Media Law Prof Blog

Editor: Christine A. Corcos
Louisiana State Univ.

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Friday, December 7, 2012

Hospital Nurse Who Took DJs' Prank Call About Duchess Has Died

Apparently a tragic consequence from that prank call to King Edward VII Hospital earlier this week in which two Australian DJs impersonated Queen Elizabeth and Prince Charles in order to get information about the Duchess of Cambridge. The nurse on duty who took the call from the two has died. The hospital identified the nurse as Jacintha Saldanha, saying she was "an excellent nurse and well-respected and popular with all of her colleagues."  Early reports are treating the cause of death as unidentified but are suggesting suicide. The two DJs, Mel Greig and Michael Christian, have apologized for the call.

December 7, 2012 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

DC Circuit Upholds FCC Data Roaming Rule

The U.S. District Court for the DC Circuit has ruled that the Federal Communications Commission has statutory authority to adopt a rule that requires cellphone service providers to offer roaming services to competitors and to treat cellphone providers as common carriers. The case is FCC v. Bright House Networks. More discussion here from the New York Times.

December 5, 2012 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Judge: Fifty Year Term For NJ Post-Mortem Right Of Publicity, So Hebrew University Of Jerusalem Claim Over Einstein image Is Barred

A U. S. District Court Judge for the Central District of California has ruled that New Jersey's post mortem rights of publicity extend for 50 years after the death of the celebrity. Thus, the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, which claims to control the late Albert Einstein's rights of publicity, cannot prevail in a dispute over an ad that General Motors ran in a 2010 issue of People Magazine which feature the late scientist, accompanied by the caption "Ideas are sexy, too." In his determination, Judge A. Howard Matz examined the laws of other states which have extend such rights to heirs, noting that public policy requires the balancing of property and First Amendment rights. The latest year the University could have filed its suit would have been 2005 (Dr. Einstein died in 1955). 

Check out the disputed image here.

December 4, 2012 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Looking at the Internet Radio Fairness Act

Rick Marshall has published The Quest for 'Parity': An Examination of the Internet Radio Fairness Act.


Several members of Congress have introduced legislation aimed at reducing the royalties that non-interactive streaming radio services (webcasters) pay rights holders for performing their sound recordings over digital channels. Under U.S. copyright law, there is currently a two-tiered system for determining compulsory digital sound recording performance royalty rates. Under the two-tiered system, webcasters are subject to market-based rates set pursuant to the “willing buyer-willing seller” standard; while digital cable and digital satellite broadcasters are subject to below-market rates set pursuant to the “801(b)(1)” standard. With this new legislation, the webcasters claim to be seeking “parity” with the cable and satellite services. Specifically, they are requesting that all digital services have their rates calculated under a modified 801(b) standard designed to result in below-market determinations. 

This article will attempt to answer the question: “Why shouldn’t services whose business models depend almost entirely on transmitting sound recordings be required to compensate sound recording owners at a fair-market rate?” Section I introduces the Internet Radio Fairness Act; Section II provides a brief history of the digital performance right in sound recordings; Section III examines the competing rate-setting standards; and, Section IV analyzes recurring issues in the argument between webcasters and sound recording owners over which standard should govern rate-setting proceedings.

Download the paper from SSRN at the link.

December 4, 2012 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Another Pirate Bay Ruling

Axel Arnbak, Institute for Information Law (IVir, University of Amsterdam), has published Blocking the Pirate Bay: Will the Dutch Court Ruling Hold in Appeal? Case Note Rechtbank's-Gravenhage 11 Januari 2012 (Brein/Ziggo & Xs4all), at AMI 2012-3 p. 119. Here is the abstract.

On 18 January 2012, a Dutch district court ruled that two internet access providers, Ziggo & XS4ALL, have to block customers’ access to the IP-addresses and (sub)domains of The Pirate Bay. The providers will appeal the ruling of the District Court of The Hague. This article comments on the ruling in Dutch. An abridged version of the case note in English can be found on the Kluwer Copyright Blog.

Download the paper from SSRN at the link.

December 4, 2012 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Monday, December 3, 2012

Trials and Tweets

Pamela D. Schulz, University of South Australia, School of Communication and International Studies, has published Trial by Tweet? Social Media Innovation or Degradation? The Future and Change for Courts, in JJA at 29 (2012). Here is the abstract.

The growth, exponential influence and scope of participation in social media, challenging modern media outlets is rivalling that of nation states. The power of this media spectrum is forming a new style of public square and the demise of the spiral of silence. Social media particpation appears to be demomcratice input that can affect public policy and perhaps affect court adminstration and outcomes. This article argues that while courts must become more media savvy and modernise their methods of information outputs, it is also incumbent upon them to consider the theoretical impact and practices at work and how to ensure the delivery and deissemination of relevant responsive information and maintin the integrity and independence of courts and the judiciary.

Download the article from SSRN at the link.

December 3, 2012 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

The Right To Be Forgotten and Online Newspaper Archives

Alessandro Mantelero, Polytechnic University of Turin, Department of Production Systems and Business Economics (DISPEA); Nex Center for Internet & Society, has published Right to Be Forgotten ed Archivi Storici Dei Giornali: La Cassazione Travisa il Diritto all'Oblio (Right to Be Forgotten On-Line Newspaper Archives), in volume 28, Number 10, of La Nuova Giurisprudenza Civile Commentata, October 2012. Here is the abstract.

L'articolo esamina in chiave critica la decisione Cass. 5 aprile 2012, n. 5525, inerente l'aggiornamento, contestualizzazione e cancellazione delle informazioni presenti negli archivi storici dei giornali accessibili on-line.

L'autore prende a tal fine in considerazione il rapporto esistente fra tutela dei dati personali, diritto all'identità personale ed all'oblio, da un lato, e finalità archivistiche, di informazione e di ricerca dall'altro.

The article analyses the recent decision of Italian Corte di Cassazione on the online newspaper archives. The author expresses various criticisms with regard to the decision and the possibility to recognize the right to delete information existing into an on-line newspaper archive or to have them updated.

Download the article from SSRN at the link.

December 3, 2012 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)