Media Law Prof Blog

Editor: Christine A. Corcos
Louisiana State Univ.

A Member of the Law Professor Blogs Network

Friday, October 26, 2012

For Berlusconi, It's Four Years In Prison

From The Hollywood Reporter: An Italian court has sentenced former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi to four years in prison for tax evasion.  Mr. Berlusconi has a right of appeal, and will not report to jail until his appeals run out. His co-defendant was acquitted. Mr. Berlusconi heads Mediaset, the Italian media conglomerate.

October 26, 2012 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Notice and Comment For the FCC's Broadcast Spectrum Auction

  • Scott R. Flick and Paul A. Cicelski of Pillsbury, Winthrop, Shaw, Pittman highlight some of the FCC's proposals for its auction of the broadcast spectrum here. Comments due December 21.

October 25, 2012 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Copyright, Mash-Ups, and Digital Sampling

Michael Arase has published Digital Sampling & the Mash-Up: A 'Grey' Area for Copyright Law. Here is the abstract.

"The thing that’s really interesting about sampling is that we all do it…. We’ll pick up a catch phrase, or we’ll hear a song and we might sing it again on the street…. And the technology has allowed us to be able to immediately go to those source thoughts, source ideas, source moments, and to actually work with them creatively…. You could say that humans are just sampling machines…. We all learn by taking in what we hear and see and trying to imitate it, and output it again. That’s how we learn to speak. That’s how we learn to paint and make music as well." -Jeff Chang, author of Can’t Stop Won’t Stop.

This paper explores the mash-up, a composition created by blending two or more pre-recorded songs; usually the vocal track of one song over the instrumental track of another. Utilizing Danger Mouse’s 2004 record, The Grey Album, which “mashed” vocal performances from Jay-Z’s The Black Album against instrumentals from The Beatles’ White Album, this paper delves into the legal copyright implications that mash-ups, and more specifically, digital sampling have created.

Download the paper from SSRN at the link.

October 24, 2012 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Social Media and Freedom of the Press

Michael Palmer and Jérémie Nicey have published Social Media and the Freedom of the Press: A Long-Term Perspective from within International News Agencies (AFP, Reuters) in ESSACHESS: Journal for Communication Studies, volume 5 (2012). Here is the abstract.


Since the 1780s, discussions among news professionals on issues such as access to sources and the funding of “the media” are often at odds with issues debated by legislators, activists, the executive and the judiciary, in the USA, France and Britain. Is this the case today, with the debate on “social media”, the “Arab spring”, Internet, blogs, SMS, “Twitter” and the like? This is one issue that will be addressed. The authors have researched the history and present news-products and performance of AFP and Reuters (now Thomson-Reuters) for many years. The second issue addressed here is: how do news-professionals assess current geopolitical and technological “changes” with respect to their established canons and practices of news-reporting? How do they access, filter, and select from the apparent abundance of sources emerging from “civil society actors”, while respecting established practices of news-agency journalism? As the very notion of “mainstream media” encompasses an ever-growing number of actors (CNN is “mainstream”, al-Jazeera has become ‘mainstream’…), is the issue of access to an ever-widening number of sources to be reassessed in terms not only of the freedom of the media but also to that of the resources available to “seasoned, reputable” news-professionals and their organizations to check, cross-check the “images”, “texts” and numbers emanating from these sources? Issues such as the freedom of the media are ever-more linked to that of the canons of international news-reporting. The authors argue that whereas the freedom of the media is still of central importance, the advent of communications technologies – and the commercial logics that underpin them – often linked to the Internet, radically modify how news-professionals go about their business, in an era of “globalization”, “social media” and “democratization”.

Download the article from SSRN at the link.

October 23, 2012 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Social Media and Freedom of the Press

Michael Palmer and Jérémie Nicey have published Social Media and the Freedom of the Press: A Long-Term Perspective from within International News Agencies (AFP, Reuters) in ESSACHESS: Journal for Communication Studies, volume 5 (2012). Here is the abstract.


