Media Law Prof Blog

Editor: Christine A. Corcos
Louisiana State Univ.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

"He's A-Number OK!...That's Hank!"

Hank the Cat is running for the Senate in Virginia, against candidates George Allen (former governor) and Tim Kaine (former governor). Hank's platform--milk in every bowl and jobs, jobs, jobs (of course, to pay for the milk).  Check out his campaign video here.  

Now's there's an attack ad aimed at Hank, from the SuperPac Canines For a Feline Free Tomorrow. The ad suggests Hank's birth certificate is unavailable, as are his tax returns, and questions whether a Maine Coon should represent Virginia. Is this fallout from Citizens United?







March 3, 2012 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Friday, March 2, 2012

The ECJ, the Mass Media, and Personality Rights

Thomas Thiede, Austrian Academy of Sciences, Institute for European Tort Law, and Colm P. McGrath, have published Mass Media, Personality Rights and European Conflict of Laws. Here is the abstract.

In this article the authors critically analyse the current approach of the European Court of Justice (ECJ) alongside the proposed alternatives to a unified European conflict of laws rule dealing with the problem of cross-border infringements of personality rights. Having exposed the weakness of these approaches they set out one suggested path for reform.

Download the paper from SSRN at the link.

March 2, 2012 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Springer Verlag Reconsidering Publication of Book Promoting Intelligent Design

The Scientist is reporting that controversy has sprouted over a possible title from the well-known publisher Springer. Biological Information: New Perspectives is supposed "present 'new perspectives regarding the nature and origin of biological information'. However, one of its authors is John Sanford, who is associated with the intelligent design movement. Springer is now reviewing its commitment to publishing the manuscript. More here from Inside Higher Ed, here from The Panda's Thumb.

FWIW: I have published with Springer and sit on the board of editors of one of its journals.

March 2, 2012 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Andrew Breitbart Dies

Conservative journalist Andrew Breitbart has died. Coverage here from the Hollywood Reporter; here from CNN.

March 1, 2012 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Media Policy Summer School, University of Oxford, Now Accepting Applications

From the University of Oxford (PCMLP) and the Center for Global Communication Studies, Annenberg School for Communication, University of Pennsylvania

The Programme in Comparative Media Law and Policy at the University of Oxford (PCMLP) and the Center for Global Communication Studies at the Annenberg School for Communication, University of Pennsylvania are pleased to announce that we are currently accepting applications for the 14th annual Media Policy Summer School, to be held from June 17 - 29, 2012 at the University of Oxford.


The annual summer institute brings together young scholars and regulators to discuss important and recent trends in technology, international politics and development and its influence on media policy. Participants come from around the world; countries represented at previous summer institutes include Thailand, Kenya, China, Brazil, Egypt, Nigeria, Jordan, Italy and Bosnia, among others. 


This year the summer institute seeks, as part of the cohort, researchers and academics (PhD candidates and early career academics, for example), who will come with a research project related to the general subject of the Institute. Research generally related to the work of the Center for Global Communication Studies and the Programme for Comparative Media Law and Policy is especially welcome, and some participants will be asked to present their research. Applications are also welcome from those working as lawyers and those employed by NGOs, government bodies, and regulatory agencies.


The seminars this year will focus on several key areas, including media governance in India and China and strategic communications in conflict and post-conflict and transitional environments, particularly in the Middle East and Africa. At the same time, the successful curriculum that has been the foundation of the programme over the years will continue, with sessions covering global media policy issues such as media and economic/social development, freedom of information, internet regulation and convergence. Part of the course will be devoted to new developments in comparative approaches to regulation, looking at Ofcom in the UK and other agencies, including examples from the Middle East, Africa and Asia.


The seminar brings together a wide range of participants from around the globe and provides them with an environment in which significant policy issues are seriously discussed. The richness of the experience comes from exposure to a variety of speakers and from the discussions among participants themselves.


This year, we will again be offering more than twelve Media Policy Fellowships that cover tuition, housing, travel, and per diem for exceptional applicants from the developing world. For more information on the Media Policy Fellowships, please email


Applications for the 2012 programme will be accepted via our online application form on a rolling basis through March 31, 2012.  Please feel free to forward this email to anyone who you think might be interested.


For more information about the programme, application instructions, and a link to the online application please visit  


February 29, 2012 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Funding the Press

Brad A. Greenberg, UCLA School of Law, has published A Public Press? Evaluating the Viability of Government Subsidies for the Newspaper Industry at 19 UCLA Entertainment Law REview 189 (2012). Here is the abstract.

Despite the availability of information from online news organizations and new media outlets, newspapers remain the primary contributor of new content to the marketplace of information and ideas — integral in setting the agenda for public discourse, connecting readers with their communities, reducing the costs of citizen oversight on elected officials, and producing investigative and local news reports. But newspaper economics have sparked massive reductions in editorial operations and threaten the press’s role in American democratic society. The strong public interest in preserving the newspaper industry should compel Congress to stabilize the press.

Journalists, politicians, and legal scholars have discussed many possible solutions. This Comment evaluates the practical and constitutional questions raised by two potential public subsidy programs — direct government funding and indirect support by facilitating newspaper conversion to nonprofit status — and whether such programs could be administered without jeopardizing the Fourth Estate’s independence. This Comment argues that direct subsidies, though they could be tailored to survive constitutional challenge and to protect editorial independence, cannot deliver a feasible long-term solution. Indirect subsidies likely would only be available to newspapers following an amendment to the U.S. tax code and even then would provide limited benefit to qualifying newspapers until they have developed a fundraising base. Yet, this Comment concludes that subsidies could stabilize the press practically if Congress combined direct funding and tax-based incentives into a hybrid similar to that utilized by public radio.

Download the Comment from SSRN at the link.




February 28, 2012 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Shepard Fairey Pleads Guilty To Criminal Contempt Related To Testimony Over Use of AP Photo

Shepard Fairey, the "Obama poster" artist has pled guilty to criminal contempt, a surprise twist in the saga of the saga involving Mr. Fairey's use of a photograph which the Associated Press claimed was the basis of his famous "Hope" poster. The parties settled the lawsuit last year, but doubt continued concerning Mr. Fairey's testimony over which photo he had actually used in the work. On the 24th of February Mr. Fairey entered a plea of guilty.

February 28, 2012 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Monday, February 27, 2012

Journalists Arrested In Libya

The Iranian English language Press TV reports that two of its journalists have been arrested in Western Libya. Nicholas Davies and Gareth Montgomery-Johnson are currently being detained in Tripoli; Human Rights Watch reports that "efforts are underway to secure their release." More here from the BBC.

Members of the media have lost several of their own, and undergone a number of shocks over the past weeks. Well known journalists Marie Colvin and Remi Ochlik died in Homs, Syria, last week, while covering the violence against civilians. Acclaimed New York Times reporter Anthony Shadid died of an ashma attack, also in Syria, on February 16, also while covering the situation in the country.

February 27, 2012 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

NotW Higher Ups May Have Known About Phone Hacking As Far Back As 2006

From the Guardian: reports of warnings about a culture of phone hacking as far back as 2006 at the now defunct tabloid News of the World. The Guardian reports that an email shows that someone in law enforcement told Rebekah Brooks and Andy Coulson, both then still at News International and at News of the World, that there were "victims" of phone hacking at that time. An email also informed Ms. Brooks that NotW had made payments to investigator Glenn Mulcaire, who later went to prison for hacking.

February 27, 2012 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)