerns, such as security or legitimacy. In fact, cameras at the Supreme Court would help to alter Americans’ perceptions of the institution as a removed sort of aristocracy to a view of the Court as an integral part of democracy. Privacy and secrecy do not preserve public confidence in the Court, but may actually diminish it. The public’s interest in seeing its government at work outweighs any interests the Justices may have in preserving the Court’s mystique. 

This article conducts a rhetorical analysis of the Court’s story of majesty and disengagement from the public – one similar to that of the Oracle at Delphi – and suggests how cameras would transform that story to one in which the Justices are human and fallible but committed to the rule of law as a cornerstone of a constitutional democracy.

Download the paper from SSRN at the link.

December 6, 2011 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Commissioner Michael J. Copps Announces His Departure From the FCC

Commissioner Michael J. Copps has announced his resignation from the FCC. Read his statement as released by the agency.

Yesterday, I submitted to the President notice of my intention to resign my post as Commissioner effective January 1, 2012. Should the Senate confirm my successor prior to that date, or should the Senate adjourn sine die before January 1st, I would of course be leaving sooner. It has been a privilege and honor to serve for more than ten years as a Commissioner. The FCC is an agency of true excellence and its decisions are integral to our country’s future. Ubiquitous, opportunity-creating broadband and a resource-rich media capable of informing our civic dialogue are critically-important components of our future success as a people, and I intend to keep speaking about these challenges as a private citizen in the years ahead. It has been the highest honor to serve with my colleagues on the Commission. I thank them all for their dedication, collegiality and friendship. I also owe an enormous debt to the Commission staff. Their professionalism and dedication to the public interest stands as a model of government service.

December 6, 2011 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Funding Opportunities For Those In Law and Social Science From the NSF

Funding opportunities from the National Sciences Foundation. Target dates are January 24, 2012 and July 12, 2012.


The Law & Social Sciences Program considers proposals that address social scientific studies of law and law-like systems of rules.  The program is inherently interdisciplinary and multi-methodological.  Successful proposals describe research that advances scientific theory and understanding of the connections between law or legal processes and human behavior.  Social scientific studies of law often approach law as dynamic, made in multiple arenas, with the participation of multiple actors.  Fields of study include many disciplines, and often address problems including though not limited to:

  1. Crime, Violence and Punishment
  2. Economic Issues
  3. Governance
  4. Legal Decisionmaking
  5. Legal Mobilization and Conceptions of Justice
  6. Litigation and the Legal Profession

LSS provides the following modes of support:

  1. Standard Research Grants and Grants for Collaborative Research
  2. Doctoral Dissertation Research Improvement Grants
  3. Interdisciplinary Postdoctoral Fellowships
  4. Workshop and Conference Proposals

December 6, 2011 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Monday, December 5, 2011

Video Games and the First Amendment After Brown v. Entertainment Merchants Association

Jon Garon, NKU Chase College of Law, has published Beyond the First Amendment: Shaping the Contours of Commercial Speech in Video Games, Virtual Worlds and Social Media. Here is the abstract.

In Brown v. Entertainment Merchants Association (2011), the Supreme Court stated unequivocally that video games are entitled to the same broad First Amendment protections as those afforded to other media. But just as laws and regulations distinguish newspaper, magazine and television content from the advertising sold in those media, new policies are required to distinguish the communicative content of video games, virtual worlds and social media from the advertising and commercial purpose activity conducted in those media. Particularly in the area of publicity rights, states and courts have struggled to delineate those contours. 

This article outlines the emerging contours of commercial speech under recent First Amendment jurisprudence, highlighting the free speech rights of publishers, participants and players while shielding individuals from unfair commercial exploitation and protecting the public from misleading advertising.

Download the paper from SSRN at the link.

December 5, 2011 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)