Since the 1780s, discussions among news professionals on issues such as access to sources and the funding of “the media” are often at odds with issues debated by legislators, activists, the executive and the judiciary, in the USA, France and Britain. Is this the case today, with the debate on “social media”, the “Arab spring”, Internet, blogs, SMS, “Twitter” and the like? This is one issue that will be addressed. The authors have researched the history and present news-products and performance of AFP and Reuters (now Thomson-Reuters) for many years. The second issue addressed here is: how do news-professionals assess current geopolitical and technological “changes” with respect to their established canons and practices of news-reporting? How do they access, filter, and select from the apparent abundance of sources emerging from “civil society actors”, while respecting established practices of news-agency journalism? As the very notion of “mainstream media” encompasses an ever-growing number of actors (CNN is “mainstream”, al-Jazeera has become ‘mainstream’…), is the issue of access to an ever-widening number of sources to be reassessed in terms not only of the freedom of the media but also to that of the resources available to “seasoned, reputable” news-professionals and their organizations to check, cross-check the “images”, “texts” and numbers emanating from these sources? Issues such as the freedom of the media are ever-more linked to that of the canons of international news-reporting. The authors argue that whereas the freedom of the media is still of central importance, the advent of communications technologies – and the commercial logics that underpin them – often linked to the Internet, radically modify how news-professionals go about their business, in an era of “globalization”, “social media” and “democratization”.

Download the article from SSRN at the link.

October 23, 2012 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Penn State Scientist Sues National Review For Defamation Over Climate Change Statements

Michael Mann, a climate science specialist at Penn State and director of its Earth System Science Center, has sued the National Review and the Competitive Enterprise Institute for libel, over a July 15 article that appeared in the magazine and an online article that appeared in the CEI's online publication OpenMarket.org. More here from the Blog of Legal Times.

Here's a link to the complaint, courtesy of the Blog of Legal Times.

October 23, 2012 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

The Watergate Tapes and Conspiracies

Arnold Rochvarg, University of Baltimore School of Law, has published Watergate, Multiple Conspiracies, and the White House Tapes at 16 Chapman Law Review 47 (2012). Here is the abstract.

On January 1, 1975, John Mitchell, former United States Attorney General, John Ehrlichman, former Chief White House Assistant for Domestic Affairs, H.R. Haldeman, former White House Chief of Staff, and Robert Mardian, former Assistant Attorney General, were convicted of conspiracy for their involvement in what is generally known as "Watergate." The Watergate conspiracy trial, presided over by Judge John Sirica, had run from October 1, 1974 until December 27, 1974. The trial included the in-court testimony of most of the figures involved in the Watergate scandal, and the playing of thirty of the "White House tapes." The purpose of this Symposium article is to discuss whether the evidence presented at the Watergate trial is better understood as evidence of multiple conspiracies, as argued by two of the defendants, or as a single conspiracy as argued by the prosecution. The article first will set forth the law on multiple conspiracies and apply that law to the evidence presented at the Watergate conspiracy trial. The article will then discuss whether the admission into evidence of certain White House tapes premised on the single conspiracy view may have prejudiced any of the convicted defendants.

Download the article from SSRN at the link.

October 23, 2012 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Sports Celebrities and Privacy Issues

David Rolph, University of Sydney Faculty of Law, has published Playing Away from Home: Sportspeople, Privacy and the Law at 6 Australian and New Zealand Sports Law Journal 35 (2011). Here is the abstract.


The private lives of sportspeople are of considerable interest to many media outlets and their audiences, yet sportspeople may not always be able to protect their privacy adequately by legal means. Focusing on Australian and United Kingdom law, this article examines how sportspeople can indirectly protect their privacy through defamation law. It also examines how breach of confidence and the proposed introduction of a statutory cause of action for invasion of privacy in Australia. Finally, it analyses the recent cases of Terry v Persons Unknown [2010] EWHC 119 (QB) and ‘the St Kilda schoolgirl scandal’ to explore the legal and practical difficulties sportspeople confront in protecting their privacy and managing their image.

