Media Law Prof Blog

Editor: Christine A. Corcos
Louisiana State Univ.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

The Media and the Courts In China

Benjamin L. Liebman, Columbia University Law School, has published The Media and the Courts: Towards Competitive Supervision? at 208 China Quarterly 833 (2011). Here is the abstract.

Scholarship on Chinese governance has examined a range of factors that help to explain the resilience of authoritarianism. One understudied aspect of regime resilience and institutionalization has been the growing importance of supervision by a range of party-state entities. Examining court-media relations in China demonstrates that “competitive supervision” is an increasingly important tool for increasing state responsiveness and improving accountability. Court-media relations suggest that China is seeking to develop novel forms of horizontal accountability. Placing such relations in a broader institutional context also helps to explain why common paradigms used to analyze them may be inapplicable in China.

Download the article from SSRN at the link.

February 1, 2012 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Fair Use As a Collective User Right

Haochen Sun, University of Hong Kong, Faculty of Law, has published Fair Use as a Collective User Right at 90 North Carolina Law Review (2011). Here is the abstract.

This Article puts forward a new theory that reconceptualizes fair use as a collective user right in copyright law. It first argues that the fair use doctrine has not yet unleashed its full potential in protecting the public interest. The failure is caused by a firmly ingrained notion in copyright law that treats fair use as an affirmative defense against allegations of copyright infringements. Such a fixed characterization of fair use has led legislators and judges to define it as merely an individual right enjoyed by each user of copyrighted works. This characterization has also lead to a wide range of harms to the public interest in the free flow of information and knowledge.

Against this backdrop, this Article explores the ways in which fair use can be revitalized to protect the public interest. It argues for repudiating the narrow-minded characterization of fair use as an individual right. It then proposes that fair use should instead be redefined as a collective right held by the public, which facilitates and enhances participation in communicative actions in what I call intangible public space. From this perspective, section 107 of the Copyright Act should be read as conferring a collective right to fair use upon members of the public. Moreover, this Article shows the power of the collective right to fair use in generating a new legal approach that will enrich copyright adjudication and policy-making discourse for protecting the public interest in the digital age.


Download the article from SSRN at the link.


February 1, 2012 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Don Cornelius Dies

Such sad news from L.A. Don Cornelius, who created the iconic 1970s show "Soul Train," was found dead in his Sherman Oak home today. The Hollywood Reporter says LAPD is investigating, but believes the cause of death may be suicide. Mr. Cornelius was 75. The New York TImes has more here on this legend of music.

February 1, 2012 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

A New Rationale For Free Speech About Public Officials

John M. Kang, St. Thomas University School of Law, has published In Praise of Hostility: Antiauthoritarianism as Free Speech Principle at 35 Harvard Journal of Law and Public Policy 351 (2012). Here is the abstract.

This Article offers a novel justification for why those who are prominent public officials or public figures should be subject to a higher threshold to claim damages for intentional infliction of emotional distress due to offensive speech. Since 1988, in Hustler v. Falwell, the Supreme Court has justified such a higher threshold by arguing that offensive speech regarding public officials and public figures would help the audience in its search for truth. 

I will show, however, that the Court’s reliance on the search for truth is unpersuasive on its own terms as well as logically incoherent. I will argue that the Court should adopt a better justification, one that seeks to cultivate an ethos of partial hostility on the part of the people against public officials and public figures. To offer this justification is not to make an exotic bid for anarchy nor to take up the fashionable banner of the Tea Party. It is to return to the Constitution’s most basic logic, which is rooted not chiefly in the search for truth, but in popular sovereignty, the idea that the people, not their leaders, should have political authority. To that end, the ethos of partial hostility, I will argue, is a natural outcome of popular sovereignty and works to preempt conditions in which leaders can command excessive deference.

Download the article from SSRN at the link.

February 1, 2012 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

The Secular and the Sectarian Meet In Tunisia

In Tunis, a director faces a trial for blasphemy for broadcasting the French film Persepolis. More here from The New York Times.

January 31, 2012 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Monday, January 30, 2012

Books, e-Books, and Barnes & Noble

The New York Times on how the last giant, Barnes & Noble, is hanging on in the face of a tremendous challenge from

January 30, 2012 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Twitter Begins Censoring Messages

The New York Times reports on Twitter's agreement to block messages at the request of certain foreign governments. Some individuals react with outrage, others understand Twitter's position. Twitter says it will remove only "illegal" communication (illegal being defined by the country from which the communication issues) and notes that users can reset their locations manually to see all communications.

January 30, 2012 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)