Media Law Prof Blog

Editor: Christine A. Corcos
Louisiana State Univ.

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Saturday, March 16, 2013

Former Law & Order: SVU Employee Sues For Sex Discrimination

Charlotte Grau, an experienced Hollywood colorist, is suing the producers of Law & Order: SVU, alleging among other things, that she was routinely demeaned, paid less than the male employees who did the same work, assaulted, and wrongful discharge (the Hollywood Reporter article has a link to the complaint). Her lawyers have filed the claims in state court.

March 16, 2013 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Iran Expands Scope of Proposed Lawsuits Beyond "Argo"

In its attempts to fight what it considers to be tarnishment of its image abroad, Iran's government is now expanding to reach beyond the film "Argo" to other Hollywood movies such as "Not WIthout My Daughter" and "300." The Hollywood Reporter tells us that at a recent conference, a lawyer hired by the Iranian government announced that talk has moved to discussion of filing a lawsuit before an international tribunal. 

March 14, 2013 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

UK Cop Shuts Down Social Media Accounts, Citing Official Pressure

A British policeman who, as "Inspector Gadget," has routinely blogged and tweeted his personal opinions concerning official actions has shut down his social media accounts. Others who do the same say they are considering following his lead after their superiors continue to ratchet up pressure on them to stop criticizing government positions and policy. Many of the bloggers, who comment anonymously, note that they are under pressure to reveal their identities. More here from the Guardian.

March 14, 2013 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Keith Olbermann and Current TV Settle Lawsuit Over Olbermann's Exit From Network

Keith Olbermann and his former employer Current TV have reached an agreement that will end litigation over Mr. Olbermann's exit from the show Countdown, well before his five year contract had expired. The terms of the settlement will not be disclosed. More here from The Hollywood Reporter.

March 13, 2013 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Maine High Court Upholds Dismissal of Invasion of Privacy Counts Against Man Who Filmed Sex Workers, Customers

The Maine Supreme Judicial Court has upheld a trial court's dismissal of invasion of privacy claims against a defendant who surreptitiously filmed encounters between prostitutes and their customers. In State v. Strong, the Court wrote in part,

When first enacted in 1976, section 511 defined a "private place" to mean "a place where one may reasonably expect to be safe from surveillance but does not include a place to which the public or a substantial group has access."
P.L. 1975, ch. 499, § 1. The comment immediately following the text of the bill
as enacted states that the provision was intended "to prevent [the] seeing or
hearing of things that are justifiably expected to be kept private." ... Through amendments in 1999 and 2008, the Legislature revised the definition of "private place" by removing the language excluding "a place to which the public or a substantial group has access" and adding the language, "including, but not limited to, changing or dressing rooms, bathrooms and similar places." See P.L. 2007, ch. 688, §
2; P.L. 1999, ch. 116, § 1.

 ... Thus, the Legislature's overall purpose in criminalizing certain violations of privacy cannot be understood as an effort to broadly protect individuals' subjective expectations of privacy. The purpose is more focused, requiring that certain objective factors be present as well. The place involved must be "a place where one may reasonably expect to be safe from surveillance." ... Further, a person's desire to keep private what transpires within that place must be a justifiable expectation, and, therefore, objectively reasonable. ...

Applying these standards to the unique facts delimited by the counts of the indictment as augmented by the State's offer of proof, the persons who entered and disrobed in the places described in the offer of proof—a residence, studio, and business office where a prostitute conducted her business—may have held a subjective expectation of privacy. Nevertheless, they cannot qualify as "persons entitled to privacy" in those places for purposes of the objective requirements of section 511(1)(B) because, as established by the State's offer of proof, their sole purpose for being present in those places was to engage a prostitute. Places of prostitution and people who knowingly frequent them to engage a prostitute are not sanctioned by society. Accordingly, it is objectively unreasonable for a
person who knowingly enters a place of prostitution for the purpose of engaging a prostitute to expect that society recognizes a right to be safe from surveillance while inside.

March 12, 2013 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Google Pays Up in Lawsuit Over Street View Program

Google will pay $7 million to settle allegations brought by a number of states attorney general that it violated the privacy of individuals as it photographed their homes during the Street View Program. The company does not dispute that it acted improperly and says it has since changed its policies. More here from the New York Times.

March 12, 2013 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Monday, March 11, 2013

NY Sugary Drinks Still For Sale; Theater Owners Happy

A New York state judge has issued a ruling barring the New York City "sugary drinks" law from taking effect, and movie theater owners are happy, happy, happy. More here from the Hollywood Reporter. More here from the New York Times. Here's a link to the decision.

March 11, 2013 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)