Download the article from SSRN at the link.

October 23, 2012 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Extra, Extra! Clark Kent Quits The Daily Planet!

Breaking news from USA Today: If you've ever wanted to work at the Daily Planet, get your resume over there now. There's a job opening, 'cause Clark Kent is leaving (after 72 years). Issue 13 has the details. More here from The Hollywood Reporter.

October 23, 2012 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Monday, October 22, 2012

Protecting Low-Value Speech

Ronald J. Krotoszynski, University of Alabama School of Law, has published Questioning the Value of Dissent and Free Speech More Generally: American Skepticism of Government and the Protection of Low-Value Speech, in Dissenting Voices in American Society: The Role of Lawyers, Judges, and Citizens (Austin Sarat, ed.; Cambridge University Press, 2012). Here is the abstract.


The First Amendment protects speech that plainly has very little objective social value. From a purposive or utilitarian perspective, affording low value speech substantial First Amendment protection makes little sense. In my view, however, U.S. free speech doctrine and theory does not protect speech on utilitarian or cost/benefit grounds, but rather as one part of a larger legal framework designed to limit and check government power in hopes of avoiding its abuse. In many respects, U.S. free speech law serves as a kind of structural bulwark, akin to the separation of powers and federalism, designed to prevent government from acting in an arbitrary or unjust manner. The essay posits that a deep seated and longstanding distrust of government, at all levels, best explains the U.S. approach to freedom of speech – just as it has explanatory force with respect to significant aspects of government structure at the state and federal level in the United States. Accordingly, challenging the prevailing free speech orthodoxy on utilitarian or cost/benefit grounds is unlikely to win over many converts, because these arguments fail to address or engage the fear of government abuse of power that undergirds the remarkably broad protection afforded even obviously worthless, or affirmatively socially harmful, speech.

 

Download the essay from SSRN at the link.

October 22, 2012 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Personhood, Copyright, and the Creative Process

Christopher S. Yoo, University of Pennsylvania Law School, Annenberg School for Communication, University of Pennsylvania School of Engineering and Applied Science, has published Copyright and Personhood Revisited as U. of Penn. Law School Public Law Research Paper No. 12-39. Here is the abstract.


Personhood theory is almost invariably cited as one of the primary theoretical bases for copyright. The conventional wisdom, which typically invokes the work of Immanuel Kant and Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel as its philosophical foundation, views creative works as the embodiment of their creator’s personality. This unique connection between authors and their works justifies giving authors property interests in the results of their creative efforts.

This Essay argues that the conventional wisdom is fundamentally flawed. It is inconsistent both with Kant’s and Hegel’s theories about the relationship between property and personality and with their specific writings about the unauthorized copying of books. It also adopts too narrow a vision of the ways that creativity can develop personality by focusing exclusively on the products of the creative process and ignoring the self-actualizing benefits of the creative process itself. German aesthetic theory broadens the understanding of the interactions between creativity and personality. Psychologists, aestheticians, and philosophers have underscored how originating creative works can play an important role in self-actualization. When combined with the insight creative works frequently borrow from the corpus of existing works, this insight provides a basis for this insight provides a basis for broadening fair use rights. Moreover, to the extent that works must be shared with audiences or a community of like-minded people in order to be meaningful, it arguably supports a right of dissemination.

The result is a theory that values the creative process for the process itself and not just for the artifacts it creates, takes the interests of follow-on authors seriously, and provides an affirmative theory of the public domain. The internal logic of this approach carries with it a number of limitations, specifically that any access rights be limited to uses that are noncommercial and educational and extend no farther than the amount needed to promote self-actualization.

 

Download the paper from SSRN at the link.

 

October 22, 2012 